As an alternative to an executive MBA program, Harvard Business School delivers an accelerated learning experience that transforms high-potential managers into powerful leaders—the Program for Leadership Development (PLD). Unlike an eMBA, PLD is tailored to your unique needs and leadership challenges. One-on-one coaching, living groups, personal strategy projects, practical application, and a faculty composed of full-time HBS professors are hallmarks of this intensive program.
PLD puts you on the fast track to leadership.
Often compared to a rapid-fire MBA, PLD is designed for promising executives with approximately 10 years of experience who want to advance their leadership capabilities and provide immediate value to their organizations. Equipped with the confidence and skills to make critical decisions, you will return to your organization ready to take on a greater leadership role.
Take your leadership abilities to the next level.
Ideally suited for busy professionals who want to develop their leadership skills with minimal downtime, the rigorous PLD curriculum is tailored to achieve a singular goal—accelerate the development of high-potential leaders. Delivered via four intensive modules that take place over the course of six months, the compressed format is designed with your responsibilities in mind. The two on-campus modules require a total of four weeks away from your job.
Four modules. Six months. Immediate results.
MODULE 1 (off campus): Foundational skill building
With exercises and tutorials in accounting, finance, and quantitative methods, this web-based module strengthens your core skills and establishes a common level of understanding for the modules that follow. From cost accounting to financial analysis, you will gain insights into the processes that drive an organization's budgeting, pricing, and forecasting decisions.
MODULE 2 (on campus–two weeks): Cross-functional business approach
By delving deeply into key business functions—such as strategy, marketing, finance, and operations, you will begin building a valuable network of peers who can provide diverse global perspectives on complex leadership issues. A personal coach will help you assess your personal leadership style and apply the lessons learned to your specific professional situation.
MODULE 3 (off campus): Strategy formulation and implementation
Competing in a business simulation exercise with peer feedback, you will work virtually with your team to make decisions about raising capital, entering or exiting product categories, manufacturing and distribution, and marketing and sales. You also will begin developing a comprehensive strategy and implementation plan that addresses a specific challenge in your organization.
MODULE 4 (on campus–two weeks): Actionable leadership
Immersed in classroom and group learning, you will examine ways to improve your leadership effectiveness and decision-making capabilities across a number of key areas. You will deepen your knowledge of global issues, improve your ability to identify and balance innovation opportunities, examine the Balanced Scorecard concept, and work closely with your coach to develop a personal leadership action plan.
MODULE 5—optional (on campus–two weeks): Personal Leadership
This two-week session brings all the elements of your PLD learning together in an intensive exploration of what it means to be a leader, your responsibilities as a leader, and how to lead effectively at each stage of your professional development. Through the completion of this module, you will earn HBS alumni status. (You also can earn alumni status by completing 10 days/two credit weeks of open-enrollment or custom programs.)
- An accelerated four-module format that takes place over the course of six months
- A renowned case study method that examines today's complex business issues
- Practical real-world application that can be leveraged immediately in the workplace
- Personal strategy project that addresses a specific challenge within your organization
- Global networking opportunities with peers across an array of countries and sectors
- Living groups that share living space with a diverse group of accomplished executives
- Full-time HBS faculty who teach the PLD classroom and distance learning courses
- HBS alumni status after completing the first four modules and either PLD Module 5 or 10 days/two credit weeks of HBS Executive Education open-enrollment/custom programs
Who Is Right for the Program
To ensure optimal peer-to-peer learning, HBS determines each PLD cohort by carefully managing the participant mix. PLD participants typically have 10 years of professional experience, and are recognized as high-potential employees with significant leadership potential. Most applicants have a high degree of specific functional knowledge, many are experienced in a single industry domain, and some have spent their careers in a single company.
The Sponsor Statement
When determining each PLD cohort, HBS considers the comprehensive application form and the accompanying "sponsor statement." Prepared by either the applicant's boss or another more senior executive of the sponsoring company, this letter of appraisal assesses the candidate's accomplishments, potential, gaps, drive, and commitment to professional development.
Due to the transformational content and structure of the program, many PLDers report that they now think differently about business challenges and opportunities. Their bosses, peers, and subordinates, on the other hand, note that PLDers work well across various functional areas, lead their projects and teams more effectively, and interact with senior executives more confidently.