Category Archives: Michigan Ross Advice

Michigan Ross Fall 2017 MBA Application Essays

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business poses these two required essay questions and one optional statement in the Fall 2017 MBA application: What are you most proud of outside of your professional life? …

Michigan Ross MBA admissions

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business poses these two required essay questions and one optional statement in the Fall 2017 MBA application:

  1. What are you most proud of outside of your professional life? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)
  2. What is your desired career path and why? (up to 400 words)

Optional Statement:

This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.

This season’s MBA applicants may be interested in revisiting the advice Soojin Kwon, director of MBA admissions at the Ross School, offered last year when addressing a similar iteration of these questions.

For the first question, Kwon said, “The context … is less important than your reason for being proud of something. We want to understand what makes something important to you. It gives us a glimpse into how you think about and process things, and what your priorities and values are. This is how we assess fit – through alignment of your values with the values of our community.

For the second question, the admissions director explained that, “The main purpose of the career path question is so we can evaluate whether business school makes sense. A ‘good’ answer isn’t about saying you want to go into a traditional business field. In fact, many of our students pursue a wide range of careers outside of traditional business fields (e.g., education, nonprofit, emerging markets). A good answer will describe your rationale for being interested in a particular path.”

Finally, the Ross School admissions team wants to see essays that are clear and succinct. “It’s not a word count test, nor is it a creative writing test. Don’t write two paragraphs of introduction before stating what you’re most proud of,” Kwon advised last season, adding, “You can even start with, ‘I am most proud of….’ Write as you would speak. To a real person. We, who read the essays, are real people.”

For more information about applying, please visit the Ross School admissions website.

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Michigan Ross School Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines

Image credit: Michigan Ross (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Ross MBA Admissions Director Shares Her B-School Comparison Spreadsheet

Now is the time when many potential business school applicants are neck-deep in the school research phase of the MBA admissions process. With that in mind, we’d like to share this excellent video posted by …

Now is the time when many potential business school applicants are neck-deep in the school research phase of the MBA admissions process. With that in mind, we’d like to share this excellent video posted by Soojin Kwon, director of MBA admissions at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Kwon, who always appears so down-to-earth and approachable in her videos, celebrates the “nerdiness” of applicants who create detailed spreadsheets to compare and contrast the various business schools they are considering…and she shares her very own that you can download and start using today!

As Kwon points out, by looking at the career opportunities, learning experiences specific to each program, and culture of each school, you’ll be several steps closer to making the right choice for you when deadlines hit this fall.

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5 Application Tips from Michigan Ross School of Business

The Round 1 deadline at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business is just days away on October 5th, and Soojin Kwon, director of MBA admissions and financial aid, has a few tips for …

Michigan Ross MBA applicationThe Round 1 deadline at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business is just days away on October 5th, and Soojin Kwon, director of MBA admissions and financial aid, has a few tips for candidates doing that final polish on their application, as well as for those preparing their package for Round 2.

Whether you’re applying this week or in January, make sure you follow these tips to  ensure your application is Ross-ready.

Tip One: Only apply when your application is at its strongest. While many applicants are leaning toward submitting in the first round, if your GMAT score isn’t where you’d like it to be and you think you can improve it in time for Round 2, then don’t rush for Round 1.

Says Soojin: “The best choice is to apply in the round when your application is the best it can be, including the GMAT score.”

Tip Two: The best way to approach the “What are you most proud of?” essay is by presenting an authentic story—not one you think is most impressive. Actually, the Why is more important than the What.

Says Soojin: “It should be the answer you’d share with a close friend, not with an  ‘admissions committee’.” 

Tip Three: Just because other schools ask for two letters of recommendation doesn’t mean you should go ahead an submit an extra one to Ross as well. When the school asks for one recommendation letter, that’s how many they want to see.

Says Soojin: “We only want one letter…preferably from your current direct supervisor. If you can’t ask your current supervisor, ask the one just prior to the current one, and be sure to briefly explain why you didn’t ask your current supervisor.”

Tip Four: The Team Exercise may be optional, but not doing it would be a mistake. Not only will the experience help you decide whether Ross is a good fit for you; it also provides the admissions team with crucial information about your communication and interpersonal skills, the soft skills recruiters want to see in their MBA hires.

Says Soojin: “If you come to campus for your interview…You’ll meet potential classmates (even potential roommates), attend a class or conference with current MBAs, meet folks affiliated with our Centers and Institutes, and engage in an optional post-interview Q&A session with the AdComm and students.”

Tip Five: Applicants need to spend more time on their resumes. The essays aren’t the only part you have control over, and your MBA resume is an important indicator of how you present yourself.

Says Soojin: “It’s the first thing we look at when we open an app, so it’s the ‘first-impression-maker.’ It’s your opportunity to tell us where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve made an impact and what you’re interested in.”

Best of luck to all Round 1 applicants to Michigan Ross!

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Michigan Ross Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

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Tuesday Tips: 2015 Michigan Ross Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips

Michigan Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals. Ross is also a close-knit community and …

Michigan Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals. Ross is also a close-knit community and fit with the program is important to demonstrate in the application process. Visiting Ross or learning about the program through current students, alumni or faculty would be helpful before starting this set of essays.

The Ross admissions blog states that concise, clear and simple language is prized in the essay portion of the application. Make sure you are using the limited space to explain specifics about you and your experiences and goals rather than generic statements.

Essay One: What are you most proud of and why? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)

Last year Ross separated the professional and personal in this question, asking candidates to explain what they were most proud of in both realms. This year you have the flexibility to pull from any area of your life to discuss what you are most proud of and why.

If you choose a professional topic remember that intellectual ability, professional achievements and teamwork are all among the qualities the Ross admissions committee is looking for in applicants. As you consider topics for this essay focus on the ones that will demonstrate you are a strong leader and that you can learn from experience.

The personal attributes the admissions committee are looking for in applicants include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills.

When you consider topics for this essay you may want to write about an important extracurricular accomplishment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background. For example, if you have a track record of club leadership through college and afterwards that can be compelling evidence of your community engagement and leadership skills. On the other end of the spectrum perhaps you have spent time outside your home country for school or work and that has shaped your teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills.

In some cases you may be most proud of an accomplishment because of what you learned and how it shaped your career. In other cases the follow up questions are two separate components of the essay. Either way the why behind your pride in accomplishment will reveal what you value most – whether prestige, credit, or the motivation to achieve your goals. Make sure that your values are aligned with how you want to be perceived by the admissions committee.

Whatever you are most proud of, make sure you are addressing why it is important to you. What you learned and how you have used what you learned since in your life can offer invaluable insight as well.

Essay Two: What is your desired career path and why? (up to 400 words)

Michigan Ross is interested to hear what you plan to do after your MBA and what is motivating that decision. The Ross admissions blog is clear that the question is meant to understand your motivation and interests, and that no specific “correct” career is expected. Both traditional and non-traditional MBA goals are welcomed as long as you are sincere about the path you plan to take.

Answering “why” you chose your career path is crucial. As you describe your career path make sure you explain what has led you to pursue it, and why it resonates with you. The answer doesn’t need to be elaborate or dramatic, but it should be convincing and real. The question doesn’t ask “Why MBA?” or “Why Ross?” but you may want to address both questions. Particularly if Ross has unique resources that will help you achieve your goal, it may help your case to explain why Ross.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has worked with successful candidates to Michigan Ross for over a decade and can offer comprehensive strategic advice every step of the way. Contact us to learn more.

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Michigan Ross Director on Interviewing, Team Exercise

This weekend, on-campus interviews kick off at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Soojin Kwon has some reminders for MBA applicants on how to shine during your …

This weekend, on-campus interviews kick off at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Soojin Kwon has some reminders for MBA applicants on how to shine during your interview, and also shares Ross’s perspective on why the team exercise, though optional, is so important.

Based on their experience with Round 1 interviews, the admissions committee is stressing the following points for the next round of interviewees:

  1. Make your answers clear and succinct. This is an important skill. But don’t come across as scripted.
  2. Answer the questions that are asked. This will differentiate the scripted interviewees from those who aren’t. It’ll also demonstrate listening and thinking skills.
  3. Do your research. Know why Ross, why XYZ career (pre- and post-MBA).
  4. Don’t agonize over how you can differentiate yourself, or the fact that you work in a non-business field. If you tell your unique story, and follow Tips 1 – 3, you’ll go a long way towards making a positive impression.

How you present yourself, and your ability to react and respond gracefully in unfamiliar situations, weigh heavily in both the MBA admissions process and later on when recruiting kicks up. Kwon points to data collected by the Graduate Management Admission Counsel’s most recent Corporate Recruiters Report, which indicates that employers consider communication as the most important skill set for new graduate business school hires.

Finally, the director offers some frank advice about the currently optional team exercise. “Opting-in sends us some important positive signals: (1) that you embrace opportunities to shine; (2) that you are comfortable with ambiguity, since you can’t control the team exercise experience; and, (3) finding the right fit is important to you,” says Kwon, noting that MBA recruiters are also looking for these qualities.

From our perspective as MBA admissions consultants, you should never pass up the opportunity for face time with the admissions committee. Allowing them to get to know the real you, beyond the version on paper, is critical to your chances of receiving an offer of admission.

Good luck!

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Group Interview Advice from Michigan Ross Admissions Director

If you have been invited to interview with a school that is using the group interview format, you will absolutely want to take advantage of Stacy Blackman’s live group practice session. This format can be fun, but also challenging and stress inducing! Success comes from practice and becoming comfortable with the format.

We’ll have dedicated groups of 3-6 people for Wharton and Ross, with experienced moderators and admissions experience. You’ll receive preparation tips and a one-hour mock experience, followed by written feedback with actionable advice. For more on this new service, click here.

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Tuesday Tips: Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips

Michigan Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals. At the same time, fit is a …

Michigan Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals. At the same time, fit is a crucial part of the Ross evaluation process and Ross wants to know that you have investigated the program thoroughly and know why you want to attend. When you are approaching this set of essays, think carefully about how you will best illustrate your fit with the Michigan MBA program.

This year Ross changed the essay questions significantly to focus on what you are most proud of both personally and professionally. While previous years’ essays focused on career goals and why MBA, this year the questions require introspection and a demonstration that you learn from experience.

Essay One: What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience? (400 words)

Intellectual ability, professional achievements and teamwork are all among the qualities the Ross admissions committee is looking for in applicants. As you consider topics for this essay focus on the ones that will demonstrate you are a strong leader and that you can learn from experience.

One possible source of ideas are the inflection points in your career. When did you face a turning point or make a big decision about your career? What were some of the most challenging projects you have been part of? Have you been surprised by what you have done well at in your career?

In some cases you may be most proud of an accomplishment because of what you learned and how it shaped your career. In other cases the follow up questions are two separate components of the essay. Either way the why behind your pride in accomplishment will reveal what you value most – whether prestige, credit, or the motivation to achieve your goals. Make sure that your values are aligned with how you want to be perceived by the admissions committee.

Essay Two: What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today? (400 words)

The personal is equally important to Michigan Ross, and the MBA program is designed to help you develop your leadership skills both in terms of professional accomplishment and personal and community interests. The personal attributes the admissions committee are looking for in applicants include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills.

When you consider topics for this essay you may want to write about an important extracurricular accomplishment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background. For example, if you have a track record of club leadership through college and afterwards that can be compelling evidence of your community engagement and leadership skills. On the other end of the spectrum perhaps you have spent time outside your home country for school or work and that has shaped your teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills.

Whatever topic you choose, make sure you are addressing why it is important to you. What you learned and how you have used what you learned since in your life can offer invaluable insight as well.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has worked with successful candidates to Michigan Ross for over a decade and can offer comprehensive strategic advice every step of the way. Contact us to learn more.

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