On March 29th, the student MAP team from Ross presented the midpoint update to Ballet Chicago. This was a time for all of those involved with the project to reflect on the progress made so far and discuss the ultimate goals for the team and Ballet Chicago.
The Ballet Chicago MAP Team
The Ross MAP team working with Ballet Chicago is made up of four first-year MBA students who are all energized about working with a nonprofit. Jennifer Hoffman, Victoria Torelli, Rachel McCallister, and Alejandra Pedemonte make up the team. In their few weeks in Chicago, they have managed to take dance classes through Ballet Chicago, go to performances, interview students, administrators, audience members and donors as well as check out the competition.
Bob Bondlow and Dan Duell from Ballet Chicago have been overjoyed by the caliber of work the students have provided. “We don’t always have the resources to do these things. When we found out we were a match with MAP, we thought ‘hail Mary!’” Bondlow said. Through the work the MAP team has provided, Bondlow and Duell said they have already been able to see through other people’s eyes how their organization compares, something they have not been able to do on their own.
The MAP team is working on building a strategy for Ballet Chicago to increase their target audience. Being a real-world consulting project, the students have been able to get the most out of their educational experience. “I feel like this project has been a culmination of all of my classes so far,” said Jennifer Hoffman, a member of the MAP team.
Victoria Torelli, also on the MAP team said that she expected this project to be a passion project, given her background in dance, “but the passion changed to be passion for the company instead of just ballet,” she said.
Professor Jane Dutton, the MAP team’s faculty advisor, was also present for the presentation. She felt that this presentation was a memorable turning point in her many years of being a MAP faculty advisor. “There was a level of connectedness to the heart of this project and I could see the light in the eyes of the students,” Prof. Dutton said, “What’s wonderful is that no one is the expert here and everyone is learning.”
Bondlow and Duell feel that the larger goal of the project was to help the educational experience for the students. However, the strategy and learnings that the students are providing to them has been invaluable. “When an artist sees a full audience, you have no idea what happens to their heart.” Bondlow said.