Hypothetical question: Should you land in the hospital and find that your treatment will be managed by a medical student rather than an attending physician, would you feel a bit panicky, or proud to play a role in what is known as a "teachable moment"?
In the latest issue of Harvard Business Review, dean of Harvard Business School Nitin Nohria says that disconcerting or frightening though it may be, we have an obligation to help train the next generation of doctors—and business schools can learn a lot from the medical profession.
But inserting business students into real-world managerial situations is no easy undertaking. Unlike med students, who often help make life-and-death decisions, Nohria notes that M.B.A. candidates typically rely on case studies to navigate thorny business scenarios, albeit from a safe distance. At HBS, that all changed a few weeks ago when more than 900 first-years embarked on the global immersion component of the new M.B.A. curriculum module known as Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD).
One of the more unusual examples of a field experience comes from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. In professor Viva Bartkus's course "Business on the Frontlines," M.B.A. students study about and then travel to countries struggling to rebuild their economies after a war or violent conflict.