Spring 2010

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A knowledge base that can be immediately translated into action provides students with valuable preparation for their future careers and positions them as the kind of job-ready candidates that recruiters want to hire. We at the Carlson School have recognized that experiential learning, the process of acquiring and refining knowledge via direct experience, is a powerful educational tool for bridging the gap between knowledge and action. Complementing traditional methods of education, experiential learning has become an integral part of the school’s curriculum.

        Experiential learning is more than simply “hands-on” experience. Through a carefully constructed and active learning process, students work directly on real-world applications with experts in the field and then carefully debrief what they have learned so that they build their own mental frameworks to apply in future situations. And they are not only building new knowledge—they are establishing relationships beyond the school walls that can and do extend into internships, jobs, and careers.

        The main feature story of this issue of Carlson School is devoted to alumni who benefited from participating in our experiential learning opportunities. Learn about a Virtual Team Project to launch a new business initiative in Austria, see what innovative products were developed through Entrepreneurship in Action, and find out what valuable insights were gained in these and in our other programs.

        You will notice that the experiential learning theme breaks the bounds of the main feature and appears prominently in other areas of the magazine. We find this appropriately symbolic, as it shows how deeply embedded this concept is throughout the school. No matter which degree program a student is working to complete, you can be sure that an experiential learning component is part of the journey.

        I hope you find value in this issue of Carlson School and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Alison Davis-Blake, Dean
Investors in Leadership Distinguished Chair in Organizational Behavior

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