An Interview On
University of Michigan

Background

Interview Date:July 2018

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Graduation Year: 2019
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public school in New Jersey with a graduating class of about 500 students. There was definitely a culture of going to college
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Business. I’m in the Ross School of Business.
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a fraternity. I’m in a business consulting club called TAMID. It’s an Israel-focused investing and consulting club.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Definitely Greek life. It largely determined my friend group and introduced me to a lot of people. At the same time, I think it kind of silos you socially. In terms of getting internships, it was definitely a good talking point.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It largely depends on the class. It’s pretty standard to have a midterm and a final, and some classes will have one additional big project and others will have smaller problem sets as you go along. Usually, the more math-based classes have problem sets and the more conceptual classes have a midterm, final, and a big project. All the projects are group projects and even some of the problem sets you work on in groups.

Is there anything you feel the Business department does especially well or poorly?
I think the access to recruiters for internships [is good]. The school brings in a lot of companies, and I think it attracts good companies, and it’s fairly organized in how the system works. Something they could do better is it’s a very general curriculum, so you’re taking classes that you might not necessarily be interested in. Sometimes you enjoy it and sometimes you don’t. Overall, I think it’s a good school. It is very, very career focused. For someone going in, they should expect to feel that pressure of finding a job. That pressure comes from the student body too.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s definitely competitive. It’s all graded on a curve. You have sections, so, for the most part, your core classes are going to be with the same people. That lends itself to be competitive because how you do is relative to the person next to you, [and you are consistently with the same people]. You also work on a lot of team projects, so you get to know a lot of people in your class. That can be great and can also be frustrating at times.

What is your favorite class you’ve taken in your major?
Business Analytics and Statistics. It’s a mandatory core class. I like more analytical problem solving, and I thought my professor was really good. It’s definitely one of the harder classes I’ve taken, but for my past two internships it’s been the most relevant.

What is your least favorite class you’ve taken in your major?
Management and Organizations. It was a lot of confusing jargon that seemed very professor specific. I didn’t see how much of it was applicable.

How accessible are your professors?
For the most part, pretty accessible. I personally don’t reach out as much as I should, but I do know that they are available if you want. I also know students that go to office hours every week. And, if [professors] are not available, they’re pretty good at setting up T.A. office hours.

What made you choose your major? And are you happy with your choice?
I felt from the beginning that that’s what I wanted to do. When I applying, most kids would transfer in after their freshman year because there is the whole pre-admit versus not thing. I transferred in starting my sophomore year. I’m happy with my choice, I can’t really see another option. Maybe I would have gone more of a tech route. One thing that you don’t get from the business school is a lot of technical [computer] skills. Regardless of if you’re going to use them or not, technical skills are highly valued, and that’s not just computer science, it’s statistics and math-related [programs].

What was your experience like in TAMID? How competitive was it to get in to?
I applied my freshman year and didn’t get in, and then applied again my sophomore year. It’s a pretty large club and has chapters at different schools. There’s the investment side and they manage a live fund. They do pitches every week and choose whether to invest or not. In the consulting side, you work on a team of four or five other students working with an Israeli startup. Some of the projects are a little more legitimate than others. For some of the projects you’re just marketing for the startups, but others are finding new areas of development and finding market opportunities. It’s nothing too crazy, but for a student it is cool exposure to work with a real company. I had higher expectations of the projects going in, but once I understood the level of expectation they have for students. There’s also a big social aspect to it, they do parties and have events.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: South Quad with one roommate. It was awesome. It’s an amazing location and has great food. The dining hall’s right on the first floor. I met my roommate through a mutual friend and it worked out really well. I randomly got put in South Quad, it’s normally for honors students and athletes, so it’s a relatively quiet dorm.

Sophomore & Junior: I lived in my frat house.

Senior: I’m living in an apartment with two friends.

How was transitioning from New Jersey to Ann Arbor?
It was pretty easy. Ann Arbor’s cold, but New Jersey’s cold as well. From that aspect it was pretty normal, you just need a good coat. People-wise, there are a lot of people from the Northeast that go to Michigan. [In the Class of 2022, New York and New Jersey are the 3rd and 5th most common states for students come from.] If you’re looking for that comfort, it’s definitely there. It is easy to feel like you’re at a New York school when you’re at Michigan.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Frita Batido’s

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The honest answer is my friend and I would drive like 15 minutes out to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts and just chill and drink iced coffee and get away.

Pros and cons of being located in Ann Arbor, Michigan?
Pros:
1) Ann Arbor is an awesome city. It has everything you would want as a student.
2) For the most part, it’s safe.
3) It’s relatively close to Chicago and Detroit, so if there are big concerts coming through you can go there.
4) Everyone there is about Michigan. You get that school spirit and community vibe.

Cons:
1) You’re paying pretty expensive prices for Michigan. A lot of the restaurants and coffee shops around campus can get pretty expensive, especially if you’re not being careful about budgeting.
2) There are parts of the campus that are kind of far from Central Campus. Like, if you get on North Campus that’s rough.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife do you like to participate in?
Freshman and sophomore year, it was mostly frat parties. I think that’s largely the common consensus at Michigan. Now that I’m 21 I have moved on from that to the bar scene. Depending on my workload, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights are big. There are two main bars, especially Greek life will go to this one bar on Thursdays. There is Friday night at Rick’s, which is a big thing. There are also tailgates on Saturdays.

What have been some of your favorite times at Michigan?
Definitely tailgates. That’s a big part of Michigan. It’s an experience that you will probably do again. A lot of students don’t go to the football games, but I love going to the football games even if they’re playing a no name school.

Can you describe a typical night out for you during freshman year?
Rushing starts really early at Michigan. What I saw before joining the fraternity were these big open parties where you can go around and see what frats you like and what parties you like. You also have lines out the door and things like that. Once I joined Greek life, my social schedule became pretty reliant on my frat. You’d have a mixer probably three nights a week. You’re kind of expected to go if you’re a freshman because that’s what you sign up for.

Would you now have trouble going to another frat’s party if you wanted to go?
I have friends in other frats, but, from my experience, they are pretty exclusive. If you have a friend in another frat they can get you in. A negative about Michigan that being in a fraternity can silo you from other places to go out and other people to hang out with.

How happy are you with the nightlife at Michigan? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I would like a little more variety in bars, I guess. I think freshman and sophomore year it’d be nice to have a few more options than just the frat you join because you end up seeing the same people over and over again. I think it’s a pretty good nightlife and a great college town.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Probably through the fraternity. I’m not super involved in the frat, but I’m friends with people in my pledge class.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Michigan?
Socially, there is definitely the presence of Greek life, and within Greek life there are circles depending on what fraternity or sorority you’re in. If you’re in it, it largely determines your friend group. It’s a really big school, so it’s hard to say there are these certain groups. I am in Greek life so I saw a lot of it and am aware of it. I think if you’re not in Greek life, there are so many clubs to get in to. People are involved in club sports. If there is a community or an interest, there seems to be a group that forms around it. I know from the business school that business frats are very cliquey and they go out a lot together.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
Michigan is a predominantly White and Asian school, so I think the presence of other [ethnicities] is not that big, and, from what I can see, minority groups tend to stick together. But, if you’re out, everyone’s at the same bars. For my fraternity, two of the brothers are openly gay, so I think it’s a very tolerant school. The Greek life scene is very heteronormative, but there are people that aren’t heterosexual in it. [The two largest ethnicities in the Class of 2022 are White (65%) and Asian (15%).]

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
It’s helped me reach out in terms of networking. For consulting, a big part of it is networking and establishing connections. I would look up people on LinkedIn people who went to Ross and works at a certain company and would shoot them a cold email and sometimes they’d respond. I would say the alumni network is pretty important and alumni love to come back on campus and recruit for their companies.

How much did you use the career office? How helpful were they?
They help you with your resume and cover letter if you want. They have a very well-developed online platform for when events are and registering for events, what jobs are being posted, and on-campus interviews. They’re very hands on. You get out of it what you put in. They’re much more hands-on than the Letters & Sciences school where I’ve heard you need to be much more of a self-advocate.

What computer programs have you learned through your coursework will be helpful to you professionally?
In Business Analytics and Statistics, we worked a little bit with Excel, and that’s honestly the extent of my programming. You do a little R in your general statistics class.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Michigan before you entered as a freshman?
Because Michigan fraternities do a big rush in the fall and then a smaller rush in the winter, my biggest piece of advice would be if you’re a little bit unsure about it, don’t rush into the rush process. Take some time to figure out what you exactly what you want because there’s so much to do at Michigan it can be easy to dive into something. I wish I had more varied involvement, so get involved in a few different things.

In terms of the business school, know that it’s a competitive environment and humbling. There are some really smart students that go there. Don’t sit back and think that jobs will come to you, you need to work. But, there is a strong network there so it’s a good opportunity.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The Intramural Sports Building. If you value a gym and a basketball court, it’s super nice. It seems a little silly, but if you go there four or five times a week, it’s really nice. It’s the gym on Central Campus.

Reasons to attend Michigan:
1) It’s really big, so there’s always an opportunity to meet new people and get involved in new things.
2) The school spirit culture. Everyone’s rooting for the same team and I think it’s a cool unifying factor.
3) In my experience, Michigan carries a name when you’re talking to recruiters and companies, so it’s helped get me where I want to go professionally.
4) Ann Arbor has really good food.

Reasons to not attend Michigan:
1) If you get involved in Greek life, it can be a dominating factor in your life. I only see that now as I’m near the end of college. [About 17% of students are involved in Greek life.]
2) It can get expensive, so if you’re running on a budget it’s not the cheapest college town.
3) There is diversity, but they have a long way to go. If you’re looking for diversity, you have to seek it out yourself because it’s very easy to find [affluent White people] and stick in that clique. [65% of students are White, 5% of students are Black and 6% of students are Hispanic. Socioeconomically, 49% of students come from the top 10% and 3.6 come from the bottom 20%.]

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