Those who follow me on Twitter will know I am currently in NYC after spending an INCREDIBLE week at the Harvard Business School in Boston. This is actually my second visit there, the first being three years ago which is actually where these pictures are from. I've forgotten to carry my card reader and hence had to rely on a few old pictures on Facebook to give you guys a feel for the place. My week long course is part of a tie up that exists between HBS and YPO (the Young Presidents Organization) and hence is open to YPO members only. HBS however have a whole bunch of executive education courses that can be found here that may be of interest to you guys, ranging from different time periods to various subjects at all different levels of business folk.
My Late Father had done a popular exec education course called OPM which stands for the Owners/Presidents Management Program. He has been wrongly accredited in the Press very often for being a Harvard graduate which sounds like he was there for his undergraduate education or for an MBA, but he really is an alumni from the school as graduating from this program. OPM lasts for 3 weeks each year for 3 years and is a phenomenal program that my Father absolutely loved when he attended, and always hoped one of us would make it to our MBA at HBS. Seriously, his fanatical love for the school showed in his HBS notebooks that he used at home to take notes on with his HBS pens that he picked up each time he visited Boston. While I never made it there for my MBA, I understood his love for the school when I went 3 years ago, and got a similar reminder again last week.
So you're probably wondering how beneficial a one week course could possibly be right? I'd probably get a few lectures in and maybe a couple of pointers to take home, and the hefty price tags listed next to the courses are for the suckers who want to feel smart and say they went to Harvard right? WRONG! It takes about a good months' worth of reading during free time to be able to prepare for the course as the exec education follows the famous HBS case study methodology of teaching. All the cases printed out account for approximately a phone book sized worth of reading material that you need to get through before you get there. Oh and don't even think about leaving anything till when you actually do get there as the days are LONG and I don't think we ever wrapped up group meetings a single night before 1 AM!
The teaching faculty there will probably exceed your expectation of what you think Professors could be like. Having done my Undergrad at Boston College which too is an amazing school and one of the best in the country, I didn't think I'd be as blown away by the HBS faculty as I was. They are simply brilliant, and while professors at lesser known Universities may be brilliant and able to effectively teach concepts, you quickly realize in under 24 hours why the HBS professors are the ones writing out and forming those key concepts. To give you an idea, Michael Porter, one of the Gurus of Marketing is a professor at the Harvard Business School. And before you picture boring stuffy geeks droning on in the classroom while you pinch yourself to stay awake, most of the lecture is discussion based, the Professors usually electrifying and you better be paying attention lest you want to look like an idiot when cold called upon. Yes, they will pick on you and you better not even think of coming to class late!
The kind of people you meet as well are an amazingly diverse group of individuals and I know friends who have recently been for the OPM in particular, and have met some extremely intelligent people and made some very close friends. If by any chance you are a YPO member reading this and have never taken advantage of the course, you are seriously missing out! The level of discourse in the classroom given the fact that you are probably sitting amongst people who are leaders of their industries, and quite possibly game changers in the economy of their respective countries, is what makes this a program you MUST experience at least once.
The take home from these courses are incredible and they are incredibly hard work. While it may not be possible for everyone to head to HBS to do one of their exec education courses, if you are able to take out some time and head there, I can't recommend it enough. It really remains one of the best experiences I've ever had and one of the best investments I've made!
|The stunning HBS campus, covered in snow in 2009|