People come here for Miami, and Miami is a dynamic and exciting city. We want our degree to be a reflection of that excitement.
The Miami Business School MBA is taking better advantage of their location, incorporating new forms of learning, and offering a broader array of options to its high-achieving students.
The changes begin with one of the most active and engaging orientation weeks in the school’s recent history – which incorporated case learning with experiences within the Miami business community. Newly-arrived MBAs worked through a Harvard case study on the city and later complemented their learning with hands-on visits to PortMiami, Carnival Cruise Lines and marketing firm Markham & Stein.
In the classroom, MBS has shifted its focus to experiential learning via case studies and interactive simulations. “Case learning and case method teaching is very important, as it stimulates problem solving,” says Patricia Abril, Vice Dean for Graduate Business Programs and professor of Business Law. “The students are forced to speak and think on their feet, which is great for interviews and their career in general.” Some classes will go even deeper in simulating reality: MBS is experimenting with new video game simulations, in which each choice a student makes directly affects the final business outcome.
“Action learning” also comes into play when teaching “soft” skills, such as networking and personal brand management. For instance, MBA orientation included a session on “How to Work a Room.” That session ended with the distribution of business cards and a walk over to the Lowe Art Museum where representatives from local and national companies were waiting. “They were able to put the skills they had just learned to use,” Abril says. “It really becomes ‘Let’s go and do this right now.’ – that’s the spirit of the MBS MBA.”
MBS is also investing in a variety of options for students who want to gain a broader education in business. “Students want choice and flexibility – they want to explore more things,” Abril says. “We are lucky to be one of 11 schools and colleges [within the University], so we’re looking at ways to create electives and programs with other schools.” MBS is collaborating with the School of Architecture, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, the Frost School of Music, the School of Nursing, and the School of Communication, among others, to solve problems and give students inter-disciplinary choices.
In a nod to the school’s location, MBS is designing a Spanish for Business elective at the graduate level, in which MBA and masters students will learn business concepts in Spanish. “It’s the same vocabulary that they’re using in their master’s and MBA classes,” says Abril of the course. “It’s very innovative and very cool, and very Miami.”
In fact, Abril sees Miami itself as an inspiration for the growth and evolution of MBS. “People come here for Miami, and Miami is a dynamic and exciting city,” she says. “We want our graduate degrees to be a reflection of that excitement.”