Rethinking ethical leadership issues for the future has prompted curriculum changes at several elite business schools around the country.

Last week, Harvard’s Business School announced changes will be made to its Master of Business Administration program’s curriculum.

The university has added a new course required for all business graduates. The course promotes group cooperation and problem solving in order to create strong and responsible leaders that will make positive social impacts, according to a statement released by Harvard.

Instead of focusing on the traditional case-study practice, students will have the opportunity to have real world experiences and solve relevant problems, the statement said.

Harvard is not the only university to revamp the curriculum for its MBA program. The University of California at Berkley and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School both have changed parts of their curriculum to encourage the development of responsible, ethical and innovative graduates.   

UW Associate Dean for Masters Programs Ken Kavajecz said UW revamped its curriculum four years ago and has always been forward-thinking.

“We’ve always had a strong ethics component in our program(…),” Kavajecz said. “Its focus is really understanding how to make good leadership decisions.”

Kavajecz added all MBA students are required to take a core ethics class that merges academics with real-world contexts.

Changes made to business school curriculum have also fueled debate about whether business schools are responsible for fostering a culture that emphasizes networking among students.

After years of experience at other schools, Kavajecz said he does not see that kind of culture at UW, and business students in Madison do not put social connections above all else.

Ideally, a MBA education should merge academics, networking and professional development, he said.

The program at UW is really focused on academics, he added.

“When you merge experience and network with what students already have, that’s what makes an incredibly successful businessperson,” Kavajecz said.

He added UW’s business school curriculum will be subject to review later on this year, and more changes are expected to be made to the program in the future.