The statistics around college students failing to “launch” after college are surprising. Over half remain unemployed or under-employed one year after graduation.

Education is great at helping students swim in swimming pools (classes, campuses, etc.) But then we take students to the middle of the ocean (real world) and expect them to swim the same way. But swimming in the ocean, alone and far from shore, is very different from swimming in a pool. The job market is tough, and most students keep so busy taking classes and working jobs to support tuition, they don't have time to get the real-world experience that companies are looking for.

COVID has only exacerbated the situation.

Experience Institute’s university partnership programs provide opportunities for current students and recent grads to simultaneously build specialized skills while gaining work experience in companies, organizations, and/or communities. Our programs introduce both the technical and life skills companies seek. Ei’s higher ed programs bring together communities of creative, curious students and talented instructors who are both teachers and practitioners of what they teach. In community, students learn and work, leading them to their next step with greater confidence and clarity.

Read more about some of the programs we've designed and facilitated:

If you’re interested in bringing Experience Lab to your institution, please contact:

or stop by
our website

Experience Lab

A Gap Semester or Career Launcher for Recent Grads

Experience Lab is designed for recent college grads to launch into their next step through curricula in trending jobs and full-time work with growing companies. We partnered with our friends at Sage Corps to combine technical skills training with field experiences inside a growing company. After college, students from anywhere in the world can meet with other recent grads, study a specific career path, and work with a start-up for three months—all at a fraction of the cost of a Master’s degree.

Experience Lab launched with the University of California, Berkeley in 2019. Currently, we are operating a fully virtual version with the University of Pennsylvania.

Learn more at:

Stanford Design Summer

Helping Students Work With Alumni Throughout College

In 2017, we began a conversation with our friends David Kelley and Bill Burnett at Stanford about how the days of lifelong careers are long gone. As soon as students graduate, their task isn’t just to find a job, but rather to continue navigating ever-changing industries and new problems that don’t even exist yet.

But there seemed to be a lack of opportunities for students to start thinking with that mindset throughout their college career. We saw a need for more invitations and support for students to launch into meaningful off-campus experiences. Specifically, Bill and David were looking for new ways to support Stanford Product Design students to think more creatively and intentionally about their summers—an obvious gap right in the middle of the higher ed experience.

We Started Building

We wrote curricula and classes focused on four key pillars: Self-Awareness, Community Building, Storytelling, and Career Navigation. And we’ve been teaching those workshops through a semester-long course -- Design Summer.

Connecting Students and Companies/Orgs

Last fall, Ei led the build-out of our very first piece of software—a simple tool for companies and teams to post-summer projects and connect with students. It’s one-part job board and one-part dating site-esque for companies to meet students who can contribute to complex projects over the summer. It’s now a cornerstone of the program.

Nice Center Leaps

Helping Students Design Solutions to Real-World Issues

The Nice Center at North Dakota State University was commissioned to expand entrepreneurship throughout the state of North Dakota. The directors asked Ei to adapt our Leap Kit to a full-fledged course that would empower students and community members to design their own projects to make an impact in the community.

In late August 2020, we worked with The NICE Center to host an introductory workshop. This initial event introduced participants to the Leap Map, helped them identify a specific project to work on, and laid the foundation for a community of support and accountability.

A few months later, we hosted a Showcase Night, which provided a forum to unite leapers and the broader community to celebrate the work and learning that took place.

Along the way, leapers benefited from regular check-ins to stay on track, motivated, and troubleshoot obstacles.

Ei Fellowship

Harvard meets the Amazing Race

Ei's first program, a year-long fellowship, nurtured innovators through experience. The Fellowship provided supported exploration, skill development in core competencies, and deep work experiences. Fellows graduated with rich and vast exposure to their paths of interest, a strong portfolio to demonstrate their work, and an emerging professional network.

Though every student's journey was unique, we helped all Fellows develop 5 core competencies:

  • Design-Thinking
  • Storytelling
  • Community Building
  • Business Operations
  • Self-Awareness

These core competencies are what we continue to develop with our workplace partners.

Questions about our programs?

Let us know how we can help.

Your Name