Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CFN On Campus: Spring Fever

With the anxieties of a tough recruiting season behind them, MBA students at Consortium schools can now get to do exciting things. They can explore other business interests, try something new, take the course they had dreamed of taking when they applied, or study abroad, even if just for a few weeks.

For most first- and second-year students, recruiting is in the middle of the fourth quarter. Many students are still scrambling to decide where they will be in June. Some have options and have to make tough decisions. Some have moved on to Plan B and are happy about that. (In early February, only 13% of Yale first-students had firmed up internships.)

Springtime approaching means, too, that students can focus better on special interests. And across the country, Consortium students have taken advantage of opportunities b-schools offer them.

Several Consortium students participated in the 2010 Executive Leadership Council case competition. This year, students were asked to develop a business strategy for a small organization to expand an online math-education project from serving 8,000 students to over 1 million. Students from over 50 joined the competition (in its ninth year) to compete for academic scholarships, sponsored by Exxon Mobil.

Last week, the top three teams journeyed to Fairfax, Va. for the finals. A team from Michigan-Ross took first prize, and a team from Dartmouth-Tuck (featuring five Consortium students) earned third place. (Michigan also won the competition in 2005 and placed second in 2008.) "It's been a ton of fun," Tuck Consortium student Denzil Vaughn said.

At Michigan-Ross, first-year students are immersed in a special program that permits students to get involved in real business projects around the world. The program is known at Michigan as "MAP"--or Multidisciplinary Action Program.

In 2009, MAP programs took students to Turkey, Brazil, Spain and India and included some non-profit activities. Consortium student Frank Echevarria this year, for example, is in Peru and will later be in the Amazon region to do strategic analysis to help a local company open a new eco-tourism lodge. "The company's long-term vision is to increase tourism in the area to deter increased de-forestation," he said. Students present their analysis and findings to sponsoring companies, as well as to Ross faculty.

Consortium school Yale scored a coup in January when it announced its new dean, Edward Snyder. Snyder was at Chicago-Booth for nine years, but decided to his next step should be in New Haven. After a sabbatical, he will start at Yale in 2011, just in time, too, to lead the school's construction of a new campus site. (See picture model above.)

Tracy Williams

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