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Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School

Olin Business SchoolOlin Business School

The CEL Practicum

Innovative Learning. Delivering Impact to Real-World Business.

videoThe CEL Practicum program pairs faculty-led teams of talented Olin students with companies seeking smart solutions to management challenges. Proof of the effectiveness and value of CEL Practicum projects lies in the fact that many client companies return year after year to engage Olin consulting teams to tackle specific challenges in numerous areas that include operations, finance, strategy, business development, and marketing.

Students work in teams of four or more under the supervision of an Olin faculty member. Students devote a minimum of 150 hours per project, for a team total of at least 600 hours during a 14-week semester. Olin faculty advisors contribute 25 to 30 hours of mentoring and instruction to each project.

Practicum teams have strong incentives to excel beyond the expected. In addition to gaining practical experiences and skills, students receive credit for their project work. Deliverables often include a final team presentation and report to the client company.

Students have conducted more than 220 CEL Practicum projects for more than 130 organizations, which include:

  • Amazon
  • Guidant
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev
  • MasterCard International
  • Boeing
  • Monsanto
  • Cambridge Innovation Center
  • Noble International
  • Consumer Electronics Association
  • Obopay
  • Edward Jones
  • St. Jude Medical
  • Emerson
  • Thompson Street Capital Partners

Company sponsorship of a CEL Practicum may involve a fee. Please contact the program administrators at for more details.


Many organizations ask their student teams to sign confidentiality agreements. The CEL provides an agreement prepared by the Washington University general counsel's office.

Program Timeline

Spring Semester

Fall Semester
Organization application deadline Early December Early August
Project descriptions released to students Mid-December Mid-August
Student application deadline Late December Late August
Organizations selects teams Early January Late August
Project work begins Mid-January Early September
Final presentations delivered Early May Mid-December

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