The Rolls-Royce/McIntire ICE Partnership: Moving from Strength to Strength
Mike Elliott and Mike Ryan (McIntire ’07), both of Rolls-Royce North America, discuss the long-term benefits of corporate partnership.
How would you characterize your experience as an ICE program corporate sponsor?
Elliott: We’ve been a corporate partner since 2004. During this time, we have seen the ICE program go from strength to strength. Unique and interesting educational partnerships were a key factor in our decision to build a new thousand-acre advanced manufacturing and research campus in Virginia. Our relationship with McIntire was our first such partnership in Virginia.
We’ve recruited a substantial number of McIntire graduates over the years. They join the organization knowing what we’re about, understanding our markets, and with clear insight into our strategy. We also find that they have excellent critical thinking, communication, and presentation skills. It’s a combination that makes them unique, and that gives them a significant advantage in the recruiting process.
As a corporate partner, you work closely with students on their third-year project. Are you involved in any other activities with the School or the students?
Ryan: Every year at the students’ group presentations in December, we select one team to visit our headquarters in Reston, Va., and then fly them out to our manufacturing facility in Indianapolis, where the students can actually see our engines being built. Past years’ teams have also been asked to repeat their presentation for the president and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America. In the spring, we sponsor an essay contest on business ethics for all of the third-year students at McIntire, and we also have an end-of-year barbecue for our blocks. Our executives come down for an afternoon, and we have a tradition now of holding a giant tug-of-war between Blocks 5 and 6.
Outside of ICE, I give several presentations every year on Rolls-Royce and facilitate case studies in fourth-year international marketing classes and for various other McIntire groups, such as M.S. in Commerce students.
You’ve had a long and fruitful relationship with McIntire. What do you think has made it such a success?
Elliott: I think the ICE program has become the gold standard to which all undergraduate business schools aspire. The fact that the class has such a diverse, international group of students is something that appeals to us. McIntire’s proximity to our North America corporate headquarters in northern Virginia helps, too. That said, there are a lot of business schools within two hours of here, and we don’t spend nearly as much time or effort working with them.
But let me tell you a bit about Rolls-Royce. It’s a company where you find many people work for a long time. This summer, I’ll have been working here since 1987, and some days I still feel like the new guy! One of the reasons people stay around for a long time is that we hire the right people in the first place. We take the process of recruiting very seriously. We’re very much a relationship-based business with a team-work focus.
We’re committed to continuing professional education, and the Jeffersonian ideal of lifetime learning sits very comfortably in the culture of Rolls-Royce. I think that’s why we’re a very good match, McIntire and Rolls-Royce. We’re two very similar organizations.