Emily Milanowski

Emily Milanowski, BBA ‘20

Studying Business with Purpose

Emily Milanowski never thought she would pursue business as her undergraduate degree, but everything changed when she stepped into the hallways of Michigan Ross. “In my high school, we didn't have a lot of exposure to business-specific electives,” she explains. “I was originally following the musical theater path and was planning to audition for colleges. Then I decided that instead of being on the performance side, I wanted a more stable career.”

Not wanting to give up her passion for theater, Emily sought advice from her mentor at The Billy Bear Hug Foundation, the non-profit organization where she volunteered throughout high school. The organization provides comfort to children with critical illnesses in West Michigan through teddy bears known as "Billy Bears", care packages, and events. “He helped me look at the business side of musical theater and align my love for non-profit work with business.”

With this seed firmly planted, Emily visited the University of Michigan to explore clubs and different programs. When she entered Ross any feelings of ambivalence about a business career quickly faded. Emily says she fell in love with the Ross curriculum and the opportunities it could provide. She also talked to some acquaintances from her high school who were current Ross students about their experiences. “They were so passionate about the curriculum and the opportunities they had. You could hear it not only in their voices, but you could see it in the career trajectories they already had as juniors and seniors.” Emily applied and was accepted to Ross at the end of her freshman year.

Like the Ross peers who shared their experiences, Emily is passionate about all that she has accomplished since she became a student. “The doors of opportunity that Ross opens are absolutely phenomenal.” One of Emily’s Ross highlights to date is participating in the Och Initiative, which involves a five-day trip to New York City’s financial district where students meet with business leaders at more than 25 of the country’s top finance companies. 

“I went on the Och trip because I didn't know anything about finance. It was the perfect way to meet women who had graduated from Ross and see what working on Wall Street in New York City was like.”

Even though Emily doesn’t see herself in the finance field, she is glad she had the opportunity to learn about it. “No matter what career you're going into, an understanding of financials is necessary. Getting that experience and making connections with the alumni and the Ross faculty that helped us on that trip was huge. It’s definitely an experience that I'll take with me.”

Another highlight for Emily is the Corporate Strategy Abroad in India class. “I was in India for three weeks with a group studying corporate strategy and how businesses evolve. We were able to visit many different companies and meet Ross and Michigan alumni working there. We also saw Mumbai, Bangalore, and New Delhi, as well as the Taj Mahal.”

Emily is confident that attending Ross was the right choice. “The school has helped me achieve so much in a short amount of time. Between having very involved professors who actually care about how you do—not only in their course, but outside of their course as well—to having experiences with top companies from around the world that come here to get to know students and employ us after graduation, it has really culminated into an action-based learning experience.”

Emily will intern at McKinsey & Company in Chicago before returning to campus for her senior year.