Minding the Gap: Nohria's MBA Reforms at Harvard

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria Photograph by Mike Fein/Bloomberg

In my last blog, I emphasized the dangers of the gap between scholarly research at elite B-schools and the real world of business leaders. Not exactly a new problem, by the way. In the early years of the 15th century, King Henry IV had a succession problem on his hands, not typical in dynasties in those days. He had serious doubts about his eldest son and heir, Prince Hal. He felt that Hal wasn’t “kingly enough.” He promptly summoned Falstaff to join the prince on the front lines, where the French forces were dangerously encamped, to mentor his tenderfoot son. By so doing, he created the first “executive coach” in recorded history. Falstaff’s transformational advice to the future Henry V: “If you want to lead people, you’ve got to enter their world.”

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