MacArthur Hall Offers Executive Education Students Post Living Quarters

Harvard Business School's (HBS) MacArthur Hall, opened last Wednesday, is built to be part luxury hotel, part boardroom and part academic hothouse.

Amid its amenities is a good deal of engineering designed to squeeze the most out of HBS's intensive and expensive executive education programs.

HBS education programs--rapidly expanding and targeted at executives across the world and at all levels of management--teach 6-7,000 students every year.

W. Earl Sasser Jr., head of executive education for HBS, estimates that about half of those students will come through MacArthur Hall, which complements another executive education dormitory of similar size.

But MacArthur is the first housing built from the ground up for executive education students--used to living comfortably but determined to work hard in their days or weeks at HBS.

The building's first floor has a library and a large function room--with some programs requiring participants to spend weeks at a time away from home and six days a week in class, there has to be some room for socializing.

Upstairs, participants live in "groups" of eight people. The group suites consist of eight tiny but computer-equipped bedrooms, all off an enormous common space that is meant to serve as kitchen, boardroom and living room.

HBS executive education classes are taught using a case method that requires participants to spend much of their time discussing problems within their groups.

The small bedrooms and large common areas--complete with teleconferencing hookups, slide projectors and a large conference table--are designed to facilitate these group discussions.

"The idea is that you don't want the bedroom to be so huge that they'll never come out," said James E. Aisner '68, an HBS spokesperson.

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