BSE ChE '93
One of the greatest things about being a Michigan alumnus is that no matter where you go, you’re still part of a huge, loyal, global alumni community. After graduating from Michigan in 1993, Michael Ferrante moved to Pittsburgh where he worked in an R&D start-up in solid oxide fuel cells and earned his MS from Carnegie Mellon. Realizing there was no alumni club in Pittsburgh, Michael promptly re-founded the dormant U-M club in order to connect with fellow alumni (even meeting his wife through a fellow Michigan alumna).
After returning to U-M for his MBA, Michael was in the Tauber Institute for Global Operations, an interdisciplinary program between the College of Engineering and the Ross School of Business, which allowed him to bridge the best skills from both colleges. Through the Tauber program, he was part of a team doing a supply chain optimization project at Merck. At Merck since 1999, his role has evolved from supply chain to operational excellence to resource and business planning.
Michael certainly put his faith in U-M alumni connections to the test when he and his family moved to Japan in 2005 on a two-year assignment for Merck & Co. Mike says, “when I moved to Tokyo, we knew no one, and we were 7,000 miles from home. So, I decided to seek out alumni in Japan. I soon was hooked up with a network of U–M alumni from all schools and colleges. I even climbed Mt. Fuji with a group of Michigan alumni, and met with the recent MBA alumni group for monthly social outings. I felt closer to Ann Arbor after having met a few of the many alumni in Tokyo.”
He moved to Tokyo in 2005 to lead the operations planning group at Banyu, a company recently acquired by Merck. Upon his return, he started his current role at Merck as the leader for business operations and analysis for Merck’s R&D organization.
Looking back on the fifteen years since graduation, Michael reflected, “The Michigan Chemical Engineering program gave me a good foundation for my career. The open-ended problems taught me to think about innovative solutions to problems, and the group projects taught me how to collaborate well as a team.” “When I left Ann Arbor, I knew I was joining a global community of very talented and smart alumni. From Pittsburgh to Tokyo, it has been a real high point to connect and learn from fellow U-M alumni.”