My boss was a graduate from the University of Michigan Law School in 1993, which is the reason he was looking for a Wolverine to intern this summer. He had been running this summer internship program for around ten years and each intern before me had attended Denison University, a smaller liberal arts college in Ohio. This is where my boss attended undergrad. About ten years ago he founded “Denison Connecting” a new alumni platform for fellow Denison alumni to connect in a more meaningful way than your run of the mil alumni association events. These “Connecting” events really took off and are now school sponsored with events being held across the US and even a few overseas. The events are set up by industry including finance, legal services, arts & music, and nonprofit. Then within these industry events there are breakout groups with guest speakers with a specific focus on a sector within that industry. For example at the Finance event there will be a breakout group for venture capitalism/private equity, or public markets and investment banking.
One of my main tasks this summer was to set up and coordinate the creation of “Michigan Connecting”, applying this same successful platform to UM and fellow wolverines. This actually took the better half of two months with our first two events launching at the end of July when I finished. Our first big step was working with a couple of the administrators at the UM Law School to explain our plan and obtain a list of people to reach out to get the ball rolling. With this contact list I then scraped LinkedIn for Michigan alumni working in the greater NYC area in the financial industry. After two months, countless direct messages, and hundreds of emails I had created a list of 1000 UM alumni working in finance in the NYC area with an interest in “Michigan Connecting”. We held our first event and had 30 people come to our office and listen to my boss and I discuss our vision for this platform. The overall consensus was that it was a great idea that could help strengthen the massive alumni community in NYC. Our second meeting was held for members of the finance industry working in the private markets, specifically venture capitalism and private equity. These people collaborated as they were mainly interested in possible deal flow or funding sources from the various members in the room. This event turned out to be an even greater success and has led us to plan two more events for the fall. One will be for the public markets and investment banking and the other will be for people working in the family office sphere.
Co-founding and coordinating these events were very difficulty but one my most valuable takeaways from this summer. I was able to meet and connect with tons of Michigan alumni working in finance and for companies that I will be applying. I now have a spreadsheet I created with the contact information of hundreds of fellow wolverines that I can now reach out to during recruiting.