University of Michigan
BackgroundInterview Date:Fall 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: South Asian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in Detroit, MI with a graduating class of about 550 students. The staff embedded going to college into the curriculum, but I don’t think some of the students accepted it.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in PILOT, which caters towards first-generation students and is intended to develop leadership skills. I’m in the Bangladeshi Students’ Association. I’m part of Preparation Initiative which is a way to help students transfer into the Ross School of Business.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I feel that PILOT has had the biggest impact on me. It allowed me to gain more leadership skills and network more on campus with the faculty and administration.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
A lot of it is case studies and group projects.
What are your major graded assignments?
They’re usually exams and presentations, but more so on the presentation side.
Is there anything you feel either of your major’s department or the Ross School of Business does especially well or poorly?
They helped with assimilation into the business world and helped build leadership skills within people. One thing I have noticed as a minority is the lack of diversity. Ross is trying to incorporate more diversity within the school but it’s still not up to par. [About 13% of the Class of 2022 at Ross are underrepresented minorities.]
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s meant to be both. It’s competitive within classes but a lot of it depends on group projects so it should be collaborative as well. Although I always go into group projects with the intention to be collaborative, it sometimes turns competitive [in the sense that we are all trying to be the best]. The competition comes from being in an environment where there is a grading curve. Also, [internship and job] recruitment puts pressure on students and that just makes them more competitive.
What is your favorite class in the business school so far?
The Communications and Marketing classes are usually where I feel best.
What is your least favorite class in the business school?
I don’t like the [Technology and Operations] classes because those usually require more statistics. I was never exposed to statistics, so those were more difficult for me to do well in.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice so far?
I participated in DECA, which is a [business] competition that is for students. After competing in that competition, I realized I want to do business and open my own nonprofit organization. Sometimes I do feel disheartened by the competitiveness in Ross, but, overall, I’m sure I’ll be happy with my business route and I plan to be successful in it.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation college student? How helpful were the programs that you are involved in that transition?
Before coming to college, it was obviously hard because no one in my family had the college-going tradition. It was hard for me to get answers to my questions. Coming to campus was overwhelming because there are so many students, but after finding these organizations they helped me allocate more resources on campus. Also, a lot of the people in these organizations are also first-generation students, so that helped me build the community on campus that I didn’t have coming in.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: West Quad with one roommate
Sophomore: University Tower Apartments with three other roommates
What has been your favorite living situation so far?
I think this year because my random roommate situation [was bad].
How was transitioning from Detroit, MI to Ann Arbor, MI?
At first, it was overwhelming and scary because in Detroit I was fairly exposed to all races and coming here there were not a lot of people who looked like me. There are a lot of Caucasians. [About 68% of the population of Ann Arbor is White.] I felt like I didn’t fit in but realized that it takes time and finding people on campus who are similar to you makes it much better.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel very safe because there were always resources like DPSS and the blue light system. But, I started getting some emails about an incident that occurred near my dorm, so now I have realized I need to be more aware of my surroundings.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Home. I go home every two or three weeks because it’s nice to be home and away from campus. Whenever I’m on campus I’m stressed out, so it’s a big stress reliever.
Pros and Cons of being in Ann Arbor, MI?
Pros: (1) I’m more independent here.
(2) The environment is very clean.
(3) The people are nice.
Cons: (1) I had to make sure I know how to navigate around Ann Arbor because it’s a new place.
(2) My family isn’t here.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Michigan?
Usually, if I’m not too busy with studying, I’m either hanging out with friends or going to parties where I know people there. The majority of the parties I go to are social events hosted by the Preparation Initiative or PILOT.
What have been some of your favorite times at Michigan?
I don’t have a set favorite time. It’s more so a bunch of different things that make me happy to be on campus, like social events, participating in or organizing events, or just grabbing food with a friend.
How happy were you with the weekend activity options at Michigan?
I’ve been very happy. There hasn’t been a weekend where I didn’t hear about something going on. I don’t think there is anything to change, maybe just making sure that people know how to advertise events because some students who are not in the organization may not have easy access to that information.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My three roommates now are my closest friends on campus. One I have known since preschool, the other I’ve known since high school, and the other I met through Summer Bridge. I met a lot of other people through organizations, classes, and Summer Bridge, but they are more so classmates and associates.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
Very engaging. There is something to do every day, not just weekends. It’s all about making sure you make the right decisions [balancing social life and school work].
How would you describe the student body?
Overall, heavily focused on academics. Outside of that, everyone tries their best to get out of their comfort zone and mingle with other people.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I feel like sometimes it’s hard to say or tell because we’re not completely sure of other peoples’ sexual identities without being in a workshop or something. Racially, people do often keep to their own races and cliques, but sometimes social events force us to move out of that.
How was transitioning to a school that has about 29,800 undergraduates?
I like it now. At first, it was scary going from a school of 2,000 to a school close to [30,000]. People assimilate to college culture and you find comfort in it. Even though there are so many things going on, you have your group of friends that makes it feel smaller.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I have not used the alumni network yet.
What have you used the career office for? How helped have them been?
I’ve used the career center two times to go to internship and resume workshops.
What computer programs have you learned through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
The basics, like Microsoft Excel and Access.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Michigan before entering as a freshman?
The amount of resources. Freshman year I was a bit lost and didn’t know where to go if I needed something. Now, if others come to me and asked me where to get help I am able to show them.
What is something a prospective South Asian student should know that we haven’t touched on?
To be more open minded. I feel like for South Asians we come from backgrounds where we’re taught a certain thing and are stuck on that. Coming here open minded will help you develop as a person and see other peoples’ perspectives and ideas.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
Depending on what kind of events you go to, a financial aid workshop.
Reasons to attend Michigan:
1) It has a vast number of majors and minors. Whatever you want to study you’ll find here.
2) The amount of networking you’ll find in the future. The biggest thing is talking to people and using that to further your resources and implement ideas on campus.
3) It’s not the most diverse school in the world, but it has diversity in thought that people can gain from. [About 65% of Michigan’s undergraduate enrollment in 2016-2017 is White.]
Reasons to not attend Michigan:
1) If what you want to study is not here or you don’t like the social environment here.