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Ross MBAs Raise Nearly $67,000 in 48 Hours for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan

8/31/2011 --

Student orientation solidifies school’s commitment to social responsibility.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Incoming Ross MBA students have transformed b-school orientation into a fundraising blockbuster for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan.

In their first days on campus, first-year MBAs raised $66,945 to support the foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. The students beat the deadline and surpassed the initial goal set by the school's Ross Impact Challenge, a competitive fundraiser launched by the Ross Leadership Initiative during student orientation.

At its core the Ross Impact Challenge is a creative leadership task that draws on students' skills in finance, accounting, marketing, and general management before classes even begin. The challenge aims to demonstrate to students that they can lead to make a positive difference in the world.

"We're so proud and impressed that the students rose to the occasion and exceeded our expectations," says Scott DeRue, co-director of the Ross Leadership Initiative, and Bank One Corporation Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations. "This sets the tone for the action-based MBA experience at Ross and defines the school's ethos of leadership, collaboration, and social responsibility."

Incoming MBA students first learned of the Ross Impact Challenge at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29. Six sections of 85 students (ostensibly strangers) were charged with raising $7,500 per section, for a total goal of $45,000, by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31. As of Wednesday morning, each section had surpassed its goal to raise more than $53,000. By 6 p.m. the total had climbed to $66,945.

"We are delighted to be partnered with the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business for the 2011 Ross Impact Challenge," says Make-A-Wish President/CEO Karen Davis. "The MBA students' enthusiasm and creativity are exciting, and we are so grateful that their efforts will help make wishes come true for our Michigan wish kids."

Students engaged in a series of creative awareness campaigns, using everything from social media to a flash mob on the steps of the University of Michigan Student Union.

This is the first year Ross students have engaged in a fundraising challenge as part of student orientation. The Ross Impact Challenge is presented by the Ross Leadership Initiative, a series of co-curricular leadership development activities that complement quantitative and analytical coursework throughout the two-year MBA experience. In addition to the Ross Impact Challenge, Ross MBA orientation includes the Global Citizenship Day in which first-year MBAs volunteer with Detroit-based nonprofits for a day of community service.

Professors DeRue and Gretchen Spreitzer are the co-directors of the Ross Leadership Initiative. Karen Davis, president/CEO, and Jen Connery, VP of philanthropy, are the Michigan executives for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan.

This year, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan will grant more than 400 wishes to Michigan children.

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