About the Yaffe Digital Media Initiative

students at a speaker event

The Yaffe Digital Media Initiative aims to expose Ross students and the wider University of Michigan community to the power of digital media. We do this through: 

  • Scholarships for business students considering careers in digital media
  • Programming which brings digital media leaders to campus
  • Access to industry resources  

Faculty Leadership

Marcus Collins

Marcus Collins, Co-Director

Marcus Collins is a lecturer of marketing at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, where he helps bridge the academic-practitioner gap for both degree-seeking students and executives. He studies the effects of cultural contagion on consumer behavior. In his advertising career, he  has helped 'blue-chip' brands (like McDonald's and Google) create contagious marketing ideas which extend across both the online and offline worlds of 'social'. Throughout his career, Collins has been acknowledged for his strategic and creative contributions (Advertising Age's 40 Under 40 recipient, Clio award winner).

Prior to his tenure in advertising, he worked in music and tech as a startup co-founder (Muse Recordings) and then led iTunes + Nike sport music initiatives at Apple before running digital strategy for Beyoncé.
Collins is an alumnus of the University of Michigan (BSE in Materials Science Engineering and an MBA with an emphasis in Strategic Brand Marketing). He is currently completing his doctorate at Temple University. 

John Branch

John Branch, Co-Director

John Branch is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. He currently teaches marketing and international business courses at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels. He is also associated with the university’s Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies and at the William Davidson Institute.
 Branch has served as an adjunct or visiting professor at more than 40 business schools throughout the world, including the Rotterdam School of Management (Netherlands) and the Sasin Graduate Institute of Administration (Thailand), among others. 

He has also been involved in a variety of European Union and other government-funded development projects, most notably in the republics of the former USSR, and in those of Eastern and Central Europe. He has conducted management training in, and consulted with, numerous international companies.

Opportunities for Students

Interested in getting involved? Reach out to us to learn how you can support the Yaffe Initiative as a student.

Margaret Davis"Working for Yaffe has been such an enriching part of my Ross experience. I’ve met the most interesting professionals and learned so much about digital media. Being a part of the initiative has complimented my classroom experience here at Ross so well and given me a well-rounded view of what a career in digital media looks like."

Margaret Davis, MM '20


Fred Yaffe
Fred Yaffe

The Yaffe Initiative is funded through a gift from James (Jimmy) Yaffe, whose father, Fred Yaffe, MBA '58, founded the former Yaffe Center for Persuasive Communication at the Ross School of Business. Since the 1960s, Fred Yaffe's company, the Yaffe Group, has been synonymous with the Detroit advertising industry. Jimmy Yaffe followed in his father's footsteps, launching his own marketing company, and building digital businesses for major artists. Through this 10-year gift to Ross, Jimmy continues his father's legacy of support, with a renewed focus on communication in the digital sphere.