Traditionally, the phrase winter break denotes relaxation - a rest for the mind between the semesters of a school year. Yet for some Harvard Business School (HBS) students, this year's break involved stimulating field work in locations such as Israel, Mexico, and New Orleans.

More than 320 first- and second- year Harvard MBA students participated in this year's Immersion Experience Program (IXP), which maximizes participant-centered learning by integrating HBS's distinctive case method of instruction with field-based learning. Each IXP group is anchored by the expertise of one or more faculty members who develop the program content and lead the various activities.

This year, participating students engaged in one of the following programs:

  • Boston: Healthcare - Science, Delivery, & Regulation
    - led by Professor Richard Hamermesh
  • Boston: Value-Based Healthcare Delivery
    - led by University Professor Michael Porter
  • China: Understanding a Business Environment
    - led by Senior Fellow Regina Abrami
  • Europe: Europe Divided? The Economic Geography of Business
    - led by Professor David Collis
  • Israel: The Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital 'Miracle'
    - led by Senior Lecturer Daniel Isenberg
  • Mexico: Business Opportunities in Emerging Markets
    - led by Senior Lecturer Michael Chu
  • New Orleans: Service and Leadership in an Entrepreneurial Environment
    - led by Lecturer Stacey Childress and Professor David Thomas
  • Silicon Valley: First-Hand Views of High Potential Entrepreneurial Ventures
    - led by Professors Thomas Eisenmann and Senior Lecturer Michael Roberts

The IXP is a school-led experience, compared to the student-led Career Treks that many HBS MBAs also participate in during the winter break to explore careers and make valuable contacts in different parts of the world. It is generally composed of three elements:

  • Pre-departure activities to introduce and prepare students for the IXP,
  • An intensive multi-day Immersion Experience during a School break, and
  • A post-program opportunity for sharing
    lessons learned
    with the wider
    HBS and Harvard
    University community.

Through the Immersion Experience Program, HBS MBAs become involved in some of the world's most important issues, often in the region of the world where these issues are actually taking place, said Regina Abrami, faculty chair of the HBS Immersion Experience Program. Now in its third year, the program embodies the School's ongoing commitment to provide students with an education in general management and leadership that is both practical and far-reaching in today's ever-evolving global environment.

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 140 open enrollment and custom Executive Education programs.