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Business savvy meets creative thinking at BroadWeek

Challenged to create solutions for business, Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business Full-Time MBA students pulled from the depths of their knowledge and imagination to present ideas to the Procter & Gamble Co. and General Motors during the spring semester BroadWeek.

The intensive one-credit courses are designed to put creativity, innovation, and business acumen to the test.

The winning student team is pictured with GM executives
Broad College second year MBA students pitched ideas to GM to best use the bundle of technologies related to connectivity and automated driving—determining best business models and considering new services that could be offered to drivers—during this spring’s Broad Week 4. The winning student team is pictured with GM executives (l-r) Mary Sipes, vice president of global portfolio planning for GM; Warwick Stirling, director of innovation for GM; Derek McBaine, student; Sridhar Thirumalai, student; David Wenner, director of labor relations for GM; Joseph Domenico, student; Elizabeth Congdon, student.

For first-year MBA students, the spring course follows on fall semester’s design-based creativity competence development, sponsored by Procter & Gamble.

In this BroadWeek challenge, students participated in experiential exercises for creating new business models to create an executive presence. Michigan State alumna and Procter & Gamble CTO Kathy Fish, along with other executives, reinforced this through presentations.

“It was encouraging to see everyone embrace this work…and see them have some fun and advance the thinking,” said Todd Stollberg, vice-president of business development–Global Gillette Shave Care Team at Sonoco.

Second-year MBA students were challenged by key GM executives to provide innovative solutions to capture potential technologies that facilitate connectivity. After being briefed by top executives, the students pitched ideas to the executives.

“The case study GM developed challenged the students to think about the global car industry’s future and the role of connected-car technology,” explained Richard Simonds, professor of finance. “This entire experiential learning effort has helped GM learn more about our students’ capabilities and our students have a much richer understanding of the technological revolution in the auto industry.”

Throughout the three-day courses, students learn to look at business from other perspectives, as well as learn to think differently—this year help came from those who train actors. Everything learned through curriculum and the three-day program culminated in the student team pitches for real world business problems.

“This is good stress, similar to what we’d experience in the real world, with time constraints,” said Chris Schramski, second-year MBA student.

BroadWeek exhibits the experiential learning that encompasses innovation and creativity in the Full-Time MBA program. And, in turn, gives corporate partners ideas on how to approach business differently.

“This is a culmination of mastering the content these students have learned and then exhibiting that to others—the companies,” said Glenn Omura, acting associate dean for MBA and master’s programs.

“I felt that the creativity is secondary to learning how to frame that creativity,” said Jillian Waxmonsky, second-year Full-Time MBA student. “People are creative, but we are taking that creativity and turning those ideas into something that companies could use in the real world.”

The final piece is innovation—putting those ideas to work in a way that improves business and, in turn, life for others.


Eli Broad College of Business

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