Applied Learning

Applied learning is a cornerstone of the Wisconsin MBA program’s curriculum. We integrate applied learning throughout the two year program. The core curriculum sets the tone for this learning; each of our specializations complements the core with a customized approach to applied learning that best fits the needs and interests of its students.


Throughout the first semester, students are assigned to work within a cross-functional team to perform an integrated company analysis (ICA) of a company of their choosing.  The ICA project asks students to identify and research a publicly traded company. Each team recommends a new product or service that will enhance or support the company’s brand, operating performance and share value. The ICA culminates with a presentation to the core faculty who act as the senior executive committee of the publicly traded company (CEO, CFO, Controller, and Senior VP-Marketing). For selected teams, company representatives also attend and put the presenters on the “hot seat.”

Applied Projects

With the first semester core coursework in Accounting, Data Analysis, Marketing, and Finance under their belts, and with the ICA behind them, students are well prepared to tackle more hands-on projects. Moving through the program, students tackle projects that require real deliverables that actually make a difference. Many of these efforts are undertaken in specialized coursework. For example, Applied Securities Analysis students walk the tightrope of active portfolio management of funds with over $62 million in assets. Students in Brand and Product Management partner with client organizations to develop and execute design plans. In the Nicholas Center, student teams engage with clients in corporate finance consulting projects, developing recommendations for actions and presenting these recommendations to practicing CEOs and CFOs. Arts Administration students work in local and campus arts organizations, and through their coursework reflect on their efforts in trying to make these organizations more effective. To read more about applied projects across the MBA program, select a specialization from the drop down menu to the right.

Real-World Learning

The Wisconsin MBA features non-stop interaction with managers and leaders at the frontier of practice. Whether in one-day workshops, visits to classes, or in interactions with groups of students that span across terms, perhaps even over the life of the program, these practitioners – often alumni themselves – help students to connect what they learn in the classroom with what they will need to know in their careers.  Program faculty structure and guide these interactions, doing their best to ensure that every guest speaker and relationship provide a learning opportunity for students.