Getting Out of the Classroom to Get Down to Business

One of the most important lessons at business school is learning how to make things happen in the real world. So you won’t be surprised to know that MBA programs include opportunities for hands-on learning. Applicants often assume that MBA teaching methods include only case and lecture, but experiential learning is a growing component of business school. In fact, for many individuals experiential learning is the most effective way to truly absorb classroom lessons. As you make decisions about where to apply or where to attend, it is important to research the breadth of learning options various schools offer. As Idays notes, you should consider the offerings both inside and outside of the classroom. As a sample, we have profiled various field based learning initiatives at schools from a formal course at Kellogg to a student-run club at Stanford.

Kellogg’s LEAP (Learning through Experience and Action Program) is an actual course cross-listed among several departments. LEAP encompasses traditional coursework as well as hands-on experience so students can integrate learnings from the core courses at Kellogg. Projects include work with both larger corporations and non-profits. Past examples include developing a marketing strategy for a Manhattan based car dealership and looking at apparel for Nike.

At HBS more than 50 percent of the students participate in faculty-surpervised field-based learning projects, including student initiated independent study. Usually students work in teams to solve a real-world problem such as a product launch or new business development for companies. Past projects have included Disneyland, BMW, Massachusetts Children’s Hopsital, and the African Communications Group. Some student teams have developed their own business plans.

Through the Wharton Small Business Development Center students can actually work as senior consultants to help entrepreneurs create business plans, manage expansion strategies, and raise capital. Students work part-time during the academic year or full-time during the summer.

Stanford fACT partners current students with alumni teams from Stanford Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) to work on pro-bono consulting projects for non-profits such as Outward Bound.

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