MBA@UNC Global Immersion: Detroit - Day Three

MBA@UNC Global Immersions are offered four times a year as unique opportunities for students to travel to major domestic and international business destinations with their fellow classmates, participate in engaging discussions with their professors and elite industry leaders, as well as apply what they have learned to real-life problems. At the Detroit immersion, MBA@UNC students participated in one of two tracks: consulting or urban development. Each track provided MBA@UNC students with the opportunity to learn about how Detroit is rebuilding itself into an entrepreneur’s city. Did you miss our account of the second day of the Detroit immersion? Read about the interesting topics covered in classes led by Professors Emil Malizia and Jim Johnson.


On the final day of the MBA@UNC immersion in Detroit, students in the urban development track learned about two companies: Ford and PwC. The “Ford: Innovation by Necessity” class was taught by Professor David Jacobson and featured executives from the Ford Motor Company. Highlighting the need for innovation within the automotive industry, Professor Jacobson guided students through a case study on Ford’s strategy for emerging mobility technologies, before soliciting ideas on how to solve some of Detroit’s most challenging infrastructure issues. The session about PwC, a professional services firm, was spearheaded by PwC Market Managing Officer Ray Telang and Partner Julie Bogas. Telang and Bogas took students through a presentation on how crafting public and private partnerships can result in unexpected benefits for both parties.

While the urban development track was covering Ford and PwC, the consulting track was preparing its presentations for Shinola. Dr. Friga, the professor co-leading the consulting track, laid out a point system that would determine the two finalists who would proceed on to the final presentation round. Storyline, comprehensiveness, slides and delivery were each worth 25 points. Of the eight groups who presented, two went on to the finals: The Tanned Heels (team one) and Go Big or Go Home (team four). Go Big or Go Home took home the gold for their creative ideas, efficient and effective presentation and because they had robust analytics to support their solution approach. Eight MVPs were also named for their outstanding contributions to their respective teams: Dave Kelley, Tony Ferrara, Adam Hoehn, Thomas Miser, Mark Embree, Scott Curtin, Aaron Osborne and Mike Bowblis.

The day wrapped up with a closing speech from the CEO of Shinola, Tom Lewand. Only 72 hours into his job, Lewand shared the story of how the five-year old company got off the ground and why they decided to settle in Detroit. He explained how the company brought Swiss watchmakers in to train their local workforce, and how Shinola has been accomplishing their goal of rebuilding the American manufacturing industry, starting with creating 800-plus jobs in the city of Detroit.