Gabelli Students Improve Business Skills Through Improv Workshop

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

The students spent time learning how to adapt quickly in situations, working with partners and on smaller teams in improvised situations. The skills learned through acting in improv will help students in interviews and with on-the-job response to situations. The workshops also provided students with the opportunity to collaborate and build off one another’s ideas by supporting their fellow classmates in a safe environment meant that more creative ideas would flow.

The workshop’s instructors discussed how collaborating with their classmates or coworkers in a positive way, like through improv acting, would help bring out great ideas during brainstorming sessions. These business skills can also be applied in and out of the classroom and on the job.

Brandon Gardner, a UCB instructor said that the 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.”

Lakshmi Balachandra, a former improv comic and currently a teacher of Improvisational Leadership at MIT Sloan School of Management and a guest lecturer for advanced negotiation students at Harvard Business School, told CNN, “Improv teaches you how to think on your feet and how to react and adapt very quickly to unexpected events and things you may not have planned for.”


About the Author

Erin Purcell

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.

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