09:30 AM - 11:00 AM
21 October 2023

Improvisational Theatre Techniques to Improve Communication Skills

State of the Industry / Profession

Approximately 10 years ago the University of IL- Chicago (UIC) heard from their MBA students’ employers that their graduates needed to improve their “soft skills”. The MBA program’s diverse and smart student population, many of them first generation college students, were not making a smooth transition into the corporate world. Using instructors versed in both technical topics and the local theatre scene, the university started incorporating improvisational theater courses into the program to teach interpersonal communication and public presentation skills.
The program includes up to two semesters of improvisational theater classes in both the MBA program and the UIC Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development (iLEAD) professional development program for UIC undergrad students. The program’s results have been appreciated by UIC MBA graduates’ employers, who have commented on the positive difference in student graduating from the program with the improvisational theatre training.
Others MBA programs have included student improv training in their coursework. The U of Chicago MBA program has partnered with the school at Second City, a local improvisation and sketch comedy venue to train their students.
This session will be presented and led by UIC iLEAD Instructor, Jeffrey Wilson, MBA, from the UIC Business program who has an undergraduate degree in engineering and teaches improvisation theater courses in the program.
He will be introduced and assisted by Karen Kabbes, PE, D.WRE, F. ASCE, who has studied improvisation theatre in the Chicago area to improve both her interpersonal communication and public presentation skills as a practicing civil engineer.