• Experience-Based Learning

    Katz graduates make an impact on day one because credit hours are 'ramp up' time. Our students learn from entrepreneurial faculty. They prep for the day-to-day demands of business through Consulting Field Projects, fellowships, professional development training, internships and co-ops, and national case competitions.


  • The Katz Invitational

    Team-based projects occur at every step of Pitt’s graduate programs. It takes teamwork to preserve persevere in global business.


    Katz Invitational Case Competition: The signature case competition hosted by Pitt’s MBA Programs Office. The event draws other top MBA programs from around the region. Additionally, Katz students travel throughout the year to case competitions hosted across the United States.


    The University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business is hosting an invitational case competition that will showcase the skills and talents of participating MBA students. The case for the Katz Invitational Case Competition will be multi-dimensional, designed to test the teams' ability to collaborate on different business disciplines. The case will give students the opportunity to evaluate a tough business situation in multiple perspectives in a very short period of time and to present their recommendations to senior executives. The ultimate goal is to allow students to apply their business education to deliver unique and creative recommendations.

    Katz Invitational 

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    Case Competitions

  • Solving Real-World Problems

    The University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School faculty has offered field projects for more than two decades. These MBA courses provide an invaluable opportunity for students to work in teams and apply concepts and methodologies that they have learned to real business problems of significant importance to the sponsoring companies.

    The final requirement of these Consulting field projects is for each team to participate in the McKinsey Cup Competition. Teams present their project summary as well as their findings and recommendations to a panel of judges who evaluate each presentation based on its analytical rigor and content.


    What Qualifies as a Consulting Field Project?

    Consulting field projects are offered as stand-alone elective classes for the MBA program (a project done within another course would not qualify as a project course). The intellectual content and learning of the project course must be substantial enough for awarding academic credit. For example, a pure data collection exercise would not qualify as a Project Course. To provide real-life learning experiences to the students, Katz Graduate School Consulting Field Projects must involve teams of at least four students. Consulting Field Projects must be sponsored by companies to ensure that the problem being addressed is important and relevant.


    What are the Responsibilities of the Sponsoring Organizations?

    • Defining the scope of the project in discussion with the faculty member

    • Appointing a coordinator who will meet with the students regularly

    • Sharing relevant data and contextual information in a timely fashion with the students

    • Identifying executives who participate in the project presentations to make sure project is on track

    • Ensuring that project fee is paid on time, and,

    • Providing feedback about how the course went at the conclusion of the Project Course.


    What are the Responsibilities of the MBA Students?

    • Representing themselves and the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School in a professional manner

    • Developing and making three presentations to the sponsor: an initial presentation defining the scope of the project, and interim presentation with the proposed approach and methodology, and a final presentation describing the findings and recommendations

    • Keeping in regular touch with the coordinator from the sponsoring organization

    • If requested by the sponsoring organization, keeping the analysis, and, recommendations confidential


    What are the Project Fees to be Paid by the Organizations? How Many Credits Do Students Get?

    Due to the calendar time generally needed for such courses, it is expected that the consulting field projects would be one semester long, and MBA students would get three credits. The extent of the work involved in the project would determine the team size, faculty credits and project fee. University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School faculty would estimate the associated work load, and determine the team size. Past experience indicates that faculty have used teams of either 4 students or about 12-14 students. The corresponding project fee, to be paid by the sponsoring organization, would be respectively, $7,500 or $15,000. Also, all major out-of-pocket expenses related to the project (such as travel outside Pittsburgh) will be covered by the sponsoring organization.

    If your organization is interested in sponsoring a Project Course, contact Katz Lecturer Bud Smith (412-648-1547; budsmith@katz.pitt.edu).

    McKinsey Cup 

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    Consulting Field Projects

  • Unconventional Learning

    This is our capstone course that ties together everything students learn in the core classes. Students assume the roles of company executives for an international manufacturer and, using a sophisticated computer simulation, compete head-to-head against peers from Katz and other schools.  What makes this a key part of Experience-Based Learning is that the students management teams report to boards of directors comprised of industry professionals, making the experience as real-world as possible.


    The class is very different from conventional classes in that we create an environment that permits you to learn primarily from your teammates, your competitors, your board members, and from the dynamic nature of competition.  You are rewarded for what you deliver, how well you communicate your ideas, and how well you understand your role and position within your company.

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    Management Simulation


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