Organizational Change Students Collaborate with Companies, Nonprofits

Organizational Change Students Collaborate with Companies, Nonprofits

For graduate students in the Learning and Organizational Change master’s program (MSLOC), collaborations with companies and nonprofits fuel learning. Students benefit from real-world challenges, while organizations welcome the fresh input from knowledgeable students.

Recently students in the MSLOC program have been working with Leo Burnett advertising agency on a project to examine diversity in creative talent at the agency. The students are collaborating with human resources professionals at Leo Burnett as they investigated innovative ways to solve the agency's challenges.

In another unique educational experience, master’s students are assisting Lurie Children’s Hospital with a project to redesign onboarding of new managers and leaders. The project allows them to apply what they have learned in the MSLOC program to a real-world setting.

“The projects are valuable to students because they get a fair amount of client exposure and have to grapple with problems with ‘no easy answer.’ We also push the envelope with students in trying to apply what they’ve learned to be innovative,” says faculty member Ryan Smerek. “For the clients, the benefit is not just the final deliverable, but the interactions and questions from the students throughout the presentations and dialogue.”

“We mix many schools of thought together — design-thinking, innovation, organizational change, being reflective practitioners, and ill-structured problem solving — to make a unique educational experience that is meant to be the ‘applied capstone’ of their course work," Smerek notes.

The organizations have seen the benefits of their partnerships with Northwestern. "MSLOC students, who are well-versed in best practices, are not afraid to say what they think, and clients have commented that they like working with students because there is a genuine desire to help and be innovative in solving an organization’s challenges,” Smerek notes.

The Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change program is designed to help experienced, working professionals build expertise in three areas critical to meeting the challenge of leading organizational change: learning and performance, strategy and knowledge, and strategic change. In contrast with an MBA program, the center of attention in the MSLOC program is not the business or enterprise but the people within the enterprise.

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Master's in Learning & Organizational Change

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Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-7376