The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is a top-ranked MBA program that provides real-world opportunities for students. Ross is about learning both inside and outside the classroom. The Ross MBA program is a close-knit community, and your application should demonstrate you fit in. Review our Ross MBA essay tips and show the admissions committee you are intellectually curious and able to accomplish your goals.
Visiting Ross or learning about the program through current students, alumni or faculty would be helpful before starting this set of essays. However, because of challenges due to COVID-19, online research may have to do for now.
With that in mind, check out Admissions Director Soojin Kwon’s excellent tips from a previous blog post on the Michigan admissions website. Once again, Ross will accept the MCAT and LSAT, along with the GRE and GMAT, to make testing easier for COVID-impacted applicants.
PART 1: SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
Select one prompt from each group. Respond to your selected prompts using 100 words or fewer (<100 words each; 200 words total).
• I want people to know that I:
• I made a difference when I:
• I was aware that I was different when:
• I am out of my comfort zone when:
• I was humbled when:
• I was challenged when:
Take note that these short answers are about getting to know you personally, not your collection of accomplishments. Ross values community engagement, interpersonal communication, and teamwork skills. The admissions committee says clearly: “The most interesting and insightful responses to these prompts remain when applicants share personal examples.”
When you think about your short answers, you may want to write about an important extracurricular moment, a challenge you overcame, or a life event that highlights something unique about your background. The questions are short and purposeful. The experiences you describe should be clear and stand alone.
Looking at each group in turn, Group 1 might be an opportunity to talk about your values and background. It reads as a place to highlight what drives and motivates you on a deeper level than your career.
The first open-ended prompt allows you to talk about something you feel proud of—a personal quality or experience. For the next prompt, you could describe when you made a difference to an organization or person, or advanced an important cause.
Finally, the last prompt is about how you are unique. Consider what sets you apart from others and what unique qualities you will bring to Ross.
Group 2 is more about your reaction to events in your life and your character. In addition, it could be an essay to describe your accomplishments. How do you interpret what happens to you and how do you handle adversity and discomfort? Perhaps you have had unique experiences in life thus far.
For example, living outside your home country, working with diverse groups, or overcoming a challenge at work or in your personal life. In essence, this is an opportunity to shine with your best stories of work, school, and relationships.
PART 2: ESSAY
Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. What is your short-term career goal and why? (200 words)
Ross further shortened and streamlined this career goals essay as compared to last year. Admissions Director Kwon said Michigan Ross is looking for straightforward responses to this essay question. Therefore, to answer this essay directly, you should state your career goal in a sentence or two. Then, use the remainder of the space to elaborate.
Make sure to answer “why” you chose your short-term career goal in this Ross MBA essay. As you describe your goal make sure you explain what has led you to pursue it. Also, share why it resonates with you. The answer doesn’t need to be elaborate or dramatic, but it should be convincing and authentic.
Note that the question highlights “all backgrounds and different career goals” that thrive at Ross. If you have a unique background or goal, it can be an asset to show how you will contribute to this environment where everyone thrives.
Kwon advised last year that the admissions committee does not expect you to have all the experience needed for your career goals right now. However, “We want to know that you understand the skills that are important for your desired career. Recruiters assess whether you’re able to bring relevant skills/strengths to the table, so we do the same. Some of the skills and knowledge you’ll need will be developed during your time in the MBA program, but students are more successful in their career search if they understand the skills required to succeed in their chosen field.”
Optional statement: Is there something in your resume or application that could use some explanation? You might want to discuss the completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.
Take it directly from the Ross admissions director: “The optional essay should only be used if there’s something in your background that requires a brief explanation. It’s not the place to submit an essay you wrote for another school, or to tell us how much you love Ross.”
Think about anything that may raise questions while reviewing a resume, transcript, or recommendations. Typically the kinds of gaps that raise questions are significant gaps in employment (more than a few months), anything below a C on your college transcript (particularly in quantitative coursework), and low test scores.
Stacy Blackman Consulting has worked with successful candidates to Michigan Ross for over a decade and can offer comprehensive strategic advice every step of the way. So now that you’ve reviewed our Ross MBA essay tips, contact us to learn more.