Why experiential learning is a platform for business success

In business, the ability to test a theory or experiment with a complex proposition can be invaluable. Often, trialing an idea in practice reveals unexpected opportunities or areas ripe for improvement which then makes real-world implementation far more fruitful.

That’s why it’s essential that professional business education incorporates elements of experiential learning; a platform to push the boundaries of working approaches, leadership styles and enterprise plans in preparation for the commercial world.

This is how our Online MBA puts knowledge into action through experiential learning.

A programme designed for maximum return on investment

Our Online MBA is infused with empirical thinking from start to finish. Consisting of 12 dynamic courses, each one encourages participants to think about how they can apply new concepts directly to their careers. We understand the importance of results, which is why we put so much emphasis on developing ideas that can be of immediate business benefit.

Experiential learning is a continual theme throughout the programme, including primers designed to help you develop your foundational knowledge of a subject area through a practical simulation. For example, the FAST (Financial and Accounting Simulation Tool) primer transports participants to a dockyard to take up a virtual role as an accountant working through a yacht building company’s books. This method of experiential learning enables you to learn by doing as well as to apply your knowledge to real-world scenarios.

Throughout the Online MBA you’ll work with others on collaborative tasks and peer-to-peer challenges, enabling you to pool your professional knowledge, learn from the experiences of others and contribute to a select group of top-tier management expertise. 

Each element is based on the ‘knowledge into action’ principle, which prescribes that learning is continuously linked back to your own work contexts and experiences, as well as other tangible examples of real-life business. You’ll be encouraged to step out of the ‘room’ of the virtual learning environment - to go into the real world to experience, research and reflect upon other learning activities.

You’ll be encouraged to step out of the ‘room’ of the virtual learning environment - to go into the real world to experience, research and reflect upon other learning activities.

Finally, the IMEx (Integrated Management Exercise) is created to give you the chance to put everything you’ve absorbed on the 12 courses into practice. It mimics a real-life economical environment which you and your peers must work through as a management team of a toy company to overcome, in direct competition with other participant groups. Let’s look at the IMEx in more detail.

The IMEx - a multifaceted experiential group challenge

Working with a group of your peers you’ll form a fictitious company, where you’ll need to apply the techniques and concepts you’ve gained to make meaningful judgements and interactions in the IMEx game’s competitive, dynamic and interactive commercial setting. You and your team mates will have to employ your combined learning to develop your company and master the challenge, working together efficiently and assigning roles that use each person’s individual strengths to optimum effect. 

So, how does the IMEx recreate the challenges of an authentic top-level management environment?

Pushing initiative, judgement and creativity

Alongside your team, you will have to weigh up the information provided within the scenario and form a company business plan, determining strategy, investments and marketing intelligence. Just as in real business, you’ll have to evaluate the relevance of external information and make conclusions without all the facts, drawing on all the commercial acumen and prudence within yourself and the company.

The IMEx is designed to test you, so don’t expect any easy decisions – you’ll need all your professional ingenuity to get the best outcome.

Leading with a social conscience

The most effective leaders understand their position in the wider commercial domain and seek to affect positive change through the way they lead. That’s why it’s not just virtual profit you’ll be assessed on, you and your company will have to operate ethically too.

In order to reinforce the importance of a fair and progressive international business arena, part of your score will be based on the social and environmental impact of your IMEx business.

Ensuring strategic longevity

In its simulated world the IMEx takes place over a three year period, although in real time you’ll have seven weeks to complete it. Such a timescale demands that you consider both the short and long-term objectives of your business through quarterly board meetings, and make decisions to ensure extended viability.

You’ll need to carefully plan your actions and keep in mind that going bust and/or failing is a real possibility and also means you’ll have to do another task to complete your MBA.

Working collaboratively

This is a group challenge, so effective communication, teamwork and division of labour is crucial for a good result. More importantly though, the IMEx is a golden opportunity to learn applicable skills and network with fellow business leaders from around the world, which will also help you succeed in the exercise as a team.

The IMEx is designed to immerse you in a commercial scenario that’s as close to business reality as possible, the pinnacle of our programme’s aim to put knowledge into action. Like the programme as a whole, it seeks to help you test the limits of what you could be capable of as a business leader, and to build upon the skills and confidence you need to make it happen.

Discover more about the way we deliver our Online MBA by completing the form on the right to request further information.

Accreditations & rankings

  • Association of MBAs
  • The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Financial Times