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  Martin Reynoso, MBA '11 (far left).
 

The Ripple Effect

1/29/2013 --

Martin Reynoso, MBA '11, is improving life in his native Philippines using ideas developed at Michigan Ross.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — During his time in the Global MBA Program, Martin Reynoso, MBA '11, never lost sight of his family's business back in the Philippines. And now that he's an alum, he has his eyes on projects that he fine-tuned during his days in Ann Arbor.

Reynoso works for C.M. Pineda Realty, a rapidly growing real estate development business based in Legazpi City, Albay. As head of operations, he came to Michigan Ross to gain a better understanding of his customers and all aspects of the business — and he regularly shared applicable findings by Skyping into business meetings at 2 a.m.

But as Reynoso sought to grow his business, he also wanted to better his community, so the civic-minded executive appreciated Michigan Ross' social bent. "I liked that the new Ross building was LEED-certified, since I'm a LEED-certified professional. And I liked the university's connection as the birthplace of the Peace Corps," says Reynoso, who was active in his local Jaycees group — a worldwide leadership training and civic development organization for young professionals.

Reynoso found a way to put his community front and center during the strategy course "Solving Societal Problems through Enterprise and Innovation," where he and a team of fellow MBA students focused on ways to combat malaria and dengue fever. Both are major health concerns in the Philippines and other tropical nations. The team developed a marketing plan to distribute mosquito traps that relied on the use of funds from donors. "A good idea is just a small piece of the puzzle," says Reynoso. "The network of distribution and promotion is where the real juice is."

Although the plan didn't gain traction after the class ended, Reynoso never forgot the idea. And an out-of-the-blue email resurrected it. On a trip back home during the semester break, Reynoso had chatted with his seatmate about the project. As it turned out, the man worked for a Filipino telecommunications company, and nearly a year later, he contacted Reynoso to see if he'd be opposed to placing advertising on the trap. Reynoso pitched the project to the Jaycees, where the simplicity of the trap's bottle-and-stick design was met with initial skepticism. "Some didn't think it could work, because if it was so easy, someone else already would be doing it," he says. "But they quickly realized it was viable."

The telecommunications company ended up ordering 1,500 logo-imprinted traps, and currently is distributing them to their customers. Reynoso is fielding additional inquiries, as well.

He works with other Jaycees volunteers to teach classes on how to make the traps — which are made with recycled materials for a nominal cost — to school groups, government agencies, and other organizations that want to help. He also is in talks to put local prisoners to work producing the traps. Groups fundraise to buy the necessary materials, and money made on the sales is used for additional training and supplies.

"Our goal is that this project will be sustained at the community level," Reynoso says.

But Reynoso also wants to make an impact in a different environment. Prior to coming to Michigan Ross, he had been thinking of a way to develop a solar-powered, underwater coral reef that would create fish habitats, thus improving fishing and tourism opportunities for oceanfront communities. Once on campus, he refined the idea through an elevator pitch competition and now has patents pending for the technology. The Philippines' Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered 50 units in December.

"My professors and classmates at Michigan helped me simplify the technology and address the problems I had encountered," says Reynoso. "They polished my idea to the point where it truly was workable."

Being a busy executive at a growing company and a newlywed would be time-consuming enough for most of us. But Reynoso says his two socially focused entrepreneurial endeavors are worth the extra hours and sleepless nights. "Gandhi taught that I am just a speck in the large scheme of things, yet what I do can have a great ripple effect. So it's important that I take my knowledge and use it as best I can."

— Amy Spooner

The 16-month Global MBA Program is an accelerated degree for students who are sponsored by their companies. Students spend one month each in China, Japan, and Korea, followed by a 13-month residency in Ann Arbor. Learn more at www.bus.umich.edu/gmba.



For more information, contact:
Amy Spooner, 734-615-5068, aschulz@umich.edu