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FIELDNOTES: Students Reported Back And Told Us What Really Happens on MAP Projects


​The 2018 Michigan Ross MAP is underway, with 422 MBAs taking on 83 projects in 20 countries across the world.

More than four weeks in, students have gone from getting their feet wet to being fully immersed in their work, which means now they’re fully grasping the challenges they face.

We checked in with students in Seattle, South Africa, India, China, and more to learn just how things are progressing so far. They told us about their personal and professional obstacles, what they’re looking forward to, and what it’s like exploring an entirely new culture. Check out their missives from the field below, and follow the #RossMAP tag on Instagram to see pictures and stories as they happen.

Check it out:

Ginni Jain

Ginni and her team outside Microsoft offices
Working With: Microsoft
Location: Seattle

I am working with Microsoft on a strategy project regarding the performance of their digital assistant Cortana. It is a highly creative project where we have been tasked to bring a millennial perspective to the situation and combine it with our business knowledge.

Most of my personal goals for MAP are around leadership and team management. Since my summer internship is in consulting, where teamwork is central to day-to-day life, I wanted to become more comfortable with leading discussions, conflict management, focused listening in large groups, and managing without authority. My goals are ambitious, but given the setting of MAP, it’s a great opportunity to hone my skills.

Daniel Bier

Working With: A Large Bank in the UK
Location: …The UK

I'm working with our sponsor to develop a growth strategy for an energy supplier subsidiary. We spent the first week doing general research on the firm and meeting with the sponsor. During our second week we scoped out the project, and now we're doing analysis and further research on our hypotheses.

I plan on going into investment banking and focusing on the power and renewable energy space, so this MAP project has given me the opportunity to develop a strategy for a firm in this space and help them identify their threats and opportunities posed by new technology, business models, and competition. That will give me a leg up for my on-the-job responsibilities after graduation.

Greg Halmi

Greg and his team.
Image from Tracy Wolfbliss
Working With: Plan International
Location: Australia and the Solomon Islands

I'm working with Plan International - Australia to determine how they can use 3D printing or other technologies to recycle plastics or other waste to add value to the community and ideally empower women and girls with the result.

The biggest challenge so far has been understanding the complexities of the market for recyclables in a remote, developing, Pacific island nation. But, I hope to learn how to practically use the tools learned in strategy and finance core classes during this project. Coming from a non-traditional background, I don't have much hands-on reference to real world problems where those skills can be applied.

Jasmine and her team in South Africa

Jasmine Knowles

Working With: International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers / Imperial Logistics
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

We are in the middle of a three-week stay in Africa, assessing the pharmaceutical landscape in three key markets: South Africa, Malawi, and Kenya. Our research has involved a series of interviews with local wholesalers to map the supply chain and unique challenges that they face. Our ultimate aim is to identify common issues across the continent and the feasibility of establishing a pan-African wholesalers association that could alleviate some of these problems.

Our biggest challenge so far has been understanding how different the pharmaceutical supply chain is across the three markets and then trying to understand how each of the 44 countries would fit into this creation of a pan-African pharmaceutical wholesalers association. Each country has different regulations for importing medicines, different languages, and economically are in different places.

I’m most looking forward to working together with my team to create a recommendation that puts the ethical delivery of medicine and greater accessibility of medicine for patients as its foremost goals.

Mariam Jalloul

Working With: Mahindra's Saboro Health Food Cafe
Location: Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi

I'm working on a marketing and strategy project to help Saboro scale and become a top pan-India player in the healthy food space. Our sponsor has been incredibly helpful and welcoming; almost everyone is willing to meet with us and speak about their work, and it's made our research so much easier.

We are now conducting primary research by interviewing restaurant-goers and visiting restaurants across Mumbai to do observational research of the competitive landscape. It's been a wonderful opportunity to work firsthand in a country with a completely different business and cultural landscape.

My team is incredibly enthusiastic and excited about this project, and we also work incredibly well together. I'm looking forward to continuing to explore India with an amazing group of people and working toward a business recommendation for our sponsor organization.

Kaitlyn outside Shanghai

Kaitlyn Klingensmith

Working With: RLE International
Location: Shanghai, China

I'm working on a growth and transformation action plan to help the company transition into the next phase of automotive engineering in China. It's incredible how different the Chinese auto market is compared to the U.S., so our team has spent the last two weeks interviewing Chinese competitors and OEMs to fully understand the upcoming trends in the market. From autonomous vehicles to increased connectivity to electric vehicles, we will have to figure out over the next few weeks the nuances of each trend to identify properly how RLE can grow with the Chinese market.

I'm most excited to get hands-on experience interviewing top level executives at a variety of companies and learning how to compile the data we collect into a strategic plan for our sponsor company. It's a way to take the information we learned in the core courses and truly apply it to a real life business situation.

Learn more about MAP at Michigan Ross