During Their First Week, New Michigan Ross MBA Students Have An Important Job To Do With Amazon


This week, more than 400 first-year Full-Time MBA students at Michigan Ross will dive headfirst into their first challenge of business school, and it’s a big one. 

For the 2019 Business + Impact Challenge, presented by the Sanger Leadership Center, students will work to develop and pitch innovative ideas around an impact-oriented challenge prompt presented by corporate partner Amazon. 

The challenge will not be easy: students have been asked to draft a press release, a three-page FAQ document, and a compelling pitch presentation, demonstrating how Amazon might leverage its products, services, and technology to serve people living on less than $2 per day, who make up the majority of a population, achieving both ethical impact and profitability.

During the two-day challenge, Amazon representatives will be on hand to brief students on the project, hear the solutions developed, and act as judges for a final round pitch competition. 

Through it all, students will take part in several discovery and learning workshops. These workshops will teach the leadership and teamwork skills needed to develop methods for fostering creativity and innovation within teams — including a highly-immersive leadership simulation facilitated by Ross professors Sue Ashford, Dave Mayer, and Lindy Greer. 

During the simulation, groups of MBA students will operate as a start-up that needs to deliver a corporate mural to a client in a way that maximizes both efficiency and artistic quality. Students will face challenges around key leadership skills, such as goal-setting, designing team and organizational structures, and managing group emotions — supported along the way with faculty mentorship and training. 

“Our new leadership simulation this year will prepare students with the tools they need to successfully navigate the B+I Challenge as well as help them hone in on the leadership skills they want to develop over the course of the next two years at Ross,” said Greer, faculty director of the Sanger Leadership Center. 

Organized by the Sanger Leadership Center and generously supported by the Deloitte Foundation, the Business + Impact Challenge is one of the most immersive and collaborative orientation programs of its kind among top business schools.

The program will wrap up with three finalist teams presenting their solutions to a panel of judges consisting of Amazon employees, subject matter experts, and University of Michigan faculty. The winning team will be selected based on developing an original and realistic solution that fits well with Amazon’s culture. 

Follow all of the Business + Impact Challenge action on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #RossImpact.

For more information about the Business + Impact Challenge or the Sanger Leadership Center, visit Sanger.umich.edu.

Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA