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Brock University’s Goodman School of Business uses experiential education to prepare its students to be future business leaders.

Theoretical learning is invaluable, but research has shown that practical knowledge — or experiential learning — can give students a much deeper understanding of a concept through hands-on, personal experience. Brock University’s Goodman School of Business has embraced this understanding, offering its students a variety of experiential learning projects that are built into classes and that enable students to work in teams as student consultants and to provide important insights for local organizations.

Paired with local organizations, Goodman students are tasked with real-life projects that coincide with their studies, including delivering business pitches, conducting marketing research and development, developing and running social media campaigns, and participating in personnel recruitment processes. These opportunities allow students to apply their critical thinking skills and knowledge to practical endeavours, strengthening their problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills and preparing them for the workforce post-graduation. The partnerships and practical work experiences also allow students to build their networks while giving back to their community.

Each year more than 2,880 Goodman students are involved in these projects, which are highly valued by the community. The experiential projects equate to the work of 665 full-time equivalent employees, providing a value of $30 million a year to community partners.

We chatted with Professor Kai-Yu Wang and previous student Haylee Spiller about their experience with community projects in Goodman’s Internet and Social Media Marketing course:

kai wu wang

Kai-Yu Wang

Professor & Chair of Marketing, Strategy, & International Business Department

How is applied learning setting Goodman apart?

The students need to be able to apply what they’ve learned to the real world. We offer them the chance to connect classroom knowledge to day-to-day business activities. By doing so, they understand everything better than if they’d just studied it in a textbook. We believe experiential learning is what the future of education looks like.

Why are community connections important?

Most of the businesses in this area are small to medium in size and usually understaffed, so it’s helpful for them to access our resourceful and knowledgeable students. In turn, students get to apply core concepts and strategies to situations where they have the chance to make a real difference. They get to see their hard work pay off.

How is Goodman preparing students to enter the business world after graduation?

We aim to provide students with the most up-to-date courses that coincide with what employers are currently looking for. Our grads enter the job market confidently because they already have experience in their field, which sets them ahead.

haylee spiller

Haylee Spiller

Previous Internet and Social Media Marketing student

What would you say to a prospective student about experiential learning?

If you have the opportunity to do an experiential learning activity at Brock, give it your all. The course layouts thoughtfully merge lectured learning directly with simulations and community partnerships. Plus, the professors are amazingly supportive.

What was it like to work with a local business?

It was incredible to help a business with something they actually needed assistance with. They’re putting their trust in you, which is a lot of responsibility. You learn how to conquer your fears and listen to your instincts. A huge reason why I could get a job out of school was because I already had this experience on my resume.

What was the biggest takeaway you gained from your community-based project?

I learned to communicate with coworkers, to clearly define goals, and to achieve them. Beyond any other assignment or courses, what I learned in my community-based project is what’s most applicable to my job today.

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