Tuesday, April 10, 2007

From Hybrid SUVs to Hybrid MBAs

All the world loves greener, more socially-responsible hybrids.

Now Harvard Business School is following an emerging trend among graduate schools of offering a hybrid degree incorporating parts of an MBA with a public affairs degree--to prepare students for careers in the ever-overlapping private, public, and nonprofit sectors. The Harvard degree will launch in 2008.

The Fletcher School at Tufts earlier launched its Master of International Business (MIB) as another public-private-nonprofit degree:

"How is the Fletcher MIB different from an MBA?

The Fletcher MIB is a hybrid international business/international relations degree. It was founded on the principle that business professionals today must be well-versed not only in business management and strategy but also the complex reality of external governmental, legal, social, and environmental factors that influence business."

Johns Hopkins SAIS and University of Pennsylvania Wharton School have for 20 years offered a dual MA-MBA degree to prepare students "to lead in today’s globalized environment, in which both managerial acumen and international comprehension are essential, and in which knowledge of both business and public policy are vital for success."

The premise behind these initiatives is that the world's problems encompass all sectors. Harvard's Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood put it this way:

"Every interesting public problem in the world today crosses the boundary between business and government. Frankly, I think that for too long there have not been enough connections."

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