2023 Interns Discuss “What We Did on Our Summer Vacation”

About our Internships

In the summer of 2022, Business+Impact provided funding for 44 University of Michigan in a broad spectrum of internship-style opportunities with a variety of organizations, in both virtual and on-site experiences.  Specifically, 28 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 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 2023 interns.
Below, we share NINE snapshots of some of their experiences, providing a window into the broad experiences that Business+Impact offers:

Audrey Dombro at the Chicago Mayor's Office working at a computer.1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship. 
I am working closely on projects that reflect the new Chicago Mayor’s priorities! I also get to work with city departments on providing services that citizens can count on. I was fortunate to work on policy memos, data analysis, and GIS mapping during my internship. 

2. How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?
My work helped deliver social impact, because we are experiencing crises in climate, poverty, migration, health, and housing that demand collective action, and the government has the power to move the lever. My work delivered social impact because I was part of a team dedicated to improving the well-being of Chicagoans. 

3. How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?
Because we are assigned to a variety of projects across different departments, this internship has allowed me to see a birds-eye view of the city government. This has opened opportunities for me within different city departments that I never imagined working with! 

4. How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?
This has given me some support to cover my living expenses while in Chicago, so that I can focus on my work. 

5. What advice do you have for future interns?
Consider public service! This summer, I was excited to go to work every. single. day. It is truly worth it when you can dedicate your days to having a positive impact on your community. We have plenty of problems to tackle together — be a part of the solution! 

6. Favorite Chicago pizza? 
Definitely Giordano’s. I have great memories eating deep dish in my grandfather’s kitchen. Tastes delicious and like home! 

Alhan Fakhr in front of a sign for One Acre Fund.1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship. 
One Acre Fund‘s (1AF) primary mission is to help farmers and farming communities succeed. Agribusiness is a highly regulated sector in Rwanda, with the government determining the prices of seeds and other farming inputs. This is further compounded by volatility in global fertilizer supply chains, which have been disrupted because of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine. One of 1AF’s many goals is to achieve financial sustainability in the near future. This implies that the organization can sustain its own operations without donations. My project has centered around unlocking inventory to reduce deficit in the short-term, and to set up new sales channels to ensure increasing operating costs are not passed on to farmers. 

2. How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?
1AF delivers social impact every day by placing farmers at the forefront of its work and mission. A key metric used by the organization to evaluate its own work is the SROI or Social Return on Investment, which measures the impact 1AF’s interventions have on the well-being of the farmers and farming communities they work with. This includes metrics around financial and nutritional well-being. Therefore, being embedded within the finance and internal consulting teams, my team works on strengthening 1AF internally to allow us to continue serving small-holder farmers. 

3. How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?
In the long-term I envision myself working in the social impact sector in South Asia and specifically in Pakistan, which is where I am from. This internship is especially helpful because it demonstrates how an organization that answers the very basic question of how to help farmers succeed can change the entire ecosystem for smallholder farming not only in Rwanda but in 9 countries across Africa. Secondly, this internship sheds light on South-South collaboration which is a topic often ignored in Western economic development discourse. There are lots of things Pakistan can learn from Rwanda in terms of supporting farmers, who despite growing the world’s food, continue to live in poverty. I feel this internship demonstrates a real-life example of how a knowledge of both policy and sound business practices can uplift millions out of poverty, and it’s a model which can be implemented in different geographies across emerging economies. 

4. How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?
Funding through B+I lifted a huge financial weight off my shoulders. Instead of feeling constantly nervous about money, I’ve been able to travel and explore Rwanda and truly immerse myself in getting to know Kigali and its surrounding areas. 

5. What advice do you have for future interns?
I would offer two pieces of advice. First, never be afraid of cold-emailing folks. You have nothing to lose when you’re reaching out to somebody to express interest in their organization and work. Second, be flexible during your summer internship. You may think you have a specific set of responsibilities coming in, but the organization you’re working with may have a different set of priorities when you get there. Creating value for your host organization in the midst of shifting priorities is a skill, and I’ve learned how to manage that this summer.  

Prisha Grover, photographed in Washington DC, 24 July 2023, for the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.
For my internship with Rep. Haley Stephens, I have been working on policy issues that relate to AAPI communities, broadband access, and youth engagement. This means that I attend congressional briefings, keep track of letters from other congresspeople, and write policy memos that contain recommendations for the representative and other staff. My main projects have been a briefing on policy issues pertaining to AAPI and MENA communities and a policy proposal regarding the use of artificial intelligence to supply broadband access. 

2. How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?
Through my internship, I was able to support the work of the Future Forum Caucus. This caucus focuses on issues pertaining to young Americans and effecting change that will benefit those who are too young to vote. Through my work, I worked on letters to the Biden Administration, the Department of Education, and the House Appropriations Committee regarding student debt relief, abolishing housing discrimination, and protecting vulnerable youth on social media during the mental health crisis. 

3. How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?
This was my first internship in the public sector, as my last few were in corporate government affairs. This internship helped me decide which one is a better fit for me, gave me a firsthand understanding of the legislative process, and helped me build connections on the Hill that I hope to run into in the future. It also helped me better understand what needs to be done to effect change on a federal level. 

4. How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?
The funding I received from B+I allowed me to live in the city, making my daily commute and overall experience in Washington D.C. much better. 

5. What advice do you have for future interns?
Take opportunities that come your way, even if they don’t seem like they are the most interesting tie to your area of interest at first. It’s good to take on different tasks with different staffers to learn, build relationships, and show that you are someone they can delegate to. 

6. What was the most interesting project you worked on?
Every month, the Future Forum Caucus hosts a lunch where members discuss a chosen topic with industry leaders, such as housing discrimination against Millennials and Gen Zers. During the month of July, I had the opportunity to represent the youth voice and my nonprofit, GlobalMarks, on a panel regarding social media and the youth mental health crisis. I was on a panel with a high-level executive from Meta and two well-known scientists who lead research institutes on the issue. 

Joseph Kind at Forte Preparatory Academy in Queens.1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.
This summer I worked as an MBA Intern at Forte Preparatory Academy, a public charter school network serving students from diverse and often disadvantaged backgrounds in Queens, New York. As the organization prepares to open a new, tuition-free high school this fall, my projects included a strategic planning initiative mapping graduation requirements and data systems management solution proposals. 

2. How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?
Both of my projects required a specific understanding of the rapidly changing K-12 and higher education landscapes nationwide in order to help deliver equitable learning outcomes for students from historically underserved communities. For example, creating a program management tool for high school graduation requirements required an acknowledgment of all the necessary supports for access to and persistence in selective postsecondary institutions. This work in turn influenced the design and implementation of strong data assessment collection and analysis systems that could withstand the upcoming statewide transition from paper to online assessment administration. The priorities of scale and sustainability were integral to school staff capacity as well as student achievement.  

3. How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?
Working at the intersection of strategy and operations within the U.S. public education space was a driving force behind my decision to attend graduate school in the first place. This internship experience has validated my excitement to do this work at my highest potential. I’m grateful for this opportunity to develop my problem-solving toolkit with new skills and experiences that can speak to higher degrees of complexity and ambiguity. This internship has also inspired me to think more deeply about my long-term career goals in serving teaching and learning communities at scale. 

4. How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?
Thanks to the funding I received through Business+Impact, I was able to visit Forte Prep’s school community for two days of in-person learning and team-building activities at the end of the school year. It was so important to talk to school leaders, teachers, and students face-to-face at this critical phase of growth for the organization. Without B+I’s financial support, it would have been a lot harder for me to engage with so many community stakeholders during the busy summer break. Additionally, the financial support allowed me to manage the day-to-day logistics of a fully remote internship with a lot more flexibility and peace of mind than what would have been otherwise possible.  

5. What advice do you have for future interns?
I think it’s important to be receptive to all opportunities for growth during the internship experience. Whether those discoveries come from direct conversations with managers and co-workers, or from unique project insights, I’m grateful that my experience has taught me so much more than what I expected to learn in a short period of time. 

Emily Kuttner with the mayor of Milwaukee1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.
I have gotten to contribute to multiple projects this summer, including drafting a strategic plan for lead service line replacements and compiling consumer data to predict the impact of a local sales tax on low-income families. One of my biggest projects at the Milwaukee Mayor’s Office right now is writing a report for the Common Council about the short-term rental market in Milwaukee. 

2. How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?
The Mayor’s Office aims to create better outcomes for residents and the city. A well-functioning government that prioritizes equity determines the environment and opportunities that shape residents’ lives. The projects that I’ve contributed to all focus on improving the quality of life for Milwaukeeans, whether that’s through housing accessibility or healthy drinking water.

3. How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?
My summer at Mayor Johnson’s office has confirmed that I want to work in municipal government after grad school. This experience has reaffirmed my commitment to building spaces of belonging through public policy. 

4. How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?
I’m super grateful for the B+I funding I received. It has covered my bus ride to and from work each day, among other things. Using the public transit system has helped me feel connected to the city’s streetscape and become familiar with the range of neighborhoods that make up the city.

5. What advice do you have for future interns?
Reach out to people who have interesting jobs in other parts of the organization for coffee chats. It’s been helpful for my projects and professional growth to learn about what’s happening in other offices.

6. What’s been the best part of spending a summer in Milwaukee?
Reading by Lake Michigan in the evenings.

Lauren O'Hair at a desk in the Chicago Mayor's Office.1. Describe the project you worked on for your internship.
Over the past couple of months I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects within the Chicago Mayor’s Office, City Departments, and sister agencies.  I have been able to research, create surveys, and write memos and reports to help support the Mayor’s priorities. As a former educator, it has been incredibly exciting to work with the Department of Education, Youth, and Human Services to uplift Chicago youth.  

2. How did your work specifically help deliver social impact through this experience?
My work this summer has been focused on improving the lives of Chicagoans. The City of Chicago does a lot of work on community engagement and it has been exciting and interesting to be a part of this work, especially during the transition period with the new mayor.

3. How do you predict that this internship will affect your career path?
This internship allowed me to better understand how local government operates. I was able to experience the inner workings of the Mayor’s Office and also learn what it was like to work with other city departments. It has helped me to narrow down where I see myself and where I think my skills and experience can have the most impact. 

4. How did the funding you received through B+I improve your internship experience?
The B+I funding has helped support living expenses and networking opportunities. It has been incredibly valuable to know that I have additional funds that I can rely on for coffee talks, lunch meetings, and networking events outside of work.  

5. What advice do you have for future interns?
Talk to as many people as you can and learn from them about their lives and experiences.

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