Creative Electives Encourage Out-of-the Box Thinking
While the core curriculum at business school can be rigorous and tightly focused, many MBA programs offer students a chance to explore creative interests through electives. A Jan. 11, 2012 article in Bloomberg Businessweek explores some of the more intriguing electives offered at top business schools around the country, and the surprising growth that students can attain through coursework offering thinking outside the box.
Many of these electives employ the idea of leadership as a focal point for students. One elective offered at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business, entitled "Leadership Outside the Box," asks students to analyze Disney's "The Lion King," and to write letters to their 8-year-old selves regarding their hopes and aspirations from childhood to present day.
"This course allows us all to take a time-out in a very hectic curriculum, take a breather from the quantitative work of business, and recapture 'What's the dream? How can I be the best self I can be?' " Ella L.J. Edmondson Bell, the associate professor of management who teaches the class, told the Times.
Other electives allow students to interact personally with leaders in the community, like a course at Columbia Business School called "NYC: Innovative & Entrepreneurial Solutions to the City's Complex Challenges," which allowed students to work with top executives in the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Students in this 2011 course were able to offer their potential solutions to some of the city's most pressing issues, from education to the economy.
While the crop of creative electives at top b-schools are too diverse to name, the articles indicates, they share the option to promote personal growth for students, and an opportunity to explore ideas and subjects that might otherwise be left unexamined.