Hult strives to be different. The school is focused on “push(ing) the envelope,” in the words of Shane Steffens, the President of Hult’s Undergraduate Program. It is a program that looks toward tomorrow, connecting a global community with an experiential model. The end result: graduates who are attuned to technology and prepared to hit the ground running on day one.
“At Hult, our lens is on how technology can disrupt the status quo-creating exciting opportunities in business and society as well as challenges,” Steffens tells P&Q. “We want to prepare our students to be ahead of the trend, thinking about what’s coming next. But we understand this is not enough, they need to have a deep understanding of different cultures to be able to navigate their careers and communicate their ideas. This is why we combine these two elements in our curriculum, aiming to have students graduating with a degree that empowers them to be relevant in today and tomorrow’s job market.”
Perhaps Hult’s distinguishing feature is its global nature. The school boasts campuses in London, San Francisco, Dubai, and Shanghai. It is a place, writes 2015 grad Christian Karlsson, where students learn more than business fundamentals. “For me, Hult is a place where you automatically become a global citizen.”
That’s because Hult supplies one of the deepest immersions into intercultural mores through its students and curriculum, says Steffens. “As an International Business School, Hult’s aim to keep a high level of diversity in our classrooms. With students from 123 nationalities speaking over 88 languages and no nationally composing more than 10% of our student body, Hult’s undergraduate program offers unparalleled diversity. Exposure to this diverse range of cultures at Hult ensures students can gain a true appreciation of cultural differences and deep understanding of how to navigate these effectively and sensitively in a global working environment.”
This appreciation for difference and diversity also fuels a critical component of Hult’s mission. Namely, says Steffens, the program values providing students with a platform to “break the norm and think outside the box.” That starts with the school’s programming.
“We are now offering one credit Nano courses introducing students to the newest, most relevant emerging technologies,” Steffens explains. “These short courses challenge students to think creatively about the business applications of new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual reality, and others. By making these courses available, we are putting students in contact with the latest trends in the business world giving them the edge they need to start a brilliant career and make sure to disrupt the status quo no matter where they go.”
Such coursework reflects a larger movement. The school recently revamped its curriculum, Steffens says, to prepare students for a fast-changing world driven by interpersonal skills, disruptive innovation, and global connection. The result was a new design that revolves around three themes: World. Future. and You.
“Based on research that we conducted in collaboration with Burning Glass Technologies on which skills our students will need in the future, we built a new curriculum that fits Hult’s mission to be “The most relevant business school in the world.” World. means that students will be immersed in a diverse environment from day one and will work directly with teammates of over 30 different nationalities, utilize Hult’s five global campuses, and graduate into a truly global network. You. was designed to help students to build their own skills based on their strengths and weaknesses. These skills include being able to work in teams and influence others in addition to their knowledge in finance and marketing. At Hult, they are able to work on both types of skills. With Future., students are able to explore the disruptive tech driving the change that is currently happening in the world and identify the opportunities it could create for business and for the world’s most disadvantaged communities.”
The modifications have already begun to yield some serious love from students. In December, Hult jumped from 60th to 28th in P&Q’s annual undergraduate business school ranking. The school also scored well in P&Q’s corresponding alumni survey. It ranked #1 for faculty availability and fostering a life-changing experience. At the same time, Hult earned the second-best scores from alumni in improving skills, academic advising, and career advising.
“Our staff and faculty focus on supporting the student throughout their journey,” Steffens explains. “As an institution, we promote a culture of open doors and strive to provide easy accessibility and collaborative support across all of our departments. We also place a premium on problem-solving and advise the student from the day they start on campus, that everyone is available to help and support them.”
Call it a student-centric model and feedback culture, one where the student-to-faculty ratio is just 15-to-1. More than the quantity of support, Steffens points to the quality of staff who populate the school’s locations.
“Faculty are recruited for their skills and interests in supporting and mentoring students as well as their teaching skills and industry expertise,” Steffens adds. “Careers staff are not just experts on employment and careers but more importantly are seasoned mentors, master coaches, and people with an interest in advising. VISA and student services staff are experts in their fields and have a primary interest in coaching and supporting students. The entire organization is focused on helping the student master the learning journey and everyone sees students as priority number one.”