Donors helped load the Maryland Book Bank Bookmobile on June 15, 2019, following a semester-long book drive organized by a team of working professionals in the Executive MBA program at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
The campaign grew from a capstone consulting course that connected executive MBA students with local organizations. “Our team helped the Maryland Book Bank address operational, human capital, marketing and corporate finance challenges,” team member Dean Ford said. “We organized the book drive as something extra.”
The executive MBA class of 2019 also raised $11,750 to help the Maryland Book Bank cover implementation costs.
“As a result of these recommendations, the bookmobile will double the number of students it reaches, and the number of Baltimore City schools on the waitlist will go from 188 to 45,” team member Ryan Haggerty said. “This will expose more kids to the wonders and adventures created by books and improve overall academic performance.”
Rather than studying the case from afar, team members visited Maryland Book Bank headquarters with engineers and diagramed operations. They interviewed leaders, gathered data and researched solutions. They even worked in the warehouse for a day to get the volunteer perspective.
“This was a complete executive MBA experience,” team member Gretchen MacLeod said.
Maryland Book Bank executive director Mark Feiring said the Maryland Smith deliverables will be especially valuable on the logistical side, as the organization scales up and looks for ways to better manage inventory and volunteer labor.
“This was timely for us,” Feiring said. “We’ve been experiencing exponential growth, and we moved into a warehouse that allows us to bring in truckloads of books.”
Maryland Book Bank is a nonprofit organization that cultivates literacy in underserved communities. It uses the bookmobile, sponsored by the Baltimore Ravens, to deliver donations to local schools.
Overall, the Maryland Smith community donated about 1,000 books to the cause.
Besides Ford, Haggerty and MacLeod, the consulting team included Kathy King and David Welch. All five students will graduate on July 24, 2019.
The 17-month executive MBA program is designed for working professionals with at least eight years of professional experience and three years of management experience. Classes are held on alternating weekends with weeklong residencies at the beginning and end of the program.