Getting down to Business: Experiential Learning in the WSB
A well-established and renowned force in the world of business education, the Williams School of Business (WSB) has a clear mission: bring real-world experience into the classroom. Making these experiences come to life requires the passionate dedication of Experiential Learning (EL) Coordinator, Charlene Marion.
A Bishop’s alumna, Marion works with professors, professionals, alumni, and local companies to implement experiential learning opportunities for students of the business school. These opportunities span case competitions, guest-speakers, field trips, applied research projects, internships, and community service learning. This breadth and variety of experiences is what sets the WSB apart from other schools: “I think the really exciting thing about the WSB is that we try to offer a little bit of everything and in that way, everyone gets to experience a variety of types of EL opportunities”, explains Marion.
Among the various EL opportunities accessible to WSB students, case competitions have become increasingly popular for their applications of critical thinking, problem solving, working under pressure, and teamwork. This year, three major competitions are on the agenda: the Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) case competition in Germany, the Family Enterprise Case Competition (FECC) at the University of Vermont, and the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (ICBC) hosted by Queen’s University. In addition, the WSB has submitted expressions of interest to a plethora of competitions around the globe.
Being the EL Coordinator as well as the JDCC Faculty Advisor, Marion has coached and accompanied students to many of the competitions. One of her favourite experiences so far has been the Asian Business Case Competition in Singapore, where she accompanied the team of four last September. Marion expressed that, “just being on the other side of the world, all our first time being in Asia, to experience that. […] It was culturally and professionally enriching, something that was simply unforgettable.”
The WSB case competition team and Marion met up with two Bishop’s alum during their stay in Singapore.
Even with the WSB’s already impressive offering of EL opportunities, Marion hopes to grow it further by, “figuring out how to better connect our students to the world.” To do this, she explains that, “[the WSB has] a new course called International Business Experience that we hope to launch in 2020, where students can participate in a study tour, spend 7-10 days intensively learning about the economic, political, and cultural landscape of a country.” Marion went on to say that, “we also plan to continue to use technology to bring experts from around the world into our classrooms.”
Marion’s ultimate dream for the WSB is to be able to guarantee a valuable experiential learning opportunity for each student that completes their degree here. A reality that is currently very attainable. “I am excited for what the future of EL holds in the WSB,” concluded Marion, smiling.