How The Women of Ross Are Shaping Me
By Rachel Tucker, BBA ‘17
One cold Wednesday afternoon, I sat in my Business Communications class as the professor gave us interview tips. The professor, Sarah Zimmerman, is an incredibly impressive conversationalist, so the class eagerly asked as many questions as possible.
Eventually the conversation came to how to approach group projects in resumes. Since I’d had some trouble deciding what to do in this situation, I asked how often one should use “we” when describing what had been accomplished, after it’s already been made clear that the project involved a group. Professor Zimmerman looked at me, and smiled slightly.
“Rachel, I’m not sure if this answers your question, but let me put it this way: I’ve been asked that question many times by students, but never once by a man.”
That struck a chord with me, and not just because it was advice from a woman who’d become an academic role model. It was honest and upfront, but most importantly: it was useful.
As a woman I’ve been conditioned to interact with the world differently than I would have as a man. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is definitely something that I need to be cognizant of if I want to compete. I decided to pay special attention to how my peers and professors at Ross dealt with the gender hurdle, or perhaps used it to their advantage.
Let me tell you something - the women of Ross are dynamite. They are filled with a drive and purpose that is incredibly inspiring.
One of my professors, Anuradha Nagarajan, captivated my strategy class with her mastery of the field. Professor Emily Drogt went out of her way before my accounting class began to ask me about the novel I’d brought with me, and she taught with the same kind of compassion.
Dean Alison Davis-Blake personally emailed me about an opinion piece I’d written for the Michigan Daily. Furthermore, the women in my homework groups easily navigate the social and intellectual complexities of group work.
This is not to say that the men here are any less impressive. Of course they aren’t. But finding such influential women at the business school has directly impacted my ability to envision my own career.
Strong women have shaped every part of my life, because they’ve provided examples of ways to deal with problems that I also face. So when I walked up the steps to Ross on my first day of classes, yeah, I was terrified that the female presence I’d grown up with would not follow me, and that I would struggle without it.
Like everyone else, I’d heard the horror stories of women in business forced to play the secretary and slyly shut out of the business world.
Thankfully, this was not what I’ve found at Ross. The women of Ross are strong, intelligent, and kind. They’ve proven to be incredible role models, and I’m lucky to be one of them and to be able to learn from them.
Rachel Tucker is a rising junior in the Michigan Ross BBA program. She will graduate in 2017.
Image: From the Michigan Ross Och Initiative for Women in Finance Trip to NYC. Learn more about the Och Initiative.