The school was established in 1908. Initially established by the humanities faculty, it received independent status in 1910, and became a separate administrative unit in 1913. The first dean was historian Edwin Francis Gay (1867–1946). Yogev (2001) explains the original concept:
This school of business and public administration was originally conceived as a school for diplomacy and government service on the model of the French Ecole des Sciences Politiques. The goal was an institution of higher learning that would offer a master of arts degree in the humanities field, with a major in business. In discussions about the curriculum, the suggestion was made to concentrate on specific business topics such as banking, railroads, and so on... Professor Lowell said the school would train qualified public administrators whom the government would have no choice but to employ, thereby building a better public administration... Harvard was blazing a new trail by educating young people for a career in business, just as its medical school trained doctors and its law faculty trained lawyers.
The business school pioneered the development of the case method of teaching, drawing inspiration from this approach to legal education at Harvard. Cases are typically descriptions of real events in organizations. Students are positioned as managers and are presented with problems which they need to analyse and provide recommendations on.
From the start the school enjoyed a close relationship with the corporate world. Within a few years of its founding many business leaders were its alumni and were hiring other alumni for starting positions in their firms.
At its founding, the school accepted only male students. The Training Course in Personnel Administration, founded at Radcliffe College in 1937, was the beginning of business training for women at Harvard. HBS took over administration of that program from Radcliffe in 1954. In 1959, alumnae of the one-year program (by then known as the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration) were permitted to apply to join the HBS MBA program as second-years. In December 1962, the faculty voted to allow women to enter the MBA program directly. The first women to apply directly to the MBA program matriculated in September 1963.
In 2012–2013, HBS administration implemented new programs and practices to improve the experience of female students and recruit more female professors.
International Research Centers
HBS established nine global research centers and four regional offices and functions through offices in Asia Pacific (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore), United States (San Francisco Bay Area, CA), Europe (Paris), South Asia (India), Middle East and North Africa (Dubai, Istanbul, Tel Aviv), Japan and Latin America (Buenos Aires, Mexico City, São Paulo).
HBS students can join more than 80 different clubs and student organizations on campus. The Student Association (SA) is the main interface between the MBA student body and the faculty/administration. In addition, HBS student body is represented at the university-level by the Harvard Graduate Council.
The Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP) is a one-week management training program for rising college seniors designed to increase diversity and opportunity in business education. Participants must be employed in a summer internship and be nominated by and have sponsorship from their organization to attend.
HBX is an online learning initiative announced by the Harvard Business School in March 2014 to host online university-level courses. Initial programs are the Credential of Readiness (CORe) and Disruptive Strategy with Clayton Christensen. Leading with Finance, taught by Mihir A. Desai, was added to the catalog in August 2016. HBX also created HBX Live, a virtual classroom based at WGBH in Boston. Duration of HBX Core course takes from 12 to 18 weeks.[needs update]
The school's faculty are divided into 10 academic units: Accounting and Management; Business, Government and the International Economy; Entrepreneurial Management; Finance; General Management; Marketing; Negotiation, Organizations & Markets; Organizational Behavior; Strategy; and Technology and Operations Management.
In the fall of 2010, Tata related companies and charities donated $50 million for the construction of an executive center. The executive center was named as Tata Hall, after Ratan Tata (AMP in 1975), the chairman of Tata Sons. The total construction costs have been estimated at $100 million. Tata Hall is located in the northeast corner of the HBS campus. The facility is devoted to the Harvard Business School's Executive Education programs. At seven stories tall with about 150,000 gross square feet, it contains about 180 bedrooms for education students, in addition to academic and multi-purpose spaces.
Kresge Way now is located by the base of the former Kresge Hall, named for Sebastian S. Kresge. In 2014, Kresge Hall was replaced by a new hall funded by a US$30 million donation by the family of the late Ruth Mulan Chu Chao, whose four daughters all attended Harvard Business School. The Executive Education quad currently includes McArthur, Baker, and Mellon Halls (residence), McCollum and Hawes (classroom), Chao Center, and Glass (administration).
^Esther Yogev, "Corporate Hand in Academic Glove: The New Management's Struggle for Academic Recognition—The Case of the Harvard Group in the 1920's," American Studies International (2001) 39#1 pp 52–71 online
Cruikshank, Jeffrey L. (1987). A Delicate Experiment: The Harvard Business School, 1908–1945. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. ISBN0-87584-135-X.
Anteby, Michel. Manufacturing Morals: The Values of Silence in Business School Education. (University of Chicago Press, 2013), a faculty view
Bridgman, T., Cummings, S & McLaughlin, C. (2016). Re-stating the case: How revisiting the development of the case method can help us think differently about the future of the business school. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 15(4): 724-741
Broughton, P.D. Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at the Harvard Business School. (Penguin Press, 2008), a memoir
Cohen, Peter. The gospel according to the Harvard Business School. (Doubleday, 1973)
Copeland, Melvin T. And Mark an Era: The Story of the Harvard Business School (1958)
Cruikshank, Jeffrey. Shaping The Waves: A History Of Entrepreneurship At Harvard Business School . (Harvard Business Review Press, 2005)