Why Karissa Holmes stayed in Michigan to make her career

By Alyssa LaHaie

October 26-30 is Michigan College Application Week, a dedicated time for high school seniors to apply for postsecondary education.  During this week, we’ll post a series about young professionals who grew up in Michigan, went to college in Michigan, and stayed in Michigan to make their careers.

When a Michigan high school student graduates, where might they go?

Some are headed to technical schools or small liberal arts colleges. Others will head to research-oriented universities both in-state and around the country. For students who decide to stay in Michigan, there is a wealth of opportunity for educational and professional success.

Karissa Holmes is one of the many Michigan students who stayed here to pursue those opportunities. She decided to attend the University of Michigan for her undergraduate degree and found a home in southeast Michigan.

“I think I always knew I was going to go to the University of Michigan,” Holmes said. “I was born at the U of M hospital and I grew up in Wolverine Country. So, when I went to select the institutions that I was interested in, U of M was my top choice.”

Holmes is now a Senior Commercial Attorney for DTE Energy in Detroit. After receiving her degree from U of M, she earned her law degree from Wayne State University and worked for a prominent Detroit law firm before deciding to pursue her MBA from Michigan State University.

“I really could’ve attended any school across the country,” she said. “But Michigan State provided the perfect balance of location and opportunities to fulfill my goals of getting my MBA.”

Holmes cites the low cost of living as one of the main reasons she has stayed in Michigan. On top of being an affordable place to live, Michigan’s comeback has also provider her and other young professionals more opportunities for success.  Over the last four years, Michigan has also created more than 400,000 new private sector jobs, the fifth most in the nation and more than any other state in the Midwest.   And thanks to sound, fiscally-responsible decisions, Michigan’s entrepreneurial climate ranking improved from 41st to sixth since 2011.

Michigan is the place to be, Holmes said, and she encourages all young people to look at staying in the state to make their careers.

“There are more opportunities to take risks and to follow passions and follow dreams and build something from scratch in Michigan,” Holmes said. “And that’s really cool.”