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The Kogod School of Business at American University: “Learning by doing”

Image courtesy of the Kogod School of Business at American University

The benefits of hands-on experience have long been lauded by learning professionals. While studying theory in the classroom remains an essential part of the education process, putting hard-earned knowledge to the test in a real-world setting is what really makes it stick.

Work placements and real-life projects open up a world of experience that is impossible to gain through theory alone. Observing successful business conduct and putting your skills to the test will undoubtedly prove invaluable, bolstering your confidence as you witness the impact you can have in the professional world.

The Kogod School of Business at the American University understands that experiential learning helps students bridge the gap between classroom study and the business world, transforming inert theory into practical knowledge.


Kogod emphasizes the concept of “learning by doing,” interweaving an abundance of hands-on projects, intensive fieldwork placements and internships throughout its many degrees. This unique approach evidently pays off, with 1 in 5 internships translating into full-time jobs.

Located in the Washington DC, Kogod is the ideal place to get practical experience in the business world.

“The Kogod experience underscores the huge advantages of our physical location in the nation’s capital,” says David Bartlett, Director of Kogod’s Full-time MBA program.

“It provides unsurpassed opportunities for personal and professional networking, as well as ready access to world-class authorities and subject matter experts.”

The Kogod MBA

The Kogod MBA is a perfect example of the School’s commitment to experiential learning. In this outstanding program, students participate in client projects, go on company site visits and attend networking events with Washington, DC, business professionals.

The program includes a global consulting project that culminates with a two-week site visit to the client’s country. Past classes have travelled across the world to places like China, Colombia and India.

Laston Musenga travelled to the Philippines and New Zealand to study Risk Management and Business Continuity following natural disasters that recently struck the region. “The biggest value is you are exposed to the international community,” he said. “Our work involved getting data from the people that deal with the disasters. We had interviews with various government department officials, corporations, and a lot of senior executives.”

MBA students also get the opportunity to participate in local, regional and national case competitions in which they put their analytical tools to the test while expanding their professional networks.

Summer internships also spread the wings of students, offering the prospect of working with the nation’s top public agencies, as well as working with private corporations and non-profits.

“Having studied at Kogod for a year, I now know how to analyze things and come up with solutions, and make recommendations that could actually be applied to real world situations,” says Sindhu Sugumar, an MBA student.

“Ultimately, you want to practice what you are learning. Kogod provides projects where you apply theory directly to practice.”

Image courtesy of the Kogod School of Business at American University

Kogod Master of Science Programs

The Master of Science in Marketing program also applies a similar hands-on approach through its Applied Client Project, a course in which students design and present a full-scale marketing campaign for a real client to the DC-based agency, RedPeg Marketing.

“Working with an actual client while still in the program was incredibly valuable,” says Laura Lamperti, a recent MS Marketing graduate. “Now I can walk into any job interview and feel confident that I have real-world experience.”

The MS Finance program provides state-of-the-art facilities for students to simulate the finance world. The program features a Student Managed Investment Fund and the Financial Services and IT Lab where students receive virtual trading floor experience.

Other Kogod degrees, such as MS Analytics and MS Sustainability Management, also include capstone experiences in which students partner with local organizations to work on real-world projects and solutions.

The School also offers MS Real Estate, MS Accounting, and MS Taxation, along with a raft of undergraduate degrees.

The Kogod School’s experiential and transformative focus means its students leave having gained an invaluable head start.

It’s a well-known fact that employers actively seek certain attributes when considering the CVs of prospective hires, but as highlighted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 91 percent of employers claim they also prefer to hire candidates who already have relevant work experience firmly under their belts. With that in mind, the Kogod School of Business leaves graduates in the ultimate position in terms of launching a rewarding, meaningful career, making it an investment that’s undoubtedly worth serious consideration.

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