Skip to main content

Experiential Learning

The driving philosophy at the Michael G. Foster School of Business is “learn by doing.” Transforming learning into action takes many forms—courses within and outside of the core that provoke your thinking and stimulate discussion; leadership development periods to practice your skills; career planning based on your past experience and where you want to go; student organizations that allow you to lead and team with others; internships with dynamic companies and company projects that give you an opportunity to solve real-world problems.

You’ll have a chance to complete at least three experiential experiences that involve substantial interaction with business or other external organizations. Below is a list of opportunities for MBA students.

Join a community board of directors

Gain confidence in the board room by serving alongside influential business leaders on community organization boards. The Consulting and Business Development Center Board Fellows Program gives MBAs an immersion experience into boardroom dynamics and governance expectations (not to mention outstanding networking opportunities).

Connect with an executive mentor

Get matched with a high-level business executive to further explore your career interests and goals, learn about the mentor’s experiences and build a long-term relationship.

Consult with business and community organizations

Add value and see your ideas come to life as you help businesses identify and resolve their challenges. Consulting choices include: teaming with other MBAs through Applied Strategy projects or pursuing an independent consulting project.

Go Abroad

Explore international business operations in other countries and expand your cross-cultural awareness during an MBA study tour. Learn more about all the international opportunities.

Entrepreneurial Law Clinic

Team up with students from the UW Law School to provide early stage legal and business counseling to local startups and small businesses.

Team-up for business competitions

Go head to head with the best MBA minds. Test your business skills and team capabilities and win awards and prizes in national and international competitions. Prepare for real world strategic challenges at business plan and case competitions as well as contests in marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, venture capital investment, and global business. You can even earn start-up funding from several of the competitions offered through the UW Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

MBA Core Case Competitions

Present your best strategies to real industry leaders. High points of the first year, two required case competitions challenge students to convert their learning into action. Beginning with a practice case in winter, the first year culminates with a stimulating competition based on a “live” case of global importance. Teams present their best ideas to actual company executives, and are judged on the quality of their analysis and recommendations as well as presentation clarity and responsiveness to judges.

Entrepreneurship Competition

Create your own company. At the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, MBA students analyze the intellectual property landscape, evaluate market opportunities, and assess the risks and rewards of creating new ventures. Then students present their best plans for start-up funding. Each year, groups of students compete against teams from across the state for $60,000 in prize money in the Buerk Center’s annual Dempsey Startup Competition. There are also subject-specific competitions like the Environmental Innovation Challenge and the Health Innovation Challenge, as well as the opportunity for follow-up funding for teams after competitions through the Jones/Foster Accelerator.

Participate in a student organization

Build your hands-on experience while you network with other MBAs who share your interests. Student organizations host lectures, hold events, raise money for charity and make connections with businesses, alumni and community groups.

Mentor a first year MBA student

Learn by leading and teaching others: second-year Leadership Fellows use their wisdom and experience to help first-year students navigate the MBA curriculum, improve team collaboration, and take advantage of student resources while simultaneously strengthening their own coaching and problem-solving skills.

Elective Courses

A number of elective courses incorporate classroom theory with a direct application project engaging a local business.

Complete an independent study

Design and complete an Application-Based Independent Study to address a complex, real-world, unstructured business challenge or opportunity faced by an organization.

Work, teach or complete a fellowship

Augment your MBA studies with relevant work experience: continue your internship, start a new part-time position or participate in teaching opportunities. Some positions can satisfy your practical experience requirements.