As the calendar turned to 2016, Poets & Quants took a look back at what the website considered “The most innovative business school ideas of 2015.” The first item on the list: Kellogg’s growth and scaling curriculum.
From Poets & Quants:
Arguably the ultimate general management challenge, achieving growth has certainly been a part of every business school’s core and elective MBA curriculum. But this year Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management carved out an unusual and highly innovative niche in the growth and scaling space from both a curricular and thought leadership perspective. The school has rolled out seven different courses on the topic since the spring of 2014 and also is considering a capstone course or experience to what it calls a “pathway,” or set of cohesive courses that help students develop a specific set of skills.
Developing the initiative has turned the more typical way courses are developed at a business school on its head. For years, academics in narrow disciplines largely constructed theories of business education in the abstract, hoping that their outcomes would eventually line up with market needs. In crafting a curriculum around growth, Kellogg went to the market first, asked business leaders what challenges they faced, and came up with a series of courses to teach the required skills.
The brainchild for carving out the growth specialty is a Kellogg strategy professor, Ben Jones, who also serves as faculty director of the school’s innovation and entrepreneurship initiative. Jones explains that the idea for it came out of engaging different leaders and alumni. “We heard a lot about the kinds of leaders people in the community are looking for and generally it was people who can take a business and grow it to the next level,” he says.
About the growth and scaling pathway
Profitably growing and scaling businesses is a central challenge for business leaders. It reaches across all business functions and components, including strategy, operations, finance, marketing and organizations.
The pathway emphasizes functional depth and experiential learning on these dynamic topics in management with applications to small- and middle-market enterprises.