Curriculum Innovations Let Darden MBAs Give Back

First-year MBA students of the Darden School of Business are poised to experience a new curricular innovation called “Capstone Week” from March 28 to April 1. At the end of the students’ first 10 courses, they will participate in two, week-long experiential events designed to put everything they’ve learned so far into practice.

The first week’s event, called Learning to Lead While Giving Back, will be part Oprah Winfrey’s “Angel Network” and part Donald Trump’s “Apprentice,”according to a Darden School of Business press release. Thirty teams across all five first year sections will compete to earn funds that will benefit four local charitable organizations and an elementary school.

“The teams, just like the teams on Trump’s show, will compete in business-driven tasks of their own choosing and must earn money from the community by delivering a product or service,” says professor Erika James, coordinator for one of the two Capstone Weeks.

We’re expecting some really creative endeavors, and I am sure that the Internet and social media will likely play a big part in their money-making endeavors.”

The Darden Marketing and Leadership and Organizational Behavior areas will collaborate for the second Capstone Week, providing students with a highly complex, strategic simulation experience,  the school asserts. Competing teams of five to six students will make a host of major and minor decisions on behalf of companies or industries that they will pretend to manage.

StratSim, a web-based, interactive simulation program, will calculate the consequences of the students’ decisions based on market activity, and professors will compare the different teams’ results.

“Students want to have more practical experiences sooner in their MBA careers,” says James. “This two-week period will allow students to apply the knowledge that they have gained during their first year and put it to use through two very exciting projects.”


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