‘Managing The Future Of Work’ At HBS

Harvard Business School’s 2017 commencement. HBS photo

Harvard Business School has announced the launch of a new three-day executive education course called Managing the Future of Work. Geared for senior executives and C-suite members, the curriculum will focus on building sustainable competitive advantages in the era of the gig economy, rapid technological and policy shifts, and shifting labor markets. The course will take place October 21-24, 2018 on Harvard Business School’s campus.

“Strategic decisions depend on the ability to attract, retain, and improve productivity of talent in the workforce,” Joseph B. Fuller, faculty co-chair of the program and a management professor at HBS, said in a news release from the school. “Changing workforce demographics and the ferocious competition over the limited population of workers with scarce skills will make that increasingly difficult. Achieving and sustaining a competitive advantage in the future will mean having better, more productive employees with the right skill sets for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The curriculum features five courses that include lectures from HBS faculty as well as guest speakers. First, participants will take The Workplace of the Future, looking into major current trends that are changing the way of work in the U.S. and other advanced economies. Next, students will that The “Care” Economy, which will examine public policies and the decrease in skilled workers as people increasingly need to take care of children and aging parents. Students will then take courses in The Middle Skills Gap, Global Talent Access, and Spatial Pressures, which will explore the differences in rural and urban workplaces. Participants will work in small teams throughout the program.

“Supported by a groundbreaking curriculum and the latest organizational research, these lessons in the classroom not only give a fresh perspective on the nature of work, they also provide strategic operational frameworks that participants can implement on their own,” William R. Kerr, Fuller’s co-chair and a professor of entrepreneurial management at HBS, said in the news release. “As the nature of work continues to evolve, this program will allow participants to step back from daily routines and assess strategies for moving their organizations forward.”


While the gig economy has been seen as a disrupter for the past few years, a report released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month showed that only 10% of the American workforce is currently in the gig economy, or as the Bureau of Labor Statistics called it, “alternative work arrangements.” The majority of people in that category were Uber drivers and freelance writers. Nevertheless, business schools from undergraduate programs to executive education programs like this one are rapidly figuring out how to produce business leaders in the evolving way of work.

HBS doesn’t specify how many spots are available, but says they will review candidates on a rolling basis. While the school is focusing on people making big time hiring or directional decisions in well-established organizations, the course’s webpage also says they are focusing on candidates that “reflect a broad range of industries, functions, countries, and backgrounds to enrich the learning experience.” There are no formal educational or experience requirements, but the school says it will grant admission based on professional achievements and organizational responsibilities. “We look for professionals who have demonstrated business talent and leadership potential,” the site says.

For accepted participants, the total cost will be $10,000, which includes accommodations, course materials, and most meals.


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