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Lessons Learned at the Harvard Business School

"If God wanted to create a perfect punishment for a high achiever, then He would have that person manage a professional service firm," says Professor John Gabarro of the Harvard Business School.

Gabarro is on the faculty of the Leading Professional Service Firms program, an intensive, one-week executive education program taught twice a year at the Harvard Business School. Designed for leaders of professional service firms, the program focuses on management and marketing issues unique to these firms. Namely, the delicate balancing act of ensuring client satisfaction while also leading the firm's talent.

The program provides a forum for participants from around the world to apply the concepts and real case studies presented in the classroom to their own professional lives. Leading Professional Service Firms is intended for leaders of large and midsize organizations who are engaged in a wide range of professional services. These include: consulting, legal, accounting, architecture and engineering, marketing and advertising, venture capital, investment banking, IT services, computer software development, and technology systems integration.

"What separates professional service firms from other businesses is that the employees are their most important assets," says professor Jay Lorsch, faculty chair of the program. "Yet professionals in any field – independent-minded, creative individuals – can be difficult to manage."

Lorsch uses an old analogy that likens managing professionals to herding cats. He says while it's a funny image, it also touches the underlying anxiety some firm leaders express about managing and maximizing human resources.

"When their people get on the elevator at night, there's no guarantee they'll be back the next day," says Lorsch. "More than in any other industry, professional service firms must create an environment in which employees are constantly motivated and can effectively balance their commitment to the firm and to the client, as well as to themselves."

The Leading Professional Service Firm program is appropriate for all individuals who manage significant numbers of professionals and are responsible for delivering professional services. While specific titles vary depending on a firm's business and size, typical participants include:


Executive vice presidents;

Partners and principals;

Managing directors;

Office managers; and

Practice leaders.

"All of these people have very different backgrounds and skills – clearly lawyers are not like software developers – but they have a lot in common too," says Lorsch. "Fundamentally, professional service firm leaders grapple with the same kinds of management issues. It's reassuring for managers to know that their peers face similar sets of challenges."

The work of professional service firms depends exclusively on the talent and intelligence of the people delivering it. Good firms hire the absolute best people and develop them, motivate them, and build careers in which they'll stay committed to the profession and the firm for a long period of time. They develop organizational practices that motivate these outstanding people to serve clients well. Getting this right is what we mean by alignment.

Leading Professional Service Firms concentrates on this concept of alignment – the issues firm leaders need to resolve in order to create strong links between employees and the kinds of things that motivate them, the firm's strategy and the way the firm is organized to deliver the strategy .

The faculty are drawn from Harvard Business School's Organizational Behavior and Service Management groups and have expertise researching professional service industries, providing consulting services to major firms, and in some cases, heading firms themselves. The team includes Lorsch; Gabarro, an expert on human resources management; Tom DeLong, who studies strategy, organizational change, and globalization in professional service firms, and served as chief development officer of Morgan Stanley Group Inc .; and Ashish Nanda, who researches management issues and strategic alliances among professional service organizations, and formerly served as an executive with the Tata group of companies in India.

Candidates can submit an application online (www.exed.hbs.edu/programs/lpsf) or download an application online and mail or fax the form in. Applications are requested at least six weeks before the program start date. The admissions committee begins reviewing applications approximately three to four months prior, and qualified candidates are admitted on a rolling, space-available basis. Programs often fill to capacity, so early application is recommended.

Enrollment is limited to a select, qualified group of individuals in large and midsize firms who are in leadership positions, but sometimes professionals from small firms are accepted. Admission is selective and based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility. The $ 8,200 program fee covers tuition, books, case materials, accommodations and most meals.

Source by Henry DeVries

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President Barack Obama Went to Harvard Law School After Undergrad at Columbia University

President Barack Obama is viewed by his opponents as a divisive polarizing figure while his supporters prefer to characterize him as a man that unites both people and nations. Regardless of how any individual feels personally about the politics of the 44th President of the United States there is no arguing that he has attended and graduated from a couple of the top institutions of higher learning in America. President Barack Obama got his undergraduate degree from Columbia University before going on to get his Juris Doctorate (JD), which is commonly referred to as a law degree, at Harvard Law School.

After graduating from Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1979 a teenage Barack Obama moved to Los Angeles, California where he began his college career at Occidental College. After spending two years studying at the southern California campus Barack moved further from his home in Hawaii as he ventured over to the east coast to complete his undergraduate education at Columbia University in New York City. The 1981 transfer to Columbia proved to be a pivotal point in the life of the future leader as he delved into political science, a subject that along with international relations would become one of the double majors for his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

Upon graduating from Columbia in 1983, Obama took his political science degree from an Ivy League school with him into the workforce where he found employment at Business International Corp., a company that published research reports for large companies in the United States and abroad. As a recent graduate Obama held the title of research associate, a job that counted amongst its duties writing and editing a money report and weekly newsletter that dealt primarily with financial services issues.

Four years in New York City (two for school and two for work) were connected when Barack Obama moved to Chicago and began working as a director for a group called Developing Communities Project. The faith based organization that Barack now worked for as a director focused on providing services for area residents. These services ranged from job training to tenants' rights consultations. The time spent in Chicago where he was essentially as a public servant inspired Obama to continue his education as an avenue to open more doors to do even greater good.

In the fall of 1988 Barack Obama began classes at Harvard Law School (HLS). During his three years in Cambridge, Massachusetts Obama served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review during his first year and was president of the publication during his second year. Obama completed law school in the spring of 1991 and graduated magna cum laude which is Latin for with great honor.

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Top 5 Harvard Movies

# 5 Stealing Harvard

Tom Green & Jason Lee turn to crime to 'Steal Harvard'. Lee attempts to steal $ 30,000 to fund his niece's tuition for entrance to the world's most prestigious university. The premise here being that Harvard's expense prohibits students from applying – the reverse is true.

Harvard's financial aid is the best in America and enables students from all backgrounds to enter.The movie, much like the premise, is shaky. But nonetheless, good fun.

# 4 Homeless To Harvard

A rags to riches tale, a true Cinderella story. Homeless To Harvard follows Liz Murray's journey. Beset by a father with drug-abuse problems and a schizophrenic mother, Murray found herself homeless at 15. Yet incredibly earned her place as a Harvard undergraduate by 19. Homeless To Harvard earned Emmy nominations and critical praise alike.

# 3 Legally Blonde

Starring Stanford's own and chick-flick extraordinaire, Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde is a tale of romantic ideals beset by the snooty, intimidating cast of Harvard. The movie is notable, if for nothing else, the hilarious admissions video. And, of course, that blonde's and good gal's can come first.

# 2 The Social Network

Harvard's has given the world Presidents, Astronauts & Nobel Laureates. It has also created leaders in technology and social media, none more so than the world's youngest billionaire and founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg.

The movie casts its lens on the rise of Facebook from concept to reality and the legal battles that ensued between Zuckerberg and his former partners, notably the Winklevoss twins. Critics note the portrayal of Facebook's origin is not accurate and Zuckerberg is unfairly cast. These critics also note The Social Network as an outstanding movie.

# 1 Good Will Hunting

One of the great films of all time, at least in this lowly author's opinion. Matt Damon was once famously a student of Harvard only to leave believing movie, Geronimo, would be his breakthrough. However, that wouldn't come until 1997 and the release of Good Will Hunting.

Damon co-wrote the movie with friend Ben Affleck; the tale of its production inspires much like the story. The friends rejected successive script bids adamant that they be cast in the lead roles. Ultimately, Mirimax bought the script and the rest, as they say, is Hollywood and Harvard history.

Harvard, and its students, are so often cast as aloof and intimidating. The reverse is also true. Harvard has given the world great thinkers, humanitarians and benefactors. The Harvard story has only just begun.

Source by Jamie Buckley