Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Michigan

Traveling over the Thanksgiving recess to my sister’s house in Western Michigan provided the perfect opportunity for me to visit Herman Miller. Why go to a furniture company ranked in Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For? Glad you asked. In the first semester of the Wisconsin Real Estate MBA program, teams of students research an organization for our Integrated Company Analysis (ICA) project.

Herman Miller is almost as interested in our project as we are in the company. They were extremely accommodating, setting up an appointment for me to meet with the Chief Administrative Officer who reports directly to the CEO. Representatives will attend our presentation at the end of the semester – so the pressure is on.

I was most impressed with employees’ enthusiasm for the company’s principals. Herman Miller takes the philosophical position that it is in the solutions business and happens to leave furniture behind. The company achieved sustainable design more than 50 years ago, when the topic was not in people’s vocabulary. Work is fun, with quirky sculptures throughout the offices and ping-pong tables in the café.

It is obvious why Herman Miller is ranked a top company. Now my group just needs to impress them with our report…

Travis Campbell is a first year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business. He moved back to the Midwest from NYC to pursue Real Estate at Madison while being closer to family. He thoroughly enjoyed having two Thanksgiving meals this year.

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