Home Media SCU Leavey Blog Experiential Learning in Online MBA Programs: Case Studies, Simulations, and Internships

Experiential Learning in Online MBA Programs: Case Studies, Simulations, and Internships

29 Apr
Collaborative business meeting, internship

An online MBA program equips you with the skills you need to advance professionally. Any well-rounded MBA program will include hands-on learning in real-world scenarios, which pushes you to expand crucial skills such as teamwork, communication, and self-reflection. Since you can complete an online MBA in your own home, you may wonder how experiential learning in online MBA programs works. Read on to learn how real-world learning is incorporated into online MBA programs, and the benefits it provides.

Introduction to Experiential Learning in Online MBA Programs

Although most online MBA programs are structured to build a foundation for real-world business, there are aspects you can’t cover in a classroom.1 Experiential learning helps you round out your education and learn skills you wouldn’t master through reading, lectures, and exams. This type of learning teaches you to think critically, listen actively, and manage deadlines under pressure. Employers value practical experience and experiential learning gives it to you.

Experiential learning can also clarify complex ideas and processes because you get the chance to work with them. For example, simply learning about how to enter a foreign market might not make sense until you complete a project based on a case study in which a real company broke into and dominated the market in a new country.

In online MBA programs, group projects may not be as typical as they are in on-ground programs. You can get the hands-on skills you need, however, through case study exercises, internships, and simulations.

Case Studies in Online MBA Programs

Many online MBA programs supplement coursework with case studies that highlight real-world business problems and have you develop solutions.2 This exercise calls on you to be creative and flex your problem-solving skills. Highlighting a real problem with no defined solution lets you compare your proposed resolution with those of others in your class. When you all get together to discuss your solutions, you learn how to collaborate and consider other viewpoints. Unless you’re a solopreneur in your professional life, you will likely have to work with other people to solve problems in the business world, and this case study approach helps you learn how.

Simulations for Practical Learning

MBA simulations and case studies go hand in hand in giving you real-world experience. Simulations involve replicating real business situations in a safe environment rather than learning while assigned to a corporate project with real consequences, such as losing a big account or compromising customer safety.3 Similar to the case study method discussed, simulations put you and your classmates into real situations and allow you to practice making decisions.

These simulations may be hypothetical or based on actual events. The best simulations mimic real situations you would likely encounter in the workforce. Collaborating on a simulation with multiple classmates helps you learn strategic planning skills and ways to work together effectively to solve real problems.

Simulations also let you experience complex issues without risks, such as financial losses or damage to a company’s reputation. Your instructor, for instance, might use a simulation to teach competitive analysis and market analysis. You and your team can experience developing and launching a new product without risking an actual company’s time and money.

Internships and Practical Experience Opportunities

You may be pursuing an online MBA to further your career prospects, but some companies won’t hire you without experience. Internship opportunities in online MBA programs let you expand your network while adding practical experience to your resume. They can also help you land a job after graduation, as over 75% of interns are offered a job once their assignment is complete.4

Like on-campus MBA programs, online MBA programs partner with businesses in various industries to help you find an internship. Take advantage of these resources to build your network, gain experience, and connect with potential mentors in your chosen field.

Benefits of Experiential Learning

Interactive MBA learning helps you apply the concepts covered in the classroom without the level of risk involved in learning on the job. With case studies and simulations, you can make crucial decisions without affecting a real business. These projects help you develop your critical thinking and problem-solving skills while learning to collaborate with a variety of people.

Experiential learning in online MBA programs also prepares you for professional challenges you will likely face. You will learn how to make decisions in spite of missing or incomplete data and interact with people whose approach to a solution may be different from yours and each others’.

It also helps you retain the information you learn through reading and attending or watching a lecture online.5 If you are struggling with part of the subject matter, actively applying it can cement the information in your memory.

Success in Experiential Learning: The University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is hailed as one of the best in the United Kingdom. Its business school curriculum includes the Cambridge Venture Project, in which students function as a consultant team to solve problems for actual businesses.6 The school sets up groups of people with different backgrounds in various sectors. The four-week program teaches students how to consider different solutions and gives them a chance to apply their education to a real-world situation.

Recently, students worked with Wellhub (formerly Gympass) to help the company move from high growth to maturity in the market. The Cambridge student consultant team assessed the company’s sales strategy within Europe and developed recommendations to improve the brand’s strategic growth.7

Build your expertise based on experience.

The acclaimed Online MBA program from the Leavey School of Business features a robust curriculum designed to create Silicon Valley Professionals. You’ll gain skill, connections, and experience through collaboration with your cohort and new relationships with alumni leaders and our prestigious faculty.

Choose the experience-based program that fits with your goals. Pursue a broad-based MBA or complete a concentration in data science and business analytics, marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and new ventures, or leading innovative organizations. Each option provides the benefits of online learning: You can study from anywhere, on your schedule, without interrupting your professional or personal commitments.

Don’t wait to start the experience of a lifetime. Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.