Connecting with Ross Alumni across the Globe

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One of the key concepts we want to make sure each Ross student understands and experiences is that business is a global enterprise.  Success in business requires strong relationships and multicultural understanding.  I have often said that to truly understand global business, one must experience it.  

Recently, I experienced the global nature of the Ross community first-hand when I had the pleasure of connecting with alumni at conferences and events in India, London and Hong Kong.  

In each of these cities, I was truly impressed by how committed and connected Ross alumni are to this school. No matter how far from Ann Arbor or how many years have passed since they graduated, our alumni are highly engaged in thought leadership in their professions, in connecting new graduates with business leaders, in assisting with the recruitment of the next generation of Ross students, and being ambassadors for Ross and the University of Michigan.

The warm welcome I received from our alumni and partners in these cities inspired me to share the following thoughts, which I hope will resonate with our current students and alumni who share my pride in this school.

The first is that leadership and innovation know no boundaries.

This point was proven especially true for me last November at the annual India Business Conference in India, which we organize and host with our Indian alumni.  It was a profound experience to see the impact of CK Prahalad’s legacy in action in India.  The conference, which marked its fifth year last fall, has become one of the most anticipated events of the year, with record attendance from business and government leaders of India.  For example, while in Mumbai, I participated in a panel discussion with Ross alumni who are building on CK’s vision and working to increase financial inclusion and stability among the many in India who do not currently have access to the banking system.  In London, some of our alumni shared their early stage plans for creating startup companies that will bring new technologies and services to market.

Secondly, the importance of staying connected was a recurring theme throughout my meetings.

Each alumus with whom I met or spoke talked about how Ross helped them achieve success and many spoke about their desire to encourage others to attend Ross.  For example, while in Hong Kong, I met with one of our MBA alumni who is deeply engaged in Hong Kong’s active financial markets.  While he spends most of his time in Shanghai, he flew to Hong Kong so that we could meet in person to discuss his desire to make the Ross experience affordable for more MBA students, particularly those from Asia.  He has already funded a generous MBA scholarship and spoke to me about his excitement and enthusiasm to do even more.  While in Delhi, I met with a group of alumni who were eager to work with the school to further strengthen the Ross brand in India so that more of India’s best high school students and young professionals will choose to get their degrees at Ross.

And lastly, seeing more of our global alumni network first-hand bolstered my belief that diversity of backgrounds and perspectives amplifies one’s educational experience.

Our students have the opportunity to study globally – through MAP projects and internships as well as programs offered through our Global Initiatives office. Our graduate and undergraduate business degree programs draw students from all over the world, with approximately 32 percent of our full-time MBA students and nearly 11 percent of our BBA students being international. Additionally, we typically welcome 70-100 exchange students annually from dozens of different countries.

An impressive mix of cultures and insights comes to life daily in our Davidson Winter Garden, where students from all corners of the globe collaborate on projects and build relationships that strengthen their global perspective and create lifelong bonds.  It was these types of memories that alumni shared with me most often during my recent travels.  Time and again, I heard that the opportunity to be a part of a business school with a global perspective is one of the experiences that our students and alumni value most.

The strength, diversity, and commitment of the Ross alumni network are some of the greatest benefits of joining this school.  With more than 45,000 living alumni in 88 countries around the world, you are virtually guaranteed to connect with a Rosser wherever your career path may take you.

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