Practice-Based Learning in COB
Since its inception, the College of Business (COB) has made experiential learning a key element of its curriculum. In its early years, the COB required all of its BBA students to complete two semesters of internship. Although no longer a requirement for graduation, the COB still encourages students to complete at least one internship. The faculty in the COB believe that by applying the knowledge students learn in the classroom to current industry challenges, the value of their BBA education is enhanced.
Over the years, the COB experiential learning experiences have evolved and grown to include Practiced Based Learning (PBL) and to include all COB programs.
What is Practice-Based Learning?
PBL is learning by doing. Through PBL, students are guided by faculty on projects which require the students to apply their classroom learning to current industry challenges. This can take a number of forms including consulting projects with clients external to the campus, simulations, presentations of solutions to current industry challenges to a panel of industry experts, and connections to mentors who provide advice on solving the assigned business issue.
What is the Goal of Practiced Based Learning?
The goal of PBL is to develop critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. According to COB employers, these skills are critical to be successful in today’s workforce.
Faculty Training In Practiced Based Learning?
The COB is committed to integrating PBL best practices throughout its curriculum. To that end, the COB has sent several faculty teams to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Project Based Learning, an industry expert in PBL. In the next few years, the COB has committed to sending several more teams to the institute.
Which Courses Offer Practiced Based Learning?
The majority of courses in the COB offer some form of PBL. Some recent examples of PBL include:
Students will be creating communications for a local non-profit entity with a focus on homelessness in the Metro-Detroit area. Projects include infographics, HR documents, grant writing, persuasive communications, etc.
A recent project in this course involved students from several different majors doing a consulting project for a local furniture retailer. In another recent project, a group of eight students were connected with four mentors who provided advice as the students built a business for a company the students were considering starting.
Students partner with a small business for the purpose of analyzing the business with the goal of providing recommendations for organizational improvement.
Students have conducted consulting projects for several area organizations including local companies in the automotive industry, major hospital systems, energy providers, and major retailers. The projects culminated with team presentations to their respective clients.
Students consult with and develop a business plan for social entrepreneurs located in Detroit.
Mentors worked with students to support students while they work on capital budgeting issues.
Industry mentors worked with students on cost of capital estimates for firms to consider when faced with financial challenges.
Students worked with a virtual consulting company for the purpose of working with small businesses in Ghana to determine the online business opportunities for the companies involved.
As a result of a generous gift from the Ford Motor Company Fund through its Ford Community Corp., students developed and implemented through Google Advertising (Adwords) a digital marketing campaigns for a group of pre-selected Detroit area non-profit organizations for the purpose of increasing traffic to the organizations' websites.
Founded in 2006, iLabs students earn course credit in what resembles an applied internship. Each student becomes an iLabs' Student Researcher and has the opportunity to be directly involved in the design, administration, analysis, and presentation of a broad-range of projects. The unique skills that iLabs Student Researchers gain from participating in iLabs do not come from lectures or assignments, they are developed and earned by working through their iLabs research project with the iLabs staff and mentor network.
This course draws from key concepts in marketing, business economics, and operations management to provide a comprehensive account of global marketing issues and strategies. The course is designed to give students several opportunities to apply the theories and concepts they have learned in class, primarily through the use of the CountryManager simulation. Learn more about the simulation.
Students in these classes have worked with local municipalities on consulting projects that have included improving the logistics for a fire department, as well as improving transportation planning for bus routes.