Fewer ways are there for faculty to instill a sense of commitment to impacting Detroit than building social impact projects into its curriculum.

For five consecutive years, the Broad College of Business Executive MBA program (EMBA) continues to make a profound impact on organizations in and around the city of Detroit through its social impact programs. “Our social impact projects are a way for students to have an immediate, real-time impact on organizations by applying what they learn in the classroom,” said Greg Janicki, director of the Executive MBA campus in Troy. “This is a critical element of our program and each year, the impact on students and the supporting organizations is remarkable,” he said.

A group of excited students

DAPCEP students get hands-on experience in learning science, technology, engineering and math [photo credit: DAPCEP].

The organizations EMBA supports range in scope, but all have an undeniable impact on the Detroit-area and its residents. Each of the organizations looks to the EMBA students to assist them in strengthening, growing, or changing how they operate. Students develop in-depth project charters (similar to business plans), which can address a variety of topics, such as strategy, marketing, and operations. Students present plans to EMBA faculty and the organizations prior to implementation.

In Detroit, EMBA supports two organizations: Dominican Literacy Center and the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program. These social impact projects are in full force and will wrap at the end of the semester.

Dominican Literacy Center graduates

Dominican Literacy Center helps adults earn GED degrees and puts them on a path to employment.

Detroit’s Dominican Literacy Center (DLC) provides tutoring services and programs for adults seeking a GED degree, then creates a path for employment upon graduation. The EMBA cohort developed a charter to improve DLC’s completion rate with a branded job service model to attract socially conscious companies. With assured employment opportunities as an incentive for DLC students, EMBA forecasts 15 percent improvement in completion (in fact, one of the socially conscious local businesses is a Detroit-based bakery owned by an EMBA student. More to come on him).

The Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) partners with universities throughout the state, training programs, and K-12 school systems to connect Detroit youth to the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences in Michigan. These experiences include everything from computer programming and robotics to renewable energy and entrepreneurship. The EMBA cohort proposed a new data reporting system to showcase the program’s impact on Detroit students to its stakeholders in an effort to boost public support.

“These projects and the EMBA cohorts implementing them really have the power impact how these organizations function and help people in the city of Detroit. Each and every year we look forward to seeing success – both for our Broad students and the nonprofits they work with,” Janicki said.