Experiential Learning

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." Aristotle

Do you ever wonder how you will make the leap from student to professional? As a Haworth College of Business student, we’ll help you find your way, choose the right career pathway and explore opportunities—all before you graduate.

And, you will have an opportunity to take Aristotle's advice to learn by doing. Our experiential learning opportunities will give you the confidence to take on your business career like a pro.  

So what is experiential learning in the college of business and how will you participate?

Service-learning programs

Many of our business students find opportunities for expanding their knowledge while helping others; many of our faculty support these efforts and provide opportunities. Dr. Tim Palmer, professor of management, traveled to New Orleans with a group of students as part of a service-learning opportunity there. Students interested in service-learning opportunities or the Students for Responsible Business organization should contact Palmer at timothy.palmer@wmich.edu.

 

Case competitions

Nearly all of the academic programs and registered student organizations are involved in case competitions around the state, region and nation. Business Bronco teams earn accolades for many of these, while learning about industry strategies and problems.

  • Each year, corporate sponsors develop real-world cases for the American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition. Recently, Nissan North America asked students to develop a campaign targeting millennials. The WMU team placed third in District 6. Check out what they did.
  • In 2013-14, the sales and business marketing program made a splash nationally.
    • Two Western Michigan University students have earned top honors in a national sales competition, jointly securing more than $10,000 in scholarships and landing WMU a second-place finish. Read more.
    • A team of two Western Michigan University students earned the Rookie of the Year award at this year's International Collegiate Sales Competition, a tournament-style series of role-play challenges, hosted by Florida State University. Read more.

Industry projects

Many of our courses involve participating in projects for business partners. Some, such as Project Management and Project Leadership, assign roles to student participants who then work as a team to solve problems for local businesses. Others offer students an opportunity to create advertising campaigns as part of a competitive process culminating in an advertising company adopting the campaign. Others focus on expertise in niche areas. And, the Student Managed Investment Fund class functions as a large cap manager of $500,000 of WMU Foundation funds.

  • Applying process management concepts in a real-world setting requires students with knowledge and preparation. In the course Improving Supply Systems (MGMT 3810), students work in teams with local companies applying supply chain concepts to real industry problems.

Study abroad



  • The WMU German Business and Culture course recorded many of the trip's highlights and many photos on their annual blog.
  • Andrea McHenry spent an entire semester in Melbourne. Following her study abroad experience, McHenry's required paper provides insights into what students will experience during their time abroad. McHenry's Paper

Visit our Global Business Center for more videos from study abroad programs and student and faculty blogs.

Simulations

  • The applied process re-engineering course—Try-Z: During this capstone of the integrated supply management curriculum, students meet in a classroom laboratory to improve both the productivity and output quality of process methods they use to assemble model cars. Over the course of an intensive three-day, executive-education-style experience, students work in problem-solving teams. The student teams use Deming's Plan-Do-Act management cycle to conduct root cause analyses to identify and eliminate impediments to achieving high quality and productivity. To support their analyses, students employ the tools and techniques of continuous improvement and quality management, and achieve, on average, a 54% reduction in quality defects along with a 39% improvement in process productivity.
  • CISCO certification: Nikki Rivera, B.B.A.'12, now a network route-switch associate at CDW in Chicago, offers the following advice about the CISCO certification program: "Be prepared to study a lot and learn a ton. Graduating with a CISCO certification will open up a lot of opportunities and is worth all of the hard work."
    Learn more about the CISCO certification program at WMU.
  • Enterprise resource planning simulation: Students in the enterprise resource planning course configure SAP software to manage business processes. Students increase their marketability through this hands-on exposure to one of the business world's standard ERP software clients and by gaining a better understanding of the integrated nature of business processes in general.
  • Student managed investment fund: WMU students vie for spots in a finance course that provides students the opportunity to manage a portfolio of real money. The WMU Foundation selected the class as a large cap manager of $500,000 of WMU Foundation Funds. With hands-on training, this is a great opportunity to gain real-world experience.

Internships

  • Many business students improve their professional employability by securing an internship during their college years. An internship is temporary, paid employment that provides real-world experience and provides both exploration and experience.
  • Internships often lead to permanent job offers—about 70 percent of the time. Interns are paid by the hour. Larger employers often offer a relocation or housing stipend to assist students with living expenses for an internship that is more than 50 miles from their school or permanent address.