Tag Archives: Ross School of Business

5 Test Prep Steps from UM Ross Admissions Director

It’s that time of year again, when most b-school applicants have the GMAT or GRE on the brain. Soojin Kwon Koh, director of admissions at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of …

It’s that time of year again, when most b-school applicants have the GMAT or GRE on the brain. Soojin Kwon Koh, director of admissions at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, lays out five steps in the latest Ross Newsletter that can help you develop your own test training plan.

Step One: Start preparing early
Unless you’re a natural at standardized test-taking, you’ll need to train your brain to get it into test-taking mode. Studying is like a workout for your brain, writes Soojin, so the more you exercise it, the better you will perform when it counts.

Step Two: Assess your baseline, then set a goal
Take a practice test to assess the level of training you’ll need to close the gap between your practice score and the average and middle 80 percent range of a school’s GMAT scores. Given a similar professional background and undergraduate performance, a higher GMAT score will make you more competitive, the director explains.

Step Three: Set up a study schedule
Commit to a study plan that fits your schedule and budget. Whether you take a test prep class, work with a tutor, or use study guides, thorough and disciplined preparation is a key to success, Soojin writes. While a score over 700 isn’t necessarily a must, schools want to feel confident you won’t struggle in a rigorous MBA program.

Step Four: Simulate the test day scenario
While you can’t replicate the exam environment completely, do eliminate all distractions, set a timer, and take a practice test at around the same time of day you’ll be taking the actual test. This will help you build up your endurance and maintain focus  throughout the exam.

Step Five: Go for your personal record
If you fall short of your goal on the first try, rally your energies to try again, Soojin urges. The admissions committee considers the highest total score, and she says the majority of Ross applicants take the GMAT more than once. If you do re-test, focus your preparation on the sections that challenged you the most.

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Like most top MBA programs, Ross School of Business evaluates your application holistically; no single section will make or break your candidacy. A great score won’t guarantee admittance, and a less-than-stellar test performance won’t seal your fate.

“Continue these training runs and your preparation regimen until you score in your target range and feel you can go into the actual test with confidence,” Soojin advises.

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Tuesday Tips – Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips

As Dean Dolan advises applicants on the Michigan MBA website, the “Ross difference is action-based learning.” Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are …

As Dean Dolan advises applicants on the Michigan MBA website, the “Ross difference is action-based learning.” Ross is a program that emphasizes learning both inside and outside the classroom, and is seeking candidates that are both intellectually curious and able to accomplish their goals.

When you are approaching this set of essays think about how you will best illustrate your fit with the unique Michigan MBA program.

Don’t forget to check your deadlines before getting started!

Essay 1
Introduce yourself to your future Ross classmates in 100 words or less.

The first thing to ask yourself is what you would want to know about your future classmates as potential teammates and friends? That is the information you should communicate here. If you have worked on your application strategy and thought about your personal branding, this question is just one part of the whole. You will be discussing career goals and other professional aspects of yourself in the next few essays, so this is your opportunity to tell your future classmates something about you as a person. Do you have a unique background you will be able to share with your classmates? What about hobbies and personal accomplishments? Think about this question as the “elevator pitch” to adcomm, and one that should be more personal than professional.

Essay 2
Describe your career goals. How will an MBA from Ross help you to achieve those goals? What is your vision for how you can make a unique contribution to the Ross community? (500 word maximum)

This career goals question is fairly standard, yet focuses more on the future rather than the past. Since you are not specifically asked to explain your entire career path, focus on the high points that will provide the relevant context to your goals. When did you face a turning point or make a big decision about your career? What were some of your proudest accomplishments?

When you describe your goals it will be important that they are both aspirational and credible. Because you are investing in an Michigan MBA, you will want to show how your career goals warrant the time and money you will spend. A promotion to the next level is not enough of a reason to spend two years at the Michigan MBA program, but perhaps your goal to run the company one day is. Think about the goal that will represent the pinnacle of your career in the next 10-20 years, and then describe any other sub-goals that will help you get there.

Having done your research on Michigan MBA’s academics and resources will help you answer the question about your motivation to pursue an MBA at Ross and how you will contribute to the community. Choose specific classes, professors and programs that fit into your career goals. Think about clubs and conferences that are unique to the Michigan MBA and will advance your career. This question is about more than how Ross will help you achieve your goals, you’ll also need to show your unique value as a member of the community. Can you share your career expertise? Your network? Personal hobbies or skills? Think again about what you would want from a future classmate and apply that filter to your unique talents.

Essay 3
Describe a time in your career when you were frustrated or disappointed. What did you learn from that experience? (500 word maximum)

Behavioral questions like this one are meant to illustrate how you have acted in situations in the past, as a predictor of future behavior. Your answer should be concise but detailed, and clearly lay out both the situation and what you did and thought as you navigated the outcome.

Often a tough experience is an excellent learning opportunity and contributes to your growth and development. Don’t be afraid to admit that you have faced frustration and disappointment, because you are only human. The important part of this story is how you reacted and what you learned. Think about the type of person who will be successful in a Michigan MBA program and as a manager and a leader. What skills do you share with a strong leader, and were any formed during a challenging interpersonal situation like this?
Similar to the HBS essay, this is an opportunity to show how you handle challenging situations. Everyone faces frustrations and challenges at work; it is how you decide to react that creates learning and growth. Revealing your emotions and thought process in this essay will provide a window into how you process difficult experiences and emerge from them with a new direction.

The key to a successful essay is to demonstrate how, specifically, you navigated the experience. A lesson learned or beneficial outcome to the experience would end the essay well and allow you to illustrate your leadership, teamwork or social skills.

Essay 4
Select one of the following questions:
Ӣ What are you most passionate about and why? (300 word maximum)

Since you have only 300 words you will want to focus on one aspect of your personal, professional or extracurricular life that really excites you.

Overall, this essay is meant to show how introspective you really are. Have you thought deeply about your passions and motivations in life, and do you know what truly makes you happy? If you can show that you understand yourself and are most motivated by your own passions rather than the expectations of others, you can demonstrate both self-awareness and maturity in this essay.

If the open ended prompt is intimidating you can try brainstorming over a period of a few days. Ask friends and family what most excites you when you go about your day to day life. Keep a notebook by your bed so you can record your first thoughts upon waking up, or dreams that might help you understand your passions.

Ӣ Describe a personal challenge or obstacle and why you view it as such. How have you dealt with it? What have you learned from it? (300 word maximum)
This essay question is similar to Essay 3, but focuses on a personal challenge or obstacle. This question is the perfect opportunity to bring up a pivotal moment in your background that has shaped your personal development. Challenges often reveal quite a bit about character, and your story should convey how you handled the situation, and reflect upon the key lessons of the situation. If you are describing a challenge that was external to you rather than self-imposed be sure to avoid blame or excuses. Everyone faces challenges or obstacles in life, and your response will reveal a tremendous amount about your character. This kind of essay is ideal to seek a third-party opinion on tone and approach.

Optional Essay
Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (500 word maximum)

If there are any areas of concern, this is the correct place to address them. Strike an upbeat tone here and avoid excuses. Explain your issue clearly and focus most of the essay on the correction for the issue. For example, if you had a disciplinary issue in college, spend most of the issue demonstrating that you learned from the experience and have been an ideal citizen ever since.

If you do not have a weakness to address here, it’s an ideal opportunity to provide any information that you were unable to work into the other three essays. If you have an unusual background, hobby or extracurricular experience, this may be an opportunity to provide that information to the adcomm.

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Michigan Ross School of Business Posts Deadlines, Essay Topics

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has announced the deadlines and essay topics for the 2011-2012 application season. The three deadline rounds are as follows: Round 1 Deadline: October 10, 2011 Notification: January …

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has announced the deadlines and essay topics for the 2011-2012 application season.

The three deadline rounds are as follows:

Round 1
Deadline: October 10, 2011
Notification: January 13, 2012

Round 2:
Deadline: January 4, 2012
Notification: March 15, 2012

Round 3:
Deadline: March 1, 2012
Notification: May 15, 2012

The Fall 2012 Full-Time MBA Program Essay Topics:

1. Introduce yourself to your future Ross classmates in 100 words or less.

2. Describe your career goals. How will an MBA from Ross help you to achieve those goals? What is your vision for how you can make a unique contribution to the Ross community? (500 word maximum)

3. Describe a time in your career when you were frustrated or disappointed. What did you learn from that experience? (500 word maximum)

4. Select one of the following questions:
Ӣ What are you most passionate about? (300 word maximum)
Ӣ Describe a personal challenge or obstacle and why you view it as such. How have you dealt with it? What have you learned from it? (300 word maximum)

5. Optional question: Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (500 word maximum)

International applicants are encouraged to apply in either the first or second round. The Ross MBA application will be available online in August.  Visit the admissions website at Ross School of Business for more information.

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The Race for Bigger, Better B-Schools

This post originally appeared on the U.S. News — Strictly Business blog A shiny new campus really does make a difference”“even for business schools firmly ensconced at the top of the heap.  Seeing a flawless, …

This post originally appeared on the U.S. News — Strictly Business blog

A shiny new campus really does make a difference”“even for business schools firmly ensconced at the top of the heap.  Seeing a flawless, state-of-the-art facility, whether it’s still in the conceptual phase or newly inaugurated, can inspire other donors and kick-start a lot more giving.

Suddenly, people feel excited about the school again, and enthusiastic about the learning possibilities and potential that exist in an educational institution. With all of the technological innovations currently taking place, an overhaul of facilities is vital to ensure that they are optimal for teaching, sharing and learning. Beautiful campuses make excellent marketing tools as well.

The “arms race” to build bigger and better business schools inevitably attracts the brightest applicants and professors, and larger schools can enroll more students, who shell out more than $80,000 per year in tuition, room and board and other expenses. With those figures in mind, competition between the schools is fierce. Let’s just say that once the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (as it was then known) unveiled their beautiful new campus in 2004, the pressure increased just a tad on Kellogg School of Management to do the same.

Anyone touring the top schools in the Chicago area could not help but notice a gaping difference between the two campuses.  Chicago GSB just felt like a more fabulous place to learn, regardless of what the teachers were doing or saying.

When entrepreneur David G. Booth made history with his mind-boggling gift of $300 million in 2008””still the largest gift to any business school in the world””the name change to Chicago Booth School of Business happened overnight”¦as did the university’s cementing of its status as a premier institution for management education.

Stanford Graduate School of Business held the grand opening of its new, $345 million campus, the Knight Management Center, just over a month ago. Made possible in part by a gift of $105 million given by Nike founder Philip H. Knight in 2006, construction of the new campus came as a result of 2007 changes in the M.B.A. curriculum that called for smaller class sizes, necessitating smaller and more classrooms.

Stanford also built the new center with the goal of earning the United States Green Building Council’s LEED platinum level certification. Knight Center Program Director Kathleen Kavanaugh told The Stanford Daily that green facilities were a priority for educational reasons as well, in hopes that students would carry environmental motivations into their careers.

Thanks to two significant donations late last year, Yale School of Management is well positioned to keep up with the Joneses. The school received the largest gift in its history in December with a $50 million pledge from Yale College alumnus Edward (Ned) P. Evans, who died less than two weeks later. Construction of the SOM’s new 4.25 acre, state-of-the-art campus, designed by the famed architecture firm Foster + Partners, will incorporate the latest in green construction materials and practices and will house high-tech classrooms, faculty offices, academic centers, and student and meeting spaces organized around a welcoming courtyard.

Meanwhile, a donation of $10 million in November from Yale alum Wilbur L. Ross is slated for a state-of-the-art library facility supporting teaching and research. The SOM celebrated the groundbreaking of its new campus in late April and is scheduled to open in 2013.

The trend of mega donations spread to Harvard Business School last October, when it received the largest gift from an international donor in the school’s 102-year history. A gift of $50 million from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, philanthropic entities of India’s Tata Group, will fund a new academic and residential building on the Harvard Business School campus in Boston for participants in the school’s Executive Education programs. The school hopes to break ground for the building, which will be named Tata Hall, later this year.

Columbia Business School also received a major cash infusion last October, when it received the largest gift in its history. Alumnus Henry R. Kravis, co-founder of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, pledged $100 million to support the construction of the business school’s new facilities, which are part of Columbia’s long-term campus plan on several blocks of the old Manhattanville manufacturing zone. One of the business school’s two new buildings will be named The Henry R. Kravis Building in recognition of Kravis’s generosity.

While a business school’s physical condition isn’t the most important consideration for applicants, there’s no denying the strong allure of facilities that provide access to the latest technology. But the real payoff comes from wealthy alumni, whose donations have paved the way for these super structures.

Robert Dolan, who was dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business when it opened a 270,000-square feet, $145 million building in 2009, said “The better the experience people have, the better they feel about the place, the more likely it will be that they would support it at some point.”

 

 

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Moving from the Military to Business School

This post first appeared on the U.S. News”“Strictly Business blog With Memorial Day upon us, it seems fitting to take a look at one special group of b-school students: war veterans. In fact, my very …

This post first appeared on the U.S. News”“Strictly Business blog

With Memorial Day upon us, it seems fitting to take a look at one special group of b-school students: war veterans. In fact, my very first client, many years ago, was in the military. Despite having a 540 GMAT, he was admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. In all, our military clients have consistently done quite well, often despite having low test scores.

Military applicants tend to blow other candidates out of the water, figuratively speaking, because they have a wealth of experience to draw from at a very young age. While many b-school hopefuls can only speak to sitting in cubicles, crunching numbers for the boss, these veteran applicants have had to deal with highly stressful situations, think on their feet, make ethical decisions, and lead important projects.

Veterans automatically know how to work in a team and they have respect””an important characteristic for business school students. The top M.B.A. programs value this type of experience because it gives the applicants a real-world maturity and a unique perspective during classroom discussions that others are lacking.

In recent years, b-schools have beefed up their efforts to attract veterans. A funding increase in the post-9/11 G.I. Bill (a bill that provides financial assistance for housing and education to servicemembers), as well as the launch of the Yellow Ribbon Program, have helped make a dent in M.B.A. tuition, which can be prohibitively expensive for veterans lacking income from several years at a traditional job.

The Yellow Ribbon Program allows U.S. universities to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public, in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute up to 50 percent of those expenses and the government will match the same amount as the institution.

So which programs are the most military friendly? According to Military M.B.A., an education and employment network for military officers interested in pursuing this degree, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, and the Duke University Fuqua School of Business rank as the top five “best value schools.”

The results weigh the amounts of tuition waived for veterans against the U.S.News & World Report ranking of M.B.A. programs. The study aims to help veterans by providing a more comprehensive look at business schools than mainstream magazine ranking systems, which are geared toward traditional, not military, M.B.A. students.

The Tuck School of Business leads the pack because, according to the review, 80.4 percent of a veteran’s tuition at Tuck is covered. But veterans who meet certain qualifications for the Yellow Ribbon Program””including, in part, 36 months of active duty service””often have all costs covered, Diane Bonin, director of financial aid at Tuck, noted in a story in The Dartmouth last year.

In October, veterans who are currently pursuing or have already earned an M.B.A. from a qualifying top-ranked program are invited to participate in the 2011 M.B.A. Veterans Career Conference. This annual conference was established in 2008 by two former U.S. Army officers and second year M.B.A. students. It aims to connect current M.B.A. students who are former military personnel with recruiters from leading companies in order to establish a community for M.B.A. students and alumni who share a common background. Many companies consider the event a premiere recruiting venue, and one recruiter calls officers and enlisted candidates the closest one can get to a “100 percent guarantee” of a successful hire.

Veterans contemplating an M.B.A. should check out the Military to Business blog by a newly minted Harvard Business School grad that I’ve featured numerous times as a B-School Buzz blogger on my website. His blog has so much useful information for veterans that it’s hard to pinpoint a single entry to highlight. However, a post from December provides a financial breakdown that should reassure anyone fearing astronomical debt should he or she forego the workforce after leaving active duty. According to Military to Business’s calculations, most veterans end up with only $10,000 to $50,000 in total debt after two years.

“This reinforces the message I tell a lot of people who write in and are concerned with losing their steady military income,” the Military to Business blogger writes. “Fear no more. The economics of a military person going to a top business school is extremely favorable. You can make more your first 3-4 years after business school than you probably would in the military over the next 10 years.” From a purely economic point of view, he stresses, it’s a net positive financial decision.

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Michigan MBA Director Provides R3 Update, Word of Caution

Soojin Kwon Koh, director of admissions at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, updated the MBA admissions blog Friday with the news that round three decisions were released earlier in the week and the …

Soojin Kwon Koh, director of admissions at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, updated the MBA admissions blog Friday with the news that round three decisions were released earlier in the week and the waitlist has seen some activity–both with admits and denies.

“We will likely make additional admissions offers after the Round 3 enrollment decision of June 1,” says Soojin, and the admissions team plans to be done with the waitlist by the end of June. As is the case at all top programs, the goal is to create the best possible class, and Soojin says that Ross School of Business has several rounds of independent reviews of each file to ensure that happens.

Landing, or remaining, on the waitlist at your favored program is stressful for most people, but the director cautions applicants not to let stress cloud their judgement of what is appropriate behavior in that situation.

“Over the last few months, I have received notes from applicants (in various stages of the admissions process) that were rather inappropriate in their tone,” says Soojin. “I understand that they were probably written from a place of very strong emotions. But they didn’t reflect well on the candidates’ judgment, maturity, poise, professionalism, and resilience – all things that we value highly.”

Don’t think if you simply make nice with the admissions staff you’re golden. Every personal interaction plays a part in admissions decisions, from the way an applicant treats the receptionist to communications with members of the greater Ross community, the director explains.

Consider waiting a day or two before sending off any missives that may come off as aggressive or inappropriate if written when emotions ran high. If the recipient will see anything less than your best self in the note or application, Soojin urges applicants to cool off or revise until it does.

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For more of my essay and interview tips, as well as prior posts about Ross School of Business, follow this link.

 

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