Link My iMpact  
Link Strategic Positioning Tool Kit  
To Executive Education
To Kresge Library

Ross MBAs Gain a World of Experience Close to Home

2/18/2010 --

Several MAP teams are helping Michigan companies and nonprofits this spring.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---For nearly 20 years, ReCellular Inc. has helped protect the environment by refurbishing, reusing and recycling discarded cell phones. Now, as it looks to expand its reach into other electronic products, ReCellular is turning to a team of MBA students at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business to help the company develop a market-entry strategy for the first-ever comprehensive expansion of its product mix.

"Doing so will allow us to expand on the nearly $4 million dollars we were able to direct to charities through technology recycling programs in 2009 and the 6 million pounds of used electronics kept out of our landfills," said Mike Newman, vice president of marketing at ReCellular. "The Michigan team will size the market potential for various electronic types, assess alignment with our current customer base and provide recommendations for a top corporate priority for 2010."

The team of Ross MBA students that will work with ReCellular is one example of the nearly 100 teams at Michigan's Ross School this spring that will help global companies, entrepreneurial firms and nonprofit organizations solve problems, identify new processes and target opportunities for growth. While many of these teams of first-year MBAs will carry out their required Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP) in countries around the world and across the United States, several will stay right here in Michigan and the Ann Arbor area to help locally based entities.

Like helping Dexter-based ReCellular; Esperion Therapeutics Inc. in Plymouth; Ann Arbor companies Aastrom Biosciences Inc. and Adaptive Materials Inc.; DTE Energy and the Karmanos Cancer Institute, both in Detroit; the Cherry Marketing Institute in DeWitt; the Ann Arbor Public School District; Washtenaw County government; and other campus units, such as the U-M Comprehensive Depression Center and the Taubman Medical Research Institute. At Ann Arbor-based Adaptive Materials, a leader in the development and manufacture of solid oxide fuel cells, the Ross student MAP team will evaluate a particular segment market that has demonstrated increasing demand for portable power and create a business plan and market-entry strategy.

"As Adaptive Materials continues down the path toward commercialization, we are continually exploring additional growth opportunities," said Chris Kondogiani, manager of technology delivery. "We are excited to begin meeting with our team, and get started on the project. Based on the support that the program receives from the university and the caliber of students at the Ross School, we are anticipating actionable recommendations that will have an impact on our business."

Other Ross students will help the Washtenaw County Department of Economic Development & Energy develop a plan for redevelopment of the Washtenaw County Juvenile Center and Comerica Bank properties on Washtenaw Avenue, as part of the county's plan to transform this major regional corridor from an auto-oriented suburban commercial throughway to a compact, mixed-use transit corridor.

Anya Dale, Washtenaw County economic development and energy specialist, says that the Ross MAP team will work with her department, the city of Ann Arbor and property owners to come up with a plan for redevelopment.

"The goal for the proposed sites is to rezone and dispose the site plan for maximum value while meeting the goals for the character of corridor redevelopment," she said. "Desired outcome is an economically feasible concept for redevelopment, as well as assistance with site planning and rezoning application with (the Ross) students' help."

Two other Ross MAP teams will work with campus units. One will create a strategic vision and operational business plan to help the U-M Depression Center develop models for coordinating depression/bipolar programs in a collaborative way for a national network of depression centers. The other will develop a detailed business plan that will help the Taubman Medical Research Institute's newly announced Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies market its products and services.

In all, 17 MAP projects this spring have ties to companies and organizations that have a Michigan presence. MAP is the Ross School's signature action-based learning experience, engaging students in real business situations. Each spring, all first-year MBAs spend seven weeks working on MAP teams of four-to-six students. Each project requires analytical rigor, critical thinking and genuine teamwork. At the end of their project, teams present their analyses and recommendations to their sponsors in both a written report and a final presentation.

For more information on MAP, click here.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847,