Ask Audrey: How Your Favorite Childhood Activity Translates To Your Business Career

Growing up, I loved playing games. My mom used to make us stay up all night to play Yahtzee, which was just another game of luck to me. However, Clue! was a game that kept my adrenaline running, and brought out my competitive spirit. It is a mystery game that my sister and I would play for hours. I was determined to solve the murder mystery, taking detailed notes and being highly suspicious of every character. Each character had a motive, but who had the strongest motivation to commit a crime? Most importantly, how could I use this information to create a fool-proof strategy to beat my sister? 

I found the correlation between my love for murder mystery games and the core of how I approach my future career to be very unexpected.  But funny enough, when recruiting for a summer internship in the fall of my sophomore year, I discovered consulting had the same intrinsic motivation as my favorite board game.


Recruiting season is considered the best and worst time of a business student’s college career. Before you even reach 20, you feel pressured by everyone around you to commit to an  industry that will kickstart your career. As a freshman, I kept asking myself: what will satisfy me for the next two to four years? What will motivate me to get up at 5 a.m. every morning? How do I turn business applications into a task that I can enjoy?

I listened to numerous industry overviews and eventually found a  lead on my future job. My friend recommended I apply to a consulting club within Michigan Ross. I got an interview but needed to prepare. My friend ran me through a practice case interview, which is a consulting interview where the applicant is given a business problem and must discover a solution. She showed me some frameworks and advice on how to approach these ambiguous problems that can go in any direction. 

Audrey with her Clue game

After that, she explained the case scenario: Girl Scouts in Michigan need help to sell cookies; what new strategy could help them increase their sales? This simple question brought me right back to a mystery game mindset. I asked questions about the setting: where is this troop selling? Who are they selling to? In response, I received “clues” leading to me asking more precise questions. She said this specific girl scout troop was in a suburban neighborhood. So immediately I thought of the classic channels of sale: grocery store, door-to-door sales, word of mouth,or through schools. So what was the issue? What was I missing? Then I thought of other clues that could point me to a more specific problem… then considered how college students who dont live at home are more removed from these common sales channels.  

I then asked if there was a certain age demographic that saw a decrease in sales. I saw a glimmer in my friends’ eyes and I knew I was on to something. She said there was a decrease in sales amongst 18-25 year olds, and gave me some data. After some calculations, I saw the potential customer segment we could capture and I knew I had the answer. As I explained my solution of targeting this age group through social media I felt the same satisfaction as the eight-year-old version of me when I solved a game of Clue against my big sister – but with better evidence than any board game could supply. 


My real consulting club interview resulted in the same winning feeling. Upon finishing, I even exclaimed, “Wow! I had so much fun!”. Although my interviewers were very surprised by my reaction, I knew in that moment I had chosen the right career path. Later that week, I got an offer from this club, which takes on pro-bono projects for non-profit and small business clients. I was excited to now have a chance to uncover answers that positively impacted people’s lives.

My most memorable project was consulting for a non-profit jewelry company that employs abuse survivors who were facing a decrease in donations. So my team did an analysis of their customer purchasing history and  created donor profiles. Evidence we found pushed us to conduct a business valuation, create an environmental, social, and governance report, and recommend a loyalty program strategy. These actions were designed to increase donations for this small business. After presenting our deliverables at the client site, the owner was grateful for our work. I experienced the same winning satisfaction, but this was bigger than just a board game. My favorite childhood game had transformed into a fun way for me to apply my Ross education for a positive impact. 

The following semester, I was successfully recruited for consulting at Boston Consulting Group for my sophomore summer in 2022. I worked at the New York City office, and I utilized my passion for solving problems to create great business solutions for top companies. Even though the  job was intensive, I secretly loved the thrill of using dynamic analysis to discover anything that could lead my team to a solution. Somedays, the  answer was staring us right in the face, while other times we had to spend time combing though data to uncover the truth. Just like another game of Clue! After this experience, I returned to the same internship for the summer of 2023 and accepted a  full-time offer for post-graduation at the same time.

For students thinking about any career or headed into recruiting, consider the activities that have always brought you joy. Some people spend nights playing video games and are now digital creators. For others, they love binge-watching Criminal Minds and are now going into law. For me, it was a simple board game like Clue! That led me to my consulting career. Overall, pay attention to the little things that you enjoy. You can align these activities to a career that may motivate you to have a bigger impact than you could have ever imagined.

Audrey Thedford is a BBA senior at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Over her three years at the university, she has been highly involved in the undergraduate business community. She has served as DEI Chair of Phi Chi Theta Professional Business Fraternity, Project Manager in BOND Consulting Club, and a Ross Student Ambassador. In the greater Michigan community, she serves as an undergraduate representative on the Regional Program Committee of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She will be pursuing a career in management consulting post-graduation.

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