There are a few things that one can depend on happening every spring: more daylight, tax season, and the RMI spring applied learning project. For those not familiar with the latter, the spring applied learning project involves the RMI MBAs teaming up with a group of passionate undergraduates to tackle a real-world business problem. This is not only an opportunity for those involved to gain knowledge and develop their leadership skills, but we are also able to build our network by working with industry partners.
This year’s project was created by Joan Schmit, RMI MBA Director, and Joan Lamm-Tennant, a world-renowned risk expert. The project consists of conducting a proof of concept for an enterprise risk management framework aimed at creating financial resiliency for U.S. small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) by utilizing cooperatives or a similar aggregator. With SMBs employing nearly half of the private workforce in the U.S., their survival is key to the success of the nation.
The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have amplified the underlying fault lines within the U.S. economy, placing many SMBs into survival mode with a disproportionate amount being forced to close their doors. We hope that our work will contribute to providing a solution for SMBs to be able to withstand future events.
Before beginning the project, we MBAs recruited undergraduates to join the team. This recruitment process, which took place over winter break, consisted of reviewing resumes, interviewing, and finally selecting a handful of undergraduates from a pool of more than two dozen qualified and brilliant candidates. Our final team consists of thirteen individuals with a range of personal and professional experience and members from the U.S. as well as many other countries.
This project will require us to complete a multitude of tasks, from conducting research across industry verticals to interviewing SMB owners and stakeholders. We will sharpen our current skills and add new ones along the way. We are excited to kick-off this project that has the potential to benefit so many people.