From Retail to Real Estate, Michigan Ross Students Led Nine Business Initiatives at Sponsoring Organizations as Part of the Living Business Leadership Experience

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Through the Living Business Leadership Experience (LBLE) course, 123 graduate and undergraduate students at the Ross School of Business had the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by acting as team leads on high-impact business projects for nine sponsoring organizations. 

The LBLE course falls within the Ross Experiences in Action-Based Learning (REAL) portfolio, a collection of experiences that allow students to start, advise, lead, and invest in real businesses while in business school. Organizations that sponsor LBLE projects encompass a wide range of sizes and industries, and the projects encompass an array of business functions.

In addition to undergraduate and full-time MBAs, LBLE is now open to one-year master’s students and Online MBA students. 

The LBLE projects the student teams led ranged from developing and implementing a marketing analysis strategy for a biometrics company to launching a micro-influencer campaign for an all-natural skincare line. In each one, the students worked directly with executives from the sponsoring company, while learning under the supervision of faculty advisors. 

Here’s a roundup of the innovative business projects Ross students participated in during the most recent academic year, which built upon the progress made by previous year’s LBLE teams.

15 Seconds of Fame/Fanthropic

15 Seconds of Fame is a simple way for fans to receive their video appearances from live events. Fanthropic is a digital philanthropic community that harnesses the power and passion of athletes and their loyal fans to raise funds and awareness for worthy causes and charities. Students used trends in the sports auction market and high-end auction market to develop improvements for Fanthropic, while also building relationships and developing a go-to-market strategy for launching a college activation plan for 15 Seconds of Fame.

BackPac

BackPac is a mobile app that helps users align their interests with community partners and schedule volunteering sessions. Students worked to build out BackPac’s user base and nonprofit network to gain credibility in the market. They also led further market testing by creating customer personas that were refined and validated via a behavioral survey that analyzed the motivations and obstacles that different customer segments face related to  volunteering.

ILERA Apothecary

ILERA Apothecary is a skincare line rooted in native Nigerian principles that uses 100 percent natural ingredients. Students developed a refined email marketing strategy focused on personalization, leaning on the retention insights generated by a previous LBLE team. In addition, students drove greater overall brand awareness through social media engagement and the use of micro-influencers.

Inspired Biometrics

Inspired Biometrics is a personalized health device and monitoring system for children with chronic illnesses. Students created and launched a marketing plan designed around targeting the identified highest value customer segment. They also generated customer personas to analyze new customer segments, determine pricing models, and develop a forward-looking subscription model for the company.

Michigan Academy for Developing Entrepreneurs 

MADE is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization whose aim is to develop entrepreneurs in emerging economies. Students deployed marketing and business assessment tools for small and medium sized enterprises through economic development organizations by coaching staff through the pilot implementation while collecting feedback to inform near real-time iterations that created value. 

Shinola

Shinola is a luxury design brand with an unwavering commitment to crafting products that are built to last — from timepieces to leather goods, jewelry to audio. Students designed desktop and mobile website mockups to increase optimization while driving e-commerce sales. They also launched an email campaign strategy in order to experiment how to better drive the consumer toward the website, and ultimately a purchase.

State & Liberty

State & Liberty is a Ann Arbor-based menswear company on a mission to provide athletes the fit, feel, and professional look they deserve in their dress clothes. Students used quantitative and qualitative data analysis to make recommendations about future events and brand partnerships. One of the students’ event activations generated more than $1,200 in sales and the students used the insights gained from the event to outline scalable strategies for future customer acquisition tactics.

The NRP Group

The NRP Group is a fully integrated, premier multifamily developer, general contractor, and property management company dedicated to producing exceptional results for clients and investors. Students leveraged grant funding secured by a previous LBLE team to successfully launch a pilot data collection program to be used at NPR’s nationwide developments. They also  offered insights and recommendations on how NRP can best prepare for a post-pandemic world. 

Warmilu

Warmilu is a global non-electric warming technology manufacturing company. Students provided accounting guidance and pricing model research to further enhance financial and business practices. They also delivered market segmentation and expansion strategies focused on penetrating new prospective markets and expanding the company’s number of international clients and countries served. 

Companies or organizations interested in sponsoring LBLE projects should contact Ross-LBLE@umich.edu.

Learn more about Living Business Leadership Experience