How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Michigan Ross BBAs Share Their Incredible Internship Stories

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From finance to global consumer packaged goods companies, rising Michigan Ross BBA seniors spent their summers working across the United States in internships that took them out of their comfort zones, and prepared them to have an impact in their future careers on day one.

From work on supply chain innovations with Fiat Chrysler, to working with the world’s biggest consulting firms at McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group, we asked students who worked in some of the coolest internships around the U.S. to tell us about their experience, what they worked on, and, importantly, how future BBAs can follow in their footsteps.

Here’s what they had to say:

Jump to an internship:


Shreeya Gangal, BBA ‘19
Interned with Oz Management - New York City, N.Y.

What can you tell us about your internship?

This past summer I interned within the real estate private equity group of Oz Management, where I assisted senior deal members by evaluating investment opportunities for the funds. The group’s function is to evaluate real estate deals to determine if they would offer attractive returns for investors. As a summer analyst, I took ownership for the valuation models and the overview books which were eventually sent to the investment committee.

What was the best part of the experience?

The best part of my experience was the mentorship and ability to work closely with senior members of the team. It was exciting to have so much exposure to senior members and the deal process this early in my career. As a summer analyst, I had the opportunity to mentor another intern and was able to connect with a senior mentor within the group. They were both great resources for professional and personal development.

What drew you to real estate investment?

During my sophomore year, I attended the Och Trek for Women in Finance to NYC where we visited Oz Management. Prior to this visit, I hadn’t thought about working at a hedge fund or in private equity, but the visit peaked my interest in real estate private equity and how it aligns with my long-term career goals. That summer, I interned within the corporate M&A division of a mortgage lender which solidified my interests in private equity and real estate.

Any advice for current BBA juniors who might be interested in pursuing a similar internship experience next year?

My advice would be to foster a genuine interest in finance and real estate. Since the internship is very technical, it's necessary to have a strong interest in real estate so the work can be interesting and intellectually stimulating. Prior to an internship like this, students should try to find opportunities to learn more about the field and increase their real estate literacy. Having a little bit of knowledge ahead of time can be beneficial with the steep learning curve within private equity and real estate. Overall, these would be important steps to take in any industry-specific finance path.

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Matt Montaquila, BBA ‘19
Interned with Guggenheim Partners - New York City, N.Y.

What were you doing with Guggenheim Partners this summer?

Generally my role consisted of aiding analysts and/or senior members of the bank in creating financial management materials. This primarily included working in PowerPoint and Excel on anything ranging from doing research on a company or modeling out a company's financials, to creating presentation slides.

For our main intern project, all interns were split into teams and given an overview of a specific company, for whose business we were told to create recommendations. Along with the recommendations, each team created a powerpoint and presented to a mock board of directors, which consisted of senior Guggenheim bankers. Two winning teams were then selected to fly to the company's headquarters and present to  members of the company including the President and CFO (I was lucky enough to be on one of the teams selected and another Ross student was on the other team as well).

What interested you in a banking internship?

I wanted to pursue a banking internship for two main reasons. The first is that I have always liked working with numbers and was aiming to find a job that was quantitative, but at the same time focused on working with people.

Banking was the perfect fit because at the end of the day the job is ultimately how you interact with others, but has a heavy quantitative focus. The second reason is the applicability to other types of work. I would love to say I know exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life, but unfortunately, that is not true and so the opportunity to be in an industry that will prepare me to work in a variety of roles long term was important to me.

Any advice for students looking for a similar experience?

The only advice I have for people looking to pursue a banking internship is to reach out to as many people as possible. Banking is very relationship driven and so it seems that when it comes to the ultimate decision of who gets hired, often having a good conversation with someone is more important than a resume.

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Danny Moon, BBA ‘19
Interned with Goldman Sachs - New York City, N.Y.

Tell us about the work you were doing this summer

This summer, I interned in the Americas Financing Group within Goldman Sachs' Investment Banking Division. More specifically, I interned with the Liability Management group, which provides corporations in every industry with advice on how to best manage their outstanding debt. The group does this by structuring exchange, tender and consent transactions that are beneficial for corporations. The group works closely with every part of the investment bank which gives senior and junior employees a truly collaborative experience. I worked with my team by helping put together PowerPoint presentations and running models in Excel that analyzed the economics and financial impacts that these transactions would have for a corporation.

What was the best part of the experience?

The best part of my experience was the amount of exposure I was given. As a 21-year-old college student, it was amazing to hear how industry professionals and CFOs communicated with one another and how they coordinated business. Some of my most memorable experiences were attending a client meeting where I was able to see a PowerPoint presentation get put to use and listening to a pitch to a company where I made the majority of the pages (with some assistance from my team, of course).

Any advice for other BBAs who may want to pursue a similar internship?

My best advice would be to network and to not be too stressed. Especially in finance, networking is the best way to get your foot in the door and help you get an interview. Michigan alums are almost always willing to speak with students. Use every resource you have to reach out to alums and see where it goes from there. I say not to be too stressed because people generally interview and prep better when they're not as stressed or nervous. It does seem like a lot of pressure when so many classmates are gunning for the same jobs, but take a step back and take a deep breath, relax, and you'll do better in recruiting.

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Rui Zhong, BBA ‘19
Interned with Greentech Capital Advisors - San Francisco, Calif.

What can you tell us about your internship?

I was an investment banking summer analyst at Greentech Capital Advisors, the first and largest global boutique investment bank dedicated to serving companies that are transforming the world’s energy, industrial and resources infrastructure. I worked on classic buy-side and sell-side M&A, capital raises and strategic advisory. I had great deal of exposure working on a total of four live deals in agriculture technology, waste management, environmental services and Smart Grid. The waste management deal was particularly exciting as I had worked on the pitch deck and we were able to win the deal shortly after, which was valued at a few billion.

Wow - That’s an impressive deal. Was that the best part of the experience?

The best part was learning alongside smart, dedicated and driven individuals in a sector that we are all committed to transforming. Naturally, we often worked very long hours but the experience was so much better when we did it together and enjoyed each other's company. I was blown away again and again by their intelligence and how they approached problems creatively. One example I remember clearly was when we received inbound interest from a CEO who wanted an exit for the company and within 20 minutes, my associate and VP had rattled off numerous strategic options.    

Any advice for BBA juniors who might be interested in pursuing a similar internship experience next year?

I believe the most important thing to look for is a company with values that align with your own. Banking is a tough industry, and if you aren't intrinsically motivated, it's hard to do your best work and be happy. Search hard for that one niche company that fits best with you!

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Lindsey Helfman, BBA ‘19
Interned with Bright Cellars - Milwaukee, WI

What were you up to at Bright Cellars this summer?

During my time at Bright Cellars, I was a part of launching their daily newsletter, Glass Half Full. I scheduled content for upcoming weeks, formatted the newsletter, and tested subject lines and content length to drive open and click-through rates. In addition to this, I was the lead writer in curating in-house content. Over the course of my twelve weeks on the team, I wrote more than 30 articles about wine!

That’s a lot to say about wine — what drew you to this internship?

This summer, I had really wanted to get a more tangible grasp on marketing physical products, and who doesn't love wine? Working at a wine start-up is almost every 21+-something-year-old's dream. Plus, the responsibility and creative freedom I was given, along with the business exposure I received, is something I could not have gained anywhere else.

Any advice for other students who may want to pursue a marketing internship?

Especially with start-ups, a lot of them you have to seek out and figure out when and if they'll be on campus. As I learned during my recruiting experience, if you're in marketing, you're going to do off-campus recruiting. And while the research can be exhausting, the payoff is so worth it.

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Sarah Schachner, BBA ‘19
Interned with PepsiCo - Chicago, Ill.

What can you tell us about your summer with Pepsi?

This summer, I worked on the North America Nutrition Portfolio (NAN), which supports the Quaker, Tropicana, Naked, and Kevita brands on the Consumer Engagement team, and focused mainly on Nutrition Partnerships. NAN recognizes that the nutrition landscape is highly dynamic and each consumer is unique. My project enabled NAN to expand its mission of making nutrition accessible to all consumers, through creating a strategy for young families and the baby boomer generation. I worked with many teams across the division to ensure a comprehensive strategy to educate consumers on functional nutrition.

Sounds like you got great exposure to the business?

Definitely. Throughout the summer, I had the opportunity to meet with employees in nearly every function across all three PepsiCo headquarters. Each one of them was consistently available and excited to meet with me to discuss their experiences and my summer project. The support from employees of all levels was invaluable, and having the opportunity to meet with so many diverse individuals enabled me to fully envision myself at PepsiCo full time!

What advice do you have for students thinking about pursuing a similar internship?

I recommend reaching out to seniors and utilizing the vast Michigan Ross alumni network! Through asking as many questions as you can, you will see if the work is something you truly are interested in doing every day, learn if the industry excites you, and meet people who work at the company to get a feel for the culture. My number one piece of advice, not only for recruiting but also the internship, is to learn what makes you you and find where you will be happy!

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Eliza Laramee, BBA ‘19
Interned with McKinsey - Chicago, Ill.

What can you tell us about your summer project with McKinsey?

This summer, my client was a U.S. home goods retailer and I was working with them and a team of five from McKinsey on the personalization of their direct mail and email marketing. I worked on the same client all summer, although many other interns at McKinsey rotated clients 1-2 times.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

The best part has been the team of five I worked with all summer. We were in a team room for 12 hours a day, and we all became so close. We have continued to talk every day even though I left the project weeks ago! The main reason I wanted to have an internship in consulting was because I love a good challenge. But after talking to a bunch of people in the industry and really hitting it off with them — it’s clear now that it’s all about the people.

Any advice for students who might be interested in a similar internship?

The advice I would give anyone looking to get into consulting would be, before you begin the interview preparation process and recruiting, make sure this is truly a good fit for you and something you’re passionate about. You will have to sacrifice a lot of time to this process, and without the passion, it will be really difficult to motivate yourself to get the work done.

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Maureen Wu, BBA ‘19
Interned with Fiat Chrysler - Auburn Hills, Mich.

What can you tell us about your internship?

My internship was within the Purchasing department at Fiat Chrysler America, specifically as a program management intern working on engine product development. The position was a mix of both operations and strategy, with its main focus on managing the risk associated with the launch of the engine program. Most of my work was related to identifying savings opportunities related to various aspects of the components (i.e. supply chain, design/technical changes, commercial opportunity) and executing projects to realize these savings.

Sounds like you got great insight into the company?

I pursued the automotive industry because I was interested in the complex supply chain involved in producing cars. Especially with the recent technological advancements within auto (i.e. connected cars, autonomous driving), I saw the industry undergoing significant transformation which I found exciting. I loved the cross-functional and global nature of my work as it allowed me to get insight into how a billion dollar company runs on a global scale.

Any advice for BBA juniors who might be interested in pursuing a similar internship experience next year?

The work within Purchasing relies on your ability to breakdown complex problems and leverage your interpersonal skills. These are two things you should highlight during the recruiting process. Furthermore, you will be primarily evaluated based on fit and character rather than your technical background, so you should emphasize the behavioral aspect of preparation when preparing for the interviews.

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Pierre de Smet, BBA ‘19
Interned with Boston Consulting Group - Chicago, Ill.

What can you tell us about your work with BCG this summer?

I worked as a summer associate on analyzing, executing, and tracking the impact of pricing opportunities for a large food and beverage manufacturer. As a member of a smaller team, I really appreciated having a role with increased responsibility in delivering our final product. Specifically, I focused on tracking the impact our actions generated and then quantifying new opportunities based off that insight.

Was it nice being able to see your impact right away like that?

For sure. I pursued an internship in this industry because I’m passionate about problem-solving and driving impact. Consulting for an Ann Arbor startup my freshman summer was my first step into this world, and encouraged me to see where I could go from there. The opportunity to extend this to work full-time in consulting and expand that initial experience to a diverse range of challenges and unique industries stood out to me as an incredible experience. I think consulting is a great industry for anybody who enjoys breaking down a problem and working to implement the solution of their own design.

What advice do you have for other students interested in a consulting internship?

The most important advice I can give (mostly because I wish I had followed through on this advice more diligently) is to stay positive and enjoy the experience. You'll know consulting is the right fit for you if you find yourself actually enjoying mock case interviews with your friends and peers. I think the positive attitude helps you throughout the interview preparation and then again when you're actually in an interview. If you're upbeat, the interviewer is much more likely to be as well, allowing you to stand out as an ideal candidate for any firm.

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Kevin Howard, BBA ‘19
Interned with Boeing - Seattle, Wash.

What can you tell us about your internship?

I worked in the market sizing strategy team for Boeing Global Services. I did a lot of work with competitive insights as well as some models for market forecasting. Some of my work even went to senior executives.

What was the best part about your experience?

The best part of my job was my colleagues who were all really experienced in the strategy field. The best part of my work was seeing the impact of what I was doing.

Any advice for others who might be interested in pursuing a similar internship experience next year?

Follow what really interests you and try and fit whatever role you want (Strategy, Finance, Marketing) into that company. There are so many opportunities out there, especially for Ross BBAs.

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