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Supporting Experiential Learning for Broad MBA Students

MBA students experiential learning

Thanks to a $250,000 gift from alumnus Sanjay Baskaran (MBA Marketing ’99) and his wife, Linda Chon, the Eli Broad College of Business is advancing the experiential learning aspects of the MBA program.

As an MBA graduate, Baskaran says he is giving back to the program that was a key part of his own career path. He has been a leader for companies such as Amazon and TaxAct, and today, he’s the CEO of One Technologies. 

Baskaran’s gift helped fund a corporate partnership and connected the MBA students and faculty with Handsome, a digital experience design agency, for four-day, behind-the-curtain series of workshops.

“I knew the Handsome team would be a perfect resource for MSU and would be able to give students an inside look at their methodology, as well as a hands-on understanding of how their holistic approach to innovation works in practice,” he says.

The students worked alongside Handsome’s executives to learn how to define market opportunities, build research protocols, design prototypes based on qualitative and quantitative insights, empathetically interview and observe people in the field and then create and present a business case based on their lessons and research.

“The overall experience was extremely positive,” Ayla Olvera (MBA ’20) says. “This experience, and in particular the process, is something I look forward to sharing with my teams in the future.”

The students were joined by Richard Saouma, associate dean; Ken Szymusiak, managing director for the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Travis Corrigan, a veteran operator and expert in digital product management from Los Angeles provided ongoing training and scaffolding for MBA students.

“Sanjay Baskaran has selflessly opened countless doors for our MBA students, from enabling special courses to personally delivering Broad MBA resumes to senior tech leaders—his kindness is incredibly humbling,” Saouma says.

“Handsome had the courage to pull us in behind the curtain, onboard us to their proven processes and hold Broad MBA students accountable for the same deliverables with gentle nudges along the way. Bridging the knowledge–doing gap is nearly impossible in a traditional classroom, which is why we are infinitely grateful for any and all opportunities that afford students safe, real-world at-bats where they can develop the muscle memory to confidently deliver everything they’ve learned in the classroom to the unbounded opportunities awaiting them beyond Broad.”

LEARN MORE: about making a gift to support the Eli Broad College of Business by contacting Senior Associate Director of Development Kristen Caswell at caswellk@msu.edu or by calling (517) 432-7446.