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 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!