Coming in as a first-year student, you are immediately introduced to the plethora of clubs and organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Through an event called BBA Meet the Clubs, students have the opportunity to find business and social clubs that align with their interests. Even more, they can immerse themselves into the business school community right away. As your time here progresses, the opportunities to get involved only grows with each passing year.
Looking back on my time at Ross, it is the experiences beyond the classroom that has made my experience valuable, enabling me to grow as an individual in a multitude of ways. The opportunities to get involved here at Ross are endless. For me, I am excited to share three of my favorite experiences and highlight how each one has shaped me as a businesswoman.
The Michigan Emissary Group (MEG) consulting club is one organization that I absolutely loved. Michigan Ross has a variety of consulting clubs that range from a specific focus area, such as tech or social impact consulting, to generalized clubs that allow students to learn consulting as a whole. In my consulting club experience, my biggest takeaways have been learning from upperclassmen who are also members and gaining hands-on client communication experience. In the consulting club, each new member is assigned a senior mentor. My senior mentor, Stephanie Hong, became my go-to person for recruiting and interviewing help. Knowing I am pursuing a marketing concentration, she was able to provide me personalized advice on how to improve my resume and interview skills. Beyond professional help, Stephanie also became a close friend. Having individuals at Michigan Ross who can be there for you socially and professionally is something that makes finding your own community so special.
Beyond my mentor, MEG also introduced me to how to work and communicate with real business clients, a skill that I have been able to utilize in my internship roles. I work with other club members each semester on a new project with a business client. These businesses can include a global or nationwide firm, a local business. or an on-campus department. One of my favorite projects was working for the Maize and Blue Cupboard, a program that provides free groceries and other resources for students at the University of Michigan. Each week, my team met with the head of this program, where we learned more about what they provide to students and the help they were seeking from us. By the end of the semester, we provided them with research-backed recommendations, such as introducing new programming like cooking classes or speaker events, as well as a resource guide they could share with students who are seeking affordable access to food and other resources. After our work with the Cupboard, we saw our resource guide implemented on the website right away!
As a whole, Michigan Ross clubs provide incredible opportunities for growth. Socially, joining clubs has introduced me to many close friends and provided a community within the business school. Professionally, I have gained mentors and role models who have supported me through improving my business skills.
STUDENT JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Beyond clubs, I was heavily involved in student job opportunities at Michigan Ross. From being a course assistant, to a peer advisor or assistant to specific offices, there are plenty of ways to get involved while you also earn money as you gain experience!
One of my favorite roles was a summer internship with the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project +Impact Studio for Local Businesses, a program that brought together students from Michigan Ross, Ford School of Law and Policy, Stamps School of Art and Design, and the School of Information. At the start of the summer, students were placed onto teams with other students from a diverse set of majors. With my marketing concentration, I was on the digital marketing team. Each team worked with local Detroit businesses, supporting them in developing strategies and providing solutions to their business needs. My team worked with a Detroit-based restaurant and a makeup company for women of color. By the end of the summer, we had developed ad-based marketing campaigns, created social media content, and produced step-by-step guides for future businesses to follow when setting up their own digital marketing tactics.
This internship, along with my other student job opportunities at Ross, enabled me to develop leadership skills and gain hands-on learning experiences. Coming into this internship, I had little marketing experience and few direct client interactions. After participating in the internship, I had gained hard and soft skills I was able to discuss in interviews for future internships and an after-college job. For example, I developed an understanding of how to use Facebook Ad Manager to track social media ads and analyze engagement and consumer data from those ads. Recruiters were impressed with my unique experience that made a big impact on these businesses. Having a student job here at Michigan Ross goes beyond earning money; students gain valuable experiences that are transferable to our career paths and future work life.
PROGRAMS AND INITIATIVES
Throughout the year, Michigan Ross offers lots of events and initiatives for students. Opportunities range from leadership development and entrepreneurship programs to speaker-series, case competitions, and corporate treks. One of my favorite programs I have participated in is the Sanger Leadership Center Crisis Challenge.
Students begin this challenge placed into a randomized group of about six other students. Over the next six hours, each team efficiently works together in an attempt to manage and solve a real-time business crisis. Throughout the event, teams receive updates on the crisis situation, with incoming emails, calls, and social media buzz from the public, stakeholders, and employees – with everything requiring urgent action. The following day, teams present their solutions to a panel of judges featuring Ross and U-M professors and alumni in the field. While hearing feedback on their solutions during the presentation, students also receive advice on how to improve their business acumen and communication skills.
Taking part in the Crisis Challenge enabled me to grow as a leader and develop strong presentation skills. Coming into the challenge, I lacked confidence in myself as a businesswoman, with little experience applying my business knowledge to real-world scenarios. However, participating in this program as a second-year student pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone; I was getting to communicate with stakeholders via professional emails and phone calls and present strategic recommendations to a panel of judges featuring alumni with CEO roles and professors. Now, this opportunity has been an experience I speak about frequently in interviews. I can highlight my learnings in handling a business crisis in a time-pressure environment to impress recruiters and being able to apply these skills to future internships.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Through student clubs, internships, and programming, Michigan Ross provides a wide variety of opportunities beyond the classroom to help students create a personalized experience. These experiences have allowed me to grow in a multitude of ways to develop my business skills that I can take with me to my future career. From gaining incredible feedback from mentors and professors, to getting to work with real business clients, Michigan Ross creates an incredible student experience that supports consistent involvement and encourages students to step outside their comfort zones.
Madelyn is a senior at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, where she is pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in marketing. When she’s not in class, you can find her spending time with her consulting club and sorority, going on runs, or enjoying all the delicious restaurants in Ann Arbor!
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