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The Aim of education, is it knowledge or action? – Imparting Experiential learning in MBA classrooms

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn” – This quote by Benjamin Franklin has become immensely relevant to Management Education today. For students pursuing MBA while it is essential to have academic focus, it is no longer enough to just finish their degree in a classroom. To compete in the business world that is fiercely competitive and  exacting, budding managers need to have experiences that differentiate them from others. And that is exactly where experiential learning comes into play.

Importance of Experiential Learning:

The real world problems of an organization or its competitors could be a world away from each other and could be all the more different from what is being taught in the classroom. Experiential learning opportunities encourage students to work alongside with corporate so they can identify and solve problems that arise in the companies.

Since its inception in 1995, FIIB, a premier Business School in Delhi has worked towards rediscovering and reinventing MBA Education. The unique curriculum is made to deliver learning experiences to students that are more collaborative and immersive. Business problems today have become a lot more complicated and multi-dimensional,” said Prof. Vidya M. Iyer faculty at FIIB speaking about hands-on learning,  “To become successful managers, the students must work alongside with a company, understand their models, identify and analyze the problem from multiple perspectives.”

As a part of their MBA, students at FIIB participate in several experiential learning activities. While taking part in Social Immersion Program – An intense 2-week, consulting opportunity at a social enterprise / NGO, A second year MBA student, Chritrakshi said, We had a new perspective on the economic and social perspectives of the company, a classroom alone couldn’t have captured the real life complexity of the challenges.” she is not the only one who thinks so; companies are increasingly looking for MBA graduates who had plunged themselves into ‘live’ corporate environment. Therefore, FIIB partnered with companies, organizations, and industry leaders to weave a curriculum that is a perfect blend of strong academics and engaging practical projects.

Hands on opportunities at FIIB:

Over the course of 2 years, students take part in various hands-on learning programs. Apart from the regular academic courses that test the mettle of the student, the below 6 opportunities are incorporated into the curriculum to channel the skills learned by students to actionable outcomes.

Social Immersion Program (SIP) –Students work along with NGOs and social ventures under the mentorship of faculty to identify and solve the business problems. This helps drive societal awareness and a sense of sustainability in managers of tomorrow. By the end of the program, students make connections between themselves, community experiences and the larger world. The students worked for roles of their specialization juggling responsibilities like representing the foundation on different platforms, preparing financial plans, and increasing the visibility of the foundation through digital marketing.

The students are guided by a mentor who would help them establish rapport with the NGO, identify areas of engagement that were critical for NGO, and encourage them to plan and work for in those areas. In 2017, students worked with 14 NGOs like Agewell Foundation, Lakshyam, Teach For India to exercise critical judgement skills in suggesting possible course of actions with reasoning. Speaking of the students’ ability to adapt in the field working conditions, the NGO partners said, “The students had a knack to mingle with our teams, they were  working shoulder to shoulder with our team to solve issues daily.

Corporate Internship Project (CIP) – A 3-month capstone experience of working at an organization which can translate to a stepping-stone for building the career of students. During the internship, the students apply their theoretical learning and skills in the organization working on a selected project(s). The companies hire students for various roles and sectors such as marketing, finance, HR, operational/process analysis etc. Many organizations feel that CIP is a “recruiting opportunity” for them. “This is an opportunity to shape the trajectory of the student’s career;The students are quick on the uptake and determined to succeed. They know where to apply out-of-the-box thinking and where to demonstrate a keen understanding of industry concepts.” says Ms. Juhi Bakshi, HR manager at Jaro Education.

Global Immersion Experience Often called as the fun learning part of the FIIB MBA, the Global Immersion Program provides students the experience of understanding the culture and commerce of another country, and develop the confidence to work in the international marketplace.  Before the program, students are asked to research about the culture, economy, and industries of the country they are going to visit. Doing so will build the platform for the students to better understand and experience the conditions of the country and the companies they visit.

During the visit, students  explore the different ways to approach a problem and make business decisions. Last year the students had an opportunity to visit Black Tulip International, Al Nakheel Project, HANSA Green LED Light Trading LLC at Hamriyah, Skyline University College, University of Sharjah in Dubai. Students expressed that the International visit has enhanced their experiential learning in management, and also helped in getting insights of various management practices related to Operations, Marketing, Sales, HR.

Live Projects – A short (up to 2 months), part-time engagement with a company taken up during the regular terms by students who have demonstrated their capacity and capability to handle multiple priorities.  Live projects are another valuable addition to the experiential MBA. This year students are working on 29 live projects in 11 different companies by involving themselves in the business processes, and issues of the organization. Through this, students get to nurture their conceptual, analytical, and problem solving skills. Live projects also stresses on team building and team work.

Business Simulation (BS) – A practical, integrated course that requires student teams to operate a simulated business in a highly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. Acting as a business manager, students set the direction for the company to build up the business by making decisions related to its Strategy, Finance, Market, Operations, HR and Innovation.  The simulation is a 30 hour full credited course aimed to foster interdisciplinary decision-making in an inexact environment and to prepare students for the problems and issues of working in a rapidly changing world.

Guided Independent Study (GIS) – A self-directed, advanced study elective course for students who wish to research deeper in a specific topic of their domain. GIS keep students engaged to academic skill building during their first phase of job. It helps in building critical thinking of the student

“Most of the times, the skills MBA students are taught are theoretical in nature and when students step into corporate world, they find it difficult to apply those skills for the problems.”, says Dr. Nimit Gupta, faculty at FIIB. “That is why we take them out of ‘student mode’ and encourage them to put themselves in ‘manager mode’ to solve business problems in an engaging way”

These immersive and engaging learning experiences at FIIB help the students place greater value in investing on their careers. Experiential learning opens a new window to MBA education by making the students aware of the challenges leaders and managers face in an organization every day. Under the guidance of faculty and teaming up with fellow students, alumni and their corporate mentors, students turn classroom knowledge to corporate actions. And this is the true aim of education at FIIB;

Explore the management programs with ample experiential learning opportunities at FIIB to apply for the one that speaks to you.

For any queries, please contact:

Pratyusha Prattipati

pratyusha.prattipati@fiib.edu.in| +91-8074606364

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