The Lazaridis School of Business & Economics prepares our students for the world that’s coming. A turbulent, fast-paced, ever-evolving and globally interconnected business world. To do this, we rely on immersive learning — meaning we don’t simply show and tell our students about the theories they need, but provide them with opportunities to apply this knowledge practically through case studies and real-life scenarios.
“At the Lazaridis MBA, we don’t talk about business problems, we work through them,” says Dr. Gene Deszca, associate MBA director and professor in OB/HRM. “This is done through our Integrated Core. What we mean by that is we’ve designed shared learning experiences that cross all eight main pillars of business. The result is that instead of teaching students how to look at a business problem from only one lens — say accounting — they approach all business problems from a holistic frame of reference.”
To achieve this, Lazaridis MBA professors work together to plan the Integrated Course offerings. In Full-time and Full-time Co-op this happens over one semester. In Part-time Alternate Weekend (Toronto), students work through all eight of the Integrated Core courses over four terms. Working in core groups, students learn how to untangle a messy business problem and isolate the core issue. They then not only talk about what to do in this situation, but also propose a strategy on how to do it.
“Out Part-time Evening students at the Waterloo campus are introduced to the Integrated Core concepts through Integrative and Strategic Thinking (BU640),” Deszca continues. “After completing their eight fundamental business courses, examining incremental problem solving strategies, BU640 helps them begin to look at bigger problems. Regardless of the delivery option, our Integrated Core teaching strategy helps students learn how to deal with the turbulence that characterizes businesses today.”
“Our students are engaging with each other and with business problems in a way that replicates the real world,” Deszca continues. “Business isn’t neat and orderly and sliced. An issue in one area will impact another. The Integrated Core at the Lazaridis MBA equips our graduates to be able to adapt their thinking and respond to problems more accurately.”
Because the Integrated Core relies so heavily on group work, students also learn important soft skills that will set them apart as business leaders. “By formatting our MBA programs in this way, students are also developing their communication skills, both in writing and through presentations, learning about group dynamics, including conflict resolution, and demonstrating leadership.” says Deszca. “The result is knowledgeable graduates with the ability to put their theories to work for them. They graduate ready to address not only our current business landscape, but equipped with the skills and adaptability to address this changing landscape.”