Jackie Spryshak

Jackie Spryshak, BBA '21

Finding Her Niche at Michigan Ross

At first, Jackie Spryshak wasn't sure what she wanted to study in college. She just knew that she wanted to change the world. The more she thought about it, the more she found that businesses have the power to make that change happen. She realized that if she wanted to make the biggest impact on the world, it would be through studying business. 

After exploring the Michigan Ross website, Jackie was able to look at the different experiences that Ross had to offer. Programs offered through the Sanger Leadership Center and some sustainability initiatives caught Jackie’s eye and prompted her to apply to Ross.

I realized that if I went to this school, I would be able to craft my education to be what empowered me to make change.

Jackie credits winning the Sanger Leadership Crisis Challenge during her first year in the BBA program as the moment she realized that she belonged at Ross. The Crisis Challenge is a two-day event that gives all U-M students the opportunity to lead in a high-pressure, high-stakes situation. Students are immersed in a simulated business and media crisis where they are tested on their ability to think on their feet and make strategic decisions. 

Participation in the Crisis Challenge proved that she already had the skills to go up against graduate students, seniors, juniors, sophomores, and other first-years. “Being on a team of first-years to come out on top was so cool. It was key that our team had so many types of working and learning styles and we were all able to lead in at least one aspect of the challenge,” said Jackie. Jackie now serves as a Sanger Leadership Ambassador and is an active participant in some of Sanger’s other programs, such as Story Lab and Legacy Lab. 

Net Impact is another student organization that has had a tremendous influence on Jackie’s time at Ross. She describes the organization as an intersection between business, sustainability, and social impact. They have bi-weekly meetings and project groups, where students pitch ideas that are actually put into action on campus. Her project last semester involved creating a sustainability scoring system in the dining halls. “It hit me when we were published in the alumni magazine, that I made that happen through the resources that I had at Ross, and because of the other students in the school that are just like me. I haven't felt lonely since that realization because Net Impact has kind of provided me that niche,” Jackie said. 

Jackie has reassurance for those who are worried about not knowing what career path they want to pursue, or who are worried about navigating Ross: “This is a place where you learn to develop your interests, develop your plans, and develop as an individual. And it comes together over time, so don't be afraid to just dive in and see what happens. You won't lose yourself at Ross, there are other people like you. And that is the coolest thing that I've discovered in the business school.”