Engaging business: using practice-based experiential learning approaches to enrich MBA programmes

Justin O'Brien, Donna Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This practice-oriented paper seeks to identify business engagement as a form of experiential learning and to share insights of an approach which was developed to enhance reflective practitioner opportunities for MBA students. The authors have significant experience in partnering, designing and delivering a variety of business engagement activities undertaken with postgraduate management students. This is collated as a reflexive review of attempts, across 20 iterations with a diverse range of partner organisations, to introduce and expand on elements of experiential learning within the authors' institution.
The paper's main contribution is the identification of opportunities and challenges involved in implementing and managing engagement with business to enrich the experience of Master in Business Administration (MBA) students. Firstly, a summary of the rationale for introducing different iterations of the business engagement approach is given. Then the paper seeks to identify a variety of potential hurdles and solutions associated with harnessing business engagement as a form of practical experiential learning, which are designed to illustrate the practicalities of implementing the approach for school, college and university professionals. Findings highlight implementation insights and the learning achieved by staff, students and business partners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Learning Development in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Business engagement; experiential learning; management education

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