What top MBA programs include immersive, experiential coursework?

There is a plethora of factors for candidates to consider when researching business schools. Tuition rates, return on investment, length of program, accreditation, staff reputation, and curriculum format; the list seems endless. There is one valuable feature that some of the top Master of Business Administration programs offer that can give students an advantage over the others and that is an immersive and experience-based curriculum. This style of education may take on several forms depending on the business school's philosophy, values, and region.

For some programs, it will be experiential internship opportunities with partnering corporations and businesses in the area. An early 2016 article by U.S. News & World Report states, "Today's interns may be tomorrow's corporate leaders, and MBA interns are especially sought after. Among employers who offered internships to MBA students in 2015, 92 percent plan to increase or maintain the number of internship offerings in 2016, according to a report from the Graduate Management Admission Council. Business school applicants should look at a school's track record for internships and job placement when deciding where to go, experts say." Besides standard internship opportunities, some business schools weave immersion-based mentoring and cohort opportunities in their coursework both locally and globally. There is no better way, for example, for a student seeking a global MBA to gain invaluable knowledge and experience in the world market than to spend time in international travel exposed to foreign business operations. The following business schools offer some of the top MBA programs in the world and add experiential coursework to their stellar programs.

MBA Programs

The nationally recognized Harvard University Business School is no stranger to high rankings. The Harvard MBA is recognized within the top five with Forbes, Financial Times, and the Economist, which shows their incredible value and impact with their consistent high accolades from across the world. One exciting feature the Business School offers is its immersive, experiential FIELD method coursework. The Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD) method is a 12-month two-part course made available to first year MBA students. The first part is FIELD Foundations consisting of group work within the classroom as students prepare for the FIELD Global Immersion experience where the teams are sent "into global markets around the world, requiring them to develop a new product or service concept for global partner organizations."

The two-year MBA program at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, touts "a rich co-curricular experience through 1,000+ experiential learning opportunities." The business school's global learning opportunities are based on its relationships within 37 exchange programs with 20 foreign countries. This full-time MBA includes majors and pathways within the disciplines of Accounting, Data Analytics, Finance, Growth and Scaling, Managing Organizations, and Social Impact. Studies from 2012-2016 revealed the most popular field for internships offered through Kellogg were in consulting. In many of these cases, the school was instrumental in getting its students real-world experience.

A top priority of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University is to bestow a global mindset onto its MBA students. "Tuck has developed a set of carefully designed immersive experiential courses that take place in various countries around the world. To fulfill TuckGO, sometime during their two years at Tuck, each student must participate in at least one such course in a country that is new to them." The business school's extensive immersive programs include such programs as Global Insight Expeditions, First-Year Projects, OnSite Global Consulting, and Exchange Programs. Each of these programs have been designed to train students in becoming competent and confident leaders on the world market stage in order to manage across cultures.