In an interview with BloombergBusinessweek, Dean Alison Davis-Blake of the Ross School of Business at University of Michigan mentions the Detroit Revitalization & Business Initiative as an opportunity for MBA students at Ross.
How has Detroit’s economy affected your school?
We have a global resource base. So the fact that we’ve got one city near us that had its moment and the fact the state is not in a healthy economic environment has not had a big influence on us. [Ross gets less than 2 percent of its funding from the State of Michigan.] The first thing our MBA students did this year was divide into teams and focus on a particular area that’s important to Detroit: affordable housing, accessible food, unemployment, K-12 education. They were tasked during orientation to develop a for-profit business plan that could benefit this sector. It was a competition and I got to judge the finals. We have a whole student club called Revitalization & Business that works in Detroit. We have our undergrad classes do projects in Detroit. We have a class called Integrated Product Development that works with Detroit nonprofits to help them develop products that people with lesser skills can create, such as doormats made out of recycled tires or sandals made out of recycled seat belts and tires.