How I Used Data Analytics and Tableau to Rank My MAP Project Selections


By Mike Hinds, MBA ‘20

The focus on action-based learning is one of the main reasons I chose to come to Michigan Ross for my MBA, and the MAP program is obviously a big piece of how that comes to life.

Each MAP project offers its own unique experience, and with so many projects to choose from (there were more than 100 up for bid this year), the selection process can seem a little overwhelming at first.

As a career switcher, it was very important to me to use this opportunity to gain skills that would round out my experience and position me for a post-Ross career in tech. Secondarily, I wanted an experience that I was unlikely to do at another point in my career; for me that meant focusing on new countries, industries, and/or startups.

As Full-Time MBA students, when we select our MAPs, we start by ranking our Top 15 projects in priority order. We’re given a bunch of information about each project such as main industry, location, sponsor company or organization, project summary, scope, deliverables, some specific travel details, etc.

To help me focus my search, I decided to use the excel output of projects Ross provides to create a custom view in Tableau — a handy skill I have from my previous career as a financial analyst at The Home Depot.

I can't show you the specifics, but this is
the visualization I developed.

This allowed me to isolate specific attributes that I felt were the most important in considering projects. In particular, I looked at the company mission, project summary, and scope to determine the projects that best fit my goals and desired outcomes. I also added filters to help me identify the primary focus of projects (strategy, finance, HR), the organization type (corporate, government, startup), and type of travel the project entailed (international, domestic, or local).

Using these filters allowed me to narrow down the selection pool to experiences I was most interested in, and I easily viewed the information on those projects without having to look through multiple web pages. With a more digestible selection set, I pulled out the ones that interested me the most.

The next hurdle was ranking my top choices. I focused on prioritizing projects where I felt I could make the biggest impact, and where we had the opportunity to talk with customers to formulate our deliverables. Keeping in mind my ultimate career goal of working in tech, I felt like these were important takeaways for me. The outcome of this process and the rankings I put together left me feeling content knowing that any of my top choices would enable me to reach my objective.

Finally, MAP reveal day arrived. After some fanfare and standing around with a sealed envelope, I found out that my team and I will be working with an Israeli startup to bring their autonomous land surveying drones to the U.S. market.

We’ll start work on this project in March, and I have no doubt that this will be a great experience. It will be seven weeks of hard work, but I can’t wait to see what we will deliver come May.

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Mike Hinds
MBA '20

About Mike

Where were you before Ross?

I was a Finance Manager at The Home Depot for 2 years, and a Consultant at Deloitte for 2 years.

What is the best Ross event you've attended in the last year?

Boyne Ski Weekend — it was great to take some time away from school and explore the state a little bit; almost everybody goes and there's a killer Risky Business show after a day on the slopes.

Any hobbies? How do you kill time?

Soccer (playing and coaching), woodworking (I've built multiple things around our house including a bar), board games (Catan, anyone?), hanging out with my Golden Retriever Carter

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