Harvard Business School (HBS) has decided to bring all of its MBA students to campus for a hybrid model of in-person and online classes this Fall. This announcement came after HBS considered a fully online MBA program, and contrasts with the university’s plans allowing only 40% of undergraduates on campus for the Fall semester.
In a detailed message on July 1st, HBS Dean Nitin Nohria and Executive Dean for Administration Angela Crispi outlined the plan, which reduces the size of core classes from 90 to 72. This hybrid format would allow for ten sections of 72 students each in Required Curriculum (RC) courses rather than the traditional 90 students per class. This would also allow second-year MBA students to choose from classes taught entirely online and those using the hybrid format. Students in hybrid courses may physically be in class on a rotating basis, depending on demand, and parts of the class will take place remotely.
HBS had previously said it would enroll an entering class of MBA students that will be more than 200 students fewer than its usual 930- to 940-student cohort. Since many students decided to defer their enrollment by one or two years, the class of 2022 is expected to be about 720 students, nearly 25% less than normal. This will make it easier to implement safety protocols.
In their message, Nohria and Crispi wrote, “We carefully considered whether shifting to fully remote/online was the right option for HBS, and ultimately decided against it. For many of our students, Boston is their preferred (or only) place of residence while attending the Doctoral and MBA programs. Given the number of students we anticipate living at or near the school, and the inevitability of campus activity (much as we experienced in the Spring semester), we believe it is better to manage and channel these flows of people through our spaces.” They added, “In the early weeks, most RC classes and activities are likely to be online. We think the bonds you will form with one another and in sections will be strongest if everyone shares the same initial experiences, and that is best accomplished online. When the semester in underway, we’ll use the hybrid classroom in ways that will enhance the curriculum across the full suite of first-year courses.”
Guests and visitors to campus will be prohibited and access to highly trafficked common areas, such as the library, will be restricted. Testing for the virus could be once a week or more frequently, and anyone who tests positive or has been exposed will be required to self-quarantine. All students will have remote classes available to them as an option.
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