In a rapidly evolving landscape of business education, Providence College School of Business’ graduate programs distinguish themselves through a dynamic blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application. Rather than relying solely on textbooks and lectures, the program prioritizes experiential learning through engaging consulting projects. These unique opportunities emphasize hands-on, real-world experiences and equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for navigating the complexities of the business world, shaping them into the region’s future business leaders.

A current student in the Providence College MBA program, Michaela Becker, shared her insights into the transformative value of these course-embedded consulting projects, having participated in multiple consulting opportunities. “A big part of the MBA program is teamwork.” As a team member, Becker not only contributed her skills but also took on the roles of motivator and coach, enhancing her leadership skills within a group setting. The experience, she noted, has had a profound impact on her ability to work effectively in collaborative corporate environments, adding value to her full-time job.

In her current course-embedded consulting project, Becker is assigned the crucial task of assisting Saucony, an American athletic footwear and apparel brand, with increasing their market share. She speaks passionately about her involvement with the company, where she has applied strategic analysis techniques to evaluate competitors and devise strategies to boost market share. She notes how this project has provided her with a unique lens to see data in ways that extend far beyond traditional classroom confines. She further highlights the program’s success in making experiential learning both engaging and enjoyable. “It’s just fun for me. I don’t have to take these courses, but I like taking them,” said Becker.

This current course-embedded consulting project is part of a series undertaken by students at Providence College in the business graduate programs. Previous projects include Samsonite in the fall of 2022 and spring of 2023, the URI Coastal Resource Center in the fall of 2022, and PBS in the spring of 2023.

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Jonathan Jackson, Ph.D., associate professor of finance and director of the M.S. in Business Analytics, the guiding force behind last fall’s consulting project with Samsonite, shared his insights into the significance of engaging in such projects at the graduate level. “These projects enhance problem-solving skills, foster collaboration, and expose students to diverse business challenges,” emphasized Jackson. “These experiential learning opportunities not only set students apart in the job market but also provide a taste of the challenges they will tackle in real-world business settings.”

In tandem with immersive consulting projects, Becker also ventured into an independent study on women in business, exploring the systemic issues contributing to the glass ceiling with Jacqueline Elcik, Ph.D., senior associate dean of the School of Business. This unique opportunity allowed her to delve into various research topics that aligned with her interests. Through this study, she gained valuable insights into the challenges faced by women in corporate settings, and the unconscious biases hindering corporate growth, including those evident in her day-to-day work. It even prompted her to further explore her own career trajectory and contemplate the prospect of pursuing a doctorate degree.

Summing up her experiences in the MBA program, Becker emphasized the universal importance of these course-embedded consulting projects for every student. “This would be important for every student to do—at least one,” she highlighted, “because working in a team environment with a client, deadlines, and achievable goals is invaluable to entering the business world.” The collaboration between students, professors like Dr. Jackson, and real-world clients not only enriches the academic experience but also prepares students to meet the multifaceted challenges of the business landscape with confidence and adaptability.

At the heart of the Providence College School of Business lies a commitment to transformative learning, where each day unfolds as an opportunity for growth and practical application. The essence of learning truly comes alive through real-world projects, where students not only solve real business challenges but also refine essential soft skills, all while receiving mentorship from industry changemakers. The School of Business provides the training ground for both emerging and seasoned professionals to elevate their careers to unparalleled heights. As students transition into the next chapter of their journeys upon graduation, they carry with them not only a diploma, but a comprehensive toolkit honed through enriching experiences, ready to make an impact in the professional world. Learn more about a Providence College School of Business graduate degree at an upcoming information session.