Ross Reflections: Unexpected Lessons From An Integrative Semester

Ross Commons Area


Something that I had to learn during RIS was how to say “no” more. Normally, I would feel guilty if I couldn’t make a club or group meeting. During RIS, I learned how to say no to things that weren’t the best use of my time and goals.

At first, it was hard to say no because I didn’t want to seem like a quitter. However, for your mental health and sanity, it’s important to let go of things that no longer serve you. That was difficult for me because I always want to give my 100% to everything I do.

Saying no to things included both recruiting and personal matters. For example, I quit a student organization; I knew deep down that I didn’t have the time and wouldn’t be able to be an active and involved member.

During recruiting, I also learned to say no when I declined an interview with a retail company. I already had an offer at a different company whose offer I planned to accept, so what was the point? Sure, I would have gained more interview experience, but I would have been wasting my time and the company’s time too.


I was part of five different group projects during RIS. Coordinating meeting times with all of my group members was tough because everyone has different schedules!

Some groups preferred to use When2Meet to schedule meetings (I am personally not a fan of When2Meet, but to each their own). Other groups preferred to just talk through our availability for the week or bombard the group chat with times they could meet.

Alexa Tran

First Tip:  Never leave a group meeting without scheduling another meeting! You can always reschedule or cancel the meeting, but it’s better to have one set just in case.

Second Tip: Be communicative. Being a good group member requires being honest and accommodating. It’s important to recognize that everyone has different schedules and that you should be as flexible as possible.

For example: I was in a group project with two football players. They weren’t able to meet until after 7 p.m. on weekdays. Of course, we couldn’t meet on Fridays because of Saturday Game Days. (Go Blue!) So we would meet on weekdays later at night and on Sundays.

I appreciated how they would come straight from practice to our group meetings. Even more, they were straightforward and honest about their availability. All of us worked together because we wanted to be as accommodating as possible; we genuinely did care about doing well on our group assignments.


Each group project I was a part of was different – a different number of members and (of course) different types of people. But across the board, how I approached each group meeting was the same.

First Tip: Have an agenda. Each group meeting was scheduled on Google Calendar for 1.5 hours or 2 hours, so it’s important to maximize your time together.

I liked to make sure that everyone came prepared to group meetings. This meant attempting the homework problems first and then going over them as a group. We also asked members to come to meetings with their respective parts of the paper written.

Second Tip: Listen to each other. Listening is such an underrated skill. During group meetings, it’s important to listen to people’s opinions on how they’d approach the assignment.

Additionally, it’s also important to listen to people when they vocalize what part of the assignment they’re comfortable doing. Everyone has different skill sets that they can provide and it’s important to leverage that in every group project!

So those are some of my unexpected learnings from RIS! I made some amazing memories with my peers and even made some new friends from my group projects! It was definitely a whirlwind of a semester, but I wouldn’t change anything about my experience because it gave me a lot to reflect  on. I hope you find my tips insightful and helpful as you navigate business school yourself!

My name is Alexa Tran and I am a senior at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business studying Business Administration with a minor in Religion. I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, so I knew that I always wanted to be a Wolverine! I am passionate about traveling, mentorship, iced coffee, and Trader Joe’s. I enjoy spending time with friends and family and managing my travel Instagram and blog: @adventuringwithalexa.

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