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Experiential Learning at Presidio

Experiential learning is one of the hallmarks of the Presidio MBA in Sustainable Solutions program, which we designed to transcend the classroom and incorporate practical application. We built experiential learning projects into selected courses to give you experience with developing solutions for organizations, and to help position you for career success. You’ll work on real projects for organizations and start creating tangible impact during your program in real time.

“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 public and private sector organizations to help them design and evolve existing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices and address other sustainability challenges. These projects offer valuable opportunities for your continued professional growth by enhancing your understanding of social and natural ecosystems and the role you can play in reimagining them.

In selected courses, you’ll work in teams on semester-long projects with one of our partner organizations. Together, you and your team will create research-based strategies and articulate a set of concrete, implementable steps to address the organization’s key sustainability challenges. Our faculty provide step-by-step mentoring to ensure you and your team will succeed in developing critical, finished work that delivers against the mutually-defined scope of the project. In the end, you’ll sharpen your skills, and our partners will benefit from your expertise as you work on the cutting-edge of sustainable practices.

Learn more about our partnership with Sambazon, a social enterprise and partner in our experiential learning program over many years. Explore the impact of our work together, the Presidian who found 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

Our students have contributed to more than 500 organizations of all sizes and missions, including NGOs, startups, nonprofits, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies, including:

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

Working at an organization that would benefit from this work? Learn more and request a project. Dig deeper to see what our experiential learning projects entail below.

Courses with Experiential Learning Projects

In the Marketing and Communications for Social Impact course, we’ll challenge you to develop a cohesive marketing plan and identify the concrete steps your client needs to take to adapt to the evolving communication landscape. Over the course of the semester, you and your team will build out a practical marketing plan through the following steps:

  • 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.

In our Operations and Supply Chain Management course, your team project will help you apply concepts and tools from class to evaluate alternative approaches and recommend a revised operations plan and the clear steps necessary to execute it. Recent examples of interventions designed by Presidio students include:

  • 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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