MAP Course at Michigan Ross Celebrates 25 Years of Hands-On Learning

This week, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business kicks off its annual Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) program, which embeds teams of students into a company or nonprofit to enhance their leadership skills and …

MAP course at Michigan Ross

This week, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business kicks off its annual Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) program, which embeds teams of students into a company or nonprofit to enhance their leadership skills and apply concepts from the classroom to real life business challenges.

Now in its 25th year, the entire class of 400 first-year full-time MBA students will embark on a seven-week project, spending time in the field and traveling to meet with executives on-site to tackle complex problems or uncover new opportunities for their sponsor organization. MAP student teams undertake a variety of projects, including evaluating market entry opportunities, developing long-term strategic plans and analyzing branding efforts.

To celebrate this important milestone in hands-on learning, the team at Michigan Ross has come up with a list of 25 things that make the MAP course unique and impactful learning experience.

  1. MAP is the longest such hands-on learning program, sending our entire class of first-year MBAs out into the field for seven weeks during the winter semester.
  2. It’s also one of the biggest.
  3. This year, students will be working on 83 simultaneous projects, while working with 74 different companies and organizations.
  4. These projects are with some of the biggest, most influential companies on the planet(Amazon, Google, Microsoft);
  5. with some of the most impactful nonprofits (Make-a-Wish, CARE International, Ocean Conservancy);
  6. and with some of the most promising startups (Vayu, Jeevtronics, VerseAI).
  7. Students will work hand-in-hand with the organization’s executives, gaining firsthand insights into business operations and expanding their networks.
  8. Companies often implement student suggestions, giving our MBAs incredible new resume credentials.
  9. And setting them up for success on day one of their summer internship.
  10. MAP is a unique opportunity to explore the global world of business in an entirely immersive way.
  11. Nearly 70-percent of MAP students will be participating in a project outside of their home country this year.
  12. Projects are taking place in 115 cities and 25 countries around the globe.
  13. There will be teams of Michigan Ross MBAs on almost every continent.
  14. Projects are taking place in six countries in Africa (Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania);
  15. in seven countries in Asia (Cambodia, China, India, Israel, Japan, Nepal, Vietnam);
  16. in four countries in Europe (Finland, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom);
  17. in four countries in South America (Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru);
  18. and in four countries in North America (Canada, USA, Mexico, Jamaica).
  19. This is the first time MAP students will be working in Nepal. They will be helping a company there develop financial models that can end the use of slave labor in the brick industry.
  20. MAP projects give students a chance to choose which industry they want to experience.
  21. From finance and technology to healthcare and marketing, many students choose to work in an entirely new industry than their previous job in order to build important new skills.
  22. MAP has already impacted an entire generation of business leaders.
  23. In 25 years, 10,852 Full-Time MBA Ross students have participated in MAP.
  24. They’ve worked with 1,391 sponsor companies, helping them solve some of their most pressing challenges.
  25. And the best part is, MAP is just getting started.

Although initially associated exclusively with the Ross Full-Time MBA Program, in recent years MAP has expanded to include other Ross degree programs. Global, Weekend, Evening, and Executive MBA students participate in projects similar in scope to the Full-Time cohort.

MAP Course Michigan Ross

Highlights of this year’s Full-Time MBA Ross MAP projects include:

  • A project with Java House, a chain of 44 coffee shops throughout Africa, where students will be working to provide a roadmap to help the company successfully enter the Tanzanian market.
  • A project with luxury brand, Shinola, where students will assist the company in developing new product categories.
  • A strategy project with GE Power in India, where students will help develop a framework for bringing new products and services to emerging markets.
  • Nineteen different technology projects, including one with Hotels.com, in which students will be developing a portal for sharing consumer research, and one with Microsoft, where students will investigate collaborations between universities and tech companies.
  • Several healthcare projects, including one with Jeevetronics, a medical device startup in India asking students to help them bring it’s affordable, innovative hand-cranked defibrillator to new markets.

For the next seven weeks, Ross students will be sharing their experiences on Instagram using the tag #RossMAP. The school encourages anyone interested to follow along and see the MAP experience through their eyes by following @MichiganRoss.

Image credit: Michigan Ross School of Business (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Etiquette Tips for MBA Thank You Notes

Our clients often ask us if they should write thank-you notes to their interviewers. While handwritten messages of appreciation will always be a classy move—and we certainly encourage applicants to write such notes if they’re …

thanking MBA interviewer

Our clients often ask us if they should write thank-you notes to their interviewers. While handwritten messages of appreciation will always be a classy move—and we certainly encourage applicants to write such notes if they’re so inclined—an email message is just as acceptable in this day and age.

The most important thing is to ensure you have your interviewer’s contact information. This is especially critical if your discussion is taking place on campus and you won’t know who your interviewer is going to be until you arrive. Don’t forget to ask for that person’s business card when you’re wrapping up!

If you’re interviewing with a local alum, then you’ll have already been supplied with their email address.

As for the content of the message, you shouldn’t feel the need to go on and on. There are only two must-includes: 1) thank the interviewer for their time and 2) reiterate your interest in the program. If you can throw in a sentence or two that references something you talked about, all the better. But a thank-you note is not the place to try and sell yourself any further. The point is to show that you’re excited about and thankful for the opportunity to be considered for a spot in Program X.

Some AdComs need to make accept and denial decisions very quickly, so you shouldn’t let more than 24 hours go by before you send your message. If you interviewed in the morning, send it before the business day is over. If your talk was in the late afternoon or evening, get your e-mail out first thing in the morning.

If you have to type out a quick message from your phone because you’ll be traveling back home after the interview, please don’t forget to read things over carefully to ensure spellcheck or autocorrect didn’t do you wrong. You don’t want the last impression you leave to be a negative one!

Have MBA hopefuls been accepted to their dream programs without writing any sort of thank-you note? Yes, of course. But showing that you have manners and are aware of the proper etiquette is never a bad move—it’s just the right thing to do.

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Haas School Receives Largest Gift Ever from Alumnus Under 40

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business announced it has received the largest gift made by an alumnus under the age of 40—Kevin Chou, the 36-year-old founding CEO of mobile gaming firm Kabam, and his wife, Dr. …

new building at berkeley haasUC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business announced it has received the largest gift made by an alumnus under the age of 40Kevin Chou, the 36-year-old founding CEO of mobile gaming firm Kabam, and his wife, Dr. Connie Chen, have pledged $15 million, with two potential step-ups of $5 million or $10 million at the end of five years.

In recognition of the gift, the school will name its new, state-of-the-art academic building opening later this year, seen in the above rendering, Connie & Kevin Chou Hall.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree from Berkeley-Haas in 2002, Chou co-founded Kabam along with two fellow Berkeley alumni. Late last year, he sold the majority of Kabam’s assets to South Korea’s Netmarble Games Corp. in an $800 million deal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Chou says it is important to him to give back to the school early in his career to inspire current and future Haas students to become entrepreneurs.

“Beyond Yourself is a principle that really resonates with me today,” says Chou, citing one of the four Haas Defining Principles. “I’m excited to be able to do this at this point in my career because I get to spend time with students and with Haas professors and other administrators, collaborating and helping them think about the new student space and the program.”

Chou is one of 176 Berkeley entrepreneurs who have signed the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge, a personal, non-binding pledge to give a portion of the value of their venture to support the university’s schools and programs, if and when they have a liquidity event.

The couple says their gift is also a testament to their support for UC Berkeley’s role in providing world-class public education to students of all backgrounds.

“We believe that diversity is so important in terms of shaping future leaders. We’re excited about bringing together students of all backgrounds—not just business students—to formulate ideas that will improve the world,” says Chen, 29, a practicing physician and co-founder of Vida Health, a venture-backed startup providing health coaching and programming.

Dean Rich Lyons calls the Chou and Chen gift transformative for Berkeley-Haas, noting that, “What makes this gift so special is that these are two people in their 30s—an extraordinary time in life to be making a commitment to an institution that Kevin says has had so much of an impact on his life. Their donation is going to have a catalytic effect on generations of donors to come.”

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Dos and Don’ts for Choosing MBA Recommenders

So many people think choosing a well-known or prestigious individual will be the ticket to acceptance at the b-school of their dreams. The key when selecting recommenders is to think about about their placement in …

So many people think choosing a well-known or prestigious individual will be the ticket to acceptance at the b-school of their dreams. The key when selecting recommenders is to think about about their placement in your life. Can they write about you thoughtfully and with enough insight so that the admissions committee can get an authentic feel for you as a person, as well as your skills and capabilities? Truly, the prestige of the recommender is not important.

Professional recommendations are best

In most situations, current and recent supervisors are the best choices because they can speak to your current skills, values, and work ethic as well as future potential. Also you should choose professional references instead of professors. Schools can see your educational background from transcripts and test scores; for that reason a recommendation from a professor won’t add much to your profile. Supervisors who have worked with you recently can elaborate on the aspects of your character that aren’t seen in resumes, transcripts, and scores.

Take a look at this excerpt from a recent post on the MBA Voices blog at Harvard Business School written by second-year student Ali Hassan, in which he describes how he chose his HBS recommenders while at McKinsey:

“When it came to recommendations, I was seeking two types of people.  First, I wanted someone who had worked very closely with me, and had a micro-level view of my skillset in day-to-day work. That person would be able to provide great insight, and back it up by pointing to specific experiences they’d had with me.
Second, I wanted someone who had a macro-level view of my work performance over time, with different teams, and across various work settings. If the first recommender provided depth, this one provided breadth. He was able to give a more comprehensive, long-term view of consistent patterns of strengths and weaknesses that I had as I worked with different teams, on different projects, and in different industries.”

People who know you well are best

Choose recommenders who know you well and can provide specific examples that speak to your personality, character, and values. Many applicants are tempted to ask their CEO or a famous school alum to write a recommendation.  If the CEO of your company is your direct supervisor and knows you well, then he/she is the right choice.

However do not skip several levels of hierarchy just to have the CEO write your recommendation. In fact, most schools specifically request your current supervisor as a reference, recognizing that this person is the most familiar with you and your work style. If for some reason you cannot have your current supervisor write your recommendation, you can submit a quick note to schools explaining why — eg, you just switched roles and have a new supervisor, you are not comfortable informing your place of work that you are applying to school.

Impress recommenders

Ideally you have already impressed your recommenders over the past few years with your performance. However, you want to be especially aware this spring and summer to demonstrate your leadership, initiative, maturity, and self-awareness. Your recommenders should see that you are ready to take the next step in your career by going to business school.

Build your relationships

Though the deadlines are still many months away, it is important to start thinking now about who your recommenders will be in order to build your relationships with them. Your recommenders should be invested in your future and enthusiastic about helping you reach your goal of getting into business school.

Though you don’t need to tell your recommenders right now that you want them to write a reference, you can take time this spring to make them mentors. Find opportunities to discuss their career path and ask their advice in order to involve them in furthering your career. Then it will seem natural for them to write your recommendations this fall.

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Alumni Call MBA Experience Rewarding, Expands Career Possibilities

More than half of graduate business school alumni are currently employed in an industry or job function they did not have experience in prior to entering business school, according to a report released today by …

MBA alumni

More than half of graduate business school alumni are currently employed in an industry or job function they did not have experience in prior to entering business school, according to a report released today by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a nonprofit organization of leading graduate business schools.

Findings from the Council’s 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey show that 2 in 5 (39%) alumni currently work in an industry they hadn’t considered prior to starting business school; they learned of the opportunity while enrolled in a graduate business program, with 88% sharing that they are satisfied with their job and employer.

“Year after year our research has shown that a graduate management education offers significant personal, professional and financial rewards. We’re now seeing strong evidence of how valuable the degree is with regard to changing careers,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president and CEO of GMAC.

“Given the current pace of change in the economy and the workplace, candidates can be confident in the knowledge that a graduate management education can prepare them with the skills and flexibility they need to be in a better position to pivot and adapt their careers when opportunities present themselves and industries are disrupted.”

The findings of the 2017 Alumni Perspectives Survey Report detail the education and career outcomes of nearly 15,000 graduate business alumni representing 1,100 graduate business programs located around the world. The report highlights that the value proposition of a graduate business degree is high regardless of graduation year or program type.

Key Findings

Compensation for Business School Graduates

Nearly all (95%) survey respondents rate their graduate management education a good to outstanding value. On average, the total compensation package for graduate business school alumni can range from a median of US$75,513 for an entry-level position upward to a median of US$440,122 in total compensation for a C-suite executive.

Business school alumni earn 76% of their total compensation in base salary, on average. As they advance up the career ladder, a greater proportion of their compensation comes from non-salary sources such as bonuses.

 Employment Profile

Ninety-two percent of survey respondents are currently employed — 8 in 10 overall (81%) worldwide are employed with a company and 11% are self-employed entrepreneurs. Globally, the products and services (27%), technology (14%), and finance and accounting (11%) sectors employ the greatest proportion of alumni represented in this survey.

Though alumni work across the spectrum of industries, their degree type often differentiates career paths. MBA alumni are more likely to work in technology, nonprofit and government, manufacturing, health care, energy, and utilities, compared with alumni holding non-MBA master’s degrees. Business master’s alumni, for example, are more likely to be found employed in finance, accounting and consulting industries.

As for job functions, MBA alumni are more likely to hold positions in marketing, sales, operations, logistics, and general management. Alumni of non-MBA business master’s degrees are more likely to work in finance, accounting, and human resource positions.

In total, more than 4 in 5 alumni agree their education prepared them for leadership positions (86%), prepared them for their chosen career (85%), and increased their earnings power (82%).

The Entrepreneur

Most alumni delay their entrepreneurial activities until after graduation. In fact, 2 in 3 alumni entrepreneurs began their business after graduation following employment at another company.

One in 8 alumni entrepreneurs sought venture capital and 72% of these individuals received such funding. Half of the alumni entrepreneurs say their university provided faculty guidance, experts from the community, and mentors to guide their entrepreneurial activities.

Most Valued Skills in the Workplace

Alumni rank interpersonal skills as most important in the workplace, regardless of job level or function. Among the top five talents important to their job, the ones related to “people” skills or emotional intelligence are highly ranked by alumni, with interpersonal skills (e.g., active listening, persuasion and negotiation, time management) topping the list.

Other skills predominate as one moves up the corporate ladder. Alumni in higher-level positions are more likely to indicate that managing human capital, strategy and innovation, and the decision-making process are more important to their current job compared with alumni in lower-level positions.

Alumni Recommendations

Most alumni are very likely to recommend their graduate business program to colleagues and friends. The overall Net Promoter Score — a customer loyalty metric — that business schools receive from their alumni is 47, which is greater than scores received in many sectors of the economy.

Net Promoter Scores are positive for all graduate business programs, although differences by program type range from 22 for Master in Management programs to 62 for full-time two-year MBA programs. If offered the choice, more than 9 in 10 (92%) alumni would have pursued their graduate management education knowing what they know now.

“Graduate business programs expose students to a wide range of opportunities and provide alumni with access to a variety of career outcomes,” said Chowfla. “It’s clear from the results that alumni feel their education helped prepare them for leadership positions, as well as enhanced their earnings potential and guided their career development. This positivity is reflected in their recommendation of a graduate management education to others.”

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Using an MBA to Change Careers

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Evaluate MBA Career Services When Selecting Possible B-Schools

Guest post provided by our friends at Prep Adviser MBA career services have not generally been considered pivotal to your choice of the right business school for your management studies. However, some career centers cater …

MBA career services

Guest post provided by our friends at Prep Adviser

MBA career services have not generally been considered pivotal to your choice of the right business school for your management studies. However, some career centers cater so well to MBA students’ future vocations that they have become an indispensable asset to MBA programs.

Why business schools care about post-MBA careers

There are two major reasons for the growth of MBA career services. The first is that business schools now realize that the career success of their alumni is a major selling point in MBA programs. Ultimately, the return on investment (ROI) and the return in happiness (RIH) determine the value of the overall MBA experience in the short and long-term.

Along these lines, the recession of 2008 – 2009 also encouraged business schools to improve their career services. MBA recruitment was hit by difficult times in the corporate world. So business schools compensated by helping their students land attractive jobs despite the crisis.

The second factor boosting the growth of MBA career services is the MBA’s increased cachet beyond the corporate world. Traditionally, the MBA was a highly valued qualification to climb the corporate career ladder in the Western world. Nowadays, it is valued worldwide in almost any sector and industry. Entrepreneurship and the start-up industry additionally turned out to be fertile soil for the growth of MBA talent. This diversity of career paths and industries has led to MBA career services expanding beyond traditional corporate recruitment.

How to evaluate MBA career services

The MBA is always about change. Contemplating an MBA means that you want to make a career change – move to a new company, take a managerial role, work at an international level, make a career in new country or region, apply your skills in a new industry, or start your own company. You should approach your MBA application with a specific career goal or at least up to three scenarios for your post-MBA path. Your career goal is essential in selecting the right MBA programs.

When selecting business schools always inquire about the scope of MBA career services and evaluate them against your needs. It’s vital to consider the sectors and industries in which the career centre specialises. Some centers have dedicated consultants per industry. SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy) aims to help students fully understand the industry sectors they are most interested in and evaluate their options based on their profile and aspirations.

MBA participants at Oxford Said Business School (UK) benefit from insights and pragmatic advice of a select group of sector consultants who have experience of working for leading firms across a broad range of sectors across a range of industries including management consulting, finance, high-tech, new ventures, media and communications, and diversified industry in general.

The scope of the services varies greatly. The MBA Career Development Programme at INSEAD (France) spans the whole process – “Know Yourself. Know the Market. Strategise and Execute”. The programs takes MBA students through 5 stages of developing a career plan – self-assessment, career vision, career design, job search, job application, and salary negotiations. B-schools often provide personal and leadership coaching as part of their MBA career development programs.

From job placement to career strategy

Career services have also shifted strategy greatly. Immediate post-MBA jobs are still an important selling point for MBA programs, but they now look to long-term career success. This is also because current and future professionals are likely to change jobs much more frequently than they did 20 years ago. New professions crop up every day, requiring lifelong learning and acquiring transferable skills, as well as a vision of how to navigate your career.

ESADE Business School (Spain) is among the leading business schools aiming to help MBA participants “develop the lifelong skills for successfully managing their careers.

IMD Business School (Switzerland) has developed an MBA career methodology focused on “Building Your Future” that takes MBA participants through two stages: During the first part of the program, a unique career audit methodology provides a clear-cut view on individual skill profiles and gaps and the potential for capturing value from transferable skills. The second half of the program allows you to individualize your curriculum in view of personal post-MBA ambitions.

Significantly, IMD involves its career experts in the MBA admissions process. This helps the admissions committee evaluate the relevance of applicants’ career goals against the resources of the business school to ensure post-MBA career growth.

Who is the driver of career success?

Business schools have developed comprehensive career services but it is essentially MBA participants themselves who should propel their own success. To achieve in the long-run, you should take time and effort to set clear career goals before applying for an MBA. Based on these you should select the most appropriate business schools considering all that they can offer – curriculum, network, learning environment, business exposure, and career services, among others. Finally, start working with the MBA career center as soon as you begin your studies and always be proactive. Business schools care more and more about your success, but ultimately your career and lifestyle are your own responsibility.

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