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Students Take Responsibility to Make an Impact

By Caroline Brooks

As Eli Broad himself said, “Charity is just writing checks and not being engaged. Philanthropy, to me, is being engaged, not only with your resources but getting people and yourself really involved and doing things that haven’t been done before.”

Broad’s mindset resonated with students as they consistently stepped out of their comfort zones to deliver a real impact on issues and communities that mattered to them.

The Broad Executive MBA program gave students the opportunity to pursue real-world projects for diverse, non-profit organizations that address social or economic problems such as homelessness, hunger, poverty, public health, or sustainability. Working for these non-profit clients, like the Greater Lansing Food Bank, Boys & Girls Club, Hospitality House, Action Network of Detroit, among others, project teams of EMBA students applied their skillset and professional experiences to address significant existing issues. Their hands-on approach and business skills not only helped solve these organizations’ existing problems, but positioned them for success by implementing new procedures and technologies.

The Full-Time MBA concentrations honed their social impact focus on causes related to their areas of expertise. Supply Chain Management students volunteered for the Lansing Habitat for Humanity, revamping operations of its ReStore to optimize and improve everything from its shipping practices to financial tracking and reporting.

All year, the Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO) linked talented students eager gain new experiences with nonprofit organizations that are constrained by limited resources. By creating a mutually beneficial relationship, yielded powerful results for both the students and non-profits. Comprised of over 80 percent Broad undergraduates, teams from SCNO worked with UnitedWay of Greater Livingston to develop advanced marketing strategies to promote community outreach engagements and events; improved the human capital position of Howell Main Street Organization, volunteer-led organization focused on historic preservation, infrastructure improvements, quality events, and promoting downtown Howell, MI; partnered with Firecracker Foundation, a holistic healing center for child victims of sexual assault, to conduct market research and explore channels to connect with anonymous clients that is not exclusive to face-to-face therapy; and many more.

Broad graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty and staff, consistently left a mark on the communities surrounding them throughout the year.

Just a few more examples of their work include:

Diversity in Action

The Native American and Hispanic Business Students coordinate campus- and community-based outreach programs each year. In the fall, they hosted over 50 Hispanic students from Grand Rapids on campus. In the spring, they visited the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in the Upper Peninsula, where they worked with 31 Native youth on professional skills and leadership.

Gambling for Good

Full-Time MBA students used a variety of creative tactics to raise more than $13,000 in donations for the Greater Lansing Food Bank. To achieve this record-breaking donation for the food bank, students held a poker tournament, a trivia night, a pie sale, and an outing to a Grand Rapids Griffins hockey game.

As Joe Wald, Greater Lansing Food Bank’s executive director said, “First, it is beyond comprehension that full-time students would take on a cause like this on their own time and achieve such impressive results. Second, it is testament to the quality of people who are attracted to MSU and specifically the Broad College MBA program. Third, the magnitude of this gift will make a positive difference in many lives in our community.”

Business at Any Age

At Michigan State’s annual Grandparents University weekend, Forrest Carter, associate professor of marketing, guided a team of youths through a hands-on entrepreneurship lesson and put their knowledge to the test by running a refreshment station on campus. “You need to think creatively, use your imagination,” he imparted to them in their class, which he called the hallmark of his summer.

In addition to this class, Broad College faculty led four other events for the children and grandparents.

To the Highest Bidder

For the fourth consecutive year, the MBA Association held live and silent auctions to raise awareness and proceeds for Ele’s Place, a statewide organization supporting grieving children and teens. This year, the most coveted auction items were “experiences” with faculty, who also attended the record-breaking event to raise $7,160 for the charity.

In the classroom and out in the community, Broad students achieved much more in an academic year than completing curriculum: they boldly stepped out to make an impact in the world around them.


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