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Experiential Learning at Presidio

Experiential learning is a critical aspect of the Presidio Dual MBA/MPA Degree in Sustainable Solutions program. It is designed to allow opportunities to apply learnings from the classroom to real-world applications to help position you for career success. You’ll have opportunities to tangibly help organizations while applying what you learn in the classroom.

At a time when government and industry are still attempting to understand how to build more sustainable and just systems, we view it as an imperative to equip our students with the mindset and expertise to create lasting positive change.

“How we learn is as important as what one learns...only disciplined reflection on experience leads to learning that lasts.”
Richard M. Gray, PhD
Co-founder of Presidio Graduate School

How It Works

We partner with private and public sector organizations to help them build and improve existing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices and address other core sustainability challenges. Experiential learning projects offer unique opportunities for your continued professional development by enhancing your understanding of natural and social ecosystems and the role you can play in reimagining them.

In our foundational courses, you’ll join a team for a semester-long project working with one of our partner organizations. Together, your team will devise research-based strategies and articulate a set of clear, practicable steps to help confront and alleviate the organization’s core sustainability challenges. Our faculty will provide step-by-step mentoring to ensure your semester concludes with the presentation of an actionable, finished plan that delivers against the mutually-defined scope of the project. In the end, you’ll have the opportunity to hone your skills and our partners will benefit from your expertise working on the cutting-edge of sustainable practices.

Learn more about our work with Sambazon, a successful social enterprise and long-term partner in our experiential learning program. Explore the impact of our partnership, the Presidian who uncovered a career, and the award-winning documentary that tells the story of how Sambazon came to model triple bottom line values.

Experiential Learning Creates Real-World Impact

Through our experiential program, Presidio students have offered support and guidance to more than 500 organizations of all sizes and missions, including nonprofits, startups, NGOs, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies, including:

  • Cisco
  • Clover Sonoma
  • CNote
  • Code for America
  • Daimler AG
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District
  • Farmland LLP
  • Flex
  • General Electric
  • Google
  • Guayakí Yerba Mate
  • HP
  • IDEO
  • Marin Municipal Water
  • PG&E
  • Puma
  • REI
  • Sambazon
  • TCHO Chocolate
  • New Leaf Paper

Do you work with an organization that would benefit from this kind of partnership? Learn more about the program. Dig deeper to discover more about our experiential learning projects below.

Courses with Experiential Learning Projects

In our Marketing and Communications for Social Impact course, we ask you to build out a cohesive, impactful marketing plan and identify the practical steps your partner should take to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving communications landscape. Throughout the semester, you will work with your professor and a team of peers to navigate the following steps and construct a clear and measurable marketing plan to ensure impact:

  • Consulting with the client to define the scope of the project and build out clear marketing deliverables.
  • Researching the marketing situation and building an analysis of the specific challenges facing the client.
  • Developing customer profiles and a clear, actionable marketing plan that can demonstrate measurable improvements in engagement and influences.
  • Presenting research findings to the client and articulating the details of the marketing plan to secure financial backing and viability.

Through the Operations and Supply Chain Management course, you will participate in a team project that will challenge you to apply theory learned in the classroom to construct alternative systems and build a revised operations plan. In recent years, Presidio students have crafted interventions across the corporate sector, including:

  • Identifying a set of production processes or distribution channels to minimize a food production company’s carbon footprint relative to its current operating configuration.
  • Presenting a set of alternative design options for a firm’s cleaning products so the packaging can be diverted from a landfill and instead reused, remanufactured, or recycled.
  • Designing an environmentally friendly wastewater processing system to address the production growth plans of a draft beer company.
  • Developing a system to purchase medical supplies for a hospital that helped redefine sourcing practices to prioritize companies offering products that do not yield medical waste.

This course is designed to help students define the strategic questions/issues, analyze the context, and develop strategies for any organization—including either overall organizational strategy or sustainability strategy—and become proactive and more holistic strategic thinkers. We will introduce a diverse set of frameworks for analyzing, developing, and implementing effective strategies. We’ll use various concepts and thought experiments that define strategy as an integrated set of choices that position the business/organization in its complex contextual environment. We will combine insights from classic strategic frameworks with the new tools of emergent strategies to harness new opportunities and deliver impacts in the context of environmental and social systems. The course provides conceptual tools and practical methodologies for catalyzing organizational transformation based on a strategic, systemic, and sustainable appreciation of change. This course will integrate traditional business concepts with sustainability as a platform for creativity, innovation, and competitive advantage for both new and established organizations. It also includes a mini-course on design thinking and scenario planning.

It’s time to step into your future, and we’re here to help.

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