March 27, 2009

Krannert revises two-year MBA program curriculum

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In an effort to better prepare students for the changing needs of businesses and to develop the next generation of business leaders, the Krannert School of Management is revising the curriculum for its two-year MBA and one-year MSIA programs.

"Business organizations today are more global, more technology dependent and less hierarchical," said Manohar Kalwani, head of Krannert's Department of Management who led the process to change the curriculum. "As organizations have become flatter, business leaders are expected to foresee opportunities and address problems that cut across functional boundaries. MBAs today rarely start their careers in a given area and finish their careers in the same area."

Kalwani said the changes are geared to provide a more tailored curriculum, more experiential learning, more time to collaborate with other students and faculty in small groups, greater exposure to diverse teaching methods, and increased opportunities for global study trips.

Kalwani said the curriculum revision began when he became the Management department head in mid-August 2008. He worked closely with a student task force and his faculty colleagues on the Management Executive Committee. He also said significant contributions were made by Management faculty in several open forums.

The Krannert faculty approved the new curriculum in January, and the changes take effect this fall.

"This ties in with Purdue's overall strategic plan of making today's students tomorrow's leaders," said Richard Cosier, Krannert School dean and Leeds Professor of Management.  "Giving students the opportunity to get more of a hands-on experience, receive more mentoring, and learn outside the classroom, both here and around the world, will make them more prepared for future business challenges."

Kalwani said the key idea in the new core curriculum is to simulate a quarter system. Formerly there were two, two-credit-hour core courses in each functional area (accounting, finance, marketing operations, quantitative methods and strategic management). Now these core courses will be converted into a single three-credit-hour course requirement.

"Our core curriculum was much larger than most business schools," Kalwani said. "This revised curriculum reduces the total core course credit hour requirements, allowing students greater opportunity to tailor their plans of study. The curriculum also ensures that all students have a sound grounding in each functional area and that they are capable of working across functional boundaries in today's flatter organizations.

"A lot of learning can occur outside the classroom. Ideally we'd like students to have time to think about what they want to do with their careers, interact with speakers and alumni, work on hands-on practical projects, and collaborate with other students and faculty. The revised curriculum will give them these opportunities."

Following the proposed curriculum, the Krannert School will provide every student in the MBA and MSIA programs an active learning opportunity through consulting projects or projects connected with global study trips.

"Learn-by-doing activities, such as consulting projects, allow students to apply concepts that they are learning in the classroom to real-world problems," Kalwani said. "Experiential learning activities help students turn expertise into experience and skills into career success."

Another revision is to extend spring break to two weeks by canceling classes during the week before Purdue's spring break. Missed classes will be made up following the extended break. The extra time will give students an opportunity to visit companies, work on projects or go on a global study trip, Kalwani said.

"A lot of students have the opportunity for trips, but they're usually only one week and the students often sit in a room listening to lectures from industry and government leaders," Kalwani said. "We want to give students a much better idea of what it takes to do business in Hungary, China, India or other places around the world."

Students will visit foreign companies and work on a project supervised by a Krannert faculty member during the global study trip. Trips to Europe, Asia, South America and other North American countries will be offered. A global project is equivalent to a two-credit elective course.

Kalwani said Krannert would work with alumni and organizations to help pay for global study trips. Krannert faculty will be given modest incentives to supervise experiential learning projects, Kalwani said. He said 20 Krannert faculty members have already volunteered to supervise projects.

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-494-9394,

Sources: Richard Cosier, 765-494-9700,

Manohar Kalwani, 765-494-4400,

Joy Dietz, interim director of Professional Master's Programs, 765-496-3384,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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