A few months after Abhishek Y. Utekar left Mumbai, India, to start an M.B.A. program at the University of Michigan campus in Flint, his landlord gave him a driving tour of his new home. Dennis Brownfield watched out for his tenants, and he wanted Mr. Utekar to understand the dynamics of a city often defined by deindustrialization and decay. His car provided the first lesson. It was a Honda Civic with a license plate that read “GM LEFT,” a commentary on the 70,000 automotive jobs that have disappeared over the years in this birthplace of General Motors.
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