In 1960, Detroit was the richest city in America. Over the next 50 years, the city saw dramatic changes in its economic, political and social environments, resulting in the unprecedented step of declaring bankruptcy in 2013. Now, Detroit is rapidly rebuilding.
In June 2016, MBA@UNC students had the opportunity to explore this unique business climate firsthand. The weekend was split into two unique learning tracks, giving students the chance to meet with top local business leaders, network with peers and faculty, and take in the local culture.
Urban Development Track
Over the past two years, Detroit has begun to turn around and rebuild itself with a new identity beyond the Big Three auto manufacturers. Students in the urban development track spent the weekend touring some of the businesses leading Detroit’s renaissance and meeting with top thought leaders to discuss strategies for rebuilding and re-branding.
Activities in the urban development track included a guided bus tour highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship in Detroit and sessions hosted by top executives at companies such as Ford, PwC and Domino’s.
Led by Professor Paul Friga, the consulting track provided students with the problem analysis framework used in the consulting world, which they then applied during a live case competition over the course of the weekend.
Students were tasked with helping Shinola—an upscale producer of American-built watches, bicycles, journals and other leather goods—solve a supply chain issue.
Paul Friga Clinical Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
Jennifer Guarino VP of Leather, Shinola
Throughout the weekend, students worked in small teams to create a presentation to share with company executives on Sunday morning.
Networking and Local Attractions
In addition to a weekend of learning from some of the top business leaders in Detroit, students also had the opportunity to network with classmates and faculty and to experience some of Detroit’s top local attractions.