Business school injects real life into MBAs

What is the most common criticism of MBA graduates? It is probably that they learned a great deal about the abstract world, but little about the real world. If that is true, what's the point of going to business school?

Business school injects real life into MBAs

Hult, a business school with campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai and Shanghai, thinks it has the answer.

The institution divides its students up into groups of five and each group is given a real problem faced by a leading multinational company. Their task is to find a solution under the guidance of a management consultant or senior executive in the relevant industry.

Companies that have given Hult students actual problems to solve include Verizon Communications, the largest cell phone provider in the US, printing and copy giant Xerox and the Financial Times, one of the world’s leading newspapers.

Some of the problems would tax even the brainiest business mind. Verizon offered the students a real dilemma. The prices of its products, such as making a long-distance call or sending a megabyte of data, keep falling every year because of rapid technological progress.

To counter this, what new markets could the company enter that would bring large and long-term revenue growth?

Pfizer, the US pharmaceutical conglomerate, told Hult students of a very different problem. Its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor was the goose that laid the golden eggs – cooked the low-fat way through boiling. However, the patent for the drug, which accounts for a massive proportion of its revenues, expires in 2011.

Pfizer had worked out a broad solution – to expand its presence in high-growth emerging economies outside the West. Which countries offered the best opportunities? Students worked for six weeks on a commercially confidential solution.

Hult’s theory is that other business schools concentrate too much on theory and not enough on practice. By setting its students real-life examples, known as Action Projects, it tackles this flaw.

Hult has even taken its Action Projects to the broader elite of students among other top business schools, launching an annual competition for them to find the best business solution to a problem faced by a leading charity.

This year, the chosen charity is, the non-profit co-founded by Hollywood star Matt Damon to provide clean water in the developing world. The chosen champions win $1 million from Hult, which the non-profit can use to implement their ideas. The exact problem will be revealed on March 5th.

A business school would not be a business school without a clever acronym and Hult is no exception. These case studies put the AP into its LEAP method: conventional Learning in the classroom, the valuable Experience of visits to companies and talks given by business leaders and finally, the Action Projects.

Hult’s aim for its students to get practical business experience during their graduate program before they jump back into a job in the business world – to LEAP before they look.

About Hult International Business School

Hult International Business School (formerly known as the Arthur D. Little School of Management) is the first global business school with campuses in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai. The School offers a range of business-focused programs including MBA, Master and Undergraduate degrees. Hult’s one-year MBA program is ranked in the top 30 in the world by The Economist and amongst the top 100 by the Financial Times.

Please contact Carolin Bachmann, PR Manager for media enquiries at [email protected] or call +44 (798) 534-0179.

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Police probe opened after poster campaign against ‘Islamophobic’ lecturers at French university

The French government condemned on Monday a student protest campaign targeting two university professors accused of Islamophobia, saying it could put the lecturers in danger.

Police probe opened after poster campaign against 'Islamophobic' lecturers at French university
Illustration photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Student groups plastered posters last week on the walls of a leading political science faculty in Grenoble that likened the professors to “fascists” and named them both in a campaign backed by the UNEF student union.

Junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa said the posters and social media comments recalled the online harassment of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty last October, who was beheaded in public after being denounced online for offending Muslims.

“These are really odious acts after what happened with the decapitation of Samuel Paty who was smeared in the same way on social networks,” she said on the BFM news channel. “We can’t put up with this type of thing.”

“When something is viewed as racist or discriminatory, there’s a hierarchy where you can report these types of issues, which will speak to the professor and take action if anything is proven,” Schiappa said.

Sciences Po university, which runs the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Grenoble in eastern France, also condemned the campaign on Monday and has filed a criminal complaint.

An investigation has been opened into slander and property damage after the posters saying “Fascists in our lecture halls. Islamophobia kills” were found on the walls of the faculty.

One of the professors is in charge of a course called “Islam and Muslims in contemporary France” while the other is a lecturer in German who has taught at the faculty for 25 years.