Business Schools Look Beyond Traditional Business Arenas for Role Models for Strategy and Leadership

Top MBA programs including those at Harvard Business School (HBS) and the MIT Sloan School of Management are turning to the likes of Lady Gaga and Shakespeare to provide examples of successful leadership and strategy, acocrding to a recent article in the Toronto Star. In the wake of the financial crisis and the resulting loss of faith in leadership, they’ve had little choice but to look outside the traditional business world in order to continue teaching by example, the Canadian paper suggests.

At HBS, a class called Strategic Marketing in Creative Industries gives students a chance to examine the career moves of 25-year-old Stefani Germanotta and her transformation into pop icon Lady Gaga. The HBS course looks to Gaga to understand the importance of contracts and how to manage your message through social media. Business schools in Europe – including Germany’s ESMT and Antwerp Management in the Netherlands – also have zeroed in on Gaga as a case study to teach strategic innovation, the Toronto Star reports. And the London Business School had students look at Kiss guitarist Gene Simmons for lessons on how to monetize a fan base.
Meanwhile, at schools like the MIT Sloan School of Management and NYU’s Stern School of Business, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Henry V are providing examples of leadership to students. And at Canadians schools like Toronto University’s Rotman School, hockey stars are coming in as speakers to advise and inspire future business leaders. Toronto Maple Leafs’ GM Brian Burke recently shared his views on Steve Jobs and the need to be tough. “There isn’t anyone who has made a hard decision who doesn’t have a ruthless side,” he told the students.

For the complete Toronto Star article, click here.

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