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WINTER IMMERSION EXPERIENCE PROGRAM

With January just around the corner, The Harbus is getting its wanderlust on. Last year, we devoted an entire issue to global immersion coverage. In anticipation of all the captivating places you will visit and people you will encounter over J-Term, we would like to share the history of the Winter Immersion Experience Program at Harvard Business School with you. We at The Harbus look forward to publishing the best (lessons learned, adventures, surprises, cultural insights, friendships forged, fill in your own) of IXPs 2010 in our January 25, 2010 issue! We cannot wait to hear your stories from Boston, China, India, New Orleans, Peru, Rwanda, Silicon Valley, the United Arab Emirates & Bahrain, and Vietnam. We wish you happy and safe travels. May you enjoy traversing the globe!
-Kay Fukunaga (OJ)

The Immersion Experience Program (IXP) maximizes participant-centered learning experiences by combining the School’s distinctive case method of teaching with field-based learning activities that integrate first- and second-year students.

The IXP model offers MBA students an opportunity to develop deeper relationships with faculty in a more personal, small-group learning environment. The cornerstone of the IXP is the expertise of faculty leaders who develop program content around key teaching objectives reached through field-based learning activities. An IXP is typically comprised of a pre-IXP event, the intensive multi-day immersion experience, and the post-IXP opportunities to share experiences with the greater Harvard community.

The development of Immersions began with the student-initiated and led Hurricane Katrina Relief Trip in January 2006, under the guidance of faculty members Stacy Childress and Dutch Leonard and with the support of the Social Enterprise Initiative and the MBA Program. Students worked with local organizations on projects to help in the rebuilding of New Orleans. In 2007, the New Orleans Immersion (NOLA) was joined by a Boston-based Healthcare program and a China Immersion. HBS offered students participating in these programs financial aid to offset the cost and also provided significant administrative support. In 2008, the number of Immersions offered doubled with programs in Boston (Healthcare), China & Vietnam, Europe, India, New Orleans (Service), and UAE & Egypt.

In spring 2008, the Dean’s Office asked Regina Abrami to serve as the Faculty Chair of the Immersion Experience Program; she led the China & Vietnam Immersion in 2008. At the same time, HBS also dedicated resources to a new IXP office, with three staff members to oversee program development and implementation. The IXP staff support each faculty leader’s academic vision for these programs, and are joined by members of the MBA Program in the on-the-ground implementation.

Students also have the opportunity to take on additional roles as student coordinators in the majority of the programs, and continue to lead and oversee the New Orleans IXP. Faculty, staff and students together implemented IXP 2009 with international programs in China, Europe, Israel and Mexico.

Domestic IXPs also expanded with the 4th annual, student-led NOLA IXP, the Silicon Valley IXP that was created by the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the HBS California Research Center, and two Boston-based Healthcare IXPs that were developed and implemented by the Healthcare Initiative and the Institute for Strategy & Competitiveness.

With more than 330 HBS students participating in eight IXPs and meeting with more than 200 company representatives over the course of 10 days in 2009, the IXP tagline “The classroom, expanded” was true on many different fronts. HBS students left impressions throughout the globe and were described as “bright, energetic young people of [whom] I’m sure HBS is proud.”

December 7, 2009
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