sealPurdue News

May 1998

MBAs learn to 'make a difference'

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Krannert Graduate School of Management at Purdue University and other business schools around the country are using community service activities to teach leadership and a sense of community to students.

For the third time in as many years, the approximately 100 graduate students involved in Krannert's Management Volunteer Program, or MVP, have won the national "MBAs make a difference day" award.

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The "make a difference day" challenge is coordinated by the College of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Lori S. Franz, associate dean and director of graduate studies in business at Missouri, says the friendly competition started six years ago in conjunction with the national make a difference day sponsored by the USA Today newspaper .

"Each fall we send out a challenge to the business schools in the Big 12 and the Big 10 to organize community outreach activities during the October make a difference day weekend," Franz says. "The schools have to document what they have done and submit an entry for judging by a panel here at the University of Missouri. We announce the national winner in the spring. Our hope is that participating in these projects gives the students a chance to connect with the community around them and to exercise their leadership skills by helping others."

At Purdue, the Management Volunteer Program was established in 1991 by graduate students with an interest in community service work. The organization is funded by corporate donations earmarked for leadership development activities.

Rose Kelly, a second-year graduate student in operations management and co-president of the Krannert volunteer group, says that in addition to feeling good about themselves, members of MVP benefit in practical ways.

"Getting out and helping others in a soup kitchen or day care center gets students out from under the books and pressures of graduate school for a while," she says. "It's a wonderful way to learn to deal with all types of people, and it might generate a lifelong love for community service."

Kelly, who has volunteered as a literacy instructor at the Hanna Community Center in Lafayette, says she plans to continue to support adult literacy in her new position with Ford Motor Co. in Detroit.

The 1997-98 winning projects by the Krannert MVPs include:

  • Planting trees in West Lafayette.
  • Hosting a Halloween party for the children from Head Start.
  • Demolishing a house to make space for construction of a new Habitat for Humanity home.
  • Providing baby-sitting services for graduate students with children.

The Krannert group also was awarded the 1998 Dean Betty Nelson Service Award, sponsored by Purdue's chapter of Mortar Board. The award was established in 1996 to honor Purdue students and organizations that have excelled in community service.

CONTACTS: Lori Franz, (573) 882-2750; e-mail,
Rose Kelly, (765) 463-0987
Compiled by Kate Walker, (765) 494-2073; e-mail,
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,


Krannert School of Management graduate students Cory Carter of Greenfield, Ind., Jason Stickles of Athens, Ala., and Randy Hountz of Sunman, Ind., (left to right, facing camera) help clear a construction site for Habitat for Humanity. Their volunteer work is part of a business school program that teaches leadership and community service. (Photo courtesy Krannert School of Management.)
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