Understanding the importance of meaningful experiential learning before graduation, US business schools have increasingly incorporated hands-on learning experiences into their standard curricula through internships, specialized projects with local businesses, educational trips abroad, competitions, and more.
“Our goal is to help our students learn by doing. It’s a two-phase approach. We want our students to understand theory—but also to know how to do things. So we offer resources in all our programs for experiential learning,” explained Dean of the University of Central Missouri’s Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, Dr. Roger Best.
Experiential learning and innovation go hand-in-hand at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which awards $10,000 to the winner of its annual business competition.
Florida International University’s Miami location leaves no shortage of industry connections for business students to take advantage of. Top companies where FIU students undertake internships include Bank of America, Deloitte, Caterpillar, General Electric, and Barclays Bank. FIU business graduates have been hired by 233 Fortune 500 companies.
The University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business is located in Hartford, Connecticut, which is home to established companies such Aetna, Cigna, Stanley Black & Decker, The Hartford, Travelers, United Healthcare, and United Technologies. “We work very closely with our corporate partners to find out about their talent acquisition and development needs. Then we take that information and make sure that our curriculum reflects these needs,” explained the Barney School of Business Dean, Marty Roth.
The importance placed on networking and becoming a part of the business school’s alumni community after graduation means students benefit from mentorship, networking events, and company connections. Graduates get jobs at good companies, and then look to their younger alumni counterparts when it comes to hiring someone from a business school they know and trust.
At the Wake Forest University School of Business, all students are offered lifetime career services and graduates are encouraged to join the 15,000-strong alumni network. In addition to regular events in major East Coast cities, the alumni network extends online through active social media groups on LinkedIn and beyond.
The West Virginia University College of Business and Economics specifically ensures that students who do online programs have access through Skype to interviews with the hundreds of employers who come to recruit at WVU each year.
International students planning to head home after business school will be pleased to learn that the alumni networks of many US business schools often have an international presence to support the many graduates who choose to establish careers abroad.