Challenge Your Comfort Zone

When you step outside your comfort zone, great things happen. Two months in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Michael Justus embarked on an unforgettable experience. An aspiring entrepreneur and current senior at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Michael participated in Sage Corps’ 2014 summer programMichael joined Sage Corps hoping to combine an abroad experience with entrepreneurship. A bold idea, he thought,...and a scary one.   

Take a Safe Risk: “The thought of going across the world for two months to work for a startup with a group of 15 other students from various universities was terrifying,” explained Michael. “Even on the flight down, I still was unsure what I was getting myself into.”

Explore: In Buenos Aires, Michael worked for Cookapp, a NXTP Labs portfolio startup that connects those who love to cook with those who love to eat. Everyone loves food, and CookApp loved Michael. In two months, Michael made impactful contributions to the startup as a business intelligence analyst. He helped the team understand their mass of consumer data to improve user experience, customer acquisition/retention, and to target new markets. 

At Cookapp, Michael quickly adopted his team’s enthusiasm for this dining experience app. “Entrepreneurs like Tom, Diego, and Male were so passionate about their product. It was like nothing I had experienced before,” explained Michael. Working in a foreign culture, Michael developed quick and valued decision-making skills for a real company.

In his free time, he cheered on Argentina in the FIFA World Cup, and attended professional events organized by Sage Corps: a speaker series at Google Argentina, a local venture capital fund, and a demo day for the NXTP Labs accelerator.  

Grow: As a graduating senior, Michael sees the value in carving his own career path. “The Sage Corps program showed me that we must challenge our comfort zone to achieve what we really want,” explains Michael. “There are times to live comfortably when thinking about internships or any abroad program but this one will push you and make you realize what it is you really strive for. Maybe it is something entrepreneurial,” continued Michael, “maybe it isn’t; regardless, the skills, experiences, and personal values I gained participating in Sage Corps impacted me like nothing else at my disposal.”  

What’s Next? After graduating in May, Michael will join Accenture in Chicago as a Strategy Analyst. “Eventually, I want to start my own business. Once the idea becomes viable, I want to take the challenge head on. With Sage Corps, I saw firsthand the opportunities that entrepreneurs identified in the Latin American market. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I know that I can one day do the same thing.”