Business and Politics: If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on The Menu


By Lexi Dubreuil, BBA ‘19

"If you're not at the table, you're on the menu!"

This saying is quite popular in Washington D.C. It was repeated by almost every speaker we heard during the Washington Campus Carson Scholars program, which I participated in earlier this year.

The program, which gives Ross BBA students an inside look at the interactions of policy and business, gave us the opportunity to hear from a range of government leaders, journalists responsible for covering government, and business executives who spend their time working with government officials. They all had some version of this saying, which is meant to emphasize the fact that businesses must be present and deeply involved in policy discussions with government.

These discussions are where decisions are being made. Not being at the table increases the likelihood of negative consequences for your business or industry. This doesn't necessarily mean that those in power don't care; it could just mean that they don’t even know your business or interests should have a seat at the table.

As business leaders, we should hold ourselves responsible for learning how public policy influences business decisions — it could mean the difference between flourishing and floundering. No matter the field you enter, you will encounter issues at the intersection of business and public policy.

As an aspiring tax professional, I found this class (BL 488) to be a great way to deepen my understanding of law and public policy. This is very important to my future career, because tax is based in code, regulation, and case law.

In Washington we heard from a range of professionals, from the director of federal government affairs at one of the Big Four accounting firms to the political director at ABC News. To tie it all together, we worked in teams on an in-depth analysis of an important business and policy issue — putting the knowledge we had gained to use. It capped a great experience and clarified the program’s chief takeaway for me and my classmates: It’s better to help develop the recipe than become part of the meal.

Learn more about the Carson Scholars Program for Michigan Ross BBAs

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Lexi Dubreuil
BBA '19

About Lexi

Where did you intern this summer?

I was an intern at PricewaterhouseCoopers

What student clubs are you involved with?

President / Officer of Mind Matters Mental Health Initiative

What's your most memorable BBA experience?

Last Spring Break, I traveled to São Paulo & Rio de Janeiro to study Global Competitiveness

Learn more about the Michigan Ross BBA

Learn more about the Carson Scholars Program