B-School Students Oppose New Calendar

In an informational meeting at Burden Hall last night, Harvard Business School (HBS) students voiced strong opposition to the school's recent decision to shift to a year-round calendar.

About 200 students came to hear about the plan, which drew a few boos and hisses from the audience. A survey by Business School newspaper Harbus News found that 224 of 258 respondents felt the plan was a bad idea.

The Business School faculty voted the change on October 29. The new calendar will have three 15-week trimesters in a 12-month period, to be phased in over three years.

The new schedule is part of a sweeping curriculum reform process called Leadership and Learning. Robison Professor of Business Administration James I. Cash Jr. and Professor of Business Administration Leonard A. Schlesinger spent more than two years formulating the proposal, which is expected to draw more students to the school.

In the meeting, Student Association President Brown emphasized that "this is not a done deal, it is the beginning of the process."


But students bemoaned what they described as a continuation of the school's decline. The Business School was 1st month ranked an unusually low fifth in a Business Week survey.

"Why are we not being valued as contributors in a community that we feel passionately about?" one student asked.

The developers of the project defended it, saying it will open the Business School to a larger group of potential students.

"There's a lot of extraordinarily talented people who are not here, have not even thought about being here," Schlesinger said, "because the opportunity cost of going for a two-year MBA degree is too high."

"To me it sounds like we're selling the good at a discount when you think about opportunity costs," responded one second-year student. "[We're] losing sight of educational values."

"What next?" asked another student after the proposal came out. "Will Sally Struthers be pitching the mail-order HBS MBA? Let's think about what this means for the value of a HBS degree in the future."

Some students said that the change in the schedule could weaken the school's sense of community.

"There's a sense of class bonding and section unity at the Business School," Mike A. Roberto '91, a second-year student and Ec 10 section leader, said yesterday before the meeting. With new students coming in year round "we're not the class of anything anymore," he said.

Job Worries

Cash and Schlesinger told students at the meeting that sections would stay in place. Even the format of the two-year MBA they are now completing could be followed if students choose to use their summers for job experience, the professors said.

Their comments drew mixed reactions from the audience.

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