2017 Best & Brightest: Eric Katz, University of Michigan (Ross)

Eric Katz

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

High School: Forest Hills Northern

Major: Business

Minor: Computer Science

Favorite Business Courses: TO 301

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Bluelab – Team Lead
  • Field Hockey
  • Center for Social Impact – Multiple Programs
  • Selected as Dories Duke Conservation Scholar, Graham Sustainability Scholar, Center for Positive Organization Fellow, Diener Scholar, Weiser Familiar Social Entrepreneur Scholar, Dow Sustainability Fellow, Forbes Under 30 Scholar

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Kulisha; Nairobi, Kenya; Co-founder
  • Quinault Indian Nation; Taholah, WA; Natural Resources Specialist Intern
  • Are You a Human; Detroit, MI; Business Human
  • TOBB ETU; Ankara, Turkey; English Professor

Describe your dream Job: Growing bugs on useless material to create protein and fertilizer.

Who is your favorite professor? Kairos Marquardt. She really taught me how to challenge myself and go out of my comfort zone to explore topics that I normally wouldn’t.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Travis Kalanick because I think he takes on challenges that ordinary entrepreneurs wouldn’t.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? Being able to study other topics and see how they intertwine with business.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The importance of developing relationships with professors and engaging with them.

Where would you like to work after graduation? Kulisha, Co-founder

What are your long-term professional goals? Be happy and make an impact in whatever I choose to do.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?

 Make sure that you constantly think about how business relates to other disciplines.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I was accepted to the business school.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…”a computer scientist or mechanical engineer.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…what all the tests would be.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? When I got into business school.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? My work with Kulisha.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? A black soldier fly larvae because it is incredibly efficient at converting food to mass.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My family and co-founder because they are the ones who challenged me most and were open minded to ideas and passions that I had.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Wow, what a nice guy.

Favorite book: Shantaram

Favorite movie: Pulp fiction

Favorite musical performer: Prince

Favorite vacation spot: Grand Rapids, MI

What are your hobbies? Playing field hockey, playing with bugs

What made Eric such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017? “Eric is a driven leader with a social mind, making him irreplaceable in the Class of 2017. He has proven his commitment to social issues throughout his involvement with the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. As the co-founder of Kulisha, a sustainable startup piloted in Kenya, Eric aims to provide commercial-grade feed to small-scale farmers. His initial concept was to increase profitability for farmers, help tackle food insecurity, divert food waste from landfills, and reduce greenhouse gases. This work has won Eric numerous awards including: Michigan Business Challenge – Social Impact Track winner, 2016 Thought for Food Global Summit award, and the Center for Social Impact’s Summer Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship (to name a few). Eric’s professionalism, enthusiastic attitude, and eagerness for more will be missed upon graduation from Michigan Ross.”

Sarika Gupta
Managing Director, Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies
University of Michigan, Ross School of Business


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