Experiential Learning Center

The Experiential Learning Center (ELC) gives you the opportunity to join a team of talented business students and connect with accomplished executives. Over the course of a 16-week collaboration, you and your teammates will apply your energies and skills to help solve cross-functional business issues.


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Want to get hired after you graduate?

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This is your chance to be a consultant to a real-world organization. This is your chance to develop your professional skills such as communication, presentation, problem-solving and working in a team environment.

Project Process
  • You serve as a consultant on a team of five to seven.
  • You interact directly with CEOs, COOs, SVPs and other captains of industry.
  • You work with a real-world organization.
  • You solve real-world problems.
  • You improve your professionalism and learn how to remove obstacles.
Topics include but are not limited to:
  • Marketing strategies.
  • Business plan development.
  • New product launch.
  • Employee retention strategies.
  • Data analytics.
Apply the knowledge, skills and theories you learn in the classroom to find real business solutions.
  • Earn three credit hours
  • Build your resume
  • Develop a valuable skill set
  • Receive professional coaching
  • Use cutting-edge lab technology and facilities

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Put the ELC to Work for You!

Sponsor a cross-functional team of six to eight of our best students to focus on your business issue.

  • Gain fresh insights
  • Discover impactful business solutions
  • Engage in a 16-week job interview of our brightest students
  • Become a role model to young, open-minded individuals
Companies Served:
  • Caterpillar
  • Echo Global Logistics
  • Grainger
  • YMCA
  • McDonald's

Mentor students in a real life business experience!

ELC coaches are professors, instructors and business professionals. They act as guides and resources for ELC teams. Coaches do not give the teams the answers. Instead, they challenge and encourage the teams to think critically about business issues and be creative in their problem-solving. They keep the students focused on providing value to the sponsoring organization.

ELC assistant coaches are past graduate and undergraduate ELC team members. They act as peer resources to the teams by providing leadership, direction and assistance with project management.

Student Testimonials

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ELC?

You'll have unique real-world educational experiences at the Experiential Learning Center (ELC). The ELC provides valuable research, fresh ideas and recommendations to sponsoring organizations. Since 2000, the ELC has successfully completed 167 projects for 88 unique sponsors.

Successful ELC projects result from the following:

  • Committed students
  • Dedicated coaches
  • Accessible sponsors

Students apply to be on an ELC team and are hand-picked by the coach. Coaches keep the teams on track and serve as guides. Student teams learn by working through ambiguous situations.

Sponsoring organizations pay a project fee to the ELC. In turn, project teams are expected to provide sponsors with a return on their investment.

How does the ELC benefit students?

With each project, you'll take on the role of a consultant. Project management, communication, presentation, team building, leadership and technical skills are developed throughout the project experience. With these valuable skills, you'll be prepared to step into the business world feeling confident and knowledgeable.

How is the experience structured?

Teams meet in the dedicated ELC facility on the third floor of Barsema Hall two times each week. Meetings usually last one-and-a-half hours. Each team follows a project management methodology throughout the semester. Research and the development of key project deliverables generally require three to ten hours of outside work. A final presentation to the sponsoring organization brings closure to the project. At this time, the student team is expected to deliver value to the sponsoring organization. There are no syllabi, quizzes or exams. Final grades are determined by the coach and are dependent on the completion of key project deliverables.

How are students selected?

Teams include a mix of five to eight graduate and undergraduate students. Students are chosen based on their competency in business, technology and communication skills; their ability to contribute as team members; their ability to work in an unstructured environment; and their willingness and desire to learn in such an environment. In addition, College of Business students should have successfully completed UBUS 310. For non-College of Business students, junior standing is required. Students are recruited the semester before a project is scheduled and go through a selection process similar to that of being hired for a position of employment. No student is invited (or not invited) based on his or her gender, race, religious beliefs, sexual preference or nation of origin.

How do I apply for a project?

Complete an online application, which includes a cover letter and resume. You may apply for one or more projects. If selected, formal interviews are scheduled with the project coaches. Project coaches choose the team members, and all applicants are notified before the end of the semester.

Contact Us

Experiential Learning Center
Barsema Hall 303
740 Garden Road
DeKalb, IL 60115

NIU College of Business AACSB Accredited

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