Detroit: Home of the Big 3 (Interns, That Is)

By Sean Newton '15

Okay first-years, the recruiting season for internships is right around the corner and there’s no doubt that your sights are set high. Many of you are competing for the same prizes. If you’re like our class, most of you will be fighting for the most desirable prize: a job in Detroit. I was one of the lucky few who made it there. I am living proof that it can be done. I encourage all of you to give your inevitable lifelong dream a shot, but I warn you that the road ahead will be grueling.

Detroit is synonymous with glamor, success, and power. Detroit has gotten so powerful that it recently reached an agreement with its bondholders stating that it will no longer pay its bills. The city has been undergoing massive construction efforts to eliminate entire neighborhoods that do not live up to Detroit’s high standards.

The good news is that you’ll never have to answer the question “why do you want to live in Detroit?” They know why. The bad news is Detroit is incredibly exclusive and it’s only getting more exclusive. In just 20 years, Detroit has managed to reduce its population by over 30%. They want the best and they do not settle for less. So how do you land a job in America’s most elite city?

First, recognize that your chances are abysmal. Only three Booth students were given offers from firms in Detroit last summer. Avoid the mindset that if you don’t get a job in Detroit, you have nothing to live for. Cities such as New York, San Francisco, and London are certainly not Detroit, but they do have a few things to offer. Have a strong plan B ready to go and try your best to enjoy your internship in the likely event that you’ll end up working in an inferior city.

Second, know that Eminem is Detroit’s king. If you are lucky enough to live in Detroit, you will hear Eminem blasting on all public speakers everywhere you go. You haven’t truly shopped at a Whole Foods until you’ve watched the ladies in the arugula aisle sway to “Lose Yourself.”

Enhanced Eminem knowledge will help you break through the gates of Detroit. Use Eminem buzzwords when talking to recruiters. For example, tell them that they look rather slim. Talk to them about how much you hate your mother. Most importantly, go into all interviews with sweaty palms, weak knees, heavy arms, and vomit on your sweater. The person on the other side of the table will instantly pick up on your devotion to the king.

Finally, Detroit accepts very few people from the outside. The overwhelming majority of employees at your target firms graduated from either Michigan or Michigan State. If you attended any other undergraduate institution, you will have to work hard to explain and defend your connection to the Motor City. Even if your father was the governor of Michigan, it still may not be enough to win the hearts of the elitist Michiganders. Did your grandfather get his MBA from Ross? If not, forge a counterfeit diploma and bring it the interview.

Good luck and go get that Detroit dream job. You only get one shot.