Get Involved
Advising Founders & Sponsors Advisory Board Student Startups Awards & Scholarships Staff

Meet Zell Lurie Institute

The globally recognized Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies provides the curriculum, program initiatives, community involvement, and alumni outreach activities that deliver exclusive resources for future entrepreneurs at the University of Michigan.

The Institute's innovative real-world approach and the Business School's traditional management excellence encourages and nurtures students in preparing for entrepreneurial careers to succeed, autonomously or in a corporate setting, as leaders for new venture creation and growth. Under the guidance of Professor Stewart Thornhill, the Institute provides access to capital, competitions, and other means of significant support and resources for students to take the knowledge learned in the classroom, build a business plan, and actually launch a business while earning their degree. In addition, the Institute works with other acclaimed University research units, such as the Medical Center and College of Engineering, to introduce students to new venture opportunities and to accelerate the commercialization process for University of Michigan ideas and technologies.

A video introducing prospective students to the Institute can be viewed here.

Extending its reach beyond the University, the Institute plays an active role in the management of several statewide initiatives, and supports regional entrepreneurial organizations that serve as a catalyst for economic development. The Institute's outreach efforts further enhance the student learning experience through symposia, internships, entrepreneurial clubs and organizations, and alumni events that serve to provide a viable entrepreneurial network and engage the business community.

The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies was established at the University of Michigan Business School with an endowment of $10 million from Samuel Zell and Ann Lurie, on behalf of her late husband Robert H. Lurie, in 1999. Advisory Board members include: Mr. Zell, Chairman of Equity Group Investments; Michael Hallman, former COO of Microsoft Corporation; and Eugene Applebaum, founder of Arbor Drugs.

Profile of Courses, Programs and Research


Course Electives
The Business School offers students a superb educational opportunity to combine theoretical and experiential learning. A broad range of over 20 Entrepreneurial electives provides students with instruction on the formation, financing, and management of ventures, and on special topics, including urban entrepreneurship, turnaround management, franchising, legal, and non-profit aspects of entrepreneurship. The 18-member faculty, composed of academics and proven leaders in the entrepreneurial community, prepare students in their areas of interest.

Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP)
As part of the core curriculum, Entrepreneurial projects are available to first-year MBA students. The seven-week program teams students with international incubators and domestic companies that have demonstrated a challenging business problem. Sponsors providing MAP projects view students' final recommendations as practical, professional and ready for implementation.

Program Initiatives

Wolverine Venture Fund (WVF)
The Institute emphasizes experiential learning and promotes the $3 million Wolverine Venture Fund to invest primarily in early stage, emerging growth companies. One of the world's first VC funds run by business students, the WVF's participants seek, screen, and negotiate investments, developing significant experience in these areas and in dealing with VCs and entrepreneurs. Business School faculty and alumni, working as venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, collaborate with 18 MBA students to manage the fund.

Dare to Dream Grant Program
This program provides the financial resources for University students to engage in entrepreneurial activity and risk-taking while earning their degree. University of Michigan teams are encouraged to apply for financial assistance of up to $5,000 to explore and advance their businesses through various development stages.

Case Writing
The case writing program provides a unique opportunity for MBA students to contribute to the education of future entrepreneurial leaders by researching, developing, and writing the case and its supporting teaching notes. Successful cases discuss specific dynamics of an entrepreneurial company's growth, management, or marketplace positioning. These published cases also serve to highlight and promote companies within the Business School's global community.

Marcel Gani Internship Program
The summer internship program provides tremendous learning opportunities where MBA students are afforded the benefit of exclusive placement at domestic start-up and venture capital firms, and firms are provided the opportunity to access talented, highly motivated students committed to entrepreneurship.

Following a long storied tradition, University of Michigan student teams test themselves in the campus-wide Michigan Business Challenge business plan competition. In addition, the Institute sponsors and supports motivated student teams to attend the nation's premier business plan, venture capital, and entrepreneurial case competitions. These events offer teams invaluable feedback; networking opportunities with venture capital, strategy, and finance professionals; access to capital with awards of up to $100,000, and real-time business development efforts.

Major Events
The Institute leads two annual events that feature prominent speakers that attract over 400 participants. Entrepalooza and the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium cover a range of entrepreneurial topics and bring together students, nationally recognized business leaders, and alumni. The Institute also partners with community organizations and other University of Michigan schools on numerous events throughout the year, giving students exposure to entrepreneurial activity, technology, and people in emerging companies.

Student Clubs
The School's student led High-Tech Club and Entrepreneur and Venture Club offers members exclusive networking opportunities with potential employers and alumni. The Institute maintains ties with these clubs through the sponsorship of events and activities to further promote the interest of entrepreneurship and venture capital.

Participating Companies
The Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies aims to develop and
enhance the entrepreneurial skill set and mindset of tomorrow’s business leaders. While
entrepreneurial skills can be leveraged in a variety of business settings, they are most effectively
learned in an entrepreneurial environment. That is why the Zell Lurie Institute augments
Michigan’s business courses by placing MBA student interns and project teams inside small,
high-growth companies where they work on real problems with real people in real time. More information can be found here (PDF).

The Business School actively contributes to entrepreneurial research in the areas of venture capital and private equity finance through the efforts of Professor David J. Brophy. As Executive Director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance, Dr. Brophy and colleagues pursue the latest developments in these areas in collaboration with the Institute. Books and case studies, published by leading University of Michigan faculty, explore other areas of research pertinent to entrepreneurs. The University of Michigan also contributes to ongoing entrepreneurial-focused research conducted through the Kauffman Foundation.

Michigan Business School