Ross Students Continue Winning Streak, Place First In Another National Challenge


Earlier this month, a team of talented Ross BBA students won the KPMG National Case Competition for the second year in a row.

Now, a team of Michigan Ross MBAs has beaten out more than 200 other students to take home the top prize at the annual Accenture Innovation Challenge, by developing a winning plan to help a nonprofit organization expand its reach.

First-year MBAs Jerry Won, Emily Knoll, and Stephen Hardin took top honors in the competition, which this year provided pro-bono management consulting support to help advance the growth plans for the nonprofit Back on My Feet. The competition, launched by Accenture in 2012, provides students from across the U.S. with hands-on consulting experience in the service of nonprofit, community-focused organizations.

“By participating in the challenge, we had the opportunity to refine our recommendations over the year as a team, and it was exciting to see our implementation plan evolve as we learned more about strategy and teamwork,” says Knoll. “Additionally, this was a great opportunity to gain experience on a consulting-style team.”

The 2016 MBA Innovation Challenge involved three rounds of competition, six universities, and 229 students. Teams developed and presented proposals to Back on My Feet, a national organization that combats homelessness through the power of running, community support, and employment and housing resources.

“With the opportunity to help an actual nonprofit in Back on My Feet, we were able to live out the mission of Ross to make a positive difference in the world,” says Won. “We are very grateful for the support of the entire Ross community, especially from Professor Greg Miller and Professor Maxim Sytch, both of whom spent much time helping us prepare for both our recommendation and presentation. We'd also like to thank Greg, Tripp, Dana, Steff, and all of the Ross alumni at Accenture whose help was critical to our success.”

Back on My Feet was founded in Philadelphia in 2007 and is now established in 11 U.S. cities. The 2016 challenge was to devise a strategy and plan to support the nonprofit’s goal of doubling its reach by 2020. Now, the Ross team is helping Back on My Feet to implement their plan.

Hardin says, “We were all very excited that the people at Accenture reached back out to us asking us to stay involved the the implementation stage, which we are working on currently.  It is great to see that they decided to move forward with some of our ideas because it makes us feel like we were able to have a real positive impact on the organization.”

“Back on My Feet is honored to have participated in this year’s Innovation Challenge, which included hundreds of students from top universities developing and presenting ideas to help advance our effort to end homelessness,” said Katy Sherratt, CEO of the organization. “We look forward to implementing the winning approach with the Michigan team and Accenture nonprofit experts.”

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations.

“Helping nonprofits develop innovative strategies to advance their objectives is part of Accenture’s mission,” said Marty Rodgers, managing director Accenture’s nonprofit practice. “We strive to support and inspire organizations that are helping change the way the world works and lives, and we are humbled and energized by the work that Back on My Feet does every day around the country. Encouraging students from campuses around the country to step forward and be of service to those in need is a meaningful mission and we are proud to join them.”

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