2022 Internship Experiences

About our Internships

In the summer of 2022, Business+Impact provided funding for 57 University of Michigan in a broad spectrum of internship-style opportunities with a variety of organizations, in both virtual and on-site experiences.  Specifically, 29 students from Ross and Ford developed their skills while individually helping mission-driven organizations in the region 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. 

Additionally, Business+Impact and Zell Lurie supported MBAs taking part in Open Road at Ross, funded by the Ford Motor Company Foundation.  

Click here to see a Flickr album of photos from our 2022 interns.

Below, we share NINE snapshots of some of their experiences, providing a window into the broad experiences that Business+Impact offers:

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

The project I worked on for my internship was a 10 page report made for the Great Lakes Board of Governors and Premiers on research about the voluntary carbon offset market, the current problems, and the policy recommendations to help the state of that market in the region. The organization our team worked with was the Global CO2 Initiative, which represents 8 Midwest States and 2 Canadian Provinces.

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

Our work helped deliver impact by making recommendations for this region to be a bigger player in the carbon offset space and to be able to have more sustainable solutions that not only reduce and avoid emissions, but even remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

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

 I think this internship will be important for my career path because as someone who wants to go into marketing down the brand management path, I found this role to be helpful. It gave me the opportunity to interview key stakeholders in the region who are affected by this market — and being able to understand who you are involved with and who you are potentially selling a product to is a crucial part of marketing.

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

I believe the funding was able to allow us to have access to many stakeholders and resources that could help us be more informed about the state of the market to help us best write our report.

5. What advice do you have for future interns?

For future interns, I believe that it is important to show resilience. There are times in the project where our team did not feel like we could make certain recommendations but we stuck to what we believed in and made sure we had the evidence to back it up!

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

As a Business Design Intern at IDEO.org, I worked to transform creative, human-centered ideas for social innovation into tangible, impactful, and enduring solutions. From crafting strategies and developing business models to facilitating design thinking processes, I had the opportunity to work on two different social impact initiatives focused on health equity and youth development, during my summer. On my first project, I worked on informing the design of social media interventions that could support teens living with Type 1 diabetes in their care management journey. And on my second project, I helped design the strategic vision and plan for a youth literacy nonprofit to scale its impact and reach for more students.

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

Both of my projects were focused on helping organizations better understand how their programs and services could be better informed by human needs while also acknowledging the root causes of social disparities in both health and education. For example, improving the care management of teens meant taking a comprehensive approach around understanding the barriers to adopting healthy behaviors across diverse communities. It meant exploring how to combat misinformation around chronic illness through narrative change while also caring for the holistic wellbeing of individuals so that teens living with Type 1 diabetes would have access to the support they needed not only during health-related events, but across all their middle-term needs up until adulthood. Similarly, my education project focused on addressing a large symptom of education inequity in the US by exploring how tutoring services could be amplified and scaled to reach more students from underinvested schools, and investigating how to empower communities to support students in their journey of becoming lifelong learners with the skills needed to pursue postsecondary opportunities.

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

Working at the intersection of business, design, and social impact has always been my dream. This internship only further validated my passion and determination to do this work by helping me build upon my existing experience with new skills and approaches and by granting me permission to lean into my creative confidence when leading. So much of this summer has been spent reflecting upon how else I can grow my thought leadership in this space while envisioning what this type of work could look like in other institutions. With aspirations of continuing this type of social innovation work, but within the context of corporate settings, I’ve been emboldened by my time at IDEO.org to rethink how businesses can be run to build better workplaces, better livelihoods, and better societal outcomes.

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

Working in the nonprofit space in New York City was honestly a dream come true for me, but it was also an opportunity that felt riskier compared to other traditional MBA internship options. Beyond supporting me while taking this risk and trying my hand in the nonprofit space, the funding from Business+Impact also elevated my internship experience by making in-person work possible for me, a critical piece to the nature of design work. Without this support, I wouldn’t have been able to build the amazing connections I did and find community with other practitioners in the design for impact space.

5. What advice do you have for future interns?

Your summer internship is more than just your day to day project work. Making time to get to know your colleagues and learn from them is just as important, and this alone has been one of the ways I’ve been able to elevate my expertise and thought leadership. Working in the impact space can look very different for everyone, so investigating how other people got there and where they see themselves going can lead to very illuminating conversations that will help inform the next direction for your career journey. 

6. What were some of the experiences you had during your internship that felt unique to your organization?

IDEO.org is a place that culturally places a lot of importance on the development and wellbeing of its people. Beyond our day-to-day responsibilities, everyone was encouraged to partake in activities to help elevate our craft, shape our culture, and provoke our thinking. From attending sessions in a 24-hour global symposium on climate action, practicing tai chi, and hearing from clinical psychologists about trauma-informed design, to spending an hour each week figure drawing, painting, and making space for restorative play, IDEO.org was truly a magical place where I got to nourish my creativity and mindfulness. It was the first time I worked somewhere where I was given the space to think about problems both within and beyond the scope of business while also staying true to my authentic, and sometimes absurd, self.

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

As a Mayoral Fellow in the City of Detroit’s Office of Budget, I worked on a fringe benefits budgeting project that sought to begin analyzing the city’s fringe budgeting practices and to make recommendations on how to improve the process. This project involved a historical analysis of fringe budgeting in prior fiscal years to find where the city was over- and under-budgeting for fringe. It also involved holistic review of how the city projects future fringe expenses, how it groups employees into different fringe groups, and how it technically accounts for fringe. Finally, this project built on the above analyses by offering forward-looking recommendations for how the city can improve fringe budgeting in the near term and provide potential starting points for further lines of enquiry for staff or future fellows to follow.

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

My analysis estimated that the city over-budgeted at least $20 million each year between FY2018 and FY2022 — meaning that more than $20 million each year could have been allocated toward programs and services that benefit the residents of the City of Detroit. While it’s unrealistic to expect the city to perfectly predict fringe benefit expenses every year, eliminating even half of this surplus would have freed up approximately $75 million between FY18 and FY22. Going forward, the Office of Budget has already made one adjustment that analysis estimates will cut fringe over-budgeting in half (and is considering many other adjustments to more accurately budget fringe benefits). Over the next five years this change could represent tens of millions of dollars the city can put toward job training and placement programs, neighborhood revitalization efforts, improving city infrastructure, and many other initiatives benefiting Detroiters.

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

One of my main goals in selecting an internship at the City of Detroit’s Office of Budget was to test whether working in the public sector and in local government would be a good fit for my skills and interests. My internship confirmed that this can be a viable and fulfilling career path for me, and I intend to apply for jobs at the city of Detroit when I am finishing up my graduate degree program next spring.

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

I chose to intern at the City of Detroit largely because I was interested in the work there and in getting an entirely new job experience than I’d had before. However, I had a competing offer from a research/local government consulting organization that would have paid significantly higher wages, run longer than the City of Detroit’s 10-week program, and required zero travel expenses. Having the additional financial support from B+I eased the pressure I felt to take the higher-paying position, and allowed me to choose the internship that I thought would be more interesting, involve more impactful work, and better align with my career interests.

5. What advice do you have for future interns?
It is helpful to have an introductory call or meeting with your supervisor as soon as possible (before your start date even, if possible) to set goals and expectations, and to define what a successful internship will look like for you and for the supervisor/office/organization.  Schedule regular check-ins with your supervisor — you can use these to provide status updates on your projects, ask questions or ask for help, and to check in on your goals throughout the summer. While it’s often helpful to have a main project and deliverables you can take away from your internship, I’d recommend trying to work on multiple projects over the course of the internship. This will help expose you to a wider breadth of experiences and people at the organization, and if one of your projects stalls or is delayed (e.g. by an unresponsive stakeholder or by inability to get data or materials you need) you will still have other meaningful work you can focus on.

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

I worked for The Encore Musical Theatre Company, a professional regional theatre company in Dexter, MI, on developing a long term strategy. The goal was to help them begin conversations among key stakeholders about what the theatre should look like and what additional revenue streams should be added to the business model of the theatre to support its growth and provide more financial stability. 

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

By helping The Encore build out its long term strategy, I’m able to help them be set up to be more financially stable by diversifying their revenue streams and growing their business. This will eventually help to bring better wages to the community of artists they employ and also ensure that they can continue to bring innovative art to the community. 

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

This internship has definitely taught me a lot about what I find to be meaningful work. I’ve learned that I like work that has a palpable impact and I like to see the work through implementation. This will be something I look for in future positions. 

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

Without the funding I received from B+I, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in this internship experience. For small nonprofits like The Encore, engaging an MBA student can be a strain financially. B+I’s funding makes it possible for students to bring their skills to businesses who wouldn’t have access otherwise, expanding the impact we students can have during our internship. 

5. What advice do you have for future interns?

This time is precious. Your time in the MBA program and interning is special and an opportunity that likely won’t come around again, so use it. Have a passion project or an area you want to dive into? Find a way to get in there now. You’ll have chances to get into your career later, but opportunities to have unique experiences like this one don’t happen every day, so seize the moment while you have it. 

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

As an intern, my role involved performing market research and analysis on a variety of industries/topics including the gig economy, the esports industry, and the security surveillance industry. This due diligence will help the founder build their company and find strategic entry points into the industry with an MVP (minimally viable product).

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

When working on my research for the gig economy, my focus was to find key pain points that affect gig workers. This research was used to assess what ways Launch Factory could create a product/service that serves gig workers and make their work experience better, thus impacting their overall career for the better!

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

I believe that my internship at Launch Factory has helped me better understand what it takes to build a company that is not only desired by the marketplace, but also what it takes to start a company, which is something I hope to accomplish in my career.

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

Receiving funding made this experience possible. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to move to San Diego this summer for this experience.

5. What advice do you have for future interns?

Take risks and be curious. This is one of the only times we get to try many different things. If you don’t like the experience, you are still walking away with a valuable learning experience.

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

The main project I worked on this summer was analyzing user research to create a report that had three marketing recommendations on how to increase customer sales. Other projects included organizing inventory in the gallery, assisting the summer Art Camp held at the gallery, and assisting artists with installation of new exhibitions.

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

The work I did was at the Studio Gallery, which gives emphasis to showcasing the work of underrepresented artists and puts emphasis on community engagement. For example, I helped one of our fellows run an art camp at the gallery that included 18 kids from the DMV area and exposed those kids to an art education that they would not have otherwise received.

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

My experience at the gallery exposed me to the business side of art from sales to working with clients. It will help me in any client-facing role in my future career.

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

Without the funding from B+I, I would not have been able to participate in this internship experience. I am extremely appreciative for the team to allow me to gain skills from this unique experience.

5. What advice do you have for future interns?

I would tell future interns to go into any internship experience ready to learn, and make it known to your supervisor what you want to learn from the experience. More often than not this will help you to take part in things you are interested in on the job.

6. What was your favorite part of your job this summer?

The fact that the location of my internship was in Dupont Circle was great because there were so many galleries and museums nearby to visit. I was exposed to so many artists and artwork, which made my experience that much better and more exciting for me.

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

United Way runs a program called Ride United that provides backup transportation to work for people in Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties who struggle to access affordable, reliable transportation. During my internship, I evaluated the program using data analysis, trying to understand more about our passengers and the program itself. Because the need for this program is enormous in Detroit, Ride United has grown exponentially over the last few months, which made the data analysis fascinating.

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

Lack of access to affordable, reliable transportation is a key aspect of poverty in Detroit and the surrounding areas, so Ride United is critical to connecting people who have low incomes to employment. My evaluation helped the team understand the program more deeply, influencing their future programmatic decisions. For example, because the exponential growth we saw in spring and summer is unsustainable for the organization, my evaluation will be used to decide a target enrollment level for the program that is financially sustainable.

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

My previous career was in DC working on federal policy research and advocacy, but I was ready to return to my home state of Michigan and focus on state and local policy. However, I did not expect to pursue work on a privately funded and operated program like Ride United! My day-to-day work was so fun, because I got to spend much of my days working in Excel on data analysis. And the results were rewarding, knowing that I contributed to programmatic decisions that affect Detroiters’ lives. The experience showed me that data analysis should be a part of my future career, and gave me connections in the Detroit region with social service nonprofits and policy influencers.

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

Thanks to B+I funding, I was able to accept a lower paying internship without worrying about paying the bills or picking up a second job.

5. What advice do you have for future interns?

Set goals at the start of your internship, and ideally write them down and talk over them with your supervisor. Check in on those goals weekly, and make sure you are working towards them every single week. I set a goal of doing 10 networking meetings during my internship, and with my supervisor’s help, I was able to do that.

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

As a State Department intern within the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) supporting the East Asia and Pacific Affairs (EAP) office, I worked as lead action officer on the Laos and U.S. Mekong Partnership portfolios and supported on Thailand and Myanmar. DRL/EAP leads the U.S. efforts to promote democracy, protect human rights, and advance labor rights within the EAP region. DRL uses a wide range of tools to achieve this, namely through bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, reporting and public outreach, and economic sanctions. During my internship, I monitored and analyzed developments across all three sectors within Laos, the U.S. Mekong Partnership, Thailand, and Myanmar. Among other tasks, I prepared documents for UN dialogues, wrote daily activity reports, met with NGOs and activists from across the region, and prepared various briefing material for senior staff traveling abroad.

Overall, I had an incredibly positive internship experience and learned a great deal about how U.S. policy gets formulated and implemented both procedurally and strategically while focusing on my regional interest of Southeast Asia.

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

I’ve recently been awarded a Boren Fellowship and will be moving to Bangkok, Thailand for ten months in September to study the Thai language. Upon graduation here at the University of Michigan, I must complete one year of federal service per requirement of being a Boren Fellow. This internship gave me a hands-on experience of working for the federal government and has influenced what kind of job I plan to pursue to complete my Boren service requirement — currently I’m thinking of coming back to the Department of State or USAID.

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

As part of the last cohort of unpaid interns (yes, fall 2022 state interns will be paid!), and given that DC isn’t a particularly cheap city to live in, funding from B+I and other sources quite literally made this summer possible.

4. What advice do you have for future interns?

I think it’s easy to get settled in and lazy about setting up informational chat/interviews with people within your organization or people that do adjacent work in your field. I’d recommend for future interns to stay diligent about connecting with people that work in your field/industry throughout the duration of your internship and not just at the beginning of it, as certain connections can lead to other connections and opportunities down the road.

1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.

I was a Research Intern for the Global CO2 Initiative at University of Michigan.  I did research on voluntary carbon offset markets in the Great Lakes Region including historical transaction, the criteria of high quality carbon credits, price, and market size. I then produced a report and suggest proposals to enhance the voluntary carbon offset market for the Governors and Premiers in the Great Lakes Regions.

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

Companies around the world are eager to remove carbon from their operations and value chain, but they still have a residual emissions. Carbon credits can be used to offset those emissions by investing in carbon removal projects such as Reforestation and Direct Air Capture. However, the use of carbon credits is controversial, since it might be greenwashing. Our research defines what are the opportunities and challenges in this space and proposes business and policy suggestions to enhance the Voluntary Carbon Offset Market in the Great Lakes Region. Our research will address an urgent climate change issue by helping the Great Lakes Governors and Premiers to think about creating a good regional carbon strategy.

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

I was interested in a wide range of topics like climate tech, nature conservation, and corporate sustainability, and I’m surprised to realize that this carbon offsets space covers all these topics, so I really enjoyed  researching this space and will continue to follow it. This internship provided me with an experience in this space so I can utilize my knowledge and capability to find a job in this space.

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

I didn’t need to travel or attend conferences, but I can utilize the funding in the future to do further research by buying books, studying for certificates, and attending conferences, since I will follow the topic that I researched during summer!

5. What advice do you have for future interns?

You should do something that reflects what you really want to learn during internship. Thanks to B+I funding, I was able to focus on what I really wanted to pursue and gain deep insight in social impact space, which really matters to me.

6. What was the best thing you learned during the internship?

Through the internship, I have learned a lot about corporate sustainability, especially GHG emissions reduction. I have learned that companies start thinking how to use carbon credits to achieve their carbon reduction targets, which was a bit more complicated than I expected.