Using project-based learning to help MBAs develop cultural literacy

Posted by David Comisford

June 24, 2015

In our work with business schools and companies we often have an opportunity to discuss the skills and experiences that global businesses seek when hiring graduates and the intersection of these with the opportunities that project-based learning provides for MBAs to develop global competencies. We’ve explored the need for MBAs to gain experience in different regions of the world, especially in developing economies, and to become comfortable and productive working and living in different cultures.

The good news is that business schools are responding to this corporate need by offering more and more project-based learning courses that take students out of the classroom and engaging with business directly. In the last several months I’ve had the opportunity to talk with school leaders at over half of the top 25 global business schools about their efforts to incorporate project-based learning into their curriculums. Each school is approaching this in its own unique way, yet what they share in common is the delivery of a platform and a campus culture that encourages – and sometimes mandates – students to broaden their educational experiences beyond the classroom.

These experiences, in turn, help students to apply their classroom learnings to current business problems, while often experiencing a new job role, country, market, and culture. Every student or graduate I’ve talked with has expressed the same enthusiasm for these experiences. And, with more schools adding project-based learning to their curriculum, more companies are valuing these experiences in their candidates.

To learn more about one School’s efforts in this area, as part of our regular webinar series, we featured Michellana Jester, from MIT Sloan Action Learning – a school committed to providing their students with project-based learning opportunities around the globe.

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