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Practice-based learning in the Tequila industry: the business school goes out of the classroom

Ruben Toledano-O’Farrill (Department of Economics, Management and Marketing, Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, Tlaquepaque, Mexico)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 16 January 2019

Issue publication date: 23 July 2019




The purpose of this paper is to present the methodology and results of practice-based learning in the Business School of a higher education institution (HEI) in Mexico, with a focus on students’ participation and learning experience.


This research is a descriptive and qualitative analysis of six team experiences within a larger project developed through university–business partnership with the aim of helping develop organizational capabilities of small and medium enterprises within the Tequila industry in Mexico.


Participation of students in project-based learning, in genuine scenarios alongside professional consultants, is an effective way to develop learning and to apply prior knowledge. Learning occurs at several levels, including developing professional knowledge, teamwork, leadership and communication skills, and to some extent consulting skills. Client organizations also develop learning in work-based learning (WBL) projects.

Research limitations/implications

The research methodology does not allow for generalization of the results on a large scale.

Practical implications

This research shows a successful instance of project- and practice-based learning that may be helpful for HEIs seeking to implement this learning methodology.

Social implications

There is research evidence that more students are expecting to get practice-based skills as part of their higher education training. This paper supports the argument that HEIs can develop wide scale WBL programs that have impact on students’ learning and skills development as well as on the development of host organizations.


The instance of WBL described in this research paper is unique within HEIs in Mexico.



Toledano-O’Farrill, R. (2019), "Practice-based learning in the Tequila industry: the business school goes out of the classroom", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 305-318.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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