I really am not a morning person (as much as I wish I were). But lately, I find myself waking up at 7:30 AM completely naturally and not in a panicked frenzy induced by a Samsung alarm sound, followed by 5 minutes of snooze, for the Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project +Impact Studio for Local Business (DNEP +ISLB) program. Even before day one, the DNEP+ISLB program gave me a valuable reality check on how much there is for me to learn about professional work. This is a bit shameful to admit, but program director Christie Baer’s very reasonable request that we not wear “shirts that reveal our stomach” exposed an embarrassing defect in my wardrobe – almost every single one of my summer tops are cropped. As a rising BBA junior preparing for recruiting, I’m grateful this was exposed sooner rather than later. After putting on work-appropriate attire, I grab my bag, some delicious Welch’s fruit gummies for breakfast, and walk through a peaceful summer morning Ann Arbor campus to a place where I have spent more waking hours than my apartment: the +Impact Studio at Michigan Ross.
Through my internship with DNEP +ISLB, I’m working with individual clients on the Customer Retention team. I have explored how to use ChatGPT as a tool, learned how to analyze spreadsheet data with complex functions, and how to create compelling presentations, among many other valuable skills – but those are things I’ll have plenty of opportunities to tell my future recruiters and employers about. I could go on and on about the Detroit site visits, talking to clients, running to Sadako during a break because I forgot to pack a lunch yet again, and so on. Still, more than helping me establish a daily routine, DNEP has shown me the beautiful balances and nuances of working in a team whose goals go beyond just grades.
So what do these five STAMPS students, five Ford students, and five Ross students who gather in the living room of the Impact Studio every morning at 9 AM have in common aside from a passion for supporting minority-owned small businesses in Detroit? A surprising dedication to Wordle, the New York Times word game. I sincerely apologize to my coworkers if I have exposed a secret that should have been sworn to the grave, but thanks to their reliable “Wordle 726 4/6” messages every morning, I have been able to find a new joy in solving the mini puzzle because I’m sharing this experience with my peers.
Like most college students, during the school year, I’ve experienced some academic pressure from the competitive environment of school. However, my experience with working with multidisciplinary teams in terms of both majors and project subteams, such as Point of Sales, Design, and Customer Retention, has been refreshing and quite the opposite of my previous teamwork experiences. On the one hand, I love the well-balanced blend of personalities within the team. Lucy and Lindsay are so free-spirited and outgoing, Risha and Brenda are calm and easy to talk to, Quin and David are personable and hilarious both intentionally and unintentionally – the list goes on! Then, on the other hand, I also love seeing how we balance each other with our strengths and abilities. For example, in my current project, I would say my strengths have been Google spreadsheet fluency, while Nikki’s has been email automation and Mailchimp knowledge, and David’s has been referral program software and point of sales knowledge. Because of this multi-talented team, we have concluded the Customer Lifetime Values of various customer segments to determine the value of returning clients, proposed referral program modifications to create brand ambassadors, and implemented email automations to increase the likelihood of returning clients. Being able to contribute something unique to the team has encouraged me to enhance my skills and learn more about areas my teammates might need help in.
Aside from teaching me workplace etiquette, I’m very grateful to have been able to learn how to function within a diverse team, oh and be better at Wordle – thank you DNEP +ISLB!
Dorothy Yin is a rising Junior at the Ross School of Business.