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MBA Social Cause Capstone: Learning by Doing

Glen Swift

Glen Swift

Pat Richardson

Pat Richardson

Only a handful of students were able to enroll in the original Innovation in Practice elective, a popular course taught by Glenn Swift and Pat Richardson.

That changed in 2011, when the MBA Program Committee saw the need for students to make an immediate connection between classroom and career and made the course mandatory for all MBA students.

Following is an excerpt from Learning By Doing; Building Relationships, an article that outlines the genesis and enormous value of the capstone program. The article was written by Dr. Amy Cathey, executive director of UT’s full-time MBA Program in the Haslam College of Business.

The entire article can be found here.

ABCs of implementation:

A. Active Partners

Each nonprofit partner shares in the responsibility of student learning. Thorough vetting of prospective partner organizations has to include an initial face-to-face discussion with the executive director or board chairperson to assess his or her commitment to and understanding of the Innovation in Practice frame-work, process, goals, and involvement in student learning.

B. Business Experience

Assemble an adjunct faculty team made up of community members with relevant corporate experience, such as current or retired executives, who have served on nonprofit boards and who want to help nurture the next generation of business leaders.

C. College Connection

While the bulk of student learning takes place outside of the classroom, the success of the Innovation in Practice model depends on the total support and approval of the school and its MBA faculty and staff. A successful capstone course partnership with nonprofit organizations will enhance the sponsoring college or university’s brand and benefit the wider community.

The MBA Innovation in Practice Course was nominated as a Partnership that Makes a Difference. Click here to read more.