October 03, 2003

Los Angeles – The UCLA Anderson School of Management welcomed its MBA Class of 2005 with a new two-unit course designed to promote a better understanding of leadership and career goals. The one-week, experiential-based course featured collaborative and competitive activities led by faculty members Corinne Bendersky, Samuel Culbert, Sanford Jacoby, Barbara Lawrence, Craig Fox and David Lewin, as well as 10 second-year MBA students who served as teaching assistants for the course.

The Leadership Foundations course reflected months of design and planning by the Human Resources and Organizational Behavior (HROB) faculty, the MBA Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Executive Committee.

“Our faculty’s view is that our students need to be seen as potential leaders of enterprises and not only as good technical analysts, professional consultants or senior staff,” noted Professor Lewin, senior associate dean of the MBA Program.

During the course, students examined leadership at the individual, group, and organizational levels. They performed leadership exercises and discussed leadership cases and scenarios. By the end of the course, each student created and submitted a leadership map charting his or her leadership aspirations, summarizing leadership strengths and limitations, and specifying a personal leadership developmental plan. The leadership map is a living document that each student will refine during the next two years.

“As one of the world’s leading institutions for management education, we recognize the need to help students understand and embrace leadership,” said Bruce G. Willison, dean of UCLA Anderson. “We’ve continually sought to improve our leadership curriculum and felt we could do more to help our students in molding their leadership abilities, especially given the perception of a lack of leadership at the helm of some corporate giants characterized by accounting fraud, outrageous pay and perks and other financial transgressions over the past few years.”

Dean Willison also acknowledged that in his visits with corporate recruiters and employers around the world this past year, he heard a consistent message about the need for well-rounded MBA graduates with solid leadership skills.

Student evaluations of the new course were exceptionally positive and indicated that participants perceived it to be a rigorous, enlightening and highly satisfying learning experience.

The second week of Orientation was designed to acclimate students to career, academic, extracurricular and social aspects of life at UCLA Anderson. The program was designed by second-year MBA students and led by Orientation Co-Directors Natasha Crain and Paul Pastor.

Professor Lewin called Orientation for the Class of 2005 the most successful he has experienced at Anderson or elsewhere. “The challenge before us,” he said, “is to ensure that we follow up on the Leadership Foundations Course so that students’ leadership knowledge and skills, as well as their leadership maps, don’t wither on the vine.”

Students will in fact have several opportunities to further develop their leadership maps, particularly in the core human resources and organizational behavior course, but also in core finance, accounting, marketing, economics, strategy and operations management courses.

As Dean Willison stated, “we hope this small, but important change in our curriculum will not only help our students form their leadership potential, but will also instill in them the important role their leadership will play once they become business leaders whose job it will be to serve not only their organizations, but also the public trust.”

Media Relations