Alison Levy (MBA '17) is the Program Manager for a bay-area start-up developing a completely new class of electrical energy storage devices.
What drew you to the University of Michigan?
When I decided to go to business school, I targeted programs that offered the opportunity to blend operations, sustainability, and energy courses into the typical MBA curriculum. My previous experience was in conventional energy and manufacturing, and I hoped to use my time in school to prepare for a role in the cleantech sector. In order to strengthen my skills in some of those clean and green areas, I took the opportunity to take several classes outside of Ross, which is something that seemed totally reasonable when planning out my two years at Michigan. The strength of the Tauber program, the Energy Club at Ross, and the collaborative, positive Ross working environment all really tipped the scales for me when I made my decision to attend.
Read more about Alison's team project.
As the supply chain manager in a start-up environment, I have to create from scratch many things that I might have taken for granted at a more well-established firm, but I really love the challenge. The data to perform an analysis or make a decision may simply not exist, so it often falls on my shoulders to learn and gather that information, which can automatically turn me into an expert on that topic, allowing me to bring even greater value to the organization. In addition, things move so quickly that maintaining open communications across the many different teams is crucial for understanding where within the business I can focus my energy in order to reduce a team's workload or improve their workflow.
Be as collaborative as you possibly can, bring a sense of humor to the conversation, and always ask questions. As Michigan alumni, we all have strong technical skills, but sometimes the toughest stuff ends up being how we manage people and their expectations. Learning to stay calm during tense or high-stress situations has been incredibly important throughout my career. When a "crisis" occurs, your colleagues feel more confident in your ability to manage it if you are able to maintain a level head. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you can handle it. Everyone will see that, know you have it covered (even if you still have to figure it out!) and you'll even feel more confident as well.
What would fellow alums be surprised to know about you?
I met my now-husband (Bradford Lynch, MBA '17) in the Tauber program, where we connected through our shared love of engineering and cycling. We eloped in 2018 after biking to the top of a mountain pass in the North Cascades in Washington.