What A First-Year BBA Student Took Away From A Night At The U-M Museum Of Art

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By: Sydney Bonchick, BBA ‘23

I recently wrote about my experience visiting the University of Michigan Museum of Art with nearly 100 other first-year BBA students, faculty, and staff at Michigan Ross for an online publication called Her Campus. This was the second year this event was organized for students in BA 100.

I would love to provide a glimpse into this insightful event through the sharing of my article:

On Wednesday, October 30, from 6-8 p.m., all freshman Ross School of Business students were required to attend the University of Michigan Museum of Art. The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) is one of the oldest and largest university art museums in the country. UMMA’s collections present more than 150 years of history, with more than 21,000 pieces of artwork that encompass various cultures, eras, and media. A fun fact about UMMA is that it was just recognized as the top public university art museum in the country by Best College Reviews. If you happen to walk past UMMA or have free time between one of your classes, it is definitely worth checking out!

 As a freshman at Ross, I was told that at this event, we were going to learn business from a new and out-of-the-box perspective: artwork. My two passions in life are business and photography, and so having the opportunity to attend this event and seeing my two passions collide was such a unique experience for me.

At the museum, students were assigned two main tasks; The first task was to network with the Ross faculty and staff. In doing so, we were asked what we could take away from the conversation and what we would like to learn more from that specific staff member. The second task was to locate an artifact within the museum and connect it to one of our top strengths, which we discovered at the beginning of the school year by taking an assessment test online.

Talking to the faculty and staff was such a profound opportunity. The conversations were definitely ones that I will value and reference later in life. Within an hour of time at the museum, I was able to learn about multiple professors’ backgrounds and upbringings, life-long passions, and their initial involvement in the field of business. Additionally, I was able to receive insight on their daily lives within the Ross School of Business; one professor talked about his love for teaching a certain subdivision of business law within his classes and another professor talked about how his favorite part of the school was engaging and receiving new outlooks from his colleagues and students. Personally, I found it interesting to see how all of the faculty and staff members come from such different trajectories of life. It is fascinating how such a diverse group of people can come together to create what we know as the Ross community. It truly shows the unique learning experience found at Ross, as so many viewpoints are able to prosper and coexist in one place.

In addition to conversing with faculty and staff members, having to look at art from the perspectives of our personal strengths was extremely eye-opening. My biggest strength from the online assessment is empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It was interesting to think about the traits of empathy while viewing the paintings, photographs, and sculptures throughout the museum. It allowed me to see the various works of art in a new light and thus to think deeper about what the works of art signify.

Ultimately, this joint event between the University of Michigan Art Museum and the Ross School of Business really allows students to begin thinking about their future and ideas in a more abstract form. Mingling with the faculty and staff allows students to practice their business communication skills, while also receiving admirable advice from such experienced faculty and staff. Additionally, being forced to view and connect art abstractly allows students to begin thinking in an entrepreneurial mindset. This event was definitely worthwhile and an unforgettable memory of my freshman year at Ross.