Yet Another Internship Option: Join The Joel D. Tauber Manufacturing Institute

by Pamela Mayer, MBA1


In your application for the University of Michigan Business School you may recall an optional essay question for students interested in the Joel D. Tauber Manufacturing Institute (TMI). And, if you were focusing on simply being accepted at business school, rather than with the additional programs like TMI offered at U-M, you may have decided not to complete the TMI essay without giving the TMI option much thought. Fortunately, if you have an engineering or technical background and are interested in manufacturing, you may still apply for the program, although the doors to the Tauber Manufacturing Institute are closing rapidly for interested MBA1s.

Among the many advantages to being a student enrolled in one of TMI's manufacturing degree programs is the opportunity to participate in their summer team project, which is guaranteed and paid for all TMI students. Summer projects are, however, only available for MBAs enrolled in one of TMI's four degree programs. MBA1s interested in applying to TMI at this time have two viable degree options. The first is the MBA with a Manufacturing Concentration, which is simply the two-year MBA with a focus on manufacturing through elective course study. Many of the electives that can be taken to satisfy the manufacturing concentration are courses you may already want to enroll in, such as the "New Product Development" course taught jointly by Bill Lovejoy of the B-School and Jim Bean of the College of Engineering or the "Agile Manufacturing" course taught jointly by Will Mitchell of the B-School and Yorem Korem of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

The summer team project with TMI is more than the average internship offered to MBA1s. It is a multidisciplinary project of high priority to the company sponsoring it. TMI only selects projects that integrate business, engineering, and manufacturing. As expressed by Cargill, Inc., one of the 1995 TMI Team Project Sponsors, "This was not a project `made up' for these students. It was a project that would have been done anyway, either by consultants or employees."

Each team is guided by a pair of faculty advisors, one from the UMBS and one from the College of Engineering. Throughout the summer each team meets frequently with its faculty advisors/mentors to assess the team's progress and to fine tune its efforts. While the projects are all related to manufacturing, the problems and issues they address are wide ranging and include anything from strategic positioning to process reengineering.

Here is just one example of a typical TMI summer team project. The TMI student team was brought in to study how a division of General Signal could employ fewer assets while maintaining current production and profitability. The team led management and operations teams, analyzed financial and production data, and benchmarked demonstrated best practices associated with world-class manufacturing. Following a detailed situation analysis and root cause diagnosis, the team recommended organizational and operational changes which resulted in a new integrated business unit using a pull material management system. This new business unit will create significant improvements in net operating income (a 20% increase) and return on investment (a 30% increase), and will also result in large inventory reductions. As part of the situation analysis, the team investigated and documented the competition, analyzed financial and production data, and performed capacity analysis.

During the summer of 1995, TMI had nineteen projects, with one project based overseas and several involving domestic and international travel. A few of the companies that sponsored team projects include: Ford Motor Company (Dearborn, MI), Lockheed Martin (Orlando, FL), Leybold (France), GE Lighting (Cleveland, OH), Xerox Corporation (Webster, NY), and Chrysler Corporation (Detroit, MI). This year TMI will partner with the William Davidson Institute to expand the number of international opportunities sponsored by TMI.

One significant and unique aspect of TMI's summer projects is that each team presents its project before an audience of 175 corporate representatives, faculty, students, and news media in September. TMI is able to command such a strong stage for students to not only present their projects, but also present themselves, based on its reputation as one of the country's leading manufacturing programs in both education and research. The corporate exposure provided for summer project team members is unmatched by any other internship program at the B-school.

In addition to participating in the specialized summer team project following the first year and completing a rigorous joint business and engineering curriculum, all TMI students participate in a weekly seminar which integrates business strategy and manufacturing. TMI students may also participate in special "Common Knowledge Workshops". The workshops are specially designed four to six hour modules that provide an overview of the fundamental concepts in business, engineering and manufacturing. Some of the topics that have been presented are the Toyota production system and the ABC costing/investment analysis for manufacturing. TMI students are also given preference in unique business courses specially designed for TMI students.

Enrolling in TMI also provides significant recruiting benefits. TMI creates its own resume books of students enrolled in TMI programs and distributes them to over 700 corporate representatives. In addition, a growing number of companies have exclusive TMI interview schedules, and many companies often target TMI students on their closed interview lists. Recruiters, such as A.T. Kearney, have also expressed that TMI students stand out among their peers because of their team project experience.

Aside from the high quality summer project opportunities, tremendous corporate exposure, and priority enrollment in manufacturing-related courses at the B-school, another great reason for considering the TMI option is that all MBA students in good standing selected for membership receive a $5,000 scholarship in their second year and may even qualify for additional awards based on academic performance.

If you would like to apply to TMI, you may pick up an application form from the TMI office located in the Business School Annex at 914 Hill Street (third floor of the Church of Latter Day Saints building). Although the true application deadline has passed, Marika Jones, TMI Managing Director will accept applications through November 15, 1995.



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