By Nuncharin Sithinamsuwam, MBA '20
Deciding which courses to take is not easy at the Ross School of Business because there are so many interesting classes to choose from, and there are also many required courses. I decided to take the +Impact Studio course based on a friend's recommendation and its headline as one of the most exciting new developments at Ross, according to Poets&Quants.
I have an investment management background and will work as a banker after graduation. Before coming to Ross, I spent a year helping underprivileged women in Thailand on weekends, and I wanted to develop better and more impactful solutions afterward.
Despite an eight-hour commitment per week, the +Impact Studio course has been one the most transforming experiences for me while at Michigan Ross. I have fallen in love with the +Impact Studio.
Here are three reasons why:
1. Action-based learning plus social impact
The +Impact Studio course provides me the opportunity to put knowledge into action while solving the problems of society. The projects are aimed at helping low-income populations get access to financial and social capital and improving access to affordable and safe water. Working with talented students from other schools across the University of Michigan, including the School of Social Work, School of Engineering, School of Information, and more, makes the solutions we develop in the course more diverse, comprehensive, and inclusive. I work in a team of four on the Water Vulnerability project. Our goal is to help all residents through awareness, transparency, and trust, to take action to improve their water condition. This is a very important feat and quite challenging. We are working with Eric Schwartz, a Ross marketing professor, and are learning from his expertise in using big data management as a solution to the Flint water crisis.
2. The team, the team, the team!
One of my key takeaways from this class is how to design a team to increase psychological safety, efficiency, and engagement. This skill is very crucial and transferrable to the real business world. We kicked off by creating a team mission and rules to encourage collaboration. Each month, we reviewed this agreement, which I found led to a better team design and higher efficiency. Moreover, with a dominant personality, I tend to come to the conclusion too fast. However, using tools such as “yes, and” and “co-creation” tremendously assisted me in increasing new ideas and collaboration among my team members.
3. Applying the right tools, yielding better results
Every Monday, at 7 a.m., I have this conflict in my head - should I wake up and go to class or sleep in? Believe it or not, my desire to attend this class always wins! The reason is that our professor, Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks, brings in so many incredible speakers, and the workshops use different tools that are really useful in both social impact and business settings. Business canvas, Bricolage, Fogg’s Behavior Model, and Prototyping design tools sound so cool, but I did not understand how to apply them. This class has brought these theories to life and helped us move forward under pressure and ambiguity. For instance, we used Bricolage to ideate solutions and business canvas to create hypotheses for our customers (beneficiaries).
+Impact Studio helps me grow into a better leader, team member, and responsible citizen to this world. It highlights what needs to be done to improve our society and has taught me how to do it more effectively and sustainably, which is not only limited to non-profit settings.
If you believe in learning by doing and want to create impact, this is absolutely the best course at Ross.