Michigan MBA Essay Tips

Essay 1: Briefly describe your short-term and long-term career goals. Why is an MBA the best choice at this point in your career? What and/or who influenced your decision to apply to the Michigan MBA program?
As with other “why MBA” questions from Columbia, Tuck, and Wharton Business School, this question has three separate questions.

Briefly describe your short-term and long-term career goals.
As always, note that they are asking for your future goals, not your career history. Use this opportunity to articulate a concrete plan that reflects your values as well as why your goals are meaningful to you. The only reason to touch on your previous career (or volunteer or personal) experiences is to explain how you developed your goals, but do not dwell on past experiences.

Why is an MBA the best choice at this point in your career?
This is essentially “why now” as we’ve seen in Wharton‘s essay. Explain what is motivating you to apply to school – move up in current career, change careers, etc. Or maybe you’ve gained the skills you wanted after college and now feel ready to reach for your dream. Just be sure to articulate your reasoning.

What and/or who influenced your decision to apply to Ross?
This is “why a Michigan MBA” with a twist. As with every school, you must be specific about how Ross will help you achieve your goals – classes, clubs, etc. They want to see that you are ready to take advantage of the Michigan MBA and make a difference in their community. Further you can elaborate to include people (alumni, students, professors, admissions representatives that you have met through personal connections or information sessions) who have given you a sense of the Michigan MBA community and offerings. Show that you understand the culture and explain why it’s the right fit for you.

Essay 2: Describe your most significant professional accomplishment. Elaborate on the leadership skills you displayed, the actions you took and the impact you had on your organization.
This a leadership question wrapped in an accomplishment question. Note that you must choose an example from your career. As with all questions of this nature, set up the experience quickly and focus on the your actions, reflection, and results. Give concrete examples of the leadership skills you displayed and articulate measurable as well as more intangible results.

Short Answers (300 word max)

Essay 3: If you were not pursuing the career goals you described in Question 1, what profession would you pursue instead? (for example, teacher, musician, athlete, architect, etc.) How will this alternate interest contribute to your effectiveness in solving multi-disciplinary problems?
This is a chance to show your more creative side. Reveal interests and passions that are not obvious when looking at your resume. Further give an example of how this side of your personality allows you to create innovative solutions to complex problems.

Essay 4: Describe your experience during a challenging time in your life. Explain how you grew personally, either despite this challenge or because of it.
Like the HBS mistake question, the point of this essay is to communicate your lessons learned from an experience. Set up the event quickly and dedicate most of your words to your reflection. Ideally, you can show how you have applied these lessons learned. Don’t be afraid to reveal personal events from your life.

Optional Question: Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy?
This is an opportunity to address a low GPA, unconventional choice of recommender, gap in work history, etc. As with all essays of this nature, stick with the facts and explain the situation succinctly


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