More than 15 students spent their fall break networking and touring businesses through Career Services’ Explore Detroit and Explore Chicago trips.
In both excursions, students had the opportunity to experience what living and working in Detroit and Chicago is like. In Detroit, students tailored elevator pitches, networked with alumni at a mixer, toured the Detroit Lions stadium, sat in on a Detroit News editorial meeting, and toured Quicken Loans.
Sophomore Elizabeth Hughes said she’s been considering getting involved in journalism and wanted to get a sense of the field.
“I don’t want to live in Detroit at all, but I wanted to get the experience of the job and advice from the alum,” Hughes said.
Hughes said attending the Detroit News editorial meeting reminded her that while a lot of news is negative, she just needs to find the right area.
“A lot of the stories they were writing were honestly very depressing, but it was good to realize that that’s a lot of what news is: stories that are downers,” Hughes said.
Sophomore Ashley Warden said that as an undeclared English major, the trip’s focus on journalism and writing interested her, as she wanted to explore what a career in those fields would look like.
“I would say the networking experience was nearly invaluable,” Warden said. “There were a lot of alums who were super excited to talk to us.”
The Chicago trip also had a networking event with alumni and students who were able to tour Google’s Chicago office. Students then had a choice of visiting Northern Trust, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Hireology, the Federal Reserve, Ibotta, Ernst & Young, or Marriott International Hotel for personal office visits.
Sophomore Michael Fleischer said he hopes to get an internship in Chicago next summer, so he attended the trip for an opportunity to network. Fleischer said his biggest takeaway from the trip was how to conduct himself in the business world.
“It’s a great experience as a sophomore to learn how to be a professional and operate in a professional environment,” Fleischer said, “Career Services did a very good job planning and teaching all of us how to be professional in different situations.”
Director of Career Services Joanna Wiseley said she loves working with the alumni in the trip locations.
“It’s brought great satisfaction to me to see how caring the alumni are and how willing they are to give back by attending the network receptions and by offering their organizations for site visits,” Wiseley said.
Wiseley said she also encourages students to take advantage of Career Services programs like the Explore trips as well as their Meet Grand Rapids and Meet Lansing trips in the spring, one-day excursions that give students an introduction to the cities.
Warden said it is key to be receptive to any avenues presented when going on trips like these.
“I would advise students to be ready to learn,” Warden said. “Be open to directions, and, even if you don’t think that you’ll be interested in a certain company, go into it, tour, and talk to people. It might not be something for you, but it also might be, and you never would have known if you hadn’t gone in.”