Beyond the Classroom: ISB’s Experiential Learning Programme
We’ve all heard the expression, “Knowledge is power,” but the Indian School of Business (ISB) takes the concept one step further with its Experiential Learning Programme (ELP). ELP students don’t just acquire knowledge within a narrow and controlled classroom setting. Rather, they apply this knowledge to real world business challenges through hands-on practice. The result? An innovative culture which yields unparalleled insights into the global economy tested by firsthand experience.
As participants in the ELP, ISB students integrate classroom concepts into industry experience. Anything but passive observers, ELP participants assume active consulting roles with real companies on relevant business issues. Assignments have included everything from creating marketing and pricing strategies for a branded sports solution provider to developing marketing and distribution methods geared toward accessing rural, off-grid consumers for a solar lighting business.
ELP teams are tasked with preparing consulting proposals, as well as responsible for researching, reporting and — ultimately — making recommendations to the client. Students are guided throughout the process by industry experts and faculty advisors. And while the campus-based arrangement is primarily remote, teams can undertake up to 15 days of fieldwork, ultimately committing up to 800 business hours and earning two credits in the process.
In 2013 alone, students participated in more than 90 projects across diverse subjects ranging from government to technology to consumer products and many others. Not only do participants gain actionable exposure to these industries, but — after working with teammates from diverse cultures and backgrounds — they also walk away with a valuable perspective on the collaborative process.
Perhaps the biggest indicator of the program’s success is that many companies view the ELP as a natural component in their recruiting pipeline. After all, today’s businesses aren’t just looking for critical thinkers; they’re also looking for smart workers capable of solving complex 21st century business challenges. In fact, many students report that their ELP experience features heavily into their job hunt, with potential employers expressing great interest in the program.
During a time when opponents of business education have cited a disconnect between business school curricula and real world issues, the Indian School of Business offers a direct response to the criticism. In light of the evolving 21st century economy landscape, and with employers increasingly seeking employees with global perspectives, the ELP positions students to not merely manage, but lead.