We have designed the business in practice program to mirror the clinical experience that supplements the classroom experience found in medical schools. It is a complement and not a substitute to the core curriculum. It provides an opportunity for students to put their knowledge into practice in a meaningful way and is viewed as an essential addendum to a traditional business education.
Business in Practice courses are two credit courses that sit “on top” of the core curriculum and therefore does not require the elimination of any courses from the traditional business core. They achieve a high level of authenticity because each course is designed and delivered by an industry professional. Under the guidance of an experienced faculty member, the courses conform to a common template which provides a degree of flexibility in terms of what is taught and the structure of the active learning that will take place over the course of the semester.
It is the professional who is actively engaged in the practice of business who provides both the content and the context for an individual course. They are encouraged to bring their style of training, methods of assessment and way of doing things honed from years of experience into the classroom. We develop each course as a reflection of a particular corporate culture that shares little with the social norms reflected in the typical college course. The intent is to give students a glimpse of what it would be like if they had just been hired to work for a particular company. In this way, the norms that become an essential part of the course are able to mimic an authentic work experience.
All courses incorporate active learning where students are required to work in smaller groups to accomplish the learning goals and objectives of the course. It attempts to leverage peer to peer interaction as an essential part of the learning process. The instructor acts as the leader of a community of practice where students share their successes and failures within and across the groups within a class.
By ensuring that each Business in Practice (BiP) course adheres to a common set of principles, the BiP experience becomes something distinct from the core curriculum. This consistency across courses helps to build the repetition needed to develop the situational awareness and other soft skills required for practical success in business. By requiring that students take four BiP courses and ensuring that each develop both hard and soft skills, the program mimics the clinical rotation of medical skills where students move between the various specialties to gain both a broader perspective of the practice of medicine and an opportunity to identify the type of medicine they might want to choose for their career.