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Learn more about the resources and services of Baker Library via Curriculum & Learning Services Fast Answers.

Last Updated: Mar 09, 2023     Views: 171

History of MBA Courses

How has the MBA course of study developed over time?

What resources does Baker Library Special Collections and Archives hold related to HBS courses?


When Harvard Business School opened its doors in the autumn of 1908, it offered courses in accounting, commercial law, economic resources, industrial organization, banking and finance, transportation, insurance, and public business. Since that time, the MBA curriculum has gone through numerous reviews and revisions. The early printed HBS Course Catalogs from 1908-1973 can be searched online. Browse individual catalogs by clicking on a volume or search for a specific course by clicking on “Full Text Search” in the upper right-hand corner of the ListView webpage and entering your search terms in the pop-up box. You can also search MBA Program Brochures, 1973-2000, MBA Second-Year Course Descriptions, 1989-2008, and HBS Course Catalogs, 2012-current (captured through web archiving).

The majority of HBS classes are built around the case method. For more information on the development of the case method, see the exhibition From Inquiry to Action: Harvard Business School & the Case Method  and History of the HBS case method. See HBS Case Method and Resources for more on teaching and learning by the case method.

In addition, the HBS Archives holds records of Executive Education programs, as well as collections documenting the histories of programs. These records are not available online.

Please Ask Us! or reach out to the Baker Library Special Collections and Archives Reference Staff directly at if you are unable to locate information about a specific course or have any additional questions about our collections or services. The HBS Archives holds additional printed resources related to courses that may assist in answering your questions.