ICYMI: Four of the Most Exciting Developments at Michigan Ross this Fall

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With so much going on this semester, here’s a recap of four really exciting new developments at the Ross School of Business in case you missed them.

First-ever class of online MBA students

Michigan Ross welcomed its first cohort of 72 accomplished and diverse business professionals into the school’s new Online MBA Program, making Ross the first top-ranked U.S. business school to offer such a program. The students were immediately immersed into the rigorous Ross business curriculum, taking classes taught by senior faculty members in accounting and statistics via live, interactive sessions in the new Digital Education Studio

Outside of class, many online students enjoyed getting to know each other and the Michigan Ross community by joining clubs and virtually participating in events. Next semester, the students will have the opportunity to experience Ross in person when they visit campus for their first residency in January. They will participate with other graduate students in the Leadership Crisis Challenge

Launch of the Michigan Ross FinTech Initiative 

In September, Michigan Ross announced a new program in partnership with Chicago-based PEAK6 Investments to prepare students for successful careers in the rapidly growing fintech sector, aiming to produce a robust pipeline of top talent well-versed in technology and finance. The Michigan Ross FinTech Initiative includes educational offerings; fintech-related clubs, events and activities; and action-based learning experiences that connect students with the most innovative fintech companies in the world. 

As part of the initiative this semester, Michigan Ross held the 2019 FinTech Challenge, where nearly 50 student teams participated in a month-long competition to develop an impactful and commercially viable fintech solution to increase financial inclusion in rural Michigan. In addition, Ross hosted University of Michigan Professor Adrienne Harris for a talk with students in which she shared practical career advice and fintech industry analysis based on her experience working at a successful fintech startup, as a special advisor to the Obama administration, and a lawyer in NYC financial services.

Grand opening of the +Impact Studio

With the goal of translating faculty insights into tangible business solutions to the world’s challenges, the new +Impact Studio officially opened at the Ross School of Business. The +Impact Studio, which is part of the Business+Impact initiative at Ross, encompasses an interdisciplinary action-based learning course; a collaboration space; and a campus hub for programming and events.

In the +Impact Studio course this semester, MBAs and other U-M graduate students were divided into two different groups: one focused on using the latest fintech research to improve financial inclusion, and the other on scaling a technology on how to identify lead in Flint water pipes so that it can have a greater impact in Flint and beyond. Ross also hosted several workshops in a new Faculty Research for Impact series focused on taking the UN Sustainable Development Goals and using faculty research to develop ideas that directly impact those goals, such as reducing inequality.

Rollout of the Pinkert Scholar Program

Sixteen incoming Michigan Ross full-time MBAs were the first students to receive full-ride scholarships through the Pinkert Scholars Program, which is awarded to a select group of Ross MBA students each year who are focused on the business of healthcare and healthcare innovation. As part of the program, scholars are matched with alumni mentors who are leaders in the healthcare field of interest to the scholar. Additionally, the scholars have funding to participate in healthcare-specific learning experiences and career and professional development programs, including career treks to meet with healthcare innovators and executives across the country, conferences, workshops, and other experiences designed to help scholars get ahead in their desired healthcare career. 

Beyond those opportunities for the scholars, the gift from the Pinkerts that established the program will create a $500,000 venture capital seed fund for healthcare startups to be launched in 2020, allowing students the opportunity to compete for financing to launch their ventures.