It's a well-known fact that Harvard Business School can boast many talents – among them Bloomberg, Sandberg and Schwarzman. Thanks to Harvard faculty, we have 80% of known business cases used for teaching students.
That’s why HBS’s influence on business education is huge, making it a gold standard for other MBA programs, like IESE Business School.
The Mediterranean IESE cannot be considered a rival for Harvard – it’s more of a master-student relationship. This program, the very first in Europe, was launched in 1963 thanks to Harvard University. Since that time, IESE became international, with premises in five continents and graduates from more than 100 countries. According to Poets&Quants, it became the best executive education program on the globe.
HBS and IESE have the best faculty
Last year, IESE truly showed its colors – how much it has achieved in the 50 years of its existence. It overtook Harvard in the faculty quality segment of the annual ranking from The Economist. The faculty quality mark for IESE was 4.69 out of 5, which was .05 point more than Harvard has. It showed that IESE can be a real competitor for Harvard.
One can even say that Harvard was too good a teacher for IESE. Thanks to its case method, which can be summed up as ‘everybody teaches and everybody learns’, IESE and a number of other European schools became as good as HBS in that respect.
Why is the case method so effective?
According to IESE MBA Dean Julia Prats, case studies help teach students to make decisions and solve problems. After that, it’s much easier for them to move on to internships and jobs.
The case approach allows students to analyze a problem first and then find criteria to cook up a solution. Alternative scenarios played out in class teach students to make appropriate decisions.
This method is very different from college lectures, which some people call ‘lean-back lectures’: it means that students don’t do much but passively take in what they are told. However, a ‘lean-forward’ lecture allows students to take part in the discussion and help each other with own experience.
Teachers can learn during class, same as students
Thanks to the case method and ‘lean-forward’ lectures, teachers have the opportunity to learn as much as students do. Traditional lectures are structured logically and predictably, in a rigid way. But at schools like HBS and IESE, not only teachers are allowed to speak during lectures. The resulting discussions enrich the knowledge of professors and students alike.
The directions the conversation may go are totally unpredictable. That’s why it’s so interesting: students never know in advance what they are going to learn today. But they know it’s going to be very important and useful.
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