December 18, 2014

New Semester Brings More Experiential Learning, Design Thinking Courses to Students

MBA students will have new ways to fulfill their experiential learning requirement this spring semester and new topics—including failure—to explore, while  Haas undergrads will have new opportunities to learn about everything from design thinking to motivating people.

Full-time MBA Courses

Three courses have been updated to fulfill the full-time MBA experiential learning requirement as part of the Berkeley Innovative Leader Development (BILD) curriculum: Advertising Strategy; Design and Development of Web-based Products and Services; and Lean LaunchPad.

Visiting Assistant Professor Thomas Lee teaches the Web-based design and development course, which requires students to work in interdisciplinary teams on the new product process from idea generation to prototype development. The course, which culminates in a virtual design fair, is similar to one Lee taught at Wharton.

In Assistant Professor Clayton Critcher’s advertising strategy course, students will partner with a major company, developing an integrated marketing communications plan to pitch to the firm's brand representatives. Lecturer Steve Blank’s Lean LaunchPad, previously taught in the executive and part-time MBA programs, will ask students to "get out of the building" to learn from potential customers as they develop business ideas into real companies.

In addition to the expanded experiential learning opportunities, Adair Morse, a visiting assistant professor from Chicago Booth, is introducing a new elective on global entrepreneurial finance. The class offers a look at what works, and where, in raising capital and using financing strategically. “For example, a biotech project may be viable because of markets created by the climate protocols," says Morse, who recently won the Brattle Prize for the best corporate finance paper in the Journal of Finance. Morse also will explore what movements in socially responsible investment mean for entrepreneurs.

John Danner, senior fellow with the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, will help students take an unflinching look at what he calls “The other ‘F’ word” in his new course, Failure and Its Importance to Innovation and Entrepreneurship. By studying failures in disciplines from architecture to athletics, he hopes students will learn how to detect early warning signals of failure and how to test for failure in advance. “The acid test of leadership,” says Danner, “is fluency in anticipating, mitigating, and rebounding from failure.”

Professor Paul Gertler, director of the Institute of Business and Economics Research, will teach a new course on Applied Impact Evaluation. “Business strategies and public policies are intended to change outcomes, such as increasing productivity or reducing illness,” says Gertler. “Whether or not these changes in outcomes are actually achieved are crucial public policy and business questions, yet are not often examined.” The course will explore a range of methods for assessing such changes.

Evening & Weekend MBA Courses

New courses in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program include the new BILD experiential learning course, Design and Marketing New Products, taught by Lecturer Bill Pearce, former chief marketing officer of Del Monte. The course examines the strategies, processes, and methods used by companies to successfully bring new products or services to market year after year. Students will be assigned to an "innovation team" that will be required to give a presentation on a real-world company and its real-world business issues to a board of directors chosen from the business world.

Other new electives for part-time students include Global Teams, taught by Senior Lecturer Homa Bahrami. The course will focus on teams that operate across cultures, disciplines, geographies, and time zones--“the most challenging and complex collaborations,” says Bahrami.

Students will explore environmental risks and the inevitable regulations that follow in Business and Natural Resources, a course taught by Lecturer Omar Romero-Hernandez and cross-listed in the Full-time MBA Program. “Companies that understand these imperatives will be able to better navigate an increasingly complex world and the major environmental risks it faces,” says Romero-Hernandez.

Undergraduate Courses

Haas undergraduate students taking the interdisciplinary Innovation and Design Thinking with Lecturer Clark Kellogg will have the opportunity to learn some of the skills taught to MBA students in BILD's Problem Finding, Problem Solving course. "Design is too important to leave to designers," says Kellogg, a former architect, of his work teaching design thinking to students in many disciplines for 14 years. The course, says Kellogg, will include semester-long team-based innovation projects, “unpack” design thinking into 12 core skills, and look at social innovation as an emerging field.

Other new courses for undergraduate students include:

  • Managing and Motivating People, taught by Whitney Hischier, faculty director of the UC Berkeley Center for Executive Education.
  • Retailing with Senior Lecturer David Robinson will allow students to explore the application of management principles to retail channels of distribution through lectures, case work, and store visits.
  • International Marketing with Lecturer Wasim Azhar will look at strategies for both developed and emerging international markets.

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