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Bringing Action Learning to Business School Students in Malaysia

Posted By Nora Brown, Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nora BrownGBSN has always been a strong believer in action learning. We've promoted it through our programs, hosted sessions at our conference, and celebrated it through our MBA+ Challenge Video Contest. This past month, we've gone one step further by launching a program to integrate action learning into business schools in emerging markets.

Through a partnership with Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UniRazak) we have designed a faculty development program that will end with the implementation of new action learning programs in their graduate and undergraduate courses. In keeping with the spirit of the initiative, we have engaged a team of MBA students from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley to work with faculty at UniRazak to identify courses where action learning can be amplified or introduced. In December I spent a week in Kuala Lumpur with faculty from GBSN member schools MIT Sloan, the Haas School of Business and the Asian Institute of Management where we kicked off the project with a three-day workshop for 25+ faculty.

During the workshop we highlighted some of the important characteristics of action learning, including working on real challenges, tackling the issues through teamwork, and building in time for personal and group reflection. Throughout the three days we did our best to practice what we preached by placing the discussions in the real-life context the faculty face at UniRazak and interrupted our presentations with team exercises and group feedback. In true action learning style, we found ourselves reflecting on the discussions and feedback we received from participants and had to continuously revise our approach to the workshop.

After three days we were excited by what is possible at UniRazak and I felt inspired by the passion and dedication of the faculty and leadership to give their students the best experience possible during their time on campus. Over the coming months, we will be working with the Haas student team on better understanding the challenges and  opportunities for increased action learning within UniRazak's programs. In the end, we hope to identify an approach that fits within the context and the culture of the school and will look forward to sharing this experience with other business schools in emerging markets looking to ramp up their own action learning programs.


Nora Brown is the Chief Operating Officer for the Global Business School Network.  If you are interested in learning bour about action-based learning please contact her at

Tags:  Business Education  Management Education 

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