Unconventional Learning

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

When I decided to attend Carlson I knew that my education would be supplemented with experiential learning via the Enterprise Program. However, I didn’t realize how in-depth the Enterprise program would be or how many opportunities I’d have to learn outside of the traditional class environment.  In fact, some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned thus far have occurred outside of the classroom.

Beginning with the enterprise, it has been a crazy experience.  Not because it’s terribly difficult, but more so because of the nature of the project and the nature of project style work.  My project is helping a med-device company determine how valuable it would be to develop a product.  While I’m being ambiguous due to the non-disclosure agreement, the nature of the project itself is ambiguous!  For someone like me, who has worked in a customer facing position for most of their career, tackling an ambiguous problem in a school setting has been an amazing experience.  I’ve learned more about problem-solving and project management in the past four weeks than I have in the past four years.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in an improv workshop at Brave New Workshop and to hear a two-star general talk about the global security environment and how to lead during a change. 

The improv workshop was great because it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and taught me a little about the give and take a speaker has with his or her audience.  I also learned about how to plan less and react a little more – while knowing what you are speaking about is essential to giving a presentation, knowing that the audience’s reaction may not match your plan and how you can adjust can make a good speaker great.

Unconventional Learning picture











Unconventional Learning picture


As for hearing MG Loidolt (MN National Guard) speak, it was a great opportunity to learn about the international environment we will be working in.  For people working at General Mills or any other multinational, they will have to deal with a global environment and understanding the security environment can have a huge impact on operations.  MG Loidolt also talked about leading during times of change and how to enhance organizational culture.  Even though the lessons were coming from a military leader, they were absolutely applicable to leading in Corporate America.

Unconventional Learning picture











The past month has provided me with multiple opportunities for unconventional learning that I don’t think I’d be able to experience anywhere besides the Carlson School.  I would definitely recommend that all MBA students take some time to get outside the classroom and learn in an unconventional manner.