On Friday, February 24, nine GTRI international graduate students were given a grand tour of the Quicken Loans offices in downtown Detroit. Quicken’s Jordan Truesdale and her team assembled a day filled with activities which included a special tour of their office buildings, an enlightening panel discussion, and one-on-one interviews where they competed for coveted spots in the organization’s summer internship program. The tour included three downtown Detroit buildings. They were really impressed with the design center in the lower level of the Chrysler House where they discovered a life-sized horse, which was actually a lamp. The lampshade was a dead giveaway! The old bank safe converted into a conference room was another fun find! The tour ended at the Compuware Building where they settled into one of the conference rooms for lunch and the panel discussion. The students were fascinated as four Quicken employees shared their experiences and talked about why they love working there. “I love the casual atmosphere and the camaraderie among the staff,” said one young woman. All four panelists strongly stressed how much they felt valued. One went on to say he felt his ideas and suggestions were taken seriously. And a young woman said that one of hers had even been turned into a new and improved procedure for her department. The students entered into a dialogue with the panelists and asked more questions about working at the company. The students were then ushered into rooms where individual interviews were conducted. GTRI was thrilled to collaborate with Quicken to give our talented international students the opportunity to intern at this dynamic organization for the summer. We look forward to working with them in the future.

We were able to obtain a firsthand account of the event from the students’ perspectives as well. Their personal backgrounds have certainly influenced decisions to participate in Detroit’s vibrant community through engagement with Quicken Loans. Akshata Shireesh Nayak, a student originally from India, became immersed in American culture during August 2016 along with family members. At University of Michigan-Dearborn, Akshata is quickly becoming an expert in Computer Science/Engineering while on the path to obtaining a Master’s degree. As a current Research Assistant, combined with extensive technical experience in data analytics and logic, meeting with Quicken appeared to be a very natural option and opportunity. Throughout her searching, Akshata acknowledges that LinkedIn and other career-building sites are indispensable tools for young professionals, but in-person events such as the Quicken meeting are equally relevant.

Shikha Jain, another Indian national, also had the pleasure of attending Quicken’s Meet and Greet. Four years ago, Shikha and her family started new lives in the United States where she continued to grow professionally as an IT/Management Master’s student through Oakland University. She encourages individuals on the job market to stay vigilant until the best option at the moment is found; thankfully, GTRI helped Shikha bridge the gap between skills and aspirations by helping obtain an interview with Quicken. This helped her gain more company exposure and witness the inner workings of a Detroit economic powerhouse.