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Students Learn About Organizational Processes from MSLCE Faculty Director

By John Hounihan

For ten weeks in Pablo Boczkowski’s course we talked about lenses.

To a fly on the wall, we could be optometry PhD candidates with all our talk of lenses, led by the MSLCE Faculty Director and Northwestern School of Communication Professor. However, the lenses we focused on were figurative, and what we really learned were the tools to understand organizational processes on three different levels: Power dynamics, networking, and building company culture all crossed our paths as topics in Prof. Boczkowski’s course.

The driving force behind this curriculum was to create a foundation for four quarters of MSLCE courses. It often seemed as if, because of Prof. Boczkowski’s understanding of the road ahead in our program, the true focus of the course was to prepare us for what was still to come. This perked our ears up every Thursday afternoon.

Prof. Boczkowski relied on captivating case work rooted in Harvard Business School and solid lectures rooted in his MIT background. Prof. Boczkowski’s charm, dry humor, and passion for the program meets his raw intellectualism, and this makes you leave every lecture wanting more.

Which brings me back to the study of lenses. These lenses, with the proper buy in, can help leaders new and old understand companies in ways that traditional methods don’t span. Our look into the strategic, cultural, and political landscape of businesses — both creative and otherwise — did what every great case study curriculum is meant to do: help us learn from history. The Harvard case studies of the successes and failures of companies from Disney to Lululemon or individuals like Heidi Roizen and Ferran Adria were crucial to understanding the key to the top performances and storied failures of organizations across every industry or sector.

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