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Graduate | Apr 23, 2015 |

Improv lessons prove valuable for MBA students

Gabelli School of Business MBA cohort students stand outside the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

Gabelli School of Business MBA cohort students stand outside the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

By Ann Fonseca

Can learning improvisation at a comedy theater help improve your business skills?

A group of Gabelli School MBA students would agree that it can.

Full-Time Cohort MBA students visited the Upright Citizens Brigade last week to take part in a “corporate improv workshop.” The half-day workshop offered an open environment to practice improvisation fundamentals that can double as professional skills. The comedy theater instructors directed a customized curriculum of improv-based exercises focused on agility, interviewing, and advanced presentation skills.

“This workshop takes improv skills that are based on being in the moment and are adaptable and we apply them to business students so they can feel more comfortable in team exercises or interview settings so they can be adaptable and go off each other’s ideas,” said Brandon Gardner, a UCB instructor.

The students spent time learning how to adapt quickly in situations, working with partners and on smaller teams. The quick skills will be helpful as the students as they are going out for interviews.

“it feels similar to how you need to think on your feet when you are in an interview,” Bonnie Newman, GABELLI, MBA ’16, said. “You can’t always prepare completely, and you need to know how to not trip yourself up.”

The workshops also allowed the students to collaborate and build off one another’s ideas. Supporting their fellow classmates in a safe environment meant that more creative ideas would flow.

The instructors discussed how collaborating with their classmates or coworkers in a positive way would help bring out great ideas during brainstorming sessions. Overall, these business skills can be applied in and out of the classroom, as well as on the job.

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