An Insider Look at MAP 2022: Michigan Ross MBAs Tackle 78 High-Impact Projects for Dozens of Organizations Across the Globe
As the Ross School of Business celebrates the 30th anniversary of its signature MAP (Multidisciplinary Action Projects) program, all first-year Full-Time MBA students at Michigan Ross have teamed up and started work on 78 projects related to real-world challenges and opportunities facing companies and non-profit organizations around the world.
This year, MBAs are tackling projects with diverse sponsoring organizations from 13 countries spanning five continents. As with each year, the organizations represent a diverse range of industries, from technology to sustainability, media entertainment and sports, healthcare, and financial services.
Among the many projects are the creation of a strategic marketing plan for EA Sports, a retention and customer experience analysis for Microsoft Corp., and a competitor and financial audit for Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
Michigan Ross alumni are sponsoring 42 MAP projects this year. There are 29 MBA student teams who are traveling domestically and internationally for their projects, 11 teams visiting local organizations, and the others are engaging with their sponsors virtually.
New in 2022, Michigan Ross has added a Ross Team Advantage program aimed at cultivating team building and skill development through a two-part workshop series. The workshops are designed to zhelp teams build four key competencies that can immediately apply to their MAP projects: Courageous Conversations led by Brian Flanagan, Elevate Team Engagement to Fuel Success led by Monica Worline and Betsy Erwin, Compelling Sponsor Communications led by Lisa Pawlik, and Developing a Consulting Mindset led by Jeff Sinclair
Checking in with the Amazon Prime Video MBA team about their MAP experience so far
Sanchi Arora, MBA ’23, Aidan Kahn, MBA ’23, and Ian Wang, MBA ’23, are working with Amazon Prime Video for their MAP project to understand how Amazon interacts with live and upcoming content to help improve customer experience.
The Amazon Prime Video team shared how the action-based learning experience that MAP provides has been extremely valuable in illustrating what it takes to be a successful leader in their careers post-graduation.
“In the real world, we are often assigned new projects and have to work in teams with people who are complete strangers. MAP felt just like day 1 at a new workplace, and maneuvering through these past few weeks I continue to say to myself: ‘This is so much like a real job,’” Arora said. “So far, the experience has taught me how to lead without authority, build healthy relationships at work, and become the product management leader that I hope to become.”
Similarly, Kahn shared that a main reason he decided to pursue his MBA at Michigan Ross was because of MAP and the action-based learning curriculum.
As Wang plans to pivot his career from real estate to tech, he felt MAP will prepare him for his upcoming internship at Amazon. “This project gives me the opportunity to understand how tech companies deal with problems and how to conduct research to create data-driven decisions,” he said.
Arora also emphasized how MAP is the perfect stepping stone as she transitions into her new role. “The experience of working with Amazon as part of the MAP team is very similar to a work experience in that you get to think from a product manager's point of view — keeping customers first — which is very exciting to me and is already proving to be a great learning experience,” she explained.
The team also emphasized that MAP has helped them obtain the necessary skills to succeed in their future careers. “The reason I came to Michigan Ross was to gain the business skills needed to help shape the future of the media and entertainment industry,” said Kahn.
Kahn shared that the most valuable skill he has learned is the ability to create a path to finding a solution for a large problem.
“This skill will be extremely valuable in my career where I need to help either my company or clients solve large issues by scaling them to a level in which we can tackle different aspects to eventually get to the result,” he said.
Arora felt the MAP experience is designed in a way that enables students to build on both their hard and soft skills.
“In terms of hard skills, I am learning how to scope out a problem for a technology platform, looking at the right data points, gathering customer insights that matter, and incorporating them back into the product,” she said. “When it comes to soft skills, working with a team of individuals that you don't know is like starting out in a new job where you meet people from diverse backgrounds and cultures and have a common objective.”
Teamwork and collaboration
In addition to making a meaningful impact on a real-world company, the Amazon Prime Video team said they appreciated how MAP allows them to work closely with a diverse group of students, Michigan Ross faculty, and their sponsor organization.
“What I have enjoyed most about MAP has been the opportunity to work on a team with a group of MBA students to tackle a problem that a real company is having,” said Arora. “I have been pleasantly surprised by how much our Amazon sponsors trust us and rely on us to deliver real, actionable results.”
Wang shared that he appreciates the diversity of his team, in terms of nationality and work experience.
“We all do our best to contribute and be as collaborative as possible, which helps me learn a lot from others and makes this project very enjoyable,” Wang said. “The experience of working with diverse peers on a project that interests me is very unique and offers a safe way to explore new things and get hands-on work experience. I really appreciate this opportunity.”