Michigan Ross MBA Director Explains ‘Holistic Review,’ Gives Advice for R2

Michigan Ross MBA admissions

Many business schools call their MBA admissions process holistic, and the University of Michigan Ross School of Business is no exception.  We think admissions director Soojin Kwon‘s latest blog post really helps clarify that point for applicants who may be wondering what, exactly, does a holistic review mean?

In a nutshell, a holistic review means taking into account several different factors when making admissions decisions: test scores, professional achievements, essays, and fit. This provides some comfort to applicants worried their chances will get torpedoed by a low-ish GMAT, or a lack of job titles that indicate an obvious leadership position. But, Kwon cautions, holistic review doesn’t mean all of those elements are weighted equally.

“For applicants who are agonizing over the essays, let me put it into perspective,” the director writes. “Spectacular essays won’t outweigh weak competitive academics or work experience. That said, a high GMAT isn’t everything. Last year, we denied hundreds of applicants with GMAT scores higher than 700. Rest assured, we read and evaluate all pieces of your application as we’re getting to know you.”

With the Round 2 deadline just after the New Year, applicants still have time to polish their essays, have one more go at the GMAT or GRE, or tweak their MBA resumes. Kwon is known for placing heavy emphasis on the candidate’s resume, and she reiterates that fact in this post.

Go over your resume carefully and banish any industry-specific acronyms or jargon that a lay person wouldn’t recognize, and make sure to highlight the achievements that identify results and impact, Kwon advises. As for the essays, she says make sure they are clear, sound like you, and fully answer the question, leaving no doubts in the reader’s mind.

Michigan Ross plans to hold an application webinar with last-minute tips for Round 2 on Monday, December 14th at 12:30 pm EST. If you need guidance—or reassurance—mark your calendars for that valuable info session.

Round 1 decisions come out on December 18th, so good luck to those applicants still interviewing and awaiting their outcome.

You may also be interested in:

Round 1 Interview Updates from the Ross School
Michigan Ross MBA Director on the Best Time to Visit Schools


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