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Experiential Learning

The driving philosophy at the Michael G. Foster School of Business is “learn by doing.” Transforming learning into action takes many forms — project-based courses that provoke your thinking and stimulate discussion; MBA consulting projects designed to engage with industry professionals and deliver value to companies and organizations; student organizations that allow you to lead and team with others; case competitions to drive your solution-oriented and critical thinking; internships with dynamic companies that give you an opportunity to solve real-world problems; and career planning based on your past experience and future objectives.

As a full-time Foster MBA you’ll have a chance to complete at least three experiential learning activities that involve substantial interaction with businesses and industry leaders.

During your first year, through the Applied Strategy core course in winter quarter, you’ll engage in a project with a company to address a critical challenge they’re currently facing, while deepening your technical knowledge, growing your professional experience, and honing your communication skills.
Apply your knowledge and skills by engaging in an interdisciplinary consulting-type project with a business focused on delivering creative, fresh solutions to current business challenges. Projects are available Autumn & Spring quarters, with selection beginning in May and Feb respectively. Reach out to [email protected] to learn more!
Augment your MBA studies with relevant work experience through an internship or participating in teaching opportunities.
Gain confidence in the board room by serving alongside influential business leaders on community organization boards. The Consulting & Business Development Center Board Fellows Program gives MBAs an immersion experience into boardroom dynamics and governance expectations (not to mention outstanding networking opportunities).
Team up with students from the UW Law School through the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic to provide early-stage legal and business counseling to local startups and small businesses.
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.
A number of elective courses incorporate classroom theory with a direct application project engaging a local business.
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.

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.
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.
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.
Take learning into your own hands by designing and completing an Applied Independent Study to address a complex, real-world, unstructured business challenge or opportunity faced by an organization. You must secure a Foster faculty advisor and receive approval from the MBA Program Office to apply academic credit to your work. Reach out to [email protected] to learn more!