2021 Internship Experiences

2021 Internship Experiences

About our Internships

In the summer of 2021, Business+Impact provided funding for 55 University of Michigan internship opportunities with a broad spectrum of organizations.  Students from Ross and Ford developed their skills while helping mission-driven organizations in Detroit and around the world.

Each summer, Business+Impact awards competitive grants for summer internships to MBAs and BBAs in the Ross School of Business as well as MPP students in the Ford School of Public Policy.  MBA funding comes from the Give-A-Day Fund, a student-led MBA pay-it-forward fund, and from General Motors. Additionally, the newly established Gordon Impact Entrepreneurship Fund provided support during the summer for BBA or MBA students with ventures or funders seeking to create societal impact. 

Through the generosity of Applebaum Family Philanthropy, this summer Impact Design Fellows and Interns were able to collaborate in the +Impact Design Lab and help impactful prototypes take shape in the world.

Finally, Business+Impact and Zell Lurie supported MBAs taking part in Open Road at Ross, funded by the Ford Motor Company.  This year’s teams worked  with companies in Detroit virtually. 

Click here to see a Flickr album of photos from our 2021 interns.

Below, we share six snapshots of some of their experiences, providing a window into the broad experiences that Business+Impact offers:
Dimitri Giraldo with internship funder Jason Gordon. (See more photos of Dimitri in our Flickr album, listed above.)

Dimitri Alejo Giraldo , MBA

  • Type of Internship: Gordon Impact Entrepreneur Intern

  • Organization: Creating Who Your Are There

  • Location: Fluid

  • Project:  I worked on my own startup by launching and testing its product-market fit. My venture is an online educational platform for Latin America that teaches how to unlock and create our truest self (a life with purpose) through consciousness and spirituality practices. I tested different assumptions, validated market needs, learned more about my customer and designed a first product iteration.

How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?

Around 20 people tested my product and during 6 weeks they received detailed and practical content to create a more coherent and harmonious life aligned with their own best version. Some of the topics they learned and benefits they received were: transcending unconscious beliefs, differentiating and managing emotions and feelings, making crucial decisions, identifying inner passions, connecting the “whys” of their experiences and much more.

How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?

It already affected my career path. My internship experience showed me that there is an essential need and eagerness in my region to learn more about consciousness topics. At the same time and most important of all, it was an opportunity to confirm that this is what I want to pursue and continue working on upon graduation.

How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?

The Business+Impact internship program and funding was fundamental to help me create a new reality. With the funding resources, first I was able to develop and test a first product iteration, and second to subsidize my life expenses. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to work on my own venture but would have had to accept a regular internship offer.

What advice do you have for future interns?

If you have an idea that delivers social impact and you are passionate about it, don’t think twice. Learn more about the B+I program and its internship benefits. This is a safety net and an amazing opportunity to follow and awake your deepest passions and truest purpose.

Who is who you genuinely are?

Good question.  Now answer it without mentioning names, career titles, professional roles, etc. That is not easy at all, however this could be the most important question because it is — unconsciously — our life compass. There is not a right or wrong answer, nor an ideal “being” you must be. Nevertheless, each time that we are close to its answer, we start creating who we really are and living a life with purpose.

Sherish Hussain

Sehrish Hussain, BBA

  • Type of Internship: Summer Fund

  • Organization: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

  • Location: Detroit, MI 

  • Project: Our cohort made a presentation comparing and contrasting our experience working at the Wright museum and the Detroit Institute of Arts. As a team we were able to present our ideas of possible improvements to the team of curators and programmers at the museum. Moreover, I was able to be a part of the Education department’s programming for Camp Africa–a camp for young children in the Detroit area to learn about African American history.

How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?

I was able to engage with the Detroit community through art and provide kids in the area with a fun learning experience.

How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?

Because of this internship, I want to further delve into more experiences at museums that focus on community engagement.

How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?

Without funding I would not have been able to dedicate my time over the summer to this internship.

What advice do you have for future interns?

Working in a field that you are passionate about and can find a strong personal meaning in is an extremely valuable strength. So if you haven’t already, find that one thing.

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What about the culture at the Charles H. Wright Museum did you like the most?

The community of people — from the front desk workers to the gift shop worker to my supervisor — were extremely welcoming and saw me as part of their museum family!

José Lemus onsite at mHub in Chicago. (See more photos of José in our Flickr album, listed above.)

José Lemus, MPP

  • Type of Internship: Ford School Fund

  • Organization: mHUB

  • Location: Chicago, IL

  • Project:

    While at mHUB, I helped the Community Impact Department develop programs that reduce financial barriers to entrepreneurship for female entrepreneurs and founders of color. I was tasked with mapping existing partnerships and helping the Community Impact Team research national cohort-based mini accelerators and seed-stage venture funds. I built a program evaluation dashboard, conducted community partnerships asset mapping, and led staff, partners, and members through design thinking workshops. 

How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?

MHUB is the nation’s leading hard tech and manufacturing accelerator. Through this internship, I helped mHUB to better recruit, fund, and support female founders and entrepreneurs of color. MHUB already provides entrepreneurs with a hyper-resourced environment that leads to new businesses, intellectual property, investment, revenue, and job creation. My work capitalized on mHUB’s established practices and created a template for cultivating authentic entrepreneurial support networks in Chicago.  

How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?

Interning at mHUB helped me hone my economic development skills and develop a professional network in Chicago. Professionally, I am interested in equitable economic development and wealth-building within communities of color. Working at mHUB helped me develop a replicable model of philanthropy that engages Black and Latinx entrepreneurs throughout the discovery, development, and launch of an economic development initiative. In the short-term, mHUB has equipped me with the skills to pursue economic development positions in Michigan. In the long-term, mHUB has afforded me a network and an exposure to venture capital that will help me fund my own professional ventures in the future.

How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?
 
Receiving Business+Impact’s support allowed me to accept this internship opportunity. MHUB provided a minimal stipend, and receiving Business+Impact funding helped me pay for essential expenses during my summer internship.
 

What advice do you have for future interns?

I would advise future interns to take risks, advocate for themselves, and clearly identify roles, responsibilities, and relationships with their internship supervisor.  My biggest learning opportunity came from taking an internship in a completely new professional field. Diving headfirst into the physical product manufacturing industry pushed me to be vulnerable and ask my colleagues and supervisors a lot of questions. Being vulnerable helped me be flexible in new working environments and reach out to my peers when I was unsure or insecure in a professional setting. Similarly, given the hybrid nature of work this summer, I had to learn how to advocate for my needs and objectives to ensure that my work benefited my team throughout the summer. 

When did you feel most engaged, most involved, or most excited about your work? What is one thing you are proud of from this summer?

I felt the most engaged during my summer internship when I helped entrepreneurs build investor pitches and when I helped my supervisors create financial models for corporate expansion. Advising entrepreneurs helped me understand how direct investment in early-stage companies strengthens the overall tech ecosystem. Similarly, shaping mHUB’s financial model helped me develop executive leadership skills and critical analysis experience. Connecting both experiences, I am proud that I contributed to the economic future of Chicago’s technological ecosystem.

Duy-Anh Vo, working with Summer in the City in Detroit.

​Duy-Anh Vo, BBA

  • Type of Internship: Summer Fund

  • Organization: Summer in the City

  • Location: Detroit, MI

  • Project: Over the summer, I worked for Summer in the City helping to revitalize the city through garden beautification projects, providing a daycare camp to parents in need, and painting numerous murals. All of our work relied on the help of volunteers who are in high school. In that regard, we also provided the volunteers, who mostly reside in suburban areas, with an opportunity to connect with their home city of Detroit.  

How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience? 

My work primarily focused on developing logistic plans and connecting with local community partners to build and retain a relationship with them. This included hearing about their needs and ideas, providing them with our strategies, and planning the execution of the projects. Though not always actively involved in the projects themselves, I made sure that all of our tasks were completed to their satisfaction, bringing value to neighborhoods that need it the most. 

How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?

As a business student, I unfortunately don’t often get to be involved with nonprofit work. This internship allowed me to see the kind of work that can be accomplished when generosity and compassion meet with the skills and expertise of business. It opened my eyes to the importance of making an impact in one’s community, especially for any business with a tremendous amount of resources and talent.

How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?

Needless to say, the funding was invaluable to my internship experience. Beside the financial support, B+I offered me guidance on how to complete a final deliverable, which helped me to stay on track throughout my summer.  The funding gave me and Summer in the City an opportunity to expand their programs with newer sports equipment for the children, better software, and more paint materials to brighten the city.

What advice do you have for future interns?

For future interns, do not hold yourself back from trying out different fields of work or interest. It can be a new opportunity for you to experience, discover, and challenge yourself.

Why does grass never stop growing?

Because it’s always sunny in the city.


Elizabeth Wallace, worked remotely from home this summer. (See more photos of Elizabeth in our Flickr album, listed above.)

Elizabeth Wallace, MS/MBA

  • Type of Internship: General Motors Intern

  • Organization: Detroit Office of Sustainability

  • Location: Detroit, MI

Summer Summary:

This summer I worked with the City of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability. In June of 2019, the Office of Sustainability launched their first strategic plan for sustainability, called the Sustainability Action Agenda. This strategic roadmap was developed to create a more sustainable Detroit where all Detroiters thrive and prosper in an equitable, green city; have access to affordable, quality homes; live in clean, connected neighborhoods; and work together to steward resources and builds on decades of progress made by organizations across the City towards a more sustainable Detroit.

Now that two years have passed since the release of the Sustainability Action Agenda, the City wanted to revisit it and share the progress that has been made with residents and community stakeholders.

This is where I came in! This summer I worked on two main projects, focused on measuring and sharing progress on the City’s sustainability goals and creating repeatable processes to continue to do so in the future. This included creating a 2-year progress update for the Sustainability Action Agenda, which will serve as the foundation for bi-annual sustainability reports going forward, and launching a public Sustainability Dashboard based on performance metrics associated with the Agenda.

This internship gave me the opportunity to explore a career in city government in Detroit, something I am considering for full-time after grad school. I also enjoyed learning about the complexities of this work across many departments and partner organizations, as well as building relationships with environmental and social justice leaders across the City. I am grateful for the financial support from SEAS, Erb and B+I, making my internship with the City of Detroit’s Office of Sustainability feasible. 

Allison Winstel at mHUB in Chicago. (See more photos of Allison in our Flickr album, listed above.)

Allison Winstel, MBA

  • Type of Internship: Summer Fund

  • Organization/Location: mHUB, Chicago

  • Project: One of the best parts of my internship at mHUB was the range of projects I had the chance to both lead and contribute to. My primary focus was supporting the Programs & Engagement team in ensuring mHUB’s programs and resources are inclusive and more accessible. I designed a entrepreneurial milestone framework to help mHUB align all programs and services around a common language and process for launching and growing hardtech and physical product businesses. I worked with our team to develop a pilot program that will launch this Fall to support early stage women-identifying entrepreneurs take their ideas and turn them into viable prototypes and startups. I also assessed the current programs to recommend ways in which mHUB can build upon its already strong, welcoming community to be more inclusive for women and people of color who are underrepresented in manufacturing and tech. In addition to these projects, I got to jump in and support day to day operations, by helping onboard and support new entrepreneurs into the community and utilize my facilitation and storytelling skills to support strategic initiatives with the leadership team.

How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?

My projects will enable mHUB to build a community and suite of programs that is more inclusive and increases access to entrepreneurship, manufacturing, and tech for more women and people of color. Specifically, the early stage founders program will support 6-10 women in 2022 in testing and validating their ideas to build viable businesses. This pilot will serve as a model for future cohort programs supporting women and people of color in developing early stage business ideas and accessing non-dilutive capital to do so. As the mHUB community continues to grow, the inclusion assessment will enable them to be more intentional about how they build community and support a diverse range of members and the entrepreneurial milestone framework will make the process of hardtech and physical product entrepreneurship more accessible to innovators, regardless of their technical or business backgrounds.

How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?

I came to Ross knowing I wanted to focus on cross-sector community impact and the role of business in society, but I intentionally stayed away from entrepreneurship and tech because they felt like shiny objects that would distract me. mHUB gave me the opportunity to reframe these areas with a focus on economic development and DEI and utilize skills I have been prioritizing developing, such as facilitation, coaching, and program management. I ended up finding myself very energized by this intersection and can see myself pursue a role in entrepreneurial and innovation support services and economic development in the future. I’m looking forward to exploring these areas more in my final year at University of Michigan.

How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?

The B+I funding made living in Chicago and taking advantage of an in person internship opportunity possible. Balancing two rent payments (Ann Arbor and Chicago) would have put a big strain on my budget, but the B+I funding helped me cover this cost and let me enjoy a summer return to Chicago.

What advice do you have for future interns?

Find a role that energizes you, get clear about the skills and experiences you want and make sure to communicate those to your team, and take the initiative to set up 1:1 coffee chats with as many people as possible. Internships are such an incredible opportunity to try something new, test out a new way of applying the skills that bring you energy, and build truly meaningful connections. The leaders and colleagues I’ve worked with across my 3 internships before and during graduate school have become important mentors and guides to me as I navigate my career path. They have given me new insights into my strengths and value as a practitioner, helped me understand different pathways and opportunities to get to my goals, and have been great friends as well. I’ve found that the more honest I am with them about what I am passionate about and what I want to do, the more opportunities that arise for me to practice those skills and contribute greater value to the team.

What was the most unique part of your internship?

mHUB has a prototyping shop with over $6M in equipment that our members utilize to develop their prototypes and products. As a fellow, I was encouraged to utilize the shop to create something of my own. Having never seen myself as a ‘handy’ person (besides knowing how to put in drywall anchors without a drill), I was a bit intimidated. But, I had an idea to make a set of wood coasters on the laser cutter and leaned on a fellow intern to show me how to create the design file in Adobe Illustrator. With a $10 oak board from Home Depot and a little trial and error, I was able to make a set of custom coasters in my last week at mHUB. I wish I had taken advantage of the shop resources earlier and definitely am feeling inspired to take on some more DIY projects.

For a complete listing of interns and their internships for 2021, click here.

For information on receiving your own student internship funding, click here.