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Open Road at Ross

Program Schedule

  • September & October – Meeting and Mingling
  • Information Sessions
  • November – Application opens
  • January – Application closes
  • Late January – Teams chosen
  • February to April – Trip planning
  • May – Hit the road!

Open Road at Ross

Open Road is anticipated to be on pause for the 2023-24 academic year.

Powered by Ford

Since 2014, Ross has sent MBAs to participate in Ross Open Road, a program that pairs MBA students with visionary entrepreneurs. Open Road is an established action-based social entrepreneurship program developed by Ross students and powered by Business+Impact and the Ford Motor Company Fund. The aim of the program is to give small business owners extra hands in solving complex challenges and to help students gain real experience understanding the various issues social ventures face.

Over the course of five weeks, students drive from state to state meeting socially- and environmentally-driven entrepreneurs. Students spend one week on-site in each location, working closely with the entrepreneur, to provide a solution or recommendation to a business problem they are facing. At the end of each week, students pack up the car and hit the road again to meet with the next entrepreneur!

Visit the official student-authored Open Road website to find more information.

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Open Road 2023 – Getting involved

September – October: Meeting and Mingling – Interested students will have the opportunity to learn more about the program from the previous years’ teams and to meet potential teammates who are equally passionate about social impact. Information sessions and networking opportunities will be held throughout.

November – December: Creating Teams and Applying – The application for teams will open in November. All interested students apply as teams of 4 and are expected to complete individual written responses as well as a team video submission. The Open Road board will be available for office hours and any questions teams may have.

January 30, 2023: Application Deadline and Decisions – Applications will be due  on Monday, January 30 with teams selected soon thereafter.

February – April: Trip Planning and Project Sourcing – Selected teams will work with Open Road alumni and the current board to prepare for their trip. Together, teams will plan their route, begin sourcing projects and entrepreneurs, and develop their interpersonal and leadership skills in preparation for their trip.

May: Send-off! – Finally, the Open Road board will host a send-off for the year’s teams as they embark on their travels.

Open Road 2022

A record number of MBAs took part in Ross Open Road in 2022. Six teams of Michigan Ross MBAs spent a month helping social entrepreneurs across the United States with the business challenges they face. These intrepid travelers were focused on everything from fitness to inclusive spaces, to AAPI restaurateurs. Each team spent several weeks around the month of May visiting a new social enterprise every week — meeting business owners on the weekend, analyzing their business during the week, and presenting findings and solutions by Friday.

Access their stories and photos in this post from Business+Impact »

Team Real Execs of Ross — Patrice Drummond, Shayon Donaldson, Whitney Pollard

This was a team of MBA2s that focused on the entrepreneurial world of Detroit, MI.  They worked with House of Pure Vin, a Detroit-owned winery that partnered with Claudia Tyagi, 1 of 3 Master Sommeliers in the state of Michigan, to curate their collection.

Open Road 2021

Though working primarily remotely this year, these intrepid travelers are focused on addressing business challenges for Detroit is the New Black, Shelby + Coffee Down Under, and Coton Clothiers, all in Detroit, MI.  Business+Impact and Zell Lurie Institute are proud to partners on this program, funded by Ford Motor Company.

Coton Clothiers (Chris Gradone, MBA; Rachel Ing, MBA; Natasha Suddhi, MBA)

Shelby + Coffee Down Under (Chris Gradone, MBA; Rachel Ing, MBA; Chris Nguyen, MBA; Natasha Suddhi, MBA; Allison Winstel, MBA, MPP)

Detroit Is the New Black (Dustin Huibregtse, MBA; Alex Johnson, MBA; Briana Jones, MBA; Sasha Kapur, MBA) 

Open Road 2019

2019 Ross Open Road

In May 2019, three Ross teams embarked on their journey across America to partner with social entrepreneurs. To find out details about Team LOVA, Team MPower and Team RAIK, visit the Ross Open Road team page or our 2019 Open Road story and meet team members, see itineraries, and learn about the destinations. You can follow their experiences on Twitter #RossOpenRoad and Instagram #RossOpenRoad

Video Blogs from 2018