MBA 770 Leading and Implementing Change is a course where students learn about change by experimenting with change! And they can use what they learn in their experiments throughout their lives. Students can develop a powerful mental map or model about change leadership and about themselves as change leaders. They are encouraged to ask themselves, “How can I add value by identifying what is coming and what is needed in the unfolding process of change in my work and in my life?” Students learn that change is not a one-time event but is instead something that is ever present in life. They become aware of changes on the horizon in their work environments before the majority of people around them. Our students can stand out in the marketplace because of the ability they have developed to sense and anticipate the emerging and unfolding changes in their organizations’ futures, and because of their capacity to lead that change process creatively and collaboratively.
Throughout the semester, we use multiple learning approaches, defining, understanding and experiencing the strategic value of change in organizations. This course is uniquely structured to include a challenging simulation, a collaborative client focused consulting project, and an insightful reflection and feedback assessment of their change leadership strengths and skills as they move forward in their careers.
First, students experience the change process through an engaging on-line, team-based simulation called ExperienceChange. Students experiment with various choices to successfully address organizational challenges. Together they must figure out which change tactics to implement, which stakeholders to approach and at what time, while managing a budget over the course of the simulated change situation. Along the way they get feedback indicating whether their tactics have been successful.
Secondly, students develop their change leadership skills via a team-based, client-focused project in one of the four Boston area industry clusters. Students help a client organization respond to a strategic change or environmental disruption. Students learn to see the world from the client’s perspective, to stand in their shoes, feel their pain points, and to apply design thinking to prototype solutions in an iterative, on-going way. They work with the client to collaboratively develop innovative solutions. And by doing so, they create buy-in to those solutions among organizational stakeholders.
Finally, throughout the course, students reflect on their career aspirations, revisiting their career plan and vision for the future, a process which was started at the beginning of their MBA. They interview a change leader to learn how that leader approaches the change process in his/her work. And they collect feedback from those who know them well to identify the heart of their strengths and skills as change leaders. Students integrate lessons from these multiple sources to create greater fit and clarity between their strengths, skills, and their career aspirations as they successfully move forward with their lives.
– Dr. Colette Dumas, Professor, Organizational Behavior and Entrepreneurship