How To Be The Best Intern: Tips From Michigan Ross Peer Coaches

During my first internship, I constantly heard the phrase, “don’t be afraid to ask questions,” so I did just that, learning as much as I could from anyone who would give me the time. I’m grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned from managers, mentors, and other interns throughout my college career and I wanted to share these learnings with others.

Over the past few months, Allison Kurlak, Evan Fisher, and I have been working on an internship success blog series for Ross Career Services. Three blog posts on efficient emailing, meeting etiquette, and coffee chats are currently live and we’ll be uploading more content throughout the summer. If you’re interested in how we landed jobs at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs, and P&G, take a look at the blog!


Honors Thesis: Writing a Recipe for Craft Food

As you head off after graduation, you might find yourself sipping on a craft beer on a sandy beach or munching on some artisanal cheese in a European cafe. If you already ate and drank these while in Ann Arbor, I might have asked you why you drank the beer you drank or ate the food you ate. You might not have known, but I was collecting data for my honors thesis, which explores the underlying consumer motivations for eating “craft” food and the attributes that make a product “craft.”

After a year of research, I am proud to present my honors thesis for the Ross School of Business. Thank you to everyone who helped me generate ideas, participated in my focus group, and kept me sane as I pieced my thesis together. I’d love it if you gave it a read!

PDF Link: Donald Chao_Honors Thesis_VFF

Unwrapping Ferrero Rocher’s Brand Positioning

I remember the snow falling lazily outside while soft jazzy tunes played in the living room as I unwrapped my very first Ferrero Rocher chocolate my aunt had brought over. As a kid, I was not the type to beg Mom for candy at the grocery store, but these chocolates were something special. A whole hazelnut, dipped in chocolate, and coated in more hazelnut pieces, Ferrero Rocher was something that I had never tasted…and I would not taste again until many years later.

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Mud Pies and Pokémon Cards: Lessons Learned on the Playground

In elementary school, there are always those kids– the ones everyone associates with something. Every school has the kids who zoom around on Heelys, the kids who would give you a stick of gum if you asked them really nicely, and the kids who would remind the teacher that they forgot to collect last night’s homework.

While I shamefully admit that I may have been that last kid a few times, during elementary school, my friends and I were also notorious for doing two things.

The first was as “the kids who dig in the field during recess.”

We built everything from mud pies to full-blown forts. One time, we were digging around in the soccer field and found a large patch of clay which we used to mold into miniature tanks and shot each other with tiny clay mortar shells during the middle of class. Mrs. Brown did not appreciate that.

The second thing that we were known for was as the hustlers who were the go-to guys when you had a little extra allowance and wanted to buy something that the cafeteria did not sell. Whether it was a pack of Chicken Top Ramen or the shiniest new Pokémon cards, my crew followed the demand and provided the supply.

I distinctly remember my very first sale. That day, I pulled out my crumpled brown paper lunch bag to find that my mom had packed me a boring old PB&J sandwich. As I grumpily sat at the end of the white laminate table, I watched as one of the big fifth graders smugly pulled a Lunchables tray out from his bag. How could the world be so unfair?

Continue reading Mud Pies and Pokémon Cards: Lessons Learned on the Playground