By: Jamie Juarez ​

My first internship with Quicken Loans and its Family of Companies in the summer of 2015 was an unforgettable experience. I knew accepting my offer meant I was committing to a summer in downtown Detroit, I was a bit uncertain considering all of the things that are notorious to the city-little did I know it was a blessing in disguise. 

Prior to my internship, I received my fair share of questions from family and friends about my post-graduation plans, and truth be told, I didn’t have a clue. Once I was offered an internship at Quicken Loans, I finally had something to tell my family to keep their questions at bay, but what could I possibly do at a mortgage company with my degree? As an Advertising and Public Relations major, I wondered how I could apply my skills to the organization. Though, I have heard stories of past interns working in Detroit, and I have to admit that it sparked a bit of curiosity in me. By no means am I a city girl, but I told myself to keep an open mind and to take every opportunity that was offered to me. 

Detroit was not the city I thought it was. When I took my first lunch break out of the office, I walked across Campus Martius, the center point of downtown Detroit. Lo and behold- in the middle of the city, there was a beach. Equipped with comfy chairs and even a beach bar. I saw people in ties and button up’s kicking off their shoes to dig their feet in the sand. I walked further and across the street was another lot of sand with a volleyball net and behind that was a row of basketball courts where people on their lunch breaks were picking-up games. I stopped walking and took a moment to look at the people spending the day in Detroit. There was a real sense of community there. 

Quicken Loans really rolled out the red carpet when it came to their internship program. Not only did I learn about the organization, but I also learned what city life in Detroit was all about, (and more importantly, if I could see myself there post-graduation).  Any intern with a Detroit bucket list could have checked off a Tiger’s tailgate and baseball game, a M@dison rooftop party, Flight the Blight community service events, a Cleveland Cavaliers watch party, a Detroit bus tour and an Internpolooza event, to name a few. 

On top of seeing the city for what it was, the work culture of Quicken Loans made me feel like I was already a part of Detroit. There wasn’t a day I picked up coffee for anyone. The other interns and I were heavily involved in current projects and worked side by side with the rest of our team. As an intern, it was one of the most welcoming things to know that anyone was just an e-mail away. We were encouraged to venture out beyond our desks to meet other team members and even the president of the company!

The organization also took into consideration the unique perspectives of the all of us interns. There were multiple platforms for us to voice our opinions, suggestions and changes that we would like to see in the organization. They ranged from website submissions to focus groups. One competition for interns even ended with selected teams presenting their proposed changes to the company in front of top management. Talk about getting involved!

To experience the rebirth of the city and to be a part of such an innovative company was priceless! I fell in love with a city that refuses to stay down when it has fallen so many times. Detroit has new life and to say that I would like the opportunity to be a part of it again, would be an understatement!

Jamie Juarez is a senior at the Grand Valley State University studying Advertising & Public Relations. She is also involved in several organizations on campus; she is VP of Finances of the Panhellenic Association, a member of the Grand Valley Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and a member of the GVSU Taekwondo Club. Jamie is a proud sorority member of Phi Sigma Sigma, which she is heavily involved in. 

Fun fact: I have been in Taekwondo since I was 8 years old and currently hold a 3rd degree black belt!