Saturday, October 16, 2004

Academic Rigor 
One of the interesting things thus far about HBS is the level of academic rigor. The program is not easy, and it's a lot of work, but the exams don't seem to be nearly as difficult as what others are going through at Wharton. The philosophy behind the HBS system definitely lies in the general management approach, where students are not expected to learn the details of accounting, or marketing, or finance, but instead expected to learn how to make accounting or marketing or finance decisions. One of the people in my section said it best with regards to marketing. His experience was with an ad agency, and he found our marketing cases interesting because it involved the decisions that were made long before the project got to his level.

This leads to exams that are basically just status checks, rather than difficult tests of your knowledge. I see benefits and drawbacks to this approach. On the one hand, we probably learn everything we need to know for our long term career plans. On the other, the learning curve will probably be steeper after graduation because we won't be as prepared for that first job. I don't know that either system is better, but there is definitely a big difference between the two methods.

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