From Rwanda to the Philippines, Student Projects Span the MAP

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Student Opportunities

From left to right back row: MBA candidates Drew Davis, Nishta Sawhney, Manshi Sanghai and Daniel Kolodney. Lower row, Clinica de Familia staff, from left to right: Mina Halpern Lozada, Executive Director; Jeffrey González, Student Program Coordinator; Kellys King, Director of Operations. Image credit: Quennie Paniagua

During the 2023–24 academic year, WDI’s Multidisciplinary Action Projects boosted practical skills for students and financial growth for businesses.

Eighty percent of the world’s population lives in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and an increasing share of MBA graduates will need the skills to do business with them.

The William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan, which focuses its work on LMICs, has a unique relationship with the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. The more than 30-year collaboration connects business students with the markets, cultures and people of these emerging economies. The Institute brings these worlds together in a way that moves them both forward — pushing students to bolster their practical abilities while supporting the sustainable development of companies in LMICs.

One way WDI fulfills this promise is through its Multidisciplinary Action Projects, or MAPs. These required action-based learning opportunities bring first-year business students to organizations that need them — and the ones through WDI bring them to burgeoning companies in growing LMIC markets. Every year, Ross business students build their hands-on skills, expand their knowledge of global business, and support these companies.

“The lessons of the classroom become much clearer and last longer when they are learned in the real world. Multidisciplinary Action Projects do exactly that. Students get to put their business knowledge to practice in situations where their choices have a strong and lasting impact,” said Paul Clyde, president of WDI. “Organizations in low- and middle-income countries benefit from the work and insights of our business students.”

Each year, students join WDI in advancing the economic development of business in LMICs — and they develop their own skills as they do it. Since its founding in 1992, WDI has supported over 1,500 students through 257 MAPs. During the 2023–24 academic year, 49 students joined twelve MAP projects supported by WDI around the globe, from the Philippines to Rwanda to India.

Here’s a rundown of the projects from the year:

  • At the Technological Institute of the Philippines in Manila and Quezon City, Jason Kovacs, Patrick O’Sullivan, Niral Shah, Aditya Sridhar, and Matt Stone identified two technologies for possible commercialization and developed a roadmap to implement that effort. Students also documented this process for continued use.
  • At Poornatha in India, students explored exit methodologies, international models, and value-creation plans to encourage the transition and growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises. Hile Ermias, Vignesh Krishnamoorthi, Matt Pembroke, and Prasanth Muralidharan focused on strategic road mapping while in Mumbai, Chennai, and Madurai.
  • Students supported Redat Healthcare in Nairobi, Kenya in their efforts to enter and build a market for teleradiology services in sub-Saharan Africa. DJ Geiger, Gramm Goyette, Anand Kelkar, and Nikhil Sakpal formulated a detailed market entry strategy for the group and completed market analysis and assessment to support it.
  • Patrick Adamus, Thomas Alumoottil, Vishnu Gottipati, and Donnie Hendrick, Jr. worked with Wahu Mobility Ltd. in Kigali, Rwanda, to guide its e-bike and sustainability solutions. The team developed a comprehensive market analysis and market entry strategy for the organization, supporting its sustainable mobility solutions.
  • In Ghana and Kenya, Felix Fan, Sid Plakkot, Daksha Tidke, and Boma Young-Arney conducted a market analysis for Aga Khan University. The academic institution plans to set up a next-generation sequencing facility in Nairobi to cater to samples from across Africa. Students focused on creating a go-to-market strategy for the school, which combines world-class teaching with healthcare delivery.
  • At Clinica de Familia La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Daniel Kolodney, Manshi Sanghai, Nishta Sawhney, and Drew Davis created an expansion strategy for the dental practice. The group identified which services would be the most appropriate additions and developed a financial model around these recommendations.
  • At Aravind Eye Care System in India, students built a framework to help the organization better understand the financial impacts of various operational levers. Graham Beck, Dillon Clancy, Sam Clouse, and Alex Dennis evaluated how Aravind captures financial data and conducted an analysis and evaluation of the effects of these levers.
  • “The Billion Plans” project at Poornatha in India was focused on building a strategic market-entry plan for an entrepreneurial product offering in India and the Middle East. Kobi Johnson, Zackary Kennedy, Ali Lamot and Giancarlo Razzeto worked with the group to support its new product, which helps business owners with data-driven decision-making.
  • Madison Darish, Jacob Goult, Alex Maxwell and An Vo supported Poornatha’s “Prodigy” project — designed to prepare the next generation of family business owners for leadership roles, offering critical exposure to multiple aspects of business education. Students completed strategic road mapping of this project and also covered brand positioning and communications plans.
  • Students supported the Technological Institute of the Philippines in its continued efforts to commercialize its new technologies. Macey Guthery, Lauren LaMonica, Kyle Sinno, and Rowland Smith developed a strategic roadmap for this plan, which integrated the work of the engineering, business education, and legal departments of the institute.
  • With Busoga Health Forum and Makerere University of Public Health in Uganda, students conducted a market analysis and market entry strategy for a diagnostic test for neonatal sepsis in the country. The analysis from Maya Ambady, Ryan Moon, Meena Rao Nandelli, and Don Sobell included current and projected demand, competitive analysis, and collaborators.
  • Marisa De Souza, Sam Schmitt, Harshita Sinha, and Siddhartha Srinadhuni worked with EMRI GHS in India on a fleet management project. The team assessed the impact of owning versus outsourcing in fleet serving, considering operations enhancements and customer experience.

Every one of these projects was designed to push students toward success during and after their Ross experience — and push economic decision-makers in emerging economies toward sustainable growth. The stakes of these projects are real, and the consequences of the recommendations are substantive.

“WDI is in the position to connect the growth taking place in low and middle income countries with business students who are anxious to learn from and contribute to businesses in those markets,” Clyde said. “Few schools offer such opportunities and MAP teams over the years have made significant contributions to these businesses. This year was no exception.”

Previous slide
Next slide
Back to Top