Never fear, Harvard is here


Sometimes it pays to get a bit off the beaten path. By "off the beaten path" I mean reading the Harvard Business School Alumni Bulletin, a publication of limited circulation. Nevertheless, in the latest issue 'Briefs' section is the tale told of one Dan Curran's experience helping out with the tsunami relief effort. Mr. Curran, administrative director of the School's Humanitarian Leadership Program, is, I'm sure, a fine fellow. I am not, by any means, even thinking of being sarcastic.

But his description of the role played by himself, NGOs and five UN relief agencies seems a bit overstated, while the outstanding performance and impact of the US, Australian and even New Zealand militaries goes unmentioned. At the time that these efforts were taking place, Power Line noted well, here and here, who was doing the real work and who was ignoring by whom it was being done. Four months later, in the middle of May, Master Steyn penned a stinging critique of how well things had gone in the interim through the efforts of Indonesian relief organizations, both foreign and domestic — to Indonesia, that is.

What did HBS do? Well...

For example, Curran helped direct a program that distributed cash for work, such as paying villagers to clear debris or move fishing boats from their inland resting places. 'We started with 80 workers in one village and ended with more than 4,000 in twenty villages,' he recalls. 'This program returned over seventy boats to the water so that people could resume fishing for a livelihood.' Other grants helped survivors begin to rebuild devastated areas, allowing them to return to their former villages rather than remain in settlement camps, explains Curran.

Back on campus, Curran is working to place up to ten MBA students in summer jobs with NGOs in the tsunami zone. He's gratified by the student interest. Says Curran: 'I think people are only now realizing the value of having MBAs in the field.'

'...people are only now realizing the value of having MBAs in the field'?

Wonder what took so long?

Dennis Sevakis   5 28 05