As a previous Deloitte consultant who spent 4 years traveling nearly every week to clients in the Financial Services Industry, I did not know what to expect from a summer internship working with mission-driven organizations in Michigan. I had just wrapped up the first year of my MBA at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and my head was spinning with strategic frameworks and financial models. I was excited to learn how Mission Throttle adapts these frameworks to incorporate social impact.
I originally set out to write a ‘day in the life’ post about my experience but quickly realized that I could only capture the breadth of my experience by describing an entire, actual week I spent with Mission Throttle.
8:00 AM: I set up my daily rotation of podcasts for my hour-long commute to our Southfield office. I’m commuting from my apartment in Ann Arbor where I lived during the school year. In addition to daily news, I listen to a lot of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History to challenge my understanding of the systematic causes of social issues. I’ll take podcast-filled drives over 6 a.m. Monday morning flights any day!
9:00 AM: I catch up with my colleagues about the weekend, grab coffee, check emails, and start planning out my week.
10:00 AM: Three of us meet internally to discuss our meeting with Client 1 scheduled for the next day. We had just begun our engagement with Client 1 so the typical process is to hold a series of meetings to gain a better understanding of the organization and its goals. We start broad and then meet with different stakeholders to dive deeper into various topics. This information provides context for us to think about how we can improve financial sustainability while generating the greatest impact for the community. For tomorrow’s meeting, we will use generative questions to delve into the organization’s current programming.
11:00 AM: I’m pulled in to help review a colleague’s financial model that would allow the client to develop the right pricing structure for a new social enterprise; the social enterprise would bring in earned revenue to allow the organization to be more financially resilient. I look for everything from minor issues, like formula errors, to challenging the model’s logic and assumptions. I had been cautioned that after consulting for Deloitte, the work in social impact would be less rigorous and lack quality. However, my experience at Mission Throttle has been the opposite; we bring the tried and true rigor of business practices to the traditionally slower social impact sector.
1:30 PM – 4:30 PM: After lunch, we prep for Client’s 2’s upcoming Visioning Session, a 3-hour working session to facilitate goal-setting for the organization. There are about 10 attendees, spanning the organization’s leadership, community partners, Board members, and those served by the organization. Today, we finalize details for a few design thinking activities that elicit context mapping and rapid brainstorming. A colleague and I suggested these activities — I like that Mission Throttle is open to trying new ideas and also nimble enough to implement them.
9:30 AM: My day begins with a weekly project status meeting, where I volunteer to attend the Detroit Neighborhood Forum the following week. Mission Throttle and its leaders have developed a strong reputation within Detroit’s social impact ecosystem, and we are often invited to various community leadership events. These events help us stay up-to-date with relevant topics and provide us with an opportunity to show our commitment to the community. This intentional effort to connect gives us broader context and network when serving clients.
10:30 AM: Our project status meeting is extended so we can wrap up the design thinking training we began at our last Staff Strategy Meeting. Every three weeks, we set aside two hours for the whole team to focus on topics ranging from learning to personal development to reflection. Having time set aside during the work week forces regular attendance and engagement. At the end of the session, we talk about how we can incorporate design thinking into our own methodology; having team-based trainings and professional development means we are all bought into implementing these learnings.
12:00 PM: I review prep materials for our meeting with Client 1 while I quickly eat lunch. It has been an adjustment for me to switch back and forth between clients so frequently, but I have gotten much better with planning my days to make sure I stay on top of everything. In my previous role, we would work on multiple internal initiatives but only one client at a time, so work prioritization was a lot more obvious, especially when it got busy.
12:30 PM: We head to our client site in Detroit. Travel looks a lot different at Mission Throttle. We are usually only onsite when we have client meetings rather than Monday through Thursday. We mostly work with organizations in Southeastern Michigan that are typically within driving distance. Focusing on the communities we live in allows us to see how the political, economic, and development decisions our community affects the social issues our clients are trying to address.
3:00 PM: We head back to the Southfield office and spend the rest of the afternoon finalizing preparations for the Visioning Session.
7:00 PM: Our day ends a little later than usual since we iterate through the materials a few more times and get them printed for the following morning.
9:00 PM: After dinner, I spend some time reading up on the attendees and making notes on the activities I will be facilitating the next day.
8:00 AM: We are at the client site bright and early to set up; there are large Post-Its covering the walls and a packet of materials in front of each participant. Our graphic artist is setting up in the back to capture the session visually in real time.
1:00 PM: We wrap up a successful session, having gained insightful perspectives on industry context, the organization’s assets, potential earned revenue opportunities for the future, and each stakeholder’s aspirational vision for the organization.
2:00 PM: We grab a late lunch over a debrief meeting about Client 3, a pro bono consulting project. In our last meeting with Client 3, we discovered the scope didn’t match the needs we heard from the client. We brainstorm internally about how to modify the scope, realizing that a deep analysis of the financial and revenue models is more urgent and necessary before the client’s product launch. In larger organizations, there is often little exposure to project scoping at my level, so I appreciate being able to provide this type of input and see that it is valued.
5:30 PM: I’m exhausted from the long day, but I muster up the energy to head to one of my favorite restaurants in Detroit, Takoi. I’m introducing some my MBA intern friends to the new restaurant – a huge bonus of having colleagues who are native to Detroit.
9:00 AM: Today, we work at the Green Garage, our second office location in Midtown Detroit. I spend the morning catching up on emails and doing research for Client 1.
11:00 AM: We debrief yesterday’s Visioning Session, capturing key learnings about the process.
12:45 PM: We head over to Client 2 for an environmental justice tour of Detroit. At the beginning of each engagement, Mission Throttle gets to know its clients more intimately, either by volunteering with them or holding events like this one. During the tour, we stop at different sites, learning how certain populations are disproportionately affected by environmental decisions in city planning. Since this is my first time in Detroit, events like this have been invaluable in experiencing the diversity of Detroit’s ecosystem.
3:30 PM: We walk a few blocks to La Feria for Mission Throttle’s quarterly social event. We grab food and drinks while catching up with each other’s non-work lives. There are jokes about me staying on with Mission Throttle instead of going back to Ross for my second year, which I take as indication that it was a successful summer.
9:00 AM: I begin my work day thankful to avoid the hour-long commute since we work remotely on Fridays. We avoid meetings on Fridays as much as possible which allows me to focus and crank out work without distractions. I reserve Fridays for any administrative or internal work like responding to non-urgent emails that have piled up, entering in my time for the week, or working on a blog post like this one.
3:00 PM: After a busy week, I’m excited to wrap up my day a little early and get ready for the weekend.
After a full summer, I am thankful for the experience and people at Mission Throttle who have allowed me to understand what a career transition into the social impact sector might look like. While I am not yet sure where I will end up after graduation, I am grateful to have been able to understand how critical mission-driven organizations are in our society and to have been a part of enabling them to succeed.
Apoorva is currently receiving her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She began her career as a technology consultant at Deloitte Consulting, where she helped clients develop strategic technology roadmaps and implement technology solutions. Apoorva is passionate about social impact and has significant international and local experience in the space. At Deloitte Consulting, Apoorva was selected to participate in the Education Consulting Co-op with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to develop a change management strategy to implement a new, more effective literacy curriculum at CPS. During her time at Ross, she worked with an Indian conglomerate to develop an accessible and financially sustainable business model providing healthcare in rural India. She currently serves on the Junior Board of Erie Family Health Center in Chicago, an organization that provides affordable and high-quality health care for those in need.