Experiential Learning

Simulations, consultative experiences, and real-life business cases are examples of experiential learning scenarios that students participate in during their time in this program.

What Is Experiential Learning?

Whether it is a simulation, a consultative experience, or a real-life business case, in experiential learning scenarios, you will be thrust into an environment where the challenges facing the business are ambiguous and unstructured, and the outcomes are based upon real circumstances. You will work across disciplines and tools to understand the nature of the challenge, and how to respond to either protect the company, exploit the opportunity, enhance the strategy, learn from a mistake and iterate, or recover from failure. Most scenarios will be approached in teams, which will help you gain additional insight and enhanced soft skills that will be critical to your personal future success.


Executive MBA Immersions: Dubai, 2021

In an era of business ambiguity and flux, the global course teaches EMBA students the skills to pivot, adapt, respond to and meet the needs of today’s organizations. In the fall of 2021, Executive MBA students and faculty traveled to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE to leverage their coursework and consultative skills with area businesses. Students gained hands-on experience working with organizations on projects that focused on inclusion for people of determination, climate-resilient strategies that used environmental finance, the development of enhanced female talent pipelines to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Goal of Gender Equality and sustainability and the environment.

How We Integrate Experiential Learning

Each course is designed to integrate experiential learning into the curriculum. Hands on opportunities build leadership and teamwork skills, and put analytic knowledge to practice. Students gain hands on experience through case-based coursework, consultative projects with corporate partners, high-intensity virtual simulations, and global immersion trips.

War Games Elective

SMU Cox launched War Games, a high-intensity immersive course that simulates the moves and counter moves of key companies and influencers in the marketplace to anticipate what they are likely to do when there are changes in market dynamics. Students participate in an immersive competition and gain experience building and deploying a competitive intelligence framework, scenario planning, and timely decision making skills with a focus on industries undergoing rapid and disruptive change.

Global Business Environments

Get a close-up view of other countries' business mechanics while you expand your understanding of the cultures. Through an immersive global trip that includes face time with high-level executives and interactions with government officials, you'll immerse yourself in different economic, political, and cultural environments. Students most recently traveled to Lima, Peru, Santiago, Chile, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, and most recently, Dubai and Abu Dhabi and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Centers And Institutes

SMU Cox is home to numerous Centers and Institutes, serving as resources to the University, the community and the world. Many also offer opportunities for scholarly research and writing, conferences, periodic lectures and symposia. The expansive range of focus includes entrepreneurship, leadership, energy, real estate, customer engagement, financial studies, economic freedom, and more.

Learn all about Cox Centers and Institutes

MBA Disney Institute

One of the most utilized centers by Executive MBA students is the Business Leadership Center which offers specialized training in leadership and communication — critical skills necessary for success as an executive. The BLC offers skill-building experiential learning seminars, executive speaker series, experiential learning programs and coaching. More than 90 experiential learning seminars are offered, 4 per week on average, that build your strengths in communication, interpersonal relations, management, and leadership.  

Experiential learning programs through the BLC give you a chance to study with experts and apply your newly acquired skills. One of the favorites is the five-day program “Leading and Sustaining a Service Culture” held at the Disney Institute in Orlando Florida. SMU Cox is the only graduate school to offer this customized program on-site at the Disney Institute. 

Students with the desire to give back to the community can do so through the Nonprofit Consulting Program. Students work in groups on projects that address real-life challenges faced by various local nonprofits. 

Learn more about the Business Leadership Center

Centers and Institutes

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Folsom Institute for Real Estate

Folsom Institute has been the backbone of real estate activity at SMU, supporting research and the real estate academic programs at both the BBA and MBA levels. Today, SMU Cox is committed to building upon its success by broadening the Institute’s presence in the real estate industry on a national basis.

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Kitt Investing and Trading Center

The Kitt Investing and Trading Center is a state-of-the-art instructional and research facility designed to integrate finance curriculum, enhance innovative faculty research, and teach students practical finance and investment applications.

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Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship

As one of the oldest entrepreneurship centers in the United States, the Institute has for more than 50 years been committed to encouraging those who can to build a business of their own.

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Student Clubs

The Cox Graduate Programs offer a number of clubs and organizations through which you can refine your leadership skills and build camaraderie. With over twenty clubs and leadership opportunities, students can expand their network and knowledge across industries like the Consulting & Corporate Strategy or Finance clubs, affinity groups like our Veterans in Business or Black Graduate Business clubs, or even social organizations like the Foodie or Rugby clubs. Learn more about the ways you can get involved and get connected with fellow Cox graduate students with shared interests or experiences.

Click here to see Student Clubs

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"The Entrepreneurship Club fosters a community among SMU entrepreneurs and provides access networking, guest speakers, and pitch competitions."

D. Donahoe, Entrepreneurship Club President

Flag on Dallas Hall lawn

"Our Mission is to connect Veterans in the business school with each other and with career opportunities. It is great way to meet other veterans and connect to veteran specific resources."

A. Caroe, Veterans in Business Club President

Women in Business club

"We are the Graduate Women in Business club, but we're certainly not all women - all allies are welcome. We help promote inclusion for all in the workplace."

J. Hosch, Graduate Women in Business Club President


Next Steps

Have a question? Join us for an upcoming event to learn more about our MBA programs.