Experiential Learning

  • Students using computer in trading room

    Specialized classrooms

    Students gain familiarity with industry software and tools in our Greenleaf Trust Financial Trading Room.

  • Two women making a practice presentation in Schneider Hall.

    Practice, practice, practice

    Making presentations is an opportunity to hone your speaking skills and prepare for your professional career.

  • Students wearing safety glasses in a factory.

    Industry exploration

    Many students work on real-world projects for industry partners.

  • Decker Hains helping a student in class with a simulation project.


    Students practice processes and decision making through simulated industry environments.

  • Three people in the Starting Gate office.

    Entrepreneurial opportunities

    Starting Gate, a student business accelerator, is an opportunity for students to launch business ideas.

Do you ever wonder how you will make the leap from student to professional? As a Haworth College of Business student, we’ll help you find your way, choose the right career pathway and explore opportunities—all before you graduate.

You will gain experience with real-life business scenarios honing your skills in project management, further developing your skills and defining the values that will guide your leadership style. Our experiential learning opportunities will give you the confidence to take on your business career like a pro.  

So what is experiential learning in the college of business and how can you participate?

Industry projects

Puzzle pieces iconMany business courses involve participating in projects with clients. Some courses assign roles to student participants who then work as a team to solve problems for local businesses. Others offer students an opportunity to create a marketing campaign, often resulting in the company adopting the campaign.


Thought bubbles iconBusiness students have several opportunities to work on consulting teams, under the supervision of a faculty or staff member. Similar to our business project courses, consulting teams work to address important business issues for companies or individuals. 

Case competitions

TrophyNearly all of the academic programs and registered student organizations are involved in statewide, regional and national case competitions. Students gain valuable experience with common or emerging business issues, test their skills against top students from other schools and network with industry leaders who host or judge the competitions. 

WMU students consistently perform well at competitions, even earning national recognition in food marketing and sales competitions, among others. 

Service-learning programs

Two figures with a globe iconMany business students find opportunities for expanding their knowledge while helping others. Our faculty and staff support these efforts and provide opportunities. Dr. Tim Palmer, professor of management, regularly incorporates service learning into his courses, often helping a local nonprofit reach an important goal. Students interested in service learning opportunities should contact Dr. Palmer.

In addition, students enrolled in first-year experience courses participate in a common service project in fall semester. For several years, business students have cleaned headstones in Fort Custer National Cemetery prior to Veterans Day.

Study abroad

Globe with graduation capMany students describe study abroad as “life-changing.” Why?

Study abroad increases:

  • Intercultural fluency
  • Confidence
  • Experience with complex global issues in business and beyond
  • International friendships

The Haenicke Institute for Global Education currently offers study abroad programs in 10 countries for business. Curriculum focuses include accountancy, economics, finance, marketing, management and intensive foreign language. Learn more about our programs.

Contact the Global Business Center for more information.


Simulation icon
  • The applied process re-engineering course—Try-Z: During this capstone for the integrated supply management program, students meet in a classroom laboratory to improve both the productivity and output quality of process methods they use to assemble model cars. Over the course of an intensive three-day, executive-education-style experience, students work in problem-solving teams. The student teams use Deming's Plan-Do-Act management cycle. To support their analyses, students employ the tools and techniques of continuous improvement and quality management and achieve significant reductions in quality defects along with improvements in process productivity.
  • Enterprise resource planning simulation: Students in the enterprise resource planning course configure SAP software to manage business processes. Students increase their marketability through this hands-on exposure to one of the business world's standard ERP software clients and by gaining a better understanding of the integrated nature of business processes in general.
  • Student Managed Investment Fund: WMU students vie for spots in a finance course that is held in the Greenleaf Trust Trading Room and provides students the opportunity to manage a portfolio of real money. The WMU Foundation selected the class as a large cap manager of $1.5 million of WMU Foundation Funds. With hands-on training, this is a great opportunity to gain real-world experience.
  • Sales role-plays: The sales and business marketing program offers many opportunities to role-play various sales scenarios. Students get feedback on their performance, which is recorded in the state-of-the-art Robert S. Kaiser Sales, Negotiation and Leadership Lab.

Experiential classrooms

Figure pressing button on smart display - iconThe Haworth College of Business has several experiential classrooms that provide the opportunity for students to learn in a facility designed to heighten the authenticity of the learning experience.

Certification exams

Ribbon award iconMany academic programs and student organizations can prepare students to take professional certification exams, including:

  • Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant
  • Certified Financial Planner
  • CISCO certification
  • Google Analytics certification
  • Associate Professional in Human Resources and SHRM Certified Professional

Starting Gate

Rocket launching iconStarting Gate is a student business accelerator that gives participants rich and valuable resources to develop their startups. The accelerator is open to all WMU students through a competitive application process where students must demonstrate a promising idea for a product or service, which can be launched within a short period of time. 

Career readiness programming and internships

employee badge iconThe Haworth College of Business offers many programs that prepare you for the workforce. Several experiential opportunities are offered through the Zhang Career Center and the Student Professional Readiness Series

Many business students improve their professional employability by securing an internship during their college years. An internship is temporary, paid employment that provides real-world experience and provides both exploration and experience.

  • Internships can frequently lead to job offers, making them a valuable experience. Interns are often paid by the hour. Larger employers sometimes offer a relocation or housing stipend to assist students with living expenses for an internship that is more than 50 miles from their school or permanent address.

Pictured is Spencer Robertson"As parents, we appreciated the welcoming experience during our visit to the Haworth College of Business. From day one, our son Spencer has had excellent support in his professional development. We watched Spencer evolve from a first-year student to a confident leader of two student organizations, and he has gained valuable skills working as an intern at Plante Moran, PwC and Greenleaf Trust. Spencer’s internships at all three firms have provided him with real-world job experience. The Haworth College of Business has been phenomenal for Spencer’s growth as a student and young adult. We are so glad he decided to attend WMU!"—Shawn and Tasha Robertson, parents of Spencer Robertson