On the First Day of Class Our Professor Said: Things Are Going to Be a Bit Bumpy, but That’s What Makes Business Fun -- He Was so Right

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By Megan Knoch-Dohlin, MBA ‘18

I have always been someone who enjoys getting my hands dirty and learning by surviving tough and challenging situations.

So the Living Business Leadership Experience class I signed up for last semester sounded right up my alley.

When I was applying to the course, we were told about three potential projects we’d be working on, and I was particularly excited about the Ford Smart Mobility Project. I thought Ford + Smart Mobility = autonomous vehicles — Nice!

The engineer in me could totally get on board with that. When I joined the team I was surprised to learn that Smart Mobility meant so much more than just cars with no drivers (city infrastructure, government partnerships, public policy, etc.)

Ford Smart Mobility is centered around the Transportation Operating System, which is part of Ford’s plan to make the autonomous vehicle space profitable in the future. This past semester, two teams worked on developing business plans on how to best enter this space. At the end of the semester there was a Shark-Tank-style showdown and one of the business plans was selected to move forward this semester.  

On the first day of class, I remember our professor saying, “Things are going to be a bit bumpy, but that’s what makes business fun!” This has certainly been the case for the Ford project, with maximum bumpiness via ambiguity. Pretty much everything about the Ford project has been ambiguous – new class, new team, new industry, new organization, and new to Ford.  

Prior to business school, I always thought “dealing with ambiguity” was a fluffy management skill and that laid-back people were the best equipped to deal with it. That’s not me.

I love structure, organization, and more structure, so ambiguity has always been something I have struggled with a bit.

Working on this project has completely changed my thinking.

I have been able to experiment with my style of working and leading in ambiguous environments. I found that my strengths are well-aligned to deal with the unknown and that I actually love working in ambiguous situations.  

Working with Ford and my Ross team through the Living Business Leadership Experience course has been a great way to learn about myself, experiment with my strengths, and have some fun! I have enjoyed the course so much that I joined the Ford team again this semester.

If you’re a current Ross student and you’d like to join me on the Ford Project or any of the other projects underway in the Living Business Leadership Experience course, applications are open now.

Register before Jan 24 and get ready for the ride!

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Megan Knoch-Dohlin
MBA '18


ABOUT MEGAN

Where did you work before Ross?

I was a product manager for Emerson Electric

Tell us about your MAP Project

It was with Bee Parks Trust, a nonprofit organization in South Africa focused on improving the lives of the local people, decreasing deforestation, and improving honeybee conservation.

Any Post-Ross plans?

Going into consulting after graduation. I'll be an Associate with McKinsey​.

Hit Us With a Fun Fact

I had a Star Wars themed wedding


Learn more about the Living Business Leadership Experience at Michigan Ross