Signpost with three signs pointing different directions, all staying "Career" on them

MLD-515M: Serving the Public Good: Planning for Career and Life with Grant Freeland

With a career spent weaving together smart organizational strategy and a concern for the people driven to execute towards these goals, Grant Freeland brings unique insight into what it takes to sustain a career in public service. After spending many years in the consulting field and teaching at HKS, Freeland understands that the professional prospects for HKS students are richly diverse, but also, as a result, less structured and harder to forecast than in other fields (e.g., business, law, medicine). To address this challenge, Freeland carefully designed a course, MLD-515M: Serving the Public Good: Planning for Career and Life, to help students navigate careers fueled by aspirations to contribute to the public good.  Drawing on evidence from the study of professional careers and leadership journeys, work-family conflict and integration, and wellbeing, the module adopts a broader “life” perspective and asks students to reflect, explore, and develop options to successfully and sustainably work toward their aspirations in public service.  The course is grounded in the premise that HKS students have agency in determining the direction of their careers. While not everything is planned and certain, self-direction is possible and is likely to be facilitated by actively exploring alternative paths.

Human characters building a bridge of puzzle piecesIn a short 6 weeks, MLD-515M students undertake a substantial course load, with rigorous work in and out of classroom. Students read relevant academic research, conduct expert interviews, and participate in a variety of reflective and interactive exercises. Peer coaching is integral to the teaching model, which is designed to build a lasting sense of community that Freeland hopes will sustain students for years ahead. Course assignments and peer coaching are adaptable to accommodate the diversity of career stages among students in the class.

The module is structured into three blocks: knowing yourself (e.g., aspirations, motivations, values); where are you going and how are you getting there (e.g., negotiating careers, networking, developing a leadership story); and building the resilience (e.g., wellness, work and family). Students in the course also engage with HKS alumni whose own leadership stories help current students make sense of their own potential career paths.

About the Instructor:

Grant Freeland is an Adjunct Lecturer at Harvard Kennedy school, and Adjunct Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth where he teaches a course on Transforming Public Interest Organizations.  Grant is also a Senior Advisor and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Boston Consulting Group where he was previously a Senior Partner and Global Leader of its People and Organizations Practice, and the Managing Partner of the Boston office. During Freeland’s 31+ years at BCG, his client work has focused on driving transformations in large organizations in both the private and public sector. This work includes organizational redesigns, post-merger integrations, restructurings, creating high performance workforces, culture change, leadership effectiveness, and creating digital and agile organizations.

Portrait photo of Grant Freeland
Grant Freeland

From a BCG leadership perspective, he was one of BCG’s Global Leaders when BCG was one of only two companies rated in the top five best places to work in Fortune’s Best Places to Work survey for eight years in row. Grant was selected as one of Consulting Magazine’s Top 25 Consultants in 2017 and is the protagonist of two Harvard Business School cases, one focusses on BCG’s efforts to improve work life balance. He has contributed over 60 columns to on leadership.

Previously, Freeland was a marketing communications manager for Hewlett-Packard. He received his undergraduate degree in marketing from the Chisholm Institute of Technology (now Monash University) in Australia.  He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management, where he was the medal winner for corporate strategy.

MLD-515M: Serving the Public Good: Planning for Career and Life will be taught in the Fall 2 module in 2023. For questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

Greg Dorchak

Administrator of the Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences Area at the Harvard Kennedy School.