Assistant Professor of Marketing Clay Voorhees and his MBA students have been partnering with Deloitte Consulting on the Deloitte Generation Y Automotive Survey for the past four years. The project, for which MSU has become the lead academic partner, provides students with a unique, hands-on experience. It also showcases the Broad College’s Marketing faculty and their expertise. “We were asked to partner with them based on the reputation of our Marketing MBA program as an applied program with service-learning and executive-level deliveries,” notes Voorhees.
MBA students volunteer to take part in the project, which entails conducting primary and secondary research on consumer attitudes in the automotive industry, turning the results into executive-level findings, and ultimately presenting the results of their analysis to automotive executives at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The students recently presented in front of an audience of executives in a town hall forum of approximately 100 people, including a Q&A session with Mark Fields, Executive Vice President and President, The Americas for Ford Motor Company, Joe Vitale, Global Automotive Sector Leader for Deloitte, and Phil LeBeau, Automotive and Airline industry reporter for CNBC. Voorhees believes that this gives MBA students a chance to not only provide insight to Deloitte Consulting, but also to impact the future of the automotive industry and Michigan’s economy through application of their survey results.
MSU alumnus Ron Goldsberry, an Automotive Consultant for Deloitte and former Vice President of Global Service Business Strategy for Ford Motor Company, has been involved with coaching the student teams. As Voorhees explains, “It’s a rare chance to have a seasoned automotive executive come back and work with students to help shape their presentations.”
For these MBA students, the project offers connections and experience beyond the classroom, preparing them for their future careers. “The project gives students a chance to contribute and connect with others in the industry and get real-world experience . . . it’s not an everyday opportunity,” says first-year Marketing MBA Shelley Szalay. “Any time you get an opportunity to get in front of industry executives and network, validate what you are doing in the classroom, and find out it has real-world value, it’s a worthwhile experience,” adds Chris Kirwin, also a first-year Marketing MBA.
Often, Voorhees and his students work with Deloitte Consulting to take the findings directly to the automotive industry, including past visits to Honda’s North American Headquarters, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors where they have attended VP-level meetings. “These visits allow students to be the voice of Gen Y directly to the executives and provide great international and national exposure for the program alongside a world-class consulting team with Deloitte Consulting,” says Voorhees.
This is one of many projects at the Broad College where students are going out of the classroom to apply their learning, impacting more than their grades. For more information, including the actual survey results, please visit www.deloitte.com/us/geny or broad.msu.edu.