We believe learning through experience leads to better work, better careers, and better lives.

"Change is the end result of all true learning."

- Leo Buscaglia

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our story

Experience Institute began in 2012 on airplanes and commuter trains.

Our founder was interested in pursuing an MBA to explore the intersection of design and business. But the costs and styles of a traditional degree program didn’t fit, so he designed his own through 12 projects with 12 organizations around the world in 12 months. After that year, Ei was created to help academic institutions and workplaces think differently about how to facilitate learning that is relevant, meaningful, and transformational.

Now, Experience Institute creates experience-based learning programs focused on relevant skills, real projects, and practical feedback alongside both universities and companies. Our classes equip students, managers, and teams to apply new mindsets and skills to their work right away. We’ve combined over 40 years of industry experience at organizations ranging from Stanford and Northwestern, to Leo Burnett and Deloitte.

Here’s a bit more about us:

our beliefs

These 5 beliefs reflect the way we build our learning products, our team, and our company.

  • 1

    Experience is circuitous, not linear.

    Education shouldn't be crammed into the beginning of our lives. When learning and work happen in repetitive, circuitous cycles we sharpen dull edges, continually discover new capabilities, and places to add value, and build positive feedback loops that reinforce a culture of curiosity.

  • 2

    Experience requires risk.

    Many of life’s transformative lessons come from being in a new situation – where you don’t know the right answer or there isn’t a right answer. Those are the places where you’ve taken a leap over the unknown and are aiming for a better place. Ei programs encourage participants to learn by doing, working on real projects, in the real world, with real companies, solving real problems.

  • 3

    Experience can be designed.

    Education is not something you take off the shelf — it's something that can be designed curated, and built. When you are given the space to go after new information and right-size it to your learning style and needs, that's when new clarity and confidence emerge.

  • 4

    Experience is better together.

    Community multiplies the lessons we learn. With every new set of eyes, our experiences become exponentially more meaningful, both personally and to those around us.

  • 5

    Experience is for everyone.

    We know that participants join our programs with a great depth of diverse work and lived experience, knowledge, skill, and learning style. At the same time, many traditional learning frameworks are designed for the majority and can unintentionally reinforce systemic inequities. We are committed to learning and design principles that generate equity and inclusion across race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other lines.

our team

Aaron Wilson-Ahlstrom

Director of Programs

Aaron is the son of an architect and a middle school teacher. Drawing on those roots, he's worked for 25 years at the intersection of Design & Learning, in a variety of roles - Program Design, Facilitation, Curriculum Writing, and Project Management.

Megan Christenson

Facilitator & Program Strategist

Megan is a Strategist and Sr. Facilitator at Experience Institute. Over the past 10 years, she has designed and led courses in leadership, innovation, and business development for hundreds of founders, teams, and nonprofit leaders around the world Acumen, Points of Light, and REDF.

Victor Saad

Founder & CEO

In 2012, Victor founded Experience Institute after designing his own Master's through 12 work experiences in 12 months. Over the past 8 years, he's worked with thousands of students and professionals grow their careers through engaging curriculum and meaningful experiences. He's also a Lecturer in Design at Stanford and a Forbes30Under30 recipient in the field of education. When he's not leading Ei, he's on his bike or working on his next writing project.

Zak Tracy

Finance & Operations

Zak is the resident CFO for Ei. Prior to joining the team he spent a decade inside large corporations building financial systems and designing new business models. Now he helps smaller, creative-first companies stay financially healthy and poised for growth. He is an alum of Ei's year-long program, a student coach, and business operations facilitator.

Stephanie Merello


Stephanie is a CPA and small business consultant that helps business owners manage their accounting and financial systems. She has worked with numerous small businesses over the last 10 years with a focus on companies in the Creative world.

William Ferguson


Will is a designer at Experience Institute. Outside of Ei, he works on the product design team at Tock building software for the restaurant and food industry.

Sara Loncka

Facilitator & Instructional Designer

Sara has worked at the intersection of social impact and experiential learning for over a decade. She is a cross-sectoral program designer and educator on topics ranging from adolescent mental health to civic engagement.

Drake Kirby

Social Media Producer

Drake is a designer, mountain biker, and car enthusiast based out of Asheville, NC. Currently taking a year off from studying design at Stanford, he’s pursuing a host of opportunities, including producing social media content for Ei, working as a bike mechanic, and writing a car blog which is just getting off the ground.

Stella Cai

Content Strategist

Stella graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 . She creates content for Experience Institute and Experience Lab’s social platforms, and curates resources for readers ranging from recent college grads to business leaders.

Tyler Fowler


A career marketer and facilitator Tyler works with Ei’s Exp Lab fellows to build digital marketing portfolios as they launch their careers. For professionals, he facilitates learning on using the principles of design and improv as problem solving tools.