Our curriculum helps students build the technology, design, and business know-how needed to lead new ventures.
MS/MBA students complete degree requirements in four semesters over two years, augmented by coursework during August at the beginning of the program and during both January terms. Students have the summer free between Year 1 and Year 2 to work on their own startup concept or pursue an internship at a technology company.
Most of Year 1 is spent at HBS completing the MBA Required Curriculum (RC), although MS/MBA students start the program as a cohort at SEAS in August, taking the System Engineering course. They also meet periodically as a cohort at SEAS during Year 1 in the Engineering, Design & Innovation Management Seminar, and complete the Technology Venture Immersion course together during the January term.
Harvard Business School Online CORe
As with all MBA candidates, MS/MBA students take a short test to determine whether they are required to complete HBS Online CORe prior to matriculating in August of Year 1. CORe, an online program requiring about 150 hours of work over roughly ten weeks, covers basic business analytics, microeconomics for managers, and financial accounting.
As a cohort during August of Year 1, MS/MBA students take System Engineering, a SEAS course that emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing complex systems and designing products within such systems. In System Engineering, students use mathematical methods to model systems and predict performance. They learn to situate designs within systems, managing within constraints imposed by value chain partners, financial performance requirements, and legal and ethical considerations.
HBS Required Curriculum Fall Term
MS/MBA students are dispersed across HBS’s ten first-year MBA sections and complete the RC’s five fall term case-based courses: Finance 1; Financial Reporting & Control; Leadership & Organizational Behavior; Marketing; and Technology & Operations Management. During the fall term, they also take FIELD Foundations, which offers hands-on leadership practice and immersive team experiences.
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Engineering, Design & Innovation Management Seminar
Every three weeks during Year 1 of their program, MS/MBA students meet as a cohort at SEAS in an afternoon seminar jointly run by SEAS and HBS faculty. Seminars revolve around, among other topics, talks by alumni leaders of technology ventures; research presentations by faculty from SEAS and HBS; and student updates on venture concepts they are developing.
Technology Venture Immersion
During the January term of Year 1, MS/MBA students complete Technology Venture Immersion, a two-week course jointly taught by HBS and SEAS faculty. Modeled on the HBS Startup Bootcamp, the Technology Venture Immersion employs a learning-by-doing approach, student teams will work on their own venture concepts in this intensive immersion course. The course will convey concepts and builds skills required in early stage technology ventures, including problem finding (human-centered design, customer discovery), solution finding (ideation methods, prototyping, user testing), business model validation (hypothesis generation, minimum viable products, lean experimentation), sales and marketing methods, venture financing, and team building and leadership skills.
HBS Required Curriculum Spring Term
MS/MBA students continue with their RC section, completing the RC’s five spring term case-based courses: Business, Government & the International Economy; Finance 2; Leadership & Corporate Accountability; Strategy; and The Entrepreneurial Manager, along with FIELD Global Immersion, in which student teams travel abroad to design a product for a sponsoring organization.
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During the summer between Year 1 and Year 2, most MS/MBA students either work on their own startup concept or as an intern in a technology venture; they are matched in either case with alumni mentors and may apply for a summer fellowship grant from the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. In 2017, 80 HBS MBA students received Rock Summer Fellowship grants averaging $6,000 apiece.
During Year 2 MS/MBA students split their time between SEAS and HBS, enrolling in electives at each school in order to complete the MS technical course requirements and MBA Elective Curriculum (EC). Students also take the Integrated Design course as a cohort during the fall term, and, during the January and spring terms, complete the Capstone course, in which they work in a small team to build and launch a new product.
Leading advanced design projects requires the integration of multiple skill areas and ongoing learning about the best data-driven tools to guide development. This course is structured to provide a comprehensive education in all stages of the new product design process, from idea generation to concept development, detailed design and prototyping, testing and integrating data into design decisions. The emphasis is on the way that design teams must both generate and utilize data to make decisions under conditions of extreme uncertainty. A critical feature of modern technical design challenges is that the problem space and solution space are often poorly deﬁned, and/or to a large extent unbounded. The course aims to provide students with rigorous analytical tools to deal with such uncertainties.
Launch Lab I/II
The MS/MBA Capstone is an intensive project that requires teams of students to apply and integrate the skills they have learned across core disciplines developed in the program curriculum. Specifically, teams will be expected to design, build and launch a new technology-based product/service venture, and thereby to demonstrate mastery with respect to three areas of knowledge: Design Knowledge: The use of human-centered design methods to understand users, identify solutions to their needs, and gather feedback via rapid, iterative prototyping. Technical Knowledge: The use of rigorous system engineering methods to plan, design, develop, build, and test a complex technology-based product/service, integrating knowledge across multiple engineering disciplines. Business Knowledge: The use of business model analysis and lean experimentation methods to develop and test a set of hypotheses that capture how the new product/service will create value, including business model design, pricing, sales and marketing, operating model and profit formula.
The Capstone is divided into two parts, the first of which is an immersive course completed during the January term of the EC year (Capstone I). The subsequent spring course (Capstone II) follows on from and builds upon work completed in January. In Capstone II, dedicated mentors will be allocated to each team based upon the specific projects they are completing. Given students prior coursework, a working knowledge of human-centered design methods, systems engineering techniques, and business modeling and lean experimentation is assumed. Launch Lab therefore focuses on the practical application of these skills to team projects, supplemented by content in three areas: i) seminars on advanced methods and techniques, ii) workshops that demonstrate how to put these skills and tools into practice, and iii) guest speakers who share their experience in the areas of design, technology and business.
Fall and Spring Term Electives
During the fall and spring terms of Year 2, students take three graduate technical electives at SEAS and four MBA Elective Curriculum (EC) courses. Through SEAS electives, students can focus their work on a specific set of technologies, for example, data science, robotics, micro/nano devices, or neuroengineering.
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