Ross Students Join Other MBAs on Entrepreneurial Journey for MBAxAmerica

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This summer, most rising second-year Ross MBAs will be working their way through internships and facilitating MTreks for their first-year counterparts.

But for three Ross students, road-tripping across America to help entrepreneurs sounded like a better idea.

The students—Nydia Cardenas, Saurabh Kumar, and Stefanie Thomas—are traveling with Haas MBA student Kory Vargas Caro as part of the inaugural year of MBAxAmerica.

Their first stop was Bozeman, MT to meet with Tiffany Lach, the 2013 Small Business Person of the Year and owner of Sola Cafe and Red Tractor Pizza, two restaurants in the small Montana community that focus on serving local, organic and gluten-free foods. From there, the team traveled to Amity, OR to work with Brooks Winery, and are on their way to Denver before heading to Detroit, Nashville, and Durham in the coming weeks.And from developing cost strategies for a winery in Oregon, to helping a series of cafes in Montana streamline its customer relationship management technology, the group will visit seven different locations to work with seven different entrepreneurs on business challenges.

“I think for all of us taking part in this, we all have non-traditional interests,” Cardenas said. “We really feel that a lot of the excitement in the business world today is happening in these small businesses across America.”

“Because we sourced the projects ourselves, we could be very intentional in the experiences we wanted to have,” Cardenas added. “So, we have projects in marketing, operations, finance, technology. It’s like MAP on steroids.”The team worked together to develop the projects and relationships with the entrepreneurs with the help of the MBAxAmerica crew, which consists of several Harvard MBA co-founders.

You can follow what the team is up to via their MBAxAmerica blog or follow the individual members on Twitter and Instagram using the links below.

Update 8/11/14: The students' participation in MBAxAmerica was sponsored by the Ross School of Business' Center For Social Impact. Learn more about the center and other available opportunities at socialimpact.umich.edu.

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