The Value of Experiential Learning
One of the most unique and valuable resources at the Marshall School of Business is the Experiential Learning Center (ELC), which puts students through immersive exercises with high real-world applicability. The activities are engaging and memorable, providing students with important takeaways on how to find success in the business world. I have had the privilege of spending five sessions in the ELC, and each one of them has taught me something new. What makes the ELC especially valuable is that students are not just told important ideas; rather, these ideas are revealed to students as they participate in an activity. Experiential Learning allows students to discover ideas for themselves, and I have found that this form of learning is much more memorable and valuable than traditional teaching styles.
An example of an exercise I have participated in in the ELC is the Power Personalities exercise, a simulation of a negotiation in which seven students, each playing the role of a different executive in a company, debate whether the company should relocate. Each student is told what side they are arguing for, and each is given a certain personality to exude during the negotiations. This exercise developed general negotiation skills and revealed a variety of important ideas to students, including how to deal with certain personality types, how to read those around you, how to gain power in a negotiation, and how to strategically use office politics. All of these lessons were touched on in our reading and lecture material, but learning them on our own and through a real-life simulation was much more effective.
Overall, Experiential Learning is not only more interesting and engaging than the ordinary class structure, but it is also a more valuable way for students to realize the important lessons that Marshall strives to teach. Furthermore, it takes Marshall’s education a step further, showing students how to apply what they have learned in class to the real world. My time in the ELC has improved areas of my business acumen much more effectively than a lecture ever could.