Now well-established, the Ross Open Road program has steadily increased in popularity with MBAs. This student-run program is co-sponsored by Business+Impact, Zell Lurie Institute, Sanger Leadership Center, the Erb Institute and the Ross MBA Program Office.
Ross Open Road will introduce new groups in 2019. The program is designed to give social enterprises extra hands in solving complex challenges and help students gain real-world experience understanding the various issues social ventures face,
In 2014 and 2015, the Center for Social Impact sponsored teams of four Ross students in the MBAs Across America (MBAx) program. U-M was the first college to engage with MBAx. In 2016, MBAx was converted from a managed program to an open source, customizable format. Ross students chose to use the opportunity to launch Ross Open Road, with its focus specifically on social enterprises. The experience continues to connect alumni and upper classmen with new participants and Detroit social entrepreneurs.
Detroit continues to be the starting point for all Ross Open Road journeys. In the early years, a common phrase among the students was, “Impact must start in your own back yard.”
Visit Ross Open Road
You can still be part of this student-run club at Ross, which has its own website and blog.
For the most current information on applications, information sessions, and student liaisons, visit the Ross Open Road website.
Read Student Stories
Relive the week-to-week experience of Ross Open Road by reading actual student blog posts on the website.
Ross Open Road Teams & Locations
The inaugural team, Team Raas – Nydia Cardenas, MBA ’15, Stephanie Thomas, MBA ’15, Saurabh Kumar, MBA ’15, and a fourth team member who was an MBA from Berkeley-Haas School of Business – spent most of July with Red Tractor Pizza in Bozeman, MT; Brooks Winery in Amity, OR; Ellis Island Tea in Detroit, MI; Batch in Nashville, TN; and Windsor Circle in Durham, NC. The team was aided at launch by Lorpu Jones, MBA ’14, and Ebony Pollard, MBA ’14 in mapping out their trip.
The 2015 team — Brianna Brazell, MBA/MS ’17, Lily Hamburger, MBA ’16, Joe Price, MBA ’16, and Jourdan Sutton, MBA ’15 — first partnered with Detroit’s growing nonprofit organization, The Empowerment Plan, to complete a go-to-market strategy. The robust start also placed the 2015 team in collaborations with Detroit SOUP, Rock Ventures, Detroit Venture Partners and Ponyride. The team traveled from Detroit to work in Madison, WI, with Sector 67; Kansas City, KS, with Connecting for Good; Denver, CO, with Mile High Workshop; and Pikeville, KY, with Bitsource.
Team IBAM — Aaron Steiner, MBA ‘17, Iris Nguyen, MBA/M.Ed ’17, Blake Van Fleteren, MBA/MSW ’17, and Mikaela Rodkin, MBA/MS ‘17 — spent several weeks in May 2016 working in Detroit with Sweet Potato Sensations. The team departed from Detroit to work in Daleville, AL, with Discovery Recycling; New Orleans, LA, with Goods That Matter; August, TX, with AMP360; and Kansas City, KS, with Connecting for Good. All five companies have deep community roots.
Team SASA — Anita Lin, MBA/MS ’18 , Sarah Haroon, MBA ’17, Sanmeet Jasuja, MBA ’17, and Alexander Ho, MBA/MS ’18 — also began a journey working in Detroit, launching a product plan with Mitten Crate. The team moved on to work in Maplewood, MN, with Garden Fresh Farms; Fargo, ND, with Emerging Prairie; and Minneapolis, MN, with Flipgrid, Team SASA partnered with food and IT entrepreneurs around the Midwest.
Team OKRA — Ozge Sahin, MBA ’18, Kevin Jones, MBA ’18, Ravi Patel MBA ’18, and Ava Damri MBA ’18 — spent week one in Detroit working with Sisters on a Roll. Collaborations continued in Fargo, ND, with Be More Colorful; Bozeman, MT, with Sola Cafe; and Lake Forest, CA, with RJ Cooper & Associates. Team OKRA’s food and technology focus reached the Midwest and the West Coast.
Team RAZA — Ryan Schell MBA ’18, Ariana Almas, MBA ’18, Zach Friedman, MBA/MS ’19, and Athena Stevenson, MBA ’18 — initiated travel in Detroit in partnership with Merit Goodness before spanning west to Chicago, IL, to work with Vice District Brewing Company; Rapid City, SD, with Wild Idea Buffalo Company; Fargo, ND, with Fargo Brewing Company; and St. Ignatius, MT, with The Golden Yoke. Team RAZA’s diverse “road” portfolio was central to the Midwest.
Team WCKD — Wiles Kases, MBA/MS ’18, Colleen Hill, MBA/MS ’19, Kenji Kaneko MBA/MSI ’18, and Dilparinder Singh MBA ’17 — leveled a jumpstart in Detroit working with community adults in the Detroit Training Center. The team next partnered in Omaha, NE, with Gilden Tree; Fort Collins, CO, with Ba-Nom-a-Nom; New Orleans, LA, with Roots of Renewal; and Malden, WV, with J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. Travel to collaborate with food entrepreneurs and plan for community development covered midwestern, western and southern landscapes.
Team ACAI — Ian Stackhouse-Kaelble, MBA ‘19, Apoorva Kanneganti, MBA ‘19, Alexis Morath, MBA ‘19, and Courtney Poopat, MBA ‘19 — spent two weeks in Detroit with the Michigan’s Good Food Fund partner, Us Food Market. The team started travel during week two to work in Fargo, ND, with Mindshift; Missoula, MT, with Lake Missoula Tea Company; and Lacy, WA, with Homes First. The team’s trail has a spectrum of impact to help summer partners scale up.
Team MACK — Mark Green, MBA/MS ‘19, Allison Bernstein, MBA ‘19, Kashay Sanders, MBA ‘19, and Christopher Owen MBA/MS 2020 — tackled a barrier to employment and poverty reduction while in Detroit with Lil Brilliant Mindz. The team ventured south to collaborate in Asheville, NC, with Green Opportunities; Birmingham, AL, with JaWanda’s Sweet Potato Pies; and Conway, AR, with Zuni Learning Tree. Team Mack is moved by a passion for social justice and wants to build upon the important role small businesses play in the future of the US economy.
Team THIS — Tsering Sherpa, MBA ‘19, Stephanie Dollan, MBA ‘19, Jinny Han, MBA ‘19, and Thai Ha-Ngoc,MBA ‘19 — spent week one in Detroit with a focus on local migrant cultures and garden spaces while in partnership with Detroit Peppers; From Detroit, the team journeyed west to work in Milwaukee, WI, with Compost Crusader; Sioux Falls, SD, with Learn Create Build; Bozeman, MT, with Western Sustainability Exchange; and Seattle, WA, with Catalyst Kitchens. The team completed the road’s mission by bringing a wide range of experiences to the table, from investment banking and operations to publishing and education.
Three teams of four MBAs each embarked on road trips across America in May. They were part of Open Road at Ross – Powered by Ford, an action-based social entrepreneurship program developed by Ross students for Ross students. Each team spent 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. Then on to the next city! Below are the cities and businesses they visited (click on links below to read blog posts about each experience!)
Team LOVA (Katerina Athanasiou, Minsoo Lyo, Catherine O’Donnell, and Hana Viswanathan)
- Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (Detroit)
- Appalachian Headwaters (Lewisburg, WV)
- Black Sheep Bakery at Hemphill Community Center (Neon, KY)
- Tech Goes Home (Chatanooga, TN)
Team MPower (Brooke Burton, Chloe Hull, Gautam Kandlikar, and Fernando Palhares)
- Klassic Mobile Gardens (Detroit)
- The Chattery (Chattanooga, TN)
- The Root Cafe (Little Rock, AR)
- T-Town Tacos (Tulsa, OK)
Team RAIK (Ritesh Kumar, Allie Morbitzer, Kathy Tian, and Ivy Wei)