Students Showcase Sustainability Ideas in +Impact Studio Course

Eight teams of graduate students from the University of Michigan presented their answers to the question of “how might we support entrepreneurs in Detroit in creating economically sustainable business models in green energy?” during Demo Day in April. The Demo Day was the culmination of the +Impact Studio Course BA670—hosted by the +Impact Studio and co-taught by Jerry Davis, the Gilbert and Ruth Whitaker Professor of Business Administration at Michigan Ross and the Business+Impact initiative faculty director; and Cat Johnson, managing director of Business+Impact.

“Enterprises for the green energy transition” can be a broad category, and could include themes like neighborhood solar microgrids, geothermal, high efficiency insulation, solar rooftop installation, or other enterprises aimed at uplifting their communities and enhancing neighborhood self-sufficiency. Through the course, students had the opportunity to enhance their research and design skills while collaborating across boundaries to tackle pressing business challenges.

Designed to be interdisciplinary, the course had 37 graduate students from seven different schools on campus, including Michigan Ross, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the School of Information, and the School of Social Work, working together to develop their prototypes during the Winter ‘23 past semester.

The students used their research to create how-to guides for entrepreneurs seeking to “green” their businesses. This resource currently has three dozen How-To guides for easy download, printing, and sharing, and was created for new and existing enterprises creatively adopting green technologies.

All student teams made presentations for Demo Day in Michigan Ross’ Tauber Colloquium. Guest community experts included Loren Townes of the +Impact Studio, Moses Lee of the +Impact Studio, Charlene Zietsma of the School for the Environment and Sustainability, Jay Meeks of the LEAPS Program at UM, David Palmer of David Palmer Real Estate, Tanya Saldivar-Ali of Detroit Future Ops/AGI Construction, and Kimberly Hill Knott of Future Insight Consulting.

View photos from the course and Demo Day on Flickr

Learn about the +Impact Studio course projects this semester:

Grant Alper, MBA/MS
Haley Goodman, MBA
Kate Hoffmire, MSI
Yuqi Shi, MBA
Joss Woodhead, MBA

CLIPPY stands for Community Led Initiatives Powering Progressively (for) You. The goal is to reduce the workload and mental burden for business owners to make the green energy transition seamless. Ease of access and direct information reigns supreme. This vision drives our short and simple survey that points business owners to personalized recommendations for transitioning to green energy and the option of appointments to discuss choices with a green energy consultant.

Community Co-Pilots
Rebecca Epstein, MBA
Anna Norman, MBA/MS
Aki Sato, MSW
Madeline Sumida, MSW

Co-Pilot service for clean energy programs with local governments and community-based organizations. Our outreach specialists trained in participatory facilitation go to Detroit communities to educate on energy issues and pilot programs, help community members sign up for projects and fill out documents, and collect feedback from community members. This process enables easier access to clean energy options, and also serves to collect their perspectives and feedback to inform future green energy pilots, offerings and policies.

Detroit Green
Alyson Grine, MBA
Stella Han, MBA
Zach Nerod, MBA/MS
Prarthana Shevatekar, MSI
Rob Squiers, MBA/MS

Our mission is to provide equitable funding, resources, support, and access for green energy in a community-centered, personalized, and tangibly interactive way. We do this through low interest loans for the under-banked, physical space for those seeking guidance, a community presence for creating a sense of support, and local roots employing local Detroiters contributing to local neighborhoods.

D-Green Hub
Vinicius Briganti, MS/MBA
Maianh Phan, MBA
Brian Plamondon, MBA
Yi Zhang, MEng

In 2026, d-Green Hub would open a 15,000 sq. ft facility in the Detroit Metro Area powered by renewable energy and rent spaces out to small and medium sized business owners that utilize light industrial machinery to run their businesses. The power will be guaranteed to be clean, reliable, and constant. D-Green Hub will also provide resources on energy efficiency for all Hubbers.

Alexis Black, MBA
Jessica Drossner, MBA
Jeremiah Easton, MBA/MS
Bailey White, MBA
Kyle Xu, MSI

Small business owners in Detroit will be able to connect with an extensive local knowledge base to save costs on energy though our online community platform. Community ambassadors, local contractors and vendors, and SMB owners will create an efficient market for cost-saving energy technologies and best practices to benefit the Detroit community.

Connor Donnelly, MBA/MS
Chelsea Gaylord, MPP
Hillary McKenzi, MBA/MS
Jackson Pilutti, MBA

Our Mission is to bridge the green energy transition in Detroit and ensure every business has access to clean, reliable, and affordable electricity. Portable creates a rentable marketplace for portable green generators for small businesses that experience energy interruptions and unreliability.Portable will reduce the negative economic impacts to zero for Detroit small businesses that experience power unreliability by 2028.

Kate Connors, MBA
Himanshu Dixit, MBA
Charmaine Kunz, MSW
Linnet Leon, MBA/MS
Jiming Song, MSI

PowerUP utilizes AI to deliver a suite of services, including but not limited to:
● Inform users on the likelihood of power outages in their area using predictive analytics
● Request temporary power mobile assistance during a power outage in order to borrow tools like batteries, hotspots, and generators
● Help users understand how they might improve their business’ energy efficiency and provide tips for lowering energy bills and sourcing alternative energy options

Spark Up
Patrick Burden, MBA/MS
Daniela Caetano, MBA
Quinn Foussianes, MS
Sai Madhavi, MBA
Anna Seifert, MPP/MBA

Spark-Up brings innovative and personalized green energy solutions to key spaces of community gatherings in Detroit. For 6 weeks at a time, local venues in town host Spark-Up as a pop-up experience that showcases a transition to green energy taking place. Customers can experience the impact of cleaner energy solutions, get accurate information about the topic, connect with ambassadors, and establish a reliable network in their communities in order to better understand which energy solutions are best for them.

Applebaum Family Philanthropy and Guests Guide +Impact Studio Founders and Applebaum Design Fellows During Special Visit

On Friday, December 9, 2022, representatives from Applebaum Family Philanthropy, Applebaum Ventures, and three expert advisors came to the +Impact Studio to provide feedback and advice to UM students in the +Impact Studio Founders and Applebaum Impact Design Fellows programs. Applebaum Family Philanthropy was represented by Pamela Applebaum (CEO & President of Applebaum Ventures and Applebaum Family Philanthropy), Andrew Echt (Chief Operating Officer of Applebaum Ventures and Director of Applebaum Family Philanthropy), Gabe Scharg (Director of Investments for Applebaum Ventures), and Julia Bleznak (Director of Applebaum Fellows and Community Development for Applebaum Family Philanthropy). Their guests included Veronika Scott (Founder and CEO of the Empowerment Plan), Kiana Wenzell (Co-Executive Director of Design Core Detroit), and Josh Sklar (Senior Product Manager at StockX).

Students Jarrad Henderson and Alex Perez-Garcia share ideas with Kiana Wenzell and Pamela Applebaum.

Students and professionals, and Business+Impact staffers began the day at 10 am with a hearty breakfast and mingling. This was followed by welcoming remarks from Business+Impact Faculty Director Jerry Davis, Managing Director Cat Johnson, and +Impact Studio Program Manager Loren Townes Jr., who facilitated introductions and descriptions of the student-led venture teams. Then student teams  met with Applebaum Family Philanthropy reps and guests in a round-robin series of breakouts. Students described where their ventures are, where they hope to go, and the challenges/goals through which they are working. Applebaum Family Philanthropy reps and their guests offered guidance, experience, and support. The event concluded around noon with final remarks and info-sharing.

This was all part of a special Community Coworking Friday called “Idea Day.”  These Coworking Fridays are designed to incubate and nurture innovative ideas and projects related to social impact — from taking ideas from concept to prototype to scale. Each week, student founders meet in the +Impact Studio to work on their ventures; collaborate on ideas; consult with Applebaum Impact Design fellows, faculty, staff, and special guests; and support one another. These Community Coworking Friday sessions have been extremely beneficial to the +Impact Studio entrepreneurial teams, positively impacting their social venture journey and even helping them unlock new insights.  Many students also say the sessions have assisted them in overcoming the unique challenges that solo entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial teams can face.

Current student ventures include:

Pop Up Docs aims to democratize visual storytelling by centering and educating diverse creators while building a capable community of talented, experienced, and influential storytellers. Founder: Jarrad Henderson (2023 Knight Wallace Fellow); Applebaum Impact Design Fellow: Alex Perez-Garcia (MBA/MPP 2024)

PILs Ventures seeks to cultivate generational health-and-wealth for one million people in the Black, Latinx, and other historically overlooked communities across STEM fields by 2033. Founder: George Okpamen (MBA 2023);  Applebaum Impact Design Fellow: Grace Sanders (BBA 2023)

Bubble! Learn Science looks to improve the scientific  literacy skills of low-resource high school students and empower them to succeed in STEM careers. Founder: Rafee Mirza (LSA 2025); Applebaum Impact Design Fellow: Kelsey Hewett (MBA 2023)

Lifeboat is currently facilitating easier, safer, and more affordable gender-affirming medical procedures in the U.S. and abroad. Lifeboat believes that by building the infrastructure needed to facilitate domestic medical tourism, providers across the U.S. will be forced into cost competition, leading to better, higher quality, more affordable medical care for all Americans. Founder: Sasha Kolodkin (MSI/MBA 2024); Applebaum Impact Design Fellow: Carly Fink (MBA 2023)

Students George Okpamen and Grace Sanders share their plans with Gabe Scharg and Josh Sklar.

La Onda looks to create and foster community for Latinx individuals and reduce barriers to accessing mental health resources. Founder: Christian Ilarraza Colón (MBA/MPP 2023); Applebaum Impact Design Fellow: Alejandra Fuentes (MPP 2023)

G2G: Grow Together eases the financial and emotional burden of individuals experiencing major life hardships (divorce, infertility, caregiving, life-threatening ailment) by offering an app-based platform with 1:1 financial coaching, financial education modules that uses story-telling & behavior change principles, and a community support forum.  Founder: Yasmin Abdulhadi (MBA 2023) Applebaum Impact Design Fellow: Bridgit Jung (IS 2025)

CliMates goal is to have ten million people invested into climate action through time, energy and money by 2030. Co-Founders: Akhila Kosaraju (M.Des 2023), Isha Goel (MS Corporate Sustainability 2022) & Chris Okumura (BS, Electronics 2022);  Applebaum Impact Design Fellow: Grace Sanders (BBA 2023)



Management as Calling Program

This is an immersive retreat experience to help you look deep inside yourself to consider management as a calling—moving away from the simple pursuit of a career for private personal gain and towards a vocation that is based on a higher and more internally derived set of values about leading commerce and serving society. 

The core of the program is a sequence of weekend retreats where you will be put in the company of others who think and feel deeply about similar aspirations that you do and help you examine and discern your idea of what kind of a manager you are meant to be, what kind of career you aspire to have, and what kind of legacy you hope to leave.

This program is available to business students in their final year of study: senior undergraduates, second-year graduates, and third-year dual degree students in the 2022-23 academic year. Only 48 total slots are available, divided evenly between undergraduate and graduate students, and broken into 5 sub-cohorts (each with an assigned teaching assistant). Admission will be selective, based on a written essay explaining the drive and seriousness that you bring to the pursuit of a personal calling.  All expenses are covered.

Interested senior undergraduates, second-year graduates, and third-year dual degree students in the 2022-23 academic year can apply by June 5th for a special weekend co-curricular program that will occur during the 2022-23 academic year, called “Management As Calling” and taught by Andy Hoffman.


DEI Research Awards Applications Open

April 5, 2021  ANN ARBOR – Carolyn Yoon, Associate Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, announced that the Business +Impact initiative at Ross, in collaboration with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee and the Dean’s office, is pleased to announce the second annual research awards to celebrate and honor research related to diversity, equity and inclusion conducted at the Ross School of Business, at every stage of the academic journey. These awards include up to two awards for faculty, and an award each for PhD and undergraduate senior thesis students. Details for each of these, including eligibility and application/nomination process, are described below. 

The awards will be presented at the Annual DEI Awards event on April 25, 3-4 pm. The awardees will be asked to present brief presentations of their work.

Applications are now open until February 28. Please send your submissions to

Award Award Stipend* Eligibility Application/ Nomination** Selection Process
Faculty research award (up to two) $5000 Research active faculty at Ross** Self-nomination, with a specific research paper (complete working paper or recent publication) DEI Committee, Executive Committee, based on fit and quality
PhD research award $3000 All current PhD students at Ross Nomination by PhD advisor, with a specific research paper (complete working paper or recent publication) DEI Faculty Committee, PhD Committee, based on fit and quality
BBA senior thesis award $1000 All students in senior thesis course at Ross n/a

Senior thesis course faculty, DEI Faculty Committee, based on fit and quality

* The stipend for the faculty award will be split if Ross faculty co-authored the paper. For the PhD and BBA awards, only students are eligible to receive the stipend (i.e., faculty co-authors, if any, will not share in the stipend).

** Excluding all deans, and faculty involved in the decision process, namely Executive Committee and DEI Faculty Committee members.

DEI Research Awards Introduced

April 5, 2021  ANN ARBOR – Francine Lafontaine, Associate Dean for Business + Impact & William Davidson Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, announced that the Business +Impact initiative at Ross in collaboration with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion faculty committee and the Dean’s office, has created of a set of new yearly research awards to celebrate and honor research related to diversity, equity and inclusion conducted at the Ross School of Business, at every stage of the academic journey. These new awards include up to two awards for faculty, and an award each for PhD students and undergraduate senior thesis students. Details for each of these, including eligibility and application/nomination process, are described below. 

The new awards will be given for the first time in 2021, and applications are now open, until April 20th. Please send your submissions to

Award Award Stipend* Eligibility Application/ Nomination Selection Process
Faculty research award (up to two) $5000 Research active faculty at Ross** Self-nomination, with a specific research paper (complete working paper or recent publication) DEI Faculty Committee, Executive Committee, based on fit and quality
PhD research award $3000 All current PhD students at Ross Nomination by PhD advisor, with a specific research paper (complete working paper or recent publication) DEI Faculty Committee, PhD Committee, based on fit and quality
BBA senior thesis award $1000 All students in senior thesis course at Ross n/a Senior thesis course faculty, DEI Faculty Committee, based on fit and quality

COVID-19 era offers proving ground for new business models—for better or worse

May 6, 2020 – B+I’s Jerry Davis explores parallels between the Great Recession of ’08 and the COVID-19 pandemic, and how entrepreneurial trends could be catalysts for significant change on the other side of the current crisis.  This article is reprinted from UM’s Michigan News.

Faculty Q&A

Jerry Davis is a professor at the Ross School of Business, where he also serves as associate dean for Business + Impact. He has studied the effect of crises on business for years, and the ways in which commerce has fallen into but fought its way out of crushing events like the Great Recession.

He sees parallels between that crisis and the one caused by COVID-19. In the following discussion, he explores some of them, as well as how entrepreneurial and technological trends that bubbled up in the intervening years could be catalysts for significant change on the other side of the latest economic upheaval. In other words, are we headed for an era of “Uber-ization”?

You wrote about the Great Recession in your 2009 book, “Managed by the Markets.” It detailed how tied to financial markets society had become. I realize the crisis today has different causes but what parallels can you draw?

I started writing that book in 2006, before the financial crisis, and I had been monitoring how finance and financial transactions were pervading all of society. All these crazy things were being turned into financial instruments that could be traded on markets, including the payoffs of life insurance policies on the elderly and terminally ill. The financial logic behind it made perfect sense: Any one life insurance policy’s payoff is hard to predict, but if you buy 1,000 of them the yields become much more regular. Why not pool them together and turn them into a bond? This kind of thing was happening all over the economy.

I thought financialization—relying on financial markets to channel capital—was a peculiar, one-time shift that had happened to our economy. But financialization is actually an information technology problem. It became possible on a grand scale because it got much cheaper to turn things into financial instruments and trade them on markets, such as bundles of mortgages. Information and communication technologies enabled finance to metastasize in the way that it did.

But it’s not just finance—now this is happening to labor markets. Think of this as “Uber-ization.” That’s information technology applied to labor markets: Instead of hiring someone for a job, you pay them for a specific task. That is a pretty big shift. That is the labor market version of financialization.

The financial crisis showed us the limits of financial markets: Where can things go wrong? The current crisis is showing what happens when people can’t show up in a common place to do their work together. We’ve created this technology that allows us to pay people by the task to work remotely. That is the essence of Uber: Drivers never set foot in the Uber office. They don’t have an Uber boss—they just connect to an app and complete their tasks. We’re now stress-testing the idea that people can work from remote locations and still get things done. It’s almost like a trial run for rampant Uber-ization.

If the pandemic shows that there’s an awful lot of business that can get done by people working in dispersed locations, managed by software, it is not much of a next step to say, “Why do they need to be employees? Why not just hire them as contractors?” This is going to prove which jobs can be done by folks wherever they happen to be, and which really need to be done on-site. It also provides in a sense proof of concept that you can have companies with almost no actual employees. Instead, you can basically “Uberize” the whole labor force.

Think of the Instant Pot. You can cook a rock-solid frozen chicken breast into edible food in 20 minutes. It’s also very inexpensive and a very well-made appliance. Here’s what’s amazing about the Instant Pot: The guy that created the company was a Ph.D. in computer science. He wanted to start his own business after the financial crisis. He thought, “What the world needs now is a quick way to make healthy food.” So he devised a pressure cooker with computer technology built into it.

He used $350,000 of his own money to start the company. After perfecting the design and finding a vendor to produce it, he listed the Instant Pot on Amazon and used the “Fulfillment by Amazon” service for storage and distribution. He read all the customer reviews on Amazon for his product research to improve the design. His marketing was that he sent 200 Instant Pots to influential food bloggers and cookbook writers. He used a vendor in China to manufacture it. It became a $300 million a year product category with just 50 employees in Ontario, which is insane. He’s created an entirely new category of indispensable appliance that dominates its industry. He didn’t need to go to Wall Street to fund it. He didn’t build any factories. He didn’t have to build a distribution channel or warehouse. He just hired Amazon.

That to me is proof of concept that you can have styles of business that look a lot more like a pop-up. That also in some sense feels like the apotheosis of our current situation—I think what the virus is doing is demonstrating in a fairly dramatic way that an awful lot of what we needed to show up to the office to do can be done remotely. If you don’t need an office, why not just rely on all contractors all the time like an Instant Pot?

Just to be clear, I’m not saying this is a good thing. It’s likely to be a disaster for labor, at least in the U.S., where people get health insurance and pension savings from their employer. But in some cases, it is likely to be the cheaper thing. In capitalism, cheap usually wins.

Speaking of test runs, auto and apparel makers, who have retooled their lines to make personal protective equipment, could similarly evaluate new lines of business or manufacturing approaches after the pandemic passes.

You could visualize “reshoring”—bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.—but there’s another trend that’s really interesting: Capital equipment has gotten really cheap and really flexible. It can be programmed to do lots of different stuff. It used to be the advantage of China was cheap labor. Because capital equipment has gotten so good and so cheap, you can replicate that ability in the U.S. Next door to every Amazon warehouse you could build a universal manufacturing facility.

I think about Ford Motor Co., where both my grandfathers were welders. Could Ford be a universal manufacturer? It’s consistent with their heritage—the idea of converting to wartime production as part of the Arsenal of Democracy. Shifting to producing ventilators is the same kind of transformation. These days designs are often fungible—it can be done in a dispersed, online way, like Wikipedia, or crowd-sourced designs for ventilators. Design globally, manufacture locally.

We’re hearing about big companies being called out or shamed into returning public money that was intended for small business. Is the pandemic lens distorting or enhancing the behavior? Are most businesses doing right amid the pandemic?

We’re at one of those moments where leaders in business are being told that what you do now is what is going to end up in your obituary. Do I lay a bunch of people off or do I find some way to maintain them and repurpose them? This is one of those moments that is going to define people and their legacy. I think a lot of folks are feeling that.

This is a situation where you don’t want to be the one who says, “Shareholders first.” It feels like that pressure, that scrutiny is out there—because of social media, one wrong step and it will go viral instantly. There’s a lot more at stake in making a morally defensible choice. From what I’ve seen, it feels that a lot of businesses are stepping up the best way they can.

This has also enabled workers in an interesting way. For example, GE workers at an idled aviation factory organized this protest and said, “This factory could be making ventilators. We’ve got the equipment to do that. Why is this factory idled?” That was genius. They weren’t protesting about hours or conditions, exactly. They were saying, “We can do some good here.” The companies that enable their workforce to identify those opportunities—it feels like they are going to win coming out of this. You’d rather work for a place where those values get built into the culture. Repurposing a manufacturing line to make ventilators and save lives is a story that will be told years from now.

What else is important to know or ponder about the culture of business as we emerge from the pandemic?

Where we end up on the other side of this is going to be a political choice and not purely an economic or business decision. I tweeted the other day: “How about we shift to a 30-hour workweek, where people show up in staggered shifts. That could give us more leisure, a little less income, less unemployment and a safer workplace. Thirty million unemployed in the last month is a lot. Can we return to work in a way that accomplishes some sort of social goals that would make us all better off?”

During the Second World War, in the darkest period in the United Kingdom, they formed the Beveridge Committee. The committee essentially asked, “What can we do when the war is over to make these sacrifices worth it? What kind of vision can we provide about the world we’re fighting for that will get us to the other end of this?” They came up with this set of ideas: A universal health care system, which became the NHS, universal education, pensions for the elderly. They came up with a set of core values and welfare policies for a civilized society. This is kind of our reward at the end of all this trauma.

What can we offer as a vision for the future at the other end of this that would make people say that was horrible but now we’re better off? I don’t know what that would look like, but it’s intriguing to think about.

B+I COVID-19 Response Page

For Students:

For Impact Organizations:

News about COVID-19:

Corporate Boards Suffer From an ‘Experience Gap’ as the Coronavirus Upends Business

Startups Always Face Bankruptcy Risk.  COVID-19 Has Made Things Worse

The Coronavirus Economy: When Washington Takes Over Business

Michigan Ross Update on COVID-19 Virus Outbreak

Society’s Response to COVID-19 Foreshadows Even Greater Challenges in Future

Tips from an Online MBA Student to Her Fellow Rossers On How to Be Successful in a Virtual Learning Environment

Guidelines for Meaningful Connections in Today’s Virtual Meetings

Coping with COVID-19: U-M students share their ‘new normal’

Poverty Solutions releases Michigan COVID-19 Pandemic Resource Guide

Michigan’s African American community hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic

Grocery shopping during a pandemic: U-M sustainability expert discusses

The new coronavirus emerged from the global wildlife trade – and may be devastating enough to end it


Sarah Miller in Huffington Post, discussing unemployment

COVID-19 Stories: The Michigan Ross Community Steps Up to Make a Positive Impact and Help Others Through the Pandemic

Coronavirus and Inequities

U-M Coronavirus News, Research, Experts

Michael Barr Discusses Covid-19 Loans

Michigan Radio on the Moratorium on Evictions in Detroit

UM-Flint Provides COVID aid to Flint

Scientific Method Can’t Save Us from Coronavirus

Detroit Hospitals Laying off Workers

Student-run nonprofit provides hundreds of excess medical supplies to Ann Arbor hospitals

Pamela Davis-Kean: When schools close their doors, who falls through the cracks?

Simultaneous, reinforcing policy failures led to Flint water crisis, providing lessons during pandemic

What happens if eviction moratoriums expire across the US?

Innovations Sparked by COVID-19 Could Change Daily Lives Now and Into the Future

optiMize funds COVID-19 Community Aid Efforts

COVID-19 can’t stop community engaged learning

The UM-Dearborn ‘Maker Lab’ staff are making 3D-printed PPE from home

COVID-19 Stories: Michigan Ross Alum’s Innovative Program Is Targeting Food and Financial Insecurity Across the U.S.

COVID-19 Stories: Michigan Ross Alum’s Innovative Program Is Targeting Food and Financial Insecurity Across the U.S.

Community and Civic Engagement During COVID-19

Read how students and Ford School faculty are making an impact during the pandemic

John Guerriero (MPP ‘17) urges governors to enhance cybersecurity in response to pandemic-related cyberattacks

Zara Ahmed (MPP/MPH ’09) advocates to preserve reproductive rights during global pandemic

Voting by mail, open meetings, banking & cultural participation: students help communities with COVID-19 challenges

Student-run nonprofit provides hundreds of excess medical supplies to Ann Arbor hospitals, with plans to send more

Hunger and COVID: Fighting pandemic-related food insecurity in Detroit

Coronavirus Pandemic Worsens Food Insecurity for Low-Income Adults

New Website Answers Michiganders’ Questions about Federal Stimulus Checks

DMAC’S Survey: 43% of Detroiters Have Lost Jobs During Pandemic

Navigating Crisis: How U-M Helped Thousands Receive COVID-19 Stimulus Checks

Grants address poverty, COVID-19 impact across Midwest

How the Child Care Crisis Will Distort the Economy for a Generation

Providing a Pandemic Safety Net, Nonprofits Need Their Own

One-Third Of Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA Class Of 2020 Donates To The Give-A-Day Fund, Receives $10,000 Match On Giving Blueday

During the University of Michigan’s Giving Blueday, the student-run Give-A-Day Fund at the Ross School of Business received thousands of dollars in donations from nearly 100 students, faculty, and staff, which unlocked a $10,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor.

So far in 2019, more than one-third of the Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA Class of 2020 have donated to the Give-A-Day Fund, which supports full-time MBA impact interns with funding from their fellow students. 

Read more on Michigan Ross Website

Now Open: The +Impact Studio At Michigan Ross Is Taking On Society’s Greatest Challenges

This article was original written by Michigan Ross News

OCTOBER 15, 2019  ANN ARBOR — It’s official, the new +Impact Studio is up and running at the Ross School of Business, and MBAs and other graduate students from across the University of Michigan are already at work figuring out how to translate faculty insights into tangible business solutions to the world’s challenges. 

The +Impact Studio, which is part of the Business+Impact initiative at Ross, encompasses an interdisciplinary action-based learning course; a collaboration space; and a campus hub for programming and events. In addition to translating academic research into real-world impact, the studio also seeks to train students on how to be architects to create new kinds of enterprises.

By design, the interdisciplinary +Impact Studio course brings together the diverse talent and expertise of U-M’s top-ranked graduate schools to take on society’s greatest challenges. This year, the students in the class are divided into two different groups: one focused on using the latest fintech research by Michigan Ross finance professor Bob Dittmar to improve financial inclusion, and the other on scaling a technology developed by Ross marketing professor Eric Schwartz on how to identify lead in Flint water pipes so that it can have a greater impact in Flint and beyond. 

“In this course, it is incredibly rewarding to bring together graduate students from five different schools on campus to learn design methodologies and immediately apply them to pressing challenges in society,” said Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, faculty director of the +Impact Studio and instructor of the course. “The +Impact Studio course provides rare and valuable skills and a set of experiences employers across sectors are asking for.”

With long-term interests in making an impact in healthcare, Gautam Kandlikar, MBA ’20, enrolled in the +Impact Studio course because he said there hasn’t been a good way to define and address larger healthcare problems beyond simply providing care and how to go about tackling them. 

“What I like about this course is that professor Sanchez-Burks is taking really big and difficult-to-solve societal problems like poverty, and forcing us to think about them in different ways so that we can develop solutions by incorporating tools from business, design thinking, and new ideas we are being introduced to,” said Kandlikar. “I’m excited to explore those methods in the class so that I can apply them to healthcare and in my future career.” 

To celebrate the grand opening of the space, an open house was recently held at the +Impact Studio. At the event, Michigan Ross students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the business community were able to get a firsthand look at how the space was designed to facilitate collaboration and idea generation. 

“The physical space itself was designed around ‘users’ (students), based on observation of how they work together as teams,” said Jerry Davis, associate dean of Business+Impact at Michigan Ross. “Each part of the +Impact Studio provides a functional space for different ways of working and creating, from small group discussion work to quiet contemplation to interviewing to big presentations of work in progress. The space and the work and the course are all perfectly aligned.”

Kandlikar agreed the space was fulfilling on its promise, providing a great space to step back and think about problems, a place to have insightful conservations, and a source of creative inspiration with its bright pops of color. 

“It’s nice to be able to come into this sacred atmosphere where I’m only thinking about the problems in the class and having access to resources that I need,” he said. “Since my like-minded classmates and I are looking to make social impact a big part of our careers, this course and this space provide us with the perfect platform to explore achieving something really meaningful in a safe environment.” 

Read original article at Michigan Ross

Michigan Ross Dean signs open letter on immigration

October 15, 2019 – Michigan Ross Dean Scott De Rue joined 62 other business school deans and US CEOs in authoring a letter to administration and congressional leadership today about the effects of restrictive immigration on business school enrollment and the future of the US economy. The message appears as an open letter in the Wall Street Journal DC edition today.

Maintaining that Reagan’s “shining city upon a hill” description for the US welcomes immigrants, the signatories asked that leaders work to change a “dangerous negative trend” that turns away “hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled immigrants for no other reason than that they failed to win the H-1B lottery.” The letter suggested that lower-than-normal foreign student numbers in America’s universities are adversely affecting America’s crisis in filling STEM jobs.

In addition to this open letter, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) will be releasing an evidence-based white paper today on the same topic. 

Read a full copy of the open letter here.