Ilitch School to offer five-day grad course on improv for summer 2021


When was the last time a day in your life–at work or otherwise–went exactly as planned? How did you handle it when things didn’t go as intended? Improvisation is a skill developed to help deal with change, and like other abilities, it can be strengthened with training.

To help Ilitch Business graduate students better develop improv abilities, the school has created a unique course on Improvisation in Business Organizations (MGT 8000). Traditionally taught face-to-face, the 3-credit course will be offered virtually this summer over five consecutive days, July 23-27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Taught by Second City graduate and long-time Ilitch School faculty member Gary Shields, this highly interactive course facilitates learning and skill-building based on organizational research on improv in business including strategy, new product development, negotiation, customer service, conflict resolution, teamwork and communication. The class also expands discussions to subject-parallel areas such as psychology, music, medicine and even the science of play.

Students will participate in a variety of experiential exercises and cases from organizational behavior and theatrical improv. Guest speakers from the field of improv will also frequently participate in the class.

“I hope that students will not only develop skills they can use at work to create innovative organizations, but also use those same skills to create a culture of creativity in their personal lives,” Shields said. “To quote Mr. Colbert, ‘Life is an improvisation.’”

Current Ilitch School students can register for MGT 8000 and other spring/summer courses now. The deadline for new students to apply for spring/summer admission has been extended through March 31. Current and prospective students can always contact the school’s Graduate Programs Office for more information.

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