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U-M Ross Business + Impact
U-M Ross Business + Impact
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2018 Internship Experiences

About our Internships

In the summer of 2018, Business+Impact had a number of 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.

Business+Impact’s Impact Corps internships placed MBAs and BBAs with global organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund, as well as with social enterprises like Mission Throttle and Civic Consulting Alliance.  Our Summer Fund helped place Masters and BBA students with government and impact organizations across the country, with funding from Business+Impact and the student-run Give-A-Day Fund. Our co-sponsored Ross Open Road sent twelve Ross students to nine U.S. states and 14 organizations over the month of May.

Internships are an important part of the work that Business+Impact does.  Students who engage in internships are consistently amazed at the passion and purpose of the impact organizations with which they partner.  Students are challenged to apply business learning to ambiguous organizational challenges. It requires a level of flexibility and insight to be successful.

Click here to see an album of photos from our interns.


Nadia Putri was in Bali for her internship.  See the view from her home while there.

Katie Allan – Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation

Katie Allan, MPP ’20

  • Type of Internship: Summer Fund
  • Organization: Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation
  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Project: I spent my summer as a research assistant with the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department through the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation’s Health Services Research program. Through this internship, I worked on a myriad of projects relating to women’s health. The topics of these projects included the impacts of the ACA on cervical cancer over-screening, the uptake of immediate postpartum long-acting reversible contraceptive access programs at maternity hospitals across the United States, reproductive justice in contraceptive care, youth perspectives on essential health benefits that impact women’s health like contraception and STI screening coverage, and the impacts of short-term health plans on women and babies, among other things. I am in the process of publishing seven first author papers and two middle author papers in peer-reviewed journals, as well as four first-author abstracts to national women’s health conferences. In addition to this academic output, I am also creating policy-relevant deliverables, including one-pagers and issue briefs to disseminate this work to hospital administrators, payers, elected officials, and public health workers.

How did you help deliver social impact through this experience/summer/internship?

My work, if published, will hopefully add meaningful contributions to a growing body of knowledge on the impacts of policy on women’s health. I hope that some of my papers and policy documents fill in knowledge gaps that help clinicians and policymakers make evidence-based decisions. While I don’t get to see the in-person impacts of the work that I did, I plan on pursuing medical school after finishing my MPP so I can interact face-to-face with those most impacted by health policy work.

What was your greatest takeaway or biggest surprise from the experience?

I’m honestly not sure I have one big takeaway from the internship. I learned something new each day and was able to put all of that knowledge into tangible, academic output. I did not expect to be able to work on so many projects that align so closely with my career aspirations, and am grateful that I was given so much responsibility on each of my projects. I was particularly surprised at how quickly I became an integrated member of the team: the nature of the IHPI-HSR internship is that you have already made a connection with your mentor(s) prior to starting, and I think that helped me really hit the ground running.

How did the support received from Business+Impact augment your internship experience?

The support I received the Business+Impact allowed me to pursue my internship of choice, not the one that paid the most. It would have been a shame to pass up the opportunity to work for my mentors, whose career paths I hope to emulate, for financial reasons.

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

Prior to this internship, I was trying to decide whether or not I would go to medical school after I finish my graduate degree: my summer has absolutely solidified that going into medicine is the right choice for me. To be able to see my mentors – who are practicing Ob/Gyns – work at the intersection of clinical medicine and policy, was powerful and engaging. They are able to translate their experience into policy work that incorporates the voices of the patients they see on a daily basis, giving their research and interactions with policy-makers incredible depth and clarity. I have gained lifelong mentors from this internship, whose expertise and advice will shape the rest of my career path.

What advice do you have for future interns?

I would recommend that you maximize the time you have by learning about the organization or topic on which you will be working before getting started. If you’re only working 10 weeks, it goes by really, really quickly, and you’ll want to make the most of the time you do have. I was lucky enough to be able to work through the whole summer break for my mentors, and will continue my work with them through the school year, but am glad I had solid background in the topic areas before starting. I would also recommend setting clear goals and deliverables for yourself and articulating them to your internship mentors, especially if you’re going to do research. Research deadlines can be quite nebulous, especially in a field as hectic as health services research, so make sure you’re advocating for yourself and the skills you want out of your internship.

Tim Carter, Advanced Innovative Medical Technologies

Tim Carter, MBA ’19

  • Type of Internship: Summer Fund Internship
  • Organization: Advanced Innovative Medical Technologies
  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI / Kenya
  • Project: I worked with an Ann Arbor startup that develops safe, user-friendly, low power, and affordable medical equipment to improve health care options for under-served groups on a global scale. My role was to prepare for launch of their first product, NeoVent – a patent-pending, award-winning ventilator designed to save the lives of infants suffering from severe respiratory illness. My work involved conducting a market sizing analysis, customer discovery in East Africa, identifying potential partnerships, developing the supply chain, reviewing the business plan, and pitching the business plan to potential investors.

How did you help deliver social impact through this experience/summer/internship?

By supporting an impact-focused startup, my work was entirely centered on delivering social impact. Through developing a robust business plan, AIM Tech will be able to bring NeoVent to market in a manner that is both sustainable and scalable to save as many lives as possible. In designing the business plan, I kept the primary goal in mind to ensure the final product will maximize impact. During the customer discovery phase, healthcare implementers in Africa were excited to see NeoVent come to market, so they can use it to save infants that are currently left to die due to lack of appropriate technology.

What was your greatest takeaway or biggest surprise from the experience?

Working at a startup was a new experience for me. The thought of starting a business always seemed daunting. However, after working through the process this summer of launching a business to commercialize a new product, entrepreneurship seems much more manageable. There are certainly risks and challenges involved, but challenges are simply opportunities to learn. I now feel confident that my career goal of running a company focused on positively impacting the world can become a reality.

How did the support received from Business+Impact augment your internship experience?

Without support from Business+Impact, it would have been difficult to achieve everything I was able to accomplish during my summer internship. Since I was working at a very early stage startup, funding was quite limited. There was insufficient funding to cover even work-related expenses. Through Business+Impact funding, I was able to accomplish significantly more this summer. For example, I was able to travel to various pitch competitions and raise funding for AIM Tech. I was also able to visit various manufacturers throughout the region in-person to optimize the supply chain. If I had to cover such expenses out of pocket, I likely would have had to forgo some of these opportunities and my final deliverables would not have been as robust.

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

My career goal is to lead a company that is working to make a positive impact in the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This internship experience has solidified my career plans and helped me realize that it is within reach. It was also a great opportunity to both maintain my professional network and develop new relationships to help achieve my career goals. Furthermore, I was able to put my business education into practice and gain real-world experience in entrepreneurship.

What advice do you have for future interns?

My advice for future interns is to pursue their passions. It is easy to get caught up in on-campus recruiting and forget why you came to business school in the first place. I realize there are many factors involved in selecting a summer internship and full-time job, but if your goal is to make an impact, take the leap. It can be difficult to pursue internships without the promise of financial compensation, but things will work out in the end. Most importantly, you will make this world a better place.

Charlene Franke – Fundacion Mario Santo Domingo

Charlene Franke, BBA ’19

  • Type of Internship: Summer Fund
  • Organizations: Fundacion Mario Santo Domingo
  • Location: Barranquilla, Colombia
  • Project: My project was a collaboration between three organizations: FMSD, the Fundación la Cayena, and ACIMA (Asociación de Confecciones Industriales Mujeres Activas de Juan Mina). ACIMA is a 20-member women’s association in the Juan Mina neighborhood that sews industrial uniforms for local companies. They work very closely with the Fundación la Cayena, a Juan Mina-focused foundation that is providing all administrative and entrepreneurial services to ACIMA. My project was to facilitate the transferal of those administrative and entrepreneurial responsibilities from the Fundación la Cayena to ACIMA, with the goal of further empowering the asociadas and increasing the efficiency of ACIMA’s operations. I also had a secondary project, in which I recommended ways that our microfinance outreach team could better include our non-financial services.

How did you help deliver social impact through this experience/summer/internship?

The impact of my project was to equip the asociadas of ACIMA to manage their own accounting and other administrative tasks, with the goal of improving the efficiency and sustainability of their associative. Another goal was that this transfer of responsibilities also communicated the trust and confidence we had in the asociadas, and empowered them to believe more in their own intelligence, problem-solving skills and creativity.

What was your greatest takeaway or biggest surprise from the experience?

My biggest surprise was just how different the administrative operations of a microenterprise were to the cases and examples I’d encountered in my BBA classes. In my accounting or operations classes, we’d always be handed all of the data and financial records needed to solve the problem. However, in my internship, nothing was as straightforward as that – organizing and encountering income and expense data was part of the work. I learned that part of the challenge of working with microenterprises is learning how to creatively draw out the business’s financial and administrative data, or how to make do without it.

How did the support received from Business+Impact augment your internship experience?

The scholarship I received from Business+Impact really made my internship possible, as I was working at a foundation and didn’t get paid. I was able to live in a safe, upper-class neighborhood, and make the most of my time in Barranquilla, exploring the city and attending different cultural events.

B+I supported me not only in organizing my internship, but additionally through giving me advice on different aspects of my project. My first deliverable for B+I was a letter of engagement, which gave me the opportunity to plan out my project and discuss my proposed timeline with my supervisor. Additionally, throughout the internship, I was able to go to Matt with any questions I had. He was able to direct me to different resources, as well as give me advice on scoping different aspects of my project. I felt more confident all summer knowing that I had experts in social impact at UM to turn to if I ever ran into a roadblock.

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

This was my first substantial experience working and living abroad, and my internship showed me some of the pros and cons of working in a different country. I faced many communicational challenges, both due to the language barrier and different cultural norms, and didn’t know as much about Colombia’s history and policy. However, by being so far out of my comfort zone, I grew personally and professionally at a much faster pace than I could have in the US. I also loved living in Barranquilla, and really felt like I’d found a home there. In sum, while I’m still not sure if I’ll end up working internationally or domestically after my graduation, I’ll be much more educated about what I’m getting myself into!

What advice do you have for future interns?

I would advise other BBAs to keep up their language skills during college, and to consider working abroad! Even if you’re not thinking about international development, working abroad will push you out of your comfort zone, and force you to develop new skills in managing ambiguity, in navigating different languages and cultures, and in embracing failures and mistakes.

Simonil Rustomji – Inspiring Capital

Simonil Rustomji, MBA ’19

  • Type of Internship: Summer Fund
  • Organization: Inspiring Capital, LLC
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Project: My project this summer was to build out an implementable strategic plan along with a financial model for a furniture retailer, mebl | Transforming Furniture, that sources products made from reclaimed wood and metal. My client’s business is in a nascent stage, and therefore the work centered around designing effective recommendations, while also being mindful of the company’s capacity to execute. To achieve our objective, we took a deep dive into areas such as studying the competitive landscape, defining the right product mix, developing a pricing strategy, and identifying the right marketing tactics.

How did you help deliver social impact through this experience/summer/internship?

Social and environmental objectives are central to mebl’s  business model. First, they are passionate about promoting the furniture makers they work with by providing them with market access and information. Second, they are working to promote environmentally sustainable practices in the furniture industry. For mebl, creating a community around this movement is as important as generating revenue. I believe that my strategic plan provides a clear road-map for how mebl can efficiently and effectively achieve these goals.

What was your greatest takeaway or biggest surprise from the experience?

My greatest takeaway has been that sometimes the simplest solutions are actually the most effective. When I envisioned developing a strategic plan, I assumed we would be operating at a very high-level and providing elaborate solutions. However, I quickly realized that when designing the recommendations, its the ones that are clear and simple that add the most valuable for mebl.

How did the support received from Business+Impact augment your internship experience?

My internship was in New York City, which is frightfully expensive! Without the support from Business+Impact, it would have been very challenging for me to pursue this opportunity.

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

My internship has given me immense clarity around the kind of work that I truly enjoy. This experience will enable me to identify all the relevant resources I should be taking advantage of at Ross, and has set the tone for a very intentional job search in my second year.

What advice do you have for future interns?

There is a lot to be learned through the ups and downs of the recruiting process, don’t close your mind to those lessons. Also, don’t shy away from the unexpected. When I started at school, I never imagined I would end up in this internship. But, I’ve had the most fantastic summer, and I would have missed out on that if I hadn’t been willing to broaden my expectations.

Kashay Sanders – Ross Open Road Fellow

Kashay Sanders, MBA ’19

  • Type of Internship: Ross Open Road
  • Organizations: Lil Brilliant Mindz, Green Opportunities, JaWanda’s Sweet Potato Pies, Zuni Learning Tree
  • Locations: Detroit, MI; Asheville, NC; Birmingham, AL; Conway AR
  • Project: Solving various individual issues that social entrepreneurs faced

How was the experience?

This is the image that comes to mind when I think of the entrepreneurs with whom we have worked during the past four weeks. These entrepreneurs have the superhuman superpowers of seeing into the future, inviting others into their vision, persisting in spite of adversity, and making the world a brighter place simply by being in it.

How did you find the cadence of weekly work with social entrepreneurs?

Fridays became a bittersweet parting-of-ways. After a week, we became much more than work colleagues with our entrepreneurs — we become friends. Whether it was a summer grill-out, a barre fitness class, playing basketball, eating fried catfish together, or spending time with family members; after sharing our deliverables on Friday mornings, we would swap hugs and swag  before hitting the road again. It’s hard to imagine meeting so many incredible people — the many real-life superheroes— along the way.

Give an example of the kind of work you did on your journey.

Six-years old, ZUNI Learning Tree is strategically positioned for exponential growth in the ed-tech sector. Having applied for an Open Road team each of the previous four years, Tina said that the arrival of our team this year could not have been timelier: On the Wednesday during the week of our visit, she would be pitching to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) for nearly $500K in venture capital and tax credits. This influx of cash could prove to be the catalyst for building ZUNI’s core leadership team and securing broader market-share. On Tuesday we guided Tina through the updates while incorporating her feedback — then it was showtime. After the presentation, we visited the office of Apptegy, another local Arkansas ed-tech start-up and a vision of ZUNI in just a few years. We then wrapped up the week on Thursday and Friday by updating ZUNI’s business plan for pursuing social venture capital, creating an onboarding process for ZUNI’s summer content curators, and providing Tina with comprehensive executive feedback (which she had requested upon our arrival, showing that even superheroes can develop).

Content adapted from Kashay’s Ross Open Road blog post.