Photo of blue sky and Belfer Building at Harvard Kennedy School

Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Open House – September 21, 2020, 5:30pm

Please join the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s annual Open House on Monday, September 21 at 5:30pm to hear about exciting student engagement opportunities. Learn about student fellowships and field lab courses where you can gain hands-on experience with city governments as well as research assistant roles where students carry out important work with Initiative projects, city leaders, or investigative researchers.

This event is open to only Harvard students (registration required). Register here.

MLD-412 MBTA student site visit

FAB in MLD: Finance, Accounting, and Budgeting are Central to Organizational Success

Budgeting, accounting, and financial management are central to the successful operation of government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations.  MLD offers a sequence of three courses for students seeking to boost their understanding how “FAB” concepts and techniques can be powerful management tools.

 

MLD-401M: Financial Analysis of Public and Nonprofit Organizations taught by Brian Iammartino is an introductory, general-audience course intended for students with no background in accounting or financial analysis. By the end of the course, students will be able to: 1) Understand commonly-used accounting and financial analysis terminology, concepts, tools and processes; 2) Evaluate financial statements in order to ask probing questions, identify risks and/or opportunities, and think critically about financial performance; and 3) Recommend and justify courses of action based on analyses of accounting and other financial data. Specific topics covered include an overview of the financial reporting landscape and governance; accounting principles and concepts; a detailed review of the major financial statements; and the analysis of major financial topics such as organizational liquidity, solvency, operations, funding, and benchmarking.  Main focus will be on features of public and nonprofit accounting, but many of the topics covered are applicable to all types of organizations. Harvard students can view a course preview video with Iammartino. Students completing MLD-401M will be well prepared to take the the following course.

 

MLD-411M: Introduction to Budgeting and Financial Management taught by Linda Bilmes is a rigorous introductory course aims to demystify FAB topics for a general audience of students, even those lacking any related background. Bilmes will, step-by-step, help students understand the entire budgeting process, including budget formulation and execution, variance analysis, budget strategies such as activity-based costing, revenue forecasting, and capital budgeting. Accounting topics include an overview of the financial reporting and governance landscape, accounting principles and concepts, and a detailed review of the major financial statements.Linda Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy The course will build on these budgeting and accounting principles to progress to financial management techniques such as the Balanced Scorecard, financial benchmarking, and the analysis of organizational liquidity, solvency, operations and funding. Harvard students can view Linda Bilmes’s video introduction to this course.

 

Students successfully completing MLD-411M may apply Linda Bilmes’s spring course MLD-412: The Greater Boston Applied Field Lab, an advanced, field-based, experiential learning course in which students work on challenging urban management and financial projects. Of MLD-412 , Mid-Career MPA (’20) and current program fellow Will Eden says, “No course at the Kennedy School I’ve taken has been as thoughtfully composed, incorporated as much feedback, or offered such a valuable hands-on learning experience.” Real world course projects in the past year included a detailed estimate on the financial viability of plans for building a performing arts center in Gloucester, MA; an analysis for the town of Hingham, MA about funding federally mandated stormwater runoff infrastructure; rethinking energy supply and demand options related to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority‘s (MBTA) the South Boston Power Station; and, for the Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort), an assessment of threats/opportunities for the Boston seafood cluster in the global supply chain.  Past projects have included a number of meaningful collaborations with the City of Somerville, MA, documented on video here. For more details, read the AY20 Report on the Applied Field Lab.

 

MLD-401M and MLD-411M will be offered at the Harvard Kennedy School in Fall of 2020. MLD-412 will be offered in the spring semester 2021. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator. You may also contact Greater Boston Advanced Field Lab Program Director Susan Krusell (susan_krusell@hks.harvard.edu)

Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Launches Mayoral Program

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative has launched the pilot of its year-long Mayors Program on City Leadership.  Program Faculty Director Jorrit de Jong of the HKS MLD Area says, “We have a great cohort of 40 mayors who are excited about the opportunities we are offering them and have high expectations. This year will be a pilot year and we put systems in place to enable rapid learning, in depth evaluation as well as ongoing impact assessment.”  In the course of this year-long program, mayors will be asked to identify a single priority to apply their learning to: a problem to be solved in the city, an opportunity to realize, or an organizational capability to improve.

Harvard's Jorrit de DeJong addresses city mayors
“Local government is close to the people. Mayors are most immediately held accountable when something goes wrong,” said Harvard Kennedy School Lecturer Jorrit de Jong, the initiative’s faculty director. © Bloomberg Philanthropies

For example, a mayor may choose to make her approach to reduce homelessness more data-driven, run experiments in the city’s effort to reduce obesity, or create a multi-sector approach to creating jobs. The priority may also pertain to organizational development: strengthen teaming efforts across city hall, engage front-line staff in innovation, or introduce a new performance leadership strategy. In the closing session later this year mayors will reflect on what they learned and how they would like to apply that going forward.  A subsequent program for the mayors’ senior staff will build on this innovation priority and will zoom in on the challenges of making change and delivering on the mayor’s agenda. BHCLI will follow up with several supports, including HBX Live sessions on topics that are most relevant and helpful to the greatest number of mayors, and bespoke assistance in the form of research, coaching or regional or thematic workshops.

After the Mayors Program, mayors will meet with the senior staff participating in the Senior Staff program and discuss their innovation priority. As the Senior Staff program focuses on making organizational change and strategy within and across organizational boundaries, program faculty will learn where the cities are coming from and what they are working on. Participating mayors and their staffs will benefit from this model by anchoring their learning in – and applying it to – concrete challenges in their work. Finally, the priority serves as a reference point for faculty follow ups and impact assessment. Our hope and expectation is that cities will be working on an innovation priority of their choice during their year-long engagement with the City Leadership Program.

For further details on the program launch, also read the Harvard Gazette article linked here.