Warriors in the workplace

There’s no shortage of opportunity in the heart of Detroit — and at Wayne State University, we know that learning isn’t limited to the classroom. That’s why we are dedicated to helping students get real-world experience as they pursue their degrees. Here, Warriors are able to take advantage of hands-on opportunities that allow them to enter the workforce with confidence and build a successful future.

Connecting with the Detroit business community

Playing to win

Wayne State M.B.A. students are now able to pursue a concentration in sport and entertainment management that connects them directly with downtown employers.

We’re excited to provide a training ground for students with the support of Detroit’s major teams and entertainment venues.

Scott Tainsky

“The sport and entertainment business requires very specific skills,” says Scott Tainsky, Ph.D., who leads the new program at the Mike Ilitch School of Business. “For example, sport brings together a fan base from all walks of life — all ages, social groups, cultures and so on. And there’s no competition for market share; in fact, opposing teams must maintain a measure of equality to keep fans on the edge of their seats about who will win. All these things and more make the business of sport different from managing a traditional company, and we’re excited to provide a training ground for students with the support of Detroit’s major teams and entertainment venues.”

The curriculum was developed by the Ilitch School in consultation with Tainsky and faculty from major sport and entertainment programs throughout the United States. And with the Mike Ilitch School of Business next to Little Caesars Arena and steps from the Fox Theatre, the Fillmore, Ford Field and Comerica Park, Warriors have prime access to employment opportunities.

“This program is an outgrowth of the legacy Mike Ilitch instilled in our school,” says Ilitch School Dean Robert Forsythe. “Human resource leaders from Ilitch companies — which include the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment and MotorCity Casino Hotel — and the Pistons have expressed their support for the new program, as well as their intentions to host student interns and hire our graduates.”

Open-minded for business

The Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University is playing a key role in helping organizations recruit a diverse workforce through a variety of initiatives.

The Corporate Mentor Program is an intentional effort to help first-generation undergraduate students explore a career direction and develop a professional identity.

The Corporate Mentor Program matches business-minded Warriors with Detroit executives for individual mentoring throughout the academic year. Sponsored by Ally Financial, the formal mentoring program is an intentional effort designed to help first-generation undergraduate students further explore a career direction and develop a professional identity.

After determining their long-term career interests and goals, students are paired with a mid- to senior-level business executive. These professional corporate mentors — often alumni of Wayne State or friends of the university — are trained to guide students as they meet personal and professional goals, are exposed to day-to-day world of work, and participate in networking opportunities that will help them achieve success after college.

PwC P.R.E.P. (Professional Readiness Education Program) Scholars is another Ilitch School of Business initiative that promotes a diverse workforce. Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, this learning community is dedicated to the support, development, retention and graduation of underrepresented minority students in the Ilitch School.

PwC P.R.E.P. Scholars primarily focuses on Warriors who are majoring in accounting and/or finance, providing them with opportunities for professional development, industry exposure, mentorship and more.

Job competitions

Reaching new heights

An elevator pitch is a brief personal statement that summarizes who you are, what you know and what you want to do. Typically between 30 and 90 seconds, the speech will leave the person you are speaking with impressed and intrigued.

The Mike Ilitch School of Business has taken this idea to a new level with its Elevator Pitch Competition. At this event, Warriors have the opportunity to give their elevator pitch to executive judges from companies such as Deloitte, Fiat Chrysler and Quicken Loans — in an elevator, no less.

It was important to be authentic to who I am in my pitch. 

Ashley McAdoo

“I really felt that it was important to be authentic to who I am in my pitch,” says alumna Ashley McAdoo, who competed in the 2017 challenge. She drew on her dynamic roles as a businesswoman and as an actress as well as her experiences studying in Brazil and Italy. “I discussed my plans to become an attorney and how I plan to use my education and resources to help communities in Detroit and abroad,” she continues. “I took multiple aspects and combined them to create a pitch that was genuine.”

McAdoo delivered her pitch in an elevator and a boardroom — two decidedly different venues, she observes. “There was a huge difference,” she says, noting that the elevator posed the biggest challenge. “It was one-on-one. There was definitely more pressure and a heightened sense of nervousness. We had very limited space, we were in an unconventional environment and it was extremely difficult to gauge the time. I was thankful that I spent a lot of time rehearsing.”

Indeed, McAdoo’s rehearsing paid off as she earned first place at the fall 2017 Elevator Pitch Competition. Her advice for those wishing to present a positive, professional first impression? “Be confident, authentic and use the brief time you have to leave your mark and set yourself apart from your competition.”


A seat at the table

The 2018 Lear Open Innovation Challenge saw 57 students from Wayne State University and the University of Michigan compete for prizes and internship opportunities.

During a two-week sprint, teams were challenged with proposing improvements to Lear’s business. Among the 16 Warriors competing was alumna Nicole Goldi, who credits her team’s success to diversity. “We learned about the different characteristics of team members and how most people lean toward a type: collaborate, control, compete and create,” she says. “I was fortunate to find team members who represented each attribute.”

We learned about the different characteristics of team members and how most people lean toward a type. I was fortunate to find team members who represented each attribute.

Nicole Goldi

Goldi notes that she acted as a collaborator for her team, focusing on project management. “I made sure our ‘constructive conflict’ stayed positive and efficient,” she explains. “Specifically, I communicated with Lear’s subject matter experts and our advisors, documented our discussions, researched automotive competitors’ products, and researched safety standards.”

Goldi and her teammates won the competition and embarked on a summer internship at Lear’s Innovation Center. “Our team is again focused on increasing safety for a vehicle occupant within Lear’s capabilities,” she says, noting that the three-month timeframe is decidedly different from the Lear Open Innovation Challenge’s deadline. “With more time, much more is expected."