New Curriculum Launching at Haas

The core MBA curriculum at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business will undergo a major revamp this fall that puts the emphasis on the school’s culture of creating innovative leaders.

In announcing the news Monday, Dean Rich Lyons spoke of preparing “path-bending” leaders who define what’s next for our markets and societies– individuals who drive growth by putting new ideas into action in every corner and every function of their organizations, and who do so responsibly.

The school has spent the past 18 months working on the new strategic plan and curricular changes, which faculty voted overwhelmingly (54-0) to support.

A connecting theme, called Berkeley Innovative Leader Development (BILD), runs through the entire MBA curriculum, both core and elective. As part of the BILD approach, each core course has been reviewed to determine elements that contribute to the fundamental capabilities linked by research to innovative leadership.

“Innovative leaders will still need to know accounting, finance, and marketing,” said Lyons. “That’s why we will continue to require the basics of business for our students and teach from a general management perspective. At the same time, we will be calling out the content in our core courses in order to produce a particular kind of leader.”

Haas will add new content on innovative leadership to some courses; this content includes specific skills such as the ability to think critically and flexibly, and to recognize and foster creative ideas, among many others.

The BILD approach also includes new requirements that all students take a series of courses, workshops and coaching sessions that develop innovative leadership skills ”“ such as problem finding and problem solving, which is part of a required course that introduces students to the innovation process. They must also take an experiential course in which they hone these skills in a real-life setting.

“The very best firms have strong cultures and values that encourage their employees to act in certain ways to be successful,” said Lyons. “We want to use our unique culture and values in the same way — to encourage and develop the attitudes and behaviors of innovative leaders in our students.”
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