The Program

Story Lab develops executive-level presence and communication skills through storytelling workshops and events. To be an effective leader — at work, in the community, or in your personal life — you must be able to communicate with impact. Often this means telling stories that are meaningful to you and others, and doing so in the rich language and expressive style of a seasoned storyteller. If you can craft and deliver an effective story, you will be better able to convey your value to recruiters, inspire and motivate classmates and colleagues, and influence your audience. At Story Lab, you’ll find an immersive experience and an opportunity to hone your skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Story Lab is co-created with the Ross Design + Business Club.

Get Involved

The Program Structure

Story Lab is offered in both the fall and winter semesters. It begins in the fall with a kickoff event that is open to the entire university. During this event, attendees hear stories from previous participants and learn more about how to get involved in the program.

From there, students apply to a skill-building retreat that focuses on the art and architecture of storytelling. We typically offer two identical retreats each semester.

Interested retreat participants can then apply to receive additional 1:1 coaching and get up on stage themselves to share their stories during a semester showcase.

Story Lab is a must for every student before graduating from Ross. Communication is obviously key to influencing others, but how ideas are communicated is just as important as what is actually said. Story Lab gave me the tools to be a powerful communicator and can’t wait for the next opportunity to practice my storytelling skills.”

Hollis Farris, MBA ’20
Retreat RSVP

Program Type

Action-Based Learning

Winter 2022 Key Dates

  • 2/10, 3-8 PM and 2/11 10 AM-3 PM: Winter Retreats
  • 3/22, 5-6:30 PM: Winter Showcase

Time Commitment

Story Lab Showcase events are 1.5 hours; Story Lab retreats are 5 hours

Participant Requirements

  • Deep interest in storytelling, personal growth, and lifelong learning
  • The Kickoff, Closing, and Showcase events are open to the public
  • Retreats are open to all U-M students (by application)

Skills You’ll Learn

Learn how to communicate with impact, enhance your influence, and inspire dialogue and action. The workshop will help you discover your voice and adopt proven storycraft techniques while developing the verbal communication skills effective leaders use to engage and activate people in today’s complex world.

Leading Authentically
Get beneath the surface with your peers and build a more connected Ross community. Through your storytelling, you’ll have the opportunity to go deep, share your authentic self, and connect meaningfully with others. In so doing, you’ll model courageous leadership and learn to foster empathy and trust in others.

Developing Executive Presence
You will build your unique communication style, while practicing a proven combination of verbal skills, vocal tones, and body language that enhance executive presence. Your work at Story Lab will not only increase your confidence, charisma, and credibility; it will help you forge an impactful personal brand.

Learning from Experience & Feedback
You’ll reflect on your life experiences, recall failures, and celebrate moments of resilience and grit. Along the way, you’ll be encouraged to step outside your comfort zone, receive rich feedback from coaches and peers, and gain fresh insights about yourself and the power of your voice.




December 20, 2021 in Sanger Programs, Story Lab

Students Share What They Learn from Story Lab

Designed to spotlight diverse voices while also teaching participants about courage and leadership, Story Lab brings University of Michigan students and other Michigan Ross community members together to listen to…
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December 14, 2020 in Leadership Crisis Challenge, Sanger News, Story Lab

Sanger programs make the list as the #3 and #4 reasons the MBA Class of 2022 chose Michigan Ross

The Sanger Leadership Center is proud to be a part of what makes Michigan Ross stand out! In a recent Poets&Quants article about the Class of 2022, our Leadership Crisis…
Read More