February 5, 2024 | Simon Admissions & Programs Team

You may be familiar with the term “experiential learning” but still wonder what activities meet that definition as well as the impact it can have on your future career. 

At Simon Business School, we encourage you to put your classroom learning to work as soon as possible, as seeing theories in action provides context for and underscores the importance of everything you study in business school. Through these experiences, you will gain new perspectives and participate in real-world applications that will do more than sharpen your skills—they’ll enable you to reflect, internalize, and grow in your abilities and confidence.

There are many opportunities to build skills, apply classroom learning, and bolster your résumé. One of these opportunities is built right into the Full-Time MBA curriculum: a project-based course.

Project-Based Courses

Because experiential learning is so core to what we do at Simon, every MBA student takes a project-based course as part of the core curriculum. This is an intentional way that Simon provides authentic opportunities for students to use experiences in and out of the classroom to really impact a company or nonprofit. You’ll choose from the options below based on the specialization you select to focus your studies:

  • CIS 461 – Strategy and Business Systems Consulting Practicum
  • FIN 450 – Finance Project: Investment Portfolio Analysis
  • MKT 441 – Brand Management Workshop
  • MKT 450 – Product Management Workshop

In each of the above classes, there is an opportunity to bring all the conceptual theories, analytical methodologies, and technical skills from your coursework, as well as your experience, creativity, and intellectual enthusiasm, to a real-world engagement that will directly impact the sponsor organization.

CIS 461 – Strategy and Business Systems Consulting Practicum

This course provides an introduction to strategy and business systems consulting. It is primarily aimed at those exploring career opportunities in consulting but will also help students become savvy consumers of consulting services. It includes a project helping a client at a real organization answer an important question or achieve a significant business objective. Student teams work together to deliver a set of well‐reasoned, impactful recommendations based upon thoughtful analysis of the relevant facts.

Past projects include:

  • Evaluating and impacting a health care organization’s operational processes, allowing for more cancer trials and thereby directly impacting people’s lives.
  • Providing insight to a nonprofit organization regarding creating a for-profit arm to the nonprofit activities to better support their ability to deliver on their mission, even in times of reduced donations.
  • Evaluating three growth strategies for an international retail organization, allowing students to recommend a path forward for their expansion.

FIN 450 – Finance Project: Investment Portfolio Analysis

This course serves as a practical project-based experience for MBA students concentrating in finance. Students work in self-selected teams on a finance-themed project topic of their own choosing. The project requires application of significant analytic techniques and data wrangling. Students present their findings to a “managing director” for questions and critique, which simulates real-life experiences found in banking and corporate finance. The project provides valuable content for job interviews and other career-based conversations, and the project work is guided with that in mind. Numerous examples of past completed projects are provided.

MKT 441 – Brand Management Workshop

This course is the capstone course of the Brand Management Track. The main focus is a team project performed for a major consumer packaged goods firm, requiring the analysis of various current data sources, most notably scanner data. The major deliverable is a presentation of findings to the client by each team. Typically, this amounts to performing a brand review.

MKT 450 – Product Management Practicum

This course provides students with an opportunity to apply skills and experiences to a real client project. Students work on and solve an actual product-centric challenge for a client that will directly impact the product and company and provide true, impactful value. 

Past projects have included working with technical products, financial products, products hot in the press, and products nobody has heard of—yet!  These products are the future of retail, technology, finance, and other areas, and each of these engagements have allowed the students to explore and present implementable action for their client.

Past projects include:

  • Evaluating the marketplace for a new voice-controlled piece of hardware, making home entertainment much easier and more accessible.  Students analyzed the market space and recommended a course of action for the company.
  • Creating a plan for competing against a new entrant into the marketplace that would potentially draw market share from our incumbent client’s product.  The students evaluated the marketplace and competition and presented a plan for marketing the unique features of the client’s product.

Curious about other experiential learning opportunities at Simon? In addition to our classes, there are many other hands-on activities that allow you to directly apply the skills you’re actively learning in business school! To name a few, you can participate in case competitions, Simon VISION Consulting, Meliora Fund, Simon School Venture Fund, and industry and professional clubs. Learn more on our website.

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