"Lean in. Do NOT be a passive participant in your education."
By Paul Kirsch
Over the past several years at Michigan Ross, we have developed several programs and experiences designed to expand access to business education and open the doors of Ross to those who have historically had a hard time seeing themselves as potential business students or who thought the world of higher education was closed off to them.
One such program, the Preparation Initiative, recently took 22 students on a career trek to New York City to visit some of the biggest companies in the world and meet with executives and managers to hear about the opportunities that exist for students just like them.
During visits with 18 top companies, such as Google, JP Morgan, the New York Stock Exchange, and Bloomingdales, students were exposed to a great diversity of industries and heard about how the educational opportunities available to them could help bring their career visions to life.
I asked my colleague Rhonda Todd, who facilitated the experience, for her quick recap and I think her words do a great job of expressing the impact this experience had:
“This was a pivotal moment in the lives of these students,” she said.
“Our goal going in was to expose them to incredible opportunities, and inspire them to achieve their dreams. In talking with the students on the trip home, it was pretty clear we exceeded expectations. There’s no doubt in my mind these students were truly transformed.”
The team here at Michigan Ross is dedicated to creating those experiences for as many students as we can.
That’s why, in addition to the Preparation Initiative, we are also running three additional outreach programs in the next several months, each designed to introduce and educate students on what it means to be a successful business student and professional:
At the end of June through early July, students from across the country will come to Ross to engage in academic sessions with Ross faculty, corporate visits with local company partners, cultural and social activities with their peers, and important college preparation sessions that will set them up for success regardless of where they choose to pursue an undergraduate degree.
This program is specially designed to provide career enrichment, academic preparation, and hands-on business activities for underrepresented groups, including first-generation college-bound students, students from lower socioeconomic standing, and students from under-resourced high schools.
This four-week program for incoming freshman helps prepare them to thrive throughout their journey at Michigan, at Ross, and beyond. Designed for students from schools that may not have offered rigorous curricula (such as advanced placement courses), the Summer Connection program is focused on preparing students to succeed in specific first-year courses at U-M.
These are just a few of the outreach programs we have running this spring and summer, and they will soon be joined by new programs and experiences in this area that we’re developing and will be rolling out soon.
We’re committed to expanding access to life-changing, high-quality business education, and programs like the Preparation Initiative are just one of the impactful ways we’re working hard to do just that.