Kogod School of Business: Why Experiential Learning is the Future of the MBA | TopMBA.com

Kogod School of Business: Why Experiential Learning is the Future of the MBA

By Niamh O

Updated May 27, 2021 Updated May 27, 2021

Dr. Ayman Omar, associate dean of graduate programmes at Kogod said: "At the Kogod School of Business, we believe business is a force for meaningful change."

There are a number of reasons why prospective MBA students choose to embark on their MBA journey.

Networking possibilities, summer internships, and niche MBA specialisations to name but a few – but one element of an MBA programme MBA students really look out for is experiential learning offerings.

Kogod School of Business at American University is one such business school promoting the benefits of experiential learning and how it can leverage change.

TopMBA spoke with Dr. Ayman Omar, associate dean of graduate programmes at Kogod to find out more.

Why American?

Across American University, Omar says the institution leverages the power and purpose of community to make an impact.

He said: “At the Kogod School of Business, we believe business is a force for meaningful change. Our programmes are designed not only to give you the professional skills and experience you’re looking for, but to inspire you to think about business as a tool for creating a more just and equitable world.”

Omar says Kogod focuses on small class sizes (ideal if you’re looking for an intimate class setting). With average classes at graduate level of 25-30 students, Omar says it allows students to receive direct and personalized attention from faculty members in the classroom.

He added: “It also allows for a hands-on approach to other school resources like academic advising, career coaching, student services, and other support. 

“You’ll learn from experienced faculty who are researching areas like sustainability management, ethical consumerism, multicultural marketing, and women’s business ownership as well as students from around the world who are eager to empower change both inside and outside of the classroom.”

And although many business schools had to rapidly shift their MBA offerings online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Omar notes Kogod has been teaching online programmes for several years, meaning faculty were already comfortable teaching in the virtual environment.

He said: “We leveraged this background in online education to quickly cross-train and adapt not only our program delivery but also advising, recruitment, student services, and career management.”

There are also a few noteworthy alumni from Kogod who have walked the halls of the business school including Gary Cohn, Kogod/BSBA ’82, Vice Chairman, IBM; Marco Gobbetti, Kogod/BSBA ’81, CEO, Burberry; Mark Murphy, Kogod/MBA ’83, President and CEO, Green Bay Packers; Michael Santomassimo, Kogod/BS ’96, Chief Financial Officer, Wells Fargo; Victoria Harker, Kogod/MBA ’90, Executive VP and CFO, Tenga; Melissa Di Donato, Kogod/MBA ’96 CEO at SUSE.

Masters programmes at Kogod Business School

Omar says Kogod believes students learn best by doing – and that’s why hands-on learning is at the heart of all graduate business programmes at Kogod.

He said: “We work on live client projects with organisations like Geico, Lidl, the Special Olympics, and Bloomberg.

“We have an on-campus Financial Services IT lab where students can manage over US$850,000 in funds in our student managed investment fund, and over US$100,000 in our real estate investment trust.”

Omar says these projects empower students with industry contacts and real-life experiences to apply classroom learning in the field and build upon those skills in their career search.

Networking opportunities

Meeting new people from different backgrounds and cultures; being immersed in new perspectives and ways of thinking is one huge benefit of an MBA programme. In fact, MBA grads often say how important being in a diverse cohort is and has benefited them in their careers.

Omar says Kogod’s programmes are consistently highly ranked for classroom diversity, including representation from women, under-represented minorities, and international student populations (with students hailing from over 130 countries and all 50 states).

He said: “Diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusive excellence are at the core of our university strategic plan.”

Another pull for MBA students is of course networking opportunities. Kogod boasts a number of student organisations and an annual case competition to help with this.

Omar said: “Our office of career engagement has a number of events and activities to promote networking and internships, career coaching and preparation, and technological resources.”

In fact, Kogod has been integrating experiential learning opportunities across different stages of its programmes in orientation, curriculum, global consulting projects, pro bono consulting projects, and even a co-op pilot programme.

Omar said: “Students in different programmes work with local and global organisations from the private as well as the public sector on live projects based on the area of their study."

Future of Kogod

There’s been a huge push for STEM subjects over the past few years, with industry crying out for experts in the field as we continue to develop and learn more about the four sectors.

With this in mind, Omar said: “Kogod recently added a STEM-designation to our MBA and MS in accounting programme, joining our MS in analytics and our MS in sustainability management.”

He says this addition will focus on business analytics and how using data to make strategic decisions provides students with the skills needed to be competitive in today’s job market.

Do you think Kogod could be for you? Omar says when it comes to applying to the business school, prospective students just need to be themselves. He said: “Be honest in your application about your passion for the study of business and your personal and professional career goals.”

This article was originally published in May 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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