Michigan Ross Admissions Director Gives Candid MBA Essay Advice

Michigan Ross MBA essaysAt Michigan Ross School of Business, MBA admissions director Soojin Kwon is a straight shooter who always strives to offer b-school hopefuls the clearest, most authentic application advice possible.

We think Kwon’s latest blog post on how she would answer this season’s MBA essays provides both concrete examples for the short answer questions as well as a great tip for how you might get the brainstorm session started.

As you know by now if targeting Michigan Ross, this year the school has decided to introduce a short-answer section with three groups of prompts. Applicants need to chose one prompt from each section and respond in 100 words or less.

“We want to get to know more about you than we would in a traditional essay where you’d talk at length about one topic,” Kwon explained in May when announcing the changes. “You’ll get to share different sides of yourself that will be relevant to your experience during business school.”

This week, the admissions director shares a helpful starting point for applicants, based on her experience with coworkers who asked Kwon the questions out loud.

“As a first pass, I responded verbally, to see what would come to mind first to each question, then picked the responses that felt the most ‘authentically me’ within each group,” Kwon writes. “If you’re like me, this may be an easier way to start the reflection process than staring at a blank screen.”

Click on over to the Admissions Director Blog to read exactly how Kwon answered these short-answer questions:

Group 1: I made a difference when…
Group 2: I was out of my comfort zone when
Group 3: A valuable thing I have taught someone is…

“The hardest part of doing this wasn’t coming up with the ‘what’,” she reveals. “The hardest part was getting each word count down to 100 words. It required boiling each response down to its core elements. Every word had to be critical to the story. It was like solving a puzzle to try to balance content with brevity.”

Here at Stacy Blackman, we’ve coached Ross applicants by reminding them that the personal attributes most valued at Ross include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills. When you think about your short answers you may want to write about an important extracurricular moment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background.

Take note that these short answers are about getting to know you as a person, not as a collection of accomplishments. Your values and personal life will ideally shine through.

The Michigan Ross admissions team will host a webinar on Tuesday, August 29th from 1-2 pm CST.  Register today for more information about applying to Ross.

With deadlines around the corner, you may be interested in the world-famous SBC Flight Test. Once a full set of application materials for your initial school have been drafted, but not finalized, the application will be sent to a former admissions committee member for a one-time review, adcomm style. You’ll have the benefit of a true admissions committee review while still having the ability to tinker and change.  You will receive written feedback within two business days after submitting.

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