How did sophomore BBA and Recruitment Chair Madelyn Woodrow end up on the University of Michigan Barstool Instagram you ask? Answer: a startup she created with her classmates in Professor Eric Fretz’s Psychology 223 Entrepreneurial Creativity course.
The point of the class is to work with a team throughout the semester to come up with a new product, service, or event missing from the market and then bring it to life. Madelyn's group started the process by contemplating their own experiences as undergraduates in Ann Arbor, and then seeking a way to appeal to the general student population. Playing around with a video series or restaurant tour, the group soon realized that they wanted to include multiple aspects of the Michigan businesses and lifestyle. So, the team settled on Schlissel’s Declassified School Survival Guide: tips and tricks to make the most out of your time at the University of Michigan. The online book includes ranking food and bars on campus, how to save money, and Madelyn’s personal favorite, a bucket list of things you have to do before graduation among others.
Madelyn raved about her creative project experience, pointing out that key to greatness is having a diversity of perspectives. For example, she made sure her group had diversity in background and thought as it was made up of students majoring in business, sports management, economics, and communications. She also loved learning from Professor Fretz, who goes out of his way to support his students. For instance, he paid to get copies of the book for Madelyn’s entire team and invited them to a meeting on his boat (scroll down to see a picture)! In addition, every year he will pick the 8 top for-profit projects to pitch their ideas to big NYC firms, leading to success stories like GoNanas, Maté Bros yerba mate, and the Michigan Marriage Pact. Moreover, Madelyn grew as a businesswoman. Initially struggling to balance so much work starting a business in such a short amount of time, she became less intimidated and more sure of herself every day by embracing the steep learning curve and leaning on her fellow group members.
PBL gave Madelyn the foundation she needed to thrive in this class through the networking skills she gained from rushing, coffee chatting, and recruiting. Overcoming the discomfort of talking to lots of new people helped Madelyn form a group within her class as well as reach out to local businesses to get involved in the project.
Make sure YOU are living your best Michigan life and check out Madelyn's guide below! Whether you decide to pursue Entrepreneurship courses or your own venture in the future, remember that at the end of the day it’s all about widening your world view, collaborating with others, and having fun while pursuing your passions.