Students confer with project clients.

Where Theory Meets Practice

Challenge yourself. Get hands-on global experience. Build a richer personal narrative. WashU Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning links theory and the world of business, bringing classroom learning to life. With faculty support and guidance, you’ll apply leading-edge practices and practical management solutions to real-world business challenges.

The CEL offers eight challenging programs geared to build your résumé. These programs are designed to help you develop business management consulting competencies including project management, critical thinking, problem formulation, and leadership and communication skills. Learn more about the student application process in WashU Sites.


The CEL Practicum Program

Eligibility: All WashU students
Teams: Customized teams assembled based on client needs
Timing: Full semester – Fall/Spring
Credits: 3.0

The CEL Practicum puts you at the center of real-world, team-based consulting projects with business leaders. Apply and enhance your critical thinking skills through a 14-week, full semester project. Clients include startups to Fortune 50 firms regionally and globally. Travel may be required. Read about benefits to clients.

“I worked one of the most impressive teams of my collegiate experiences while in the Practicum. The beauty of diversity in teams truly shined through in the insights and contributions that each member brought to the table.” –Nadia, JP Morgan Chase


Small Business Initiative (SBI)

Eligibility: All Washu undergraduate students
Teams: Customized teams assembled based on client needs
Timing: Full semester – Fall/Spring
Credits: 3.0

The Small Business Initiative (SBI) is designed for passionate undergraduate students who want to build consulting competencies by tackling real-world issues facing small businesses. By participating in SBI’s 12-week, team-based management consulting projects, you have the opportunity to provide actionable recommendations that can directly impact the success of a local small business. Read about benefits to local small businesses.

“SBI was a great way to work in a driven team to develop communication and critical thinking skills, while also making an impact on local small businesses- it’s a win-win.” –Ben Green, BSBA 2020


CEL Entrepreneurial Consulting Team (CELect)

Eligibility: All WashU students
Teams: Based on experience and ability
Timing: Full Semester – Fall/Spring
Credits: 3.0

Impact the STL startup ecosystem by working with local entrepreneurs in technology, life sciences, and more. Read about the benefits to the St. Louis startup community.


“As a law student, the CEL Entrepreneurial Consulting Team provided a cross-disciplinary avenue to understand business functions in a startup environment.” –Aidan Yee, JD 2017


Finance Metrics Clinic

Eligibility: Olin students
Teams: Four to six-person teams
Timing: Mini – Fall/Spring
Credits: 1.5

Marketing Metrics Clinic

Eligibility: Olin students
Teams: Two to four-person teams
Timing: Mini – Fall/Spring
Credits: 1.5

Metrics Clinics in Finance and Marketing are focused on enterprises in the startup ecosystem. Apply your analytics skills in team consulting projects. Read about benefits to local small businesses.


Madagascar Sustainability Initiative

Eligibility: All WashU undergraduate and graduate students
Teams: Individual opportunity
Timing: Full semester (spring) + 3-4 weeks of travel in the summer.
Credits: 3.0

The Madagascar Sustainability Initiative focuses on sustainable development in a rural community in Madagascar. Students work with the Missouri Botanical Garden to develop and adapt entrepreneurial solutions addressing environmental, economic, and social issues. Read about one student’s journey.

“I absolutely loved my experience. Not only did I learn so much about another culture and aspects of their world, but I was able to experience it with people who I became extremely close with. It’s a rare to have this kind of opportunity at our age, and I felt as if I am more aware of my surroundings and actions here. I felt empowered that I was able to help out this community and understand the impact our work may have. Since I feel as if I am more well-rounded, I believe the effect the community and members had on me is the education value this experience brings to students.” –Sabrina Baxamusa, BSBA 2021


Taylor Community Consulting Program

Eligibility: All WashU students
Teams: Apply as a team or individually
Timing: Full semester (Fall, Spring) Mini B (Summer)
Credits: 3.0 (fall/spring), 1.5 (summer)

Impact your local community through this eight-week nonprofit consulting program. You’ll apply and enhance your critical thinking skills through team-based experiential learning projects with agencies such as American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Club of America, and International Institute of St. Louis. Read about the benefits to clients.

“The Taylor Program is undoubtedly the best way for students to benefit the greater St. Louis community while building problem-solving and interpersonal skills that are applicable to any career path.” –Elliott Cade, St. Louis Association of Community Organizations


Olin/United Way Board Fellows

Eligibility: Full-Time MBA, Professional MBA, Executive MBA and Law students
Teams: Individual opportunity
Timing: Calendar year (January to December)
Credits: 1.5 (spring) 1.5 (fall) Both required

The Olin/United Way Board Fellows Program provides the opportunity to apply and enhance your leadership skills while serving on the board of a local nonprofit agency for one full calendar year. As a full voting board member of a local nonprofit, you will see board governance in action, create and execute a project for the agency, and develop your skills serving alongside business and community leaders. Learn how agencies benefit.

“The Board Fellows program provided a unique experience of getting us out of the classroom and into the community to work on projects where we had real ability to drive impact.” –Adam Tappella, MBA 2019