Acting and Improv in MBA Programs

My friend Mike McGill forwarded me this article:

MBAs Acting Out

Theater classes are a growing trend in business schools, as students learn “soft skills” by taking to the stage

A New Kind of Learning

While acting is not a class that typically appears on a business student’s schedule of finance-oriented coursework, a few business schools are integrating acting and improvisation work into the MBA curriculum as a way to boost students’ communication and presentation skills.

Among the schools offering classes are the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, which offers an acting elective where students are asked to write and perform their own plays; Babson College, which has a class titled Acting Skills for Success in Business; and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. Sloan gives its class each fall during its innovation period, a week each semester in which MBAs are encouraged to hone their soft skills through experiential classes.

“This type of training is still very new. There’s an edgy quality to it because it’s a little risky in nature,” said Lau Lapides, a speech coach with Boston’s Speech Improvement Co. who teaches Babson’s six-week acting class. “It’s not like sitting in a lecture class. It really takes students out of their comfort zone.”

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About Shana Merlin

Merlin Works is the brainchild of Shana Merlin: improviser, teacher, and performer. Since 1996, she’s been leading classes that stretch people’s imaginations, push them out of their comfort zones, and make them laugh out loud for hours at a time.
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One comment

  1. Terrillific said:

    I think the biggest benefit of this training for MBA’s is just getting out of their comfort zone. It needs to be stressed because to be successful in business requires taking risks and Improv is all about risk taking.

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