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.
Each year, the entire class of first-year full-time MBA students embarks 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.
Not only does the program give students the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get experience in the field, but it is also a differentiator for students as they work with recruiters and navigate the job market.—Dean Alison Davis-Blake
Student teams will participate in 80 projects, with 40 taking place in the U.S. and 40 abroad across 21 different countries. This year, 63 percent of full-time MBA students are working on projects outside of their home country.
Throughout the MAP experience, students apply academic concepts, problem-solving skills, and creativity to frame and resolve that challenge. At the conclusion of the project, teams deliver analysis and thorough, data-driven recommendations to the sponsor and Ross faculty in a formal presentation and written report.
The program supports a mutually beneficial collaboration between students, faculty and sponsor organizations as students have the opportunity to gain experience applying their classroom learnings and working on high-intensity projects while sponsors get insightful business recommendations for their opportunity or issue at hand.
This year’s MAP program includes:
- Projects at the world’s largest social media and tech companies including Facebook and Amazon
- Capital One, New York – The team will create a brand new digital commercial bank strategy to help Capital One reimagine commercial banking in a digital world
- Shared-X, Peru – The team will research and write a feasibility study for Shared-X to vertically integrate its coffee business
- General Motors, San Francisco, New York, Chicago – The team will develop a full business case and deployment strategy for an innovative ride sharing service
- Make-A-Wish, Phoenix – The team will formulate strategic planning and resource modeling tools to help Make-A-Wish achieve its goal of reaching 17,000 children annually by 2020
“Over the course of the MAP project I realized the crucial importance of team communication as in a short amount of time my team had to get to know each other’s personalities and skills while also working on a project that was new to us,” said Mike Homorody, a class of 2016 MBA student who participated in a MAP project at Google in 2015.
“I had to figure out how to best share ideas in order to build consensus and influence stakeholders. MAP gave me the opportunity to reflect on my leadership and communication styles and learn how I can contribute to a high-functioning team,” Homorody said.
Since 1992, 10,032 students have worked on 1,930 projects in 97 countries with 1,329 sponsor companies. Sponsor organizations include major corporations, leading brands and nonprofits across the U.S. and around the world, spanning several sectors including technology, consumer packaged goods, healthcare, food and finance.
“Our immersive engagement with MAP students brought innovative, new perspectives to Hyatt and allowed us to continue developing leaders who take a fresh look at things every day, and we believe the experience offered rich learning experiences for these leaders of tomorrow,” said Anil Harjani, vice president of innovation at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts who oversaw a Michigan Ross MAP team in 2015.
“We recommend other organizations participate in this process to continue the dynamic forum in which academic and corporate worlds share and collaborate for mutual value.”