University of Tennessee

Applied Learning

Applied learning is emphasized throughout the year with individual and team assignments that focus on comprehensive business strategies.

Instead of teaching elective courses or classes on separate business disciplines, professors address real-world problems from multiple perspectives and focus on common challenges that executives share across all industries and countries.

At the end of each residence period, participants complete a series of written assignments applying the concepts and tools they just learned to their organization.

Topics Include:

  • Financial analysis
  • Customer value analysis
  • Assessment of supplier and customer conditions
  • Competitive environment assessment
  • Process analysis
  • Critical review of the role of IT in the organization
  • In-depth analysis of human capital

The culmination of these assignments produces recommendations and strategic actions for participants’ employers.

Organizational Action Project

During their Organizational Action Project (OAP) EMBA participants demonstrate mastery of skills learned during the program by designing a project around an issue of major importance to their organization. They work with a faculty advisor and their own corporate team to implement it, with deliverables scheduled throughout the program year.

The average ROI on student projects is $6.5 million, which speaks to the caliber of the faculty mentoring and project requirements.

Example Projects

  • Full-blown business plans
  • Redesigns of work processes
  • Market analyses for new services
  • New product designs
  • New international market proposals
  • Organizational restructuring
  • Analyses of mergers and acquisitions
  • Cost analyses
  • New product development processes
  • Customer value analyses
  • Human resource initiatives

Project Examples

Global Immersion Trip

During the third residence period, Executive MBA – Strategic Leadership students take a 10-day international trip held in two international markets that attract significant foreign business investment. These trips typically rotate between Asia, South/Central America and Eastern Europe.

Participants visit manufacturing facilities and service organizations, discuss currencies and customer bases, and examine macroeconomics, infrastructure, technology and workforce development. Guest speakers from local organizations and multinational corporations lend a unique perspective on the region. Students are charged with conducting a site visit with a business similar to their own company in the destination city.