LEAVING A CAREER AT DELOITTE FOR A GIG WITH THE MAYOR
Second-year MBA student Neil Tambe was on a finalist team in this year’s challenge. “I think the best part is the approach from both sides is authentic and sincere,” says Tambe, who describes himself as a “life-long Michigander.”
“It is kind of a big deal of institutions from the outside coming in and rubbing people in Detroit the wrong way. But this program has deep relationships from the university and Detroit sides.”
Tambe left a career in consulting at Deloitte to attend Ross and interned in the Detroit mayor’s office this past summer. He worked with business licensing and the water and sewage department for the City of Detroit. Not exactly glitz and glam.
“When I entered business school, I didn’t have to think deeply about recruiting because I had the option to return if I wanted,” Tambe explains. “But when I started working with the Center, I felt the support and had the courage to take a nontraditional internship. It was a lesson in it’s OK to be different and do something different.”
The ability for Tambe to spend the summer working for a very minimal amount came from another component of the center. The Give-A-Day Fund gives second-year MBA students the opportunity to donate a day of their salaries from their summer internship to support rising first-years’ pursuing public interest internships. Each year tens of thousands of dollars are donated. In a few weeks, Tambe will begin his new position, director of transformational projects for Mayor Mike Duggan.
BOARD FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM A DRAW
After earning a degree in marketing from the University of Maryland, Simon Chafetz spent a few years working in strategy and operations at Deloitte. He decided to get an MBA for the same reason many do—to deepen his general management skills. But coming from parents who are “serial board members,” Chafetz, originally from Texas, looked specifically at Ross.
And what he found was the Board Fellowship Program. It is basically a board member breeding program for graduate students from the schools of business, social work, and public policy.
“It tipped the balance for me in my decision,” Chafetz says. “Other schools had similar programs but were not as robust and formal as the Board Fellowship Program.”
Chafetz, a first-year, has also spent a lot of time working with Detroit’s Eight Mile Boulevard Association, an organization formed in 1993 to combine local governments, social groups, and businesses to revitalize southeast Michigan’s Eight Mile Boulevard. The introduction was also made possible by the center.
WHY SO MUCH SOCIAL IMPACT EMPHASIS?
This is another example of investments flowing from business schools into social impact and social enterprise organizations. The Center’s leadership and students alike believe it is simply a sign of the times.
“The center is a response to students and what they want,” Vasquez explains. “There is an increasing interest in using business skills to solve social problems. Social impact is what the students are most excited about.”
Vasquez, who returned to Michigan to help Detroit, where his father’s family is from, says one issue he saw while in the field is what led him to pursing an MBA with an emphasis on social impact.
“When I was in the field and working with big organizations like Red Cross and World Vision, I was surprised by how they fundraise,” Vasquez says. “They have to go out every year to donors asking for money but they are never showing how they are solving the problem. The didn’t measure their impact enough. They weren’t good at calculating a ROI. They didn’t say, for every dollar you put in, every village gets this much water. They weren’t making a business case for their social mission—that they were efficient and effective and having a great impact.”
A GENERATIONAL SHIFT
Moudgil says interest in social impact has to do with the Millennial generation. “There are a couple macro factors that play out as folks are choosing a school and path,” explains Moudgil. “First, there is no longer as much of an institutional lens. There used to be corporate America or nonprofit or government and politics. But students are not thinking within those structures and institutions. So instead of trying to find an institution they can fit into, they are looking for where they can work that reflects their values and who they are.”