Undergraduate Impact Lab

The Impact Lab is one of the signature experiences of being a Carlson School student. Here, you’ll develop critical problem-solving skills through case studies, simulations, and real-world projects as early as your first year.

Students learn to collaborate and problem solve in the Impact Lab.

The Impact Lab program consists of two unique courses:

Impact Lab Problem Solving

Learn strategies to identify, understand, and solve real-world problems. Problem-Solving will expose students to a clear problem-solving framework and process, various perspectives on approaching problems, and individual and group activities and assignments to inform and sharpen skills. You’ll learn to set aside your preconceptions and develop creative solutions, all while building skills in leadership and teamwork.

Impact Lab in Action

Take your knowledge to the next level. This course will partner you and a group of classmates with a business, nonprofit or social enterprise. You will make an impact by solving a real problem while learning to navigate ambiguous challenges and harness creativity to solve them. At the end of the semester, you’ll be able to see the tangible change you made. Plus, you’ll develop strong connections with professionals in the field who will provide mentoring and networking opportunities.

Experiential Learning Empowers Community

“This is a space where we’re giving them the boundaries and then they have to take the initiative to really make this experience what it’s supposed to be for their learning, And then if they experience failure, this is a safe space to fail.” - Amee McDonald, Impact Lab Managing Director

Get Involved

Community participation is vital to the Impact Lab and we invite you to engage with our students as a Client or Mentor.

Impact Lab clients bring us a real problem their organization has grappled with. Over a semester, a group of students will tackle the challenge, researching, ideating, and developing a plan of action. They’ll be working with a professional mentor who will guide them through problem-solving. As a client, work alongside undergraduate students to co-create solutions for your organization. You will meet with the students at least three times throughout the semester to introduce the business challenges you’re facing and provide feedback to the students as they analyze and address the problem. There is no cost to participate in Carlson Impact Lab projects.

Get Involved as a Client

Impact Lab in Action is an experiential learning course connecting Carlson School students with nonprofit or social enterprises to solve a real business challenge. The students use the skills from their Carlson School courses to identify organizational challenges, analyze the situations, and deliver effective solutions.

Mentors will work with one group of 4-6 students throughout the semester to guide them through the problem-solving process as they work on their projects. Your role is not to solve their problem but to guide them and ensure they are looking at all angles of the problem and asking the right questions. The commitment to mentor includes three to four 30-minute Zoom calls with their group throughout the semester.  Mentors must have at least three years of work experience, no prior mentor experience is needed.

Learn more about being a mentor.

Get Involved as a Mentor


Contact Undergraduate Program