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 any audience you find yourself addressing. At Story Lab, you’ll find a fun and 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.

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The Program Structure

Story Lab runs throughout the academic year, from October through April. The program begins in the fall with a kickoff event that is open to the entire university. We then offer skill-building retreats that teach students how to tell their story and become more influential.

Six or seven of the retreat participants will receive additional coaching and become featured storytellers at the Story Lab Showcase, our live “The Moth-style” storytelling event. We hold one showcase in each the fall and winter semester. We conclude the academic year with a final event featuring storytellers from throughout the year at a community-wide, year-end celebration.

“The art of storytelling is not just for writers, actors, or other creatives. It is a powerful leadership skill needed to navigate an ever increasingly complex business landscape.”

Erin Olander, MBA ’21

Program Type

Action-Based Learning, offered virtually for 2020-2021

Key Dates

2020 Virtual Kickoff
Watch the video

2020 Public Fall Showcase
Watch the video


Dates for next academic year will be announced in later summer 2021.

Time Commitment

Story Lab Showcase events are 1.5 hours; Story Lab retreats are 4.5 hours

Participant Requirements

  • Deep interest in storytelling, personal growth, and lifelong learning
  • The Kickoff, Closing, and Showcase events are open to the public
  • Ross students only for the retreats (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 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…
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October 15, 2020 in Sanger News, Story Lab

Here’s how we’re making Story Lab happen this year

As the world continues to face unprecedented challenges and social unrest, it is more important than ever to share stories that inspire, highlight diverse perspectives, and bring people together. Recognizing…
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