Michigan Ross teams up with Amazon for annual Business + Impact Challenge

August 15, 2018

Incoming MBA students will work with company to spark ideas around disaster relief

The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan announced today the 2018 Business + Impact Challenge, taking place August 13-14.

More than 400 first-year Full-Time MBA students will work to develop and propose innovative solutions to a challenge brought by this year’s corporate partner, Amazon.

The challenge will not be easy: students have been asked to draft a business plan and generate a pitch demonstrating how Amazon might leverage its products, services, and technology in a new way to support disaster recovery and build resilience in communities around the world.

Organized by the Sanger Leadership Center and sponsored annually 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.

Students will break into teams and have two days to use their creativity, teamwork, and strategic thinking to develop their best original solutions before presenting to a panel of experts. Throughout the two day program, students will meet with subject matter experts, adopt roles based on the Michigan Model of Leadership, develop their leadership capabilities, and see firsthand the many diverse ways leaders create impact through business.

Their learning will be supported by Amazon employees, who will provide insightful feedback throughout, as well as sessions presented by Michigan Ross centers and institutes such as the Zell Lurie Institute, the Erb Institute, and the Center for Positive Organizations.

Numerous disaster relief experts and affected community members have been invited to the Michigan Ross campus share their insights and first-person experiences with students as well. Among the many in attendance will be Fred Kaehler, director of the recovery division of FEMA; Armando Falcon, disaster program manager of the Southeast Michigan American Red Cross; and Andrew Humphrey, an Emmy award-winning meteorologist at CBM Weather Station in Detroit.

U-M faculty will also share their research and knowledge, including professors Laura Lein from the School of Social Work; Eric Hetland from the College of Literature, Science & the Arts; and Seth Guikema from the College of Engineering.

“At Ross, we believe business can be one of the most powerful forces for positive change in the world. This year’s Business + Impact Challenge will give our students a valuable, real-world leadership experience that will also help them to see more clearly all of the ways businesses can create value for society,” said Brian Flanagan, Managing Director of the Sanger Leadership Center. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Amazon, and we’re thrilled to welcome them on campus to work with the MBA Class of 2020.”

The program will wrap up with three finalist teams presenting their solutions to a panel of Amazon employees focused on the company’s global disaster relief efforts, disaster relief experts, and U-M faculty. The winning team will be selected for 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.

The story was originally published on the Michigan Ross News Blog.