The University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business, an established leader in hands-on learning has launched the largest experiential learning course in the nation. Business 301: Business in Action is a required course for all Gies juniors and includes approximately 800 students spread across 11 smaller sections.
Business in Action is an experiential learning course in which students spend the semester working in teams to analyze and solve business problems for real clients. Students work on projects for Fortune 100 corporations, mid-sized and startup companies, and nonprofit organizations. Students learn to effectively work as a team, develop strategies to solve complex problems, and prepare to share their story with recruiters.
Teams are coached and mentored by senior-level Gies students who take a 400-level Project Management in Action course. In addition to solving business problems, Business in Action prepares students to effectively give and respond to feedback, manage and participate within teams, and present their findings to clients.
Of the many students who participated in semester-long client projects over the last two years, 89% say learning by doing improved their Gies experience, and 95% say they have a better story to tell recruiters. “Learning by doing is built into the Gies DNA, and we’re proud to be a leader in this area,” said Andrew Allen, director of the Magelli Office of Experiential Learning, which manages action learning at Gies. It’s all part of Gies’ longstanding commitment to action learning, and soon every Gies student will graduate having participated in experiential learning.