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N E W S 

 

New website to debut

by Michael J. Ferrante, MBA2  

 
New features of the website 

* Downloadable application form  

* Improved request for information  

* Direct links to MSJ on-line and pro- grams such as TMI and CEMP  

* Link to M-Track and the Postcards from Ann Arbor site  

* Student perspectives on the MBA and BBA programs  

* News and information on UMBS  

Finally. After a long-awaited development period, the new UMBS website will debut early this week.

The current version of the website, introduced in 1995 and designed by UMBS computing services, was (at its introduction) a state-of-the-art website. However, by 1997 standards, the site is static, outdated, and limited in the depth and breadth of information provided. The new site is fresh, easy to navigate, and provides an abundance of information about the school, the students, and the Michigan Experience.

Keith Decie, Director of Communications for UMBS, has been spearheading the new site development. "We hope the new site makes gathering information easier. In addition, we want the new site to give a real sense of the Michigan program and what we're about."

The site was designed in conjunction with Allied Studios, an Ann Arbor-based website company. The final product represents input from students, departments, and units within the UMBS community. In addition, the Communication Office worked closely with Computing Services to provide seamless data transfer between M-Track and key features on the new site.

To handle privacy issues, the new site fits in well with the strategy of M-Track: to make M-Track the InTRAnet of the UMBS?with all company, alumni, and student information behind the password-protected firewall?and make the UMBS website the preferred InTERnet site for prospective students and general information and news about the UMBS.

In addition to a new look, the new website includes a mechanism for keeping the site up-to-date. Each department and office is responsible for updating their section, and a master database was generated to schedule content updates. This ensures current, accurate information and reduces maintenance for the Communications Office.

"The next step for the website is advanced functionality--assessing the features and sections visited on the website and determine what higher-level functions would be useful," added Decie.

The address: http://www.bus.umich.edu.


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UMBS-created VC fund takes flight, seeking business plans

by Alan Turkus, MBA1  

 
Faculty Advisor: Professor Karen A. Bantel oversees the educational mission of the Wolverine Fund. 

Photo by Chopo Gomez-Zoebisch

What do you do if you want to harness the intellectual capital of one of the largest and finest universities in the world, to create an avenue to commercial and business success for the thoughts and ideas of that university, to provide a new hands-on learning experience for the students of that university, and--oh, by the way--turn a tidy profit?

You create a venture capital fund of course, and that is exactly what UMBS has done.

Armed with a front-page mention inThe Wall Street Journal, the Wolverine Venture Fund, a new venture capital fund created by UMBS, has taken flight, and is now seeking business plans.

The Wolverine Venture Fund will invest in companies that have a likelihood of success and long-term profitability and that have been, or will be, started and led by a student, faculty member, or alumnus of UMBS or other U-M school. Comprised of $250,000 of the B-school's own money plus donations, the fund is aiming for initial capitalization of $1 million. The school is actively seeking donations to help it meet this goal.

"The time is right now for this fund," said Faculty Advisor, Professor Karen A. Bantel. "It is a reflection of the tremendous growth and interest in entrepreneurship and venture capital in general, and of the growth and interest in these areas in Ann Arbor in particular."

Unlike a traditional venture capital fund, the Wolverine Venture Fund has a dual mission: to earn a venture rate of return and to support the educational mission of UMBS in the areas of private equity investing and entrepreneurship.

The educational component of the Wolverine Venture Fund's mission includes providing UMBS students interested in entrepreneurship and venture capital with otherwise difficult-to-obtain hands-on experience in their desired fields. Student input will actively be sought as part of the initial assessment and selection process. It is anticipated that valuable educational opportunities for UMBS students will arise in nurturing and monitoring a portfolio of investments.

Will Johnson, an MBA2 member of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club, who has been involved with the fund in its early stages, said that the initial mechanism for student involvement will be a Student Review Committee formed by members of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club. The five-student committee will perform initial reviews of proposals and serve as a liaison between the new ventures' management and the fund's Advisory Committee. As companies move past the initial review process, students will perform due diligence of the new ventures. The tasks students may conduct include closely examining the business plans, questioning and testing the assumptions put forth in the plans, and taking a hard look at the management teams and at industry trends--all to make sure that the proposed new ventures are worthy of investment.

Because of the substantial interest the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club has received in the Student Review Committee, the club has asked those interested to complete a short application.

Of the fund's educational objective, Johnson said, "It really will provide for hands-on experience in a hard industry to break into. Students involved with the fund will attain relevant experience that will make it easier to obtain a position in the venture capital industry. By reviewing proposals and performing due diligence they will learn essential skills and gain an edge.

"Students that work with the fund will learn what venture capitalists look for. That is not just relevant to students who may want to go into VC. Anyone thinking about developing a business idea and seeking a funding source needs to learn these things."

Though the educational aspect of the fund is integral to its existence, it will not, as any B-school student should know by now (even those of you who have only had two weeks of classes), come at the expense of its other primary mission--to earn a venture rate of return.

The Wolverine Venture Fund's goals, though, go beyond its stated dual mission. It is, in effect, a bold embodiment of an idea about leveraging the intellectual capital of U-M and more closely integrating UMBS with other schools of the University.

According to information about the fund and UMBS' Entrepreneurship Track provided by Professor Bantel, one of the motivating principles behind the fund is that "the optimum leverage of the University's intellectual resources is achieved through an integrated program creating strong linkages between the expertise residing within the business school and the range of U-M ideas/technologies."

Regardless of where in the U-M community an idea or technology originates, the thought is that the chances of successful commercialization of that idea or technology are greatly improved by employing the resources of UMBS.

As the information provided by Professor Bantel states, "Through dialogue with and analysis from b-school students, faculty, and affiliated experts ... an existing U-M idea/technology can be developed to a stage of commercial viability as such critical issues as market acceptance, competitive response, operating efficiencies, and financing options are considered and decided upon. This can be followed by commitments by b-school-affiliated individuals to start-up and nurture the business venture. Without such input and momentum, it is extremely difficult for the university's scientists, whose primary professional role is to remain immersed in their research, to move their ideas/technologies into the commercial domain."

The fund will adhere to strict strategy guidelines. It will not invest more than 10% of its available resources in any single company. And it will require that any company in which it invests raise an additional amount that is at least equal to the investment made by the fund. This guideline is intended both to increase the amount of capital available to the company and to provide additional validation of the perceived quality of the investment opportunity. "We do not aim to compete with the venture community," said Professor Bantel. "We aim to be complementary." The fund may, though, become the sole investor in a new venture if it perceives that a modest investment will propel the company to a point at which it will then be able to attract additional capital.

An Alumni Manager and an Advisory Committee have been appointed by the Board of Regents to supervise the selection and monitoring of the fund's investments. The Alumni Manager, David Shelby, and the seven-member advisory committee will serve for a term of three years.

Shelby earned his BBA in finance in 1962 and his MBA in international business in 1964 at UMBS. After working at Ford Motor Company and International Harvester in various financial and operating positions, both international and domestic, he founded his own company, ICM Industries, in 1985 to do acquisitions and turnarounds of manufacturing firms in the automotive and construction equipment fields. He is currently engaged in private equity investing and advisory services to early growth companies.

Bantel has been designated as the faculty advisor to oversee the educational mission of the fund and to serve on the Advisory Committee. Professor Bantel earned her MBA (1984) and her PhD in Business Policy and Strategy (1987) at UMBS. She specializes in strategic positioning and evolution for technology-based new ventures and mid-stage entrepreneurial firms and has extensively investigated the role of top management teams as a primary influence on strategy and planning. Professor Bantel has held a variety of managerial and consulting positions and currently teaches in the B-school's entrepreneurship program.

Mary L. Campbell, also a UMBS alumnus [please see p. 9 for a feature profile of Campbell], will likewise serve on the Advisory Board. After holding positions with the National Bank of Detroit and two Chicago-based mortgage banking and investment banking firms, she joined a large venture capital firm, Michigan Capital and Service, Inc. and became its President in 1987. She later joined the newly established Enterprise Development Fund, an Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm where she is currently a general partner. Ms. Campbell has more than twelve years of successful experience in venture investing and venture management, as well as experience in investment and mortgage banking. She also serves on the National Campaign Committee of UMBS, is an adjunct lecturer in the school's entrepreneurship program, and is a judge of the school's Prior-Hale Award business plan competition.

Questions about the mission or intent of the Wolverine Venture Fund should be directed to Professor Karen Bantel: phone: (313) 936-3920, fax: (313) 936-0282, e-mail: kabantel@umich.edu.

Applications are available from Emily Spector: UMBS, 701 Tappan Street, Room 0272B; phone: (313) 936-4393, Fax: (313) 936-0282, e-mail: espector@umich.edu.


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Spotlight shines on TMI scholarship recipients

by Michael Dreon, MBA1  

 
Big Money: The Tauber Manufacturing Institute recently handed out $24,000 in scholarships at its annual TMI Spotlight! event, at which students made presentations on their TMI summer projects. The team that worked for Boeing took first place, with each team member--including MBA2 Ata Khan (far right)--receiving $2,500. In the photo above, Joel Tauber (far left) presents Team Boeing with a gameshow-size check for $10,000.
SECOND PLACE: 
Members of the TMI Intel team (left), including MBA students Laura Brickmeier and Matt Kleiman, receive an oversized $6,000 scholarship check for taking second place in the TMI Spotlight! presentations. 
THIRD PLACE: 
Left is the third-place team, including MBA students Scott Ross and Michael Diener; each received $1,500 for his work with General Motors in Shanghai, China. 
FOURTH PLACE: 
Fourth-place winners Mike Ferrante and James Steele (below) worked on a critical supply-chain management project for Merck & Co., Inc., in NJ. 

Photo courtesy of Tauber Manufacturing Institute

On Friday, September 12, members of the Tauber Manufacturing Institute and their respective sponsoring companies gathered for a day of presentations and awards. During the past summer, students from TMI participated in paid multi-disciplinary team projects, where student and faculty teams worked at a company site to solve substantive manufacturing challenges. The team project experience is the cornerstone of TMI and for the past three years, TMI has sponsored the Team Project Spotlight! event to provide an opportunity for TMI students to present their results and experience from their summer internships.

TMI Spotlight! culminated in scholarship awards being given for the best presentations, as judged by a panel of industry representatives. Awardees for this year's Spotlight! were:

First Place ($2,500 each): Raoul Dubeauclard, Chris Fuller, Ata Khan, and Stacey Moore for Embracing Lean Manufacturing. Sponsoring firm was The Boeing Company, Commercial Airplane Group in Renton, Wash.

Second Place ($2,000 each): Laura Brickmeier, Matt Kleiman, and Mark Krankel for Factory Planning. Sponsoring firm was Intel Corporation, Planning and Logistics Group in Chandler, Ariz.

Third Place ($1,500 each): Harry Chan, Michael Diener, Yair Klein, and Scott Ross for Service Parts Production Plan. Sponsoring firm was General Motors Corporation, Shanghai GM in Shanghai, China.

Fourth Place ($1,000 each): Michael Ferrante and James Steele for Supply Chain Strategy. Sponsoring firm was Merck & Company, Inc., in Whitehouse Station, NJ.

In addition to providing experience and scholarships to the students, the TMI Spotlight! event provides sponsors with many benefits. According to Paul Kirsch, Team Project director at TMI, "The TMI Team Project Spotlight is the single best event for sponsors to see what they are getting for participating. It is also TMI's formal start of the recruiting process."

What is TMI? 

The Joel D. Tauber Manufacturing Institute (TMI) is a partnership between the University of Michigan Business School, the College of Engineering, and a 31-member Industrial Advisory Board. TMI was developed to meet industry's need for a new kind of graduate?one who has an exceptional academic background, an extensive professional experience, and most importantly, can successfully integrate business and engineering perspectives to lead America's manufacturing industry.  

Students from many disciplines participate in TMI in a variety of ways, achieving either an MBA with Manufacturing Concentration, a Master of Engineering in Manufacturing, or a joint degree in both. TMI also offers the Engineering Global Leadership program that combines a BS and MS in Industrial & Operations Engineering with a business and cultural core.  

For more information, call the TMI office at (313) 998-8160, or visit their web page at http://mjmi.engin.umich.edu:8500/ 

 

 
 
TMI Team Project Sponsors 
3M* 
A P Parts International* 
Alcoa* 
The Boeing Company 
Chrysler Corporation 
Cummins Engine* 
FMC - United Defense* 
Ford Motor Company 
General Cable* 
General Motors 
Harley-Davidson* 
Hewlett-Packard* 
Intel Corporation 
Lutron* 
Merck & Co., Inc. 
United Technologies Corporation 
Xerox Corporation 
*New sponsors for 1997 
 

  

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