6 Types Of Experiential Learning That Can Add Value To Your MBA | TopMBA.com

6 Types Of Experiential Learning That Can Add Value To Your MBA

By Stephanie L

Updated February 19, 2021 Updated February 19, 2021

Sponsored by Haskayne School of Business

Experiential learning is an integral part of today’s MBA programs, and a recent survey by the MBA Roundtable found that over 90 percent of full-time MBA programs offer at least one project-based experiential learning opportunity.

Designed to further enrich the MBA curriculum, experiential learning allows individual candidates to tailor their program to their needs and interests. Through a variety of opportunities candidates can take on everything from gaining exposure to a new industry to exploring business in a new country. Experiential learning not only helps candidates put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom, but helps build the confidence and readiness needed to grow their careers.

“Benefits of experiential learning are as diverse as the forms it comes in, such as increased career readiness and greater employability, an improved civic consciousness, increased academic, professional and interpersonal skill development, and better self-concept,” said Kaili Xu, Director of Student Success at Haskayne School of Business.

No longer a one-size-fits-all concept

“The beauty of experiential learning is that students can choose the opportunities that best prepares them for the career and industry they want to pursue,” explained Kaili.

“Students should ask themselves, ‘What are the skills and experiences I need to help me stand out and secure the career I want?’ With that in mind, students can choose from opportunities to build leadership, international experiences, experience venture acceleration, attend conferences and compete,” furthered Kaili. 

Whether it’s an internship, business simulation, business competition, international exchange, or special case-project like the capstone project, experiential learning has much to offer at Haskayne School of Business.


Internships provide students with the opportunity to apply for available positions with external organizations. If hired, students are provided an ample opportunity to get out of the classroom and into the real world where they can integrate theory with practice and understand their business decisions have real outcomes.

Given the rapidly changing business landscape, internships are one of the most popular forms of experiential learning as candidates gain an insight into the demands of the workplace, as well as valuable industry experience.

International exchanges

International exchanges give MBA candidates the opportunity to travel abroad and attend a partner institution for part of their degree. Students often benefit from gaining critical cross-cultural skills, broadening their perspective and enhancing their understanding of business in a global context.

For example, the Haskayne School of Business has partnered with over 20 carefully selected leading business schools from around the world where candidates can undertake exchange opportunities, both long-term and short-term.

Field work

MBA candidates at the Haskayne School of Business have the unique opportunity to get out of the classroom and explore the Canadian Rockies through Adventure Leadership Education. This unique offering allows students to develop the skills and expertise of what it is to be a leader as well as enhance their professional performance in one of the world’s most breath-taking settings.

This revolutionary experience allows students to participate in outdoor learning and other adventure-oriented programs in the Canadian Rockies, including a wilderness retreat, dojo martial arts and drum circles.

Case competitions

Case competitions give MBA candidates the opportunity to experience what it’s like to present real business solutions in front of a panel of executives and judges. Becoming familiar with real-life situations that are likely to occur in the workplace is a valuable experience for students.

At Haskayne, candidates can undertake case competitions as an extracurricular activity, as Kaili explained.

“You can join a fiercely competitive team to compete in real-life business cases that cover a variety of business scenarios, and have the opportunity to expand your network with students and professionals from across the globe.

“Students work in teams under a tight timeline, normally a few hours, to offer recommendations to business problems and present their findings to a panel of experts.

“In addition to acquiring real-world business experience, students benefit by learning to work in teams, enhancing their analytical skills and honing their communication skills,” he said.

Financing experiential learning

There’s also the opportunity to take part in the Haskayne Student Experiences Fund which assists students financially in their “participation in activities that foster personal and professional development outside of the classroom, nationally and internationally,” said Kaili.

With previous candidates heading to the International Young Leaders Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters, going on the Silicon Valley Discovery Tour, attending Women in Business events and new, innovative case competitions, Haskayne School of Business is a leader in providing experiential learning opportunities to students.

Capstone projects

While some experiential learning options like internships and international exchanges are more obvious, the likes of incorporating experiential learning into the classroom is also provided through the mandatory capstone course – as Kaili explained: “In the capstone course, students work in groups to apply their knowledge, skills, and experience acquired prior to and during their MBA, to partner with local organizations to solve their real-world business challenges.”

One MBA student at the school said: “The aspect of this course that I liked best was the level of responsibility that was placed on the students to deal with real life business problems on their own without any intervention from the professor. This is exactly what MBA students will be facing on graduation and this course prepares them for that.”

Lead image courtesy of Marnie Burkhart – Jazhart Studios Inc.

This article was originally published in November 2020 . It was last updated in February 2021

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Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopMBA.com and TopUniversities.com (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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