The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is located in the town of Ann Arbor. Ross is well regarded for its action-based learning approach—as evidenced by the school’s Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP), the consulting project that all first-year students must complete—as well as its extensive university resources and career placement across a broad range of industries.

Professors at Ross teach using a mix of case studies, classroom discussions and lectures with an emphasis on experiential learning.  This emphasis is particularly notable in the MAP, in which teams of students spend a term completing consulting projects for real companies. Ross also offers a variety of courses, extracurricular opportunities and competitions for students looking for further practical experience. First-year students are typically divided into six sections of around 80 students each, and each section takes the same required first-year courses together.

In this post, IMS will help you to create a successful Ross MBA application!

The Ross MBA application this year has a short answer section and a more traditional essay question. You have to select one essay prompt from each group of the short answer section, while the traditional essay question is compulsory. Each answer for the short answer section has a word limit of a 100 words. Essay prompts are statements that focus on a topic or an issue, followed by questions. The purpose of an essay prompt is to inspire a response in the form of an essay, which will test your writing, reasoning, and analytical skills.

Short Answer Questions:

Group 1: This group enables you to highlight accomplishments.

  • I want people to know that I: This question is entirely open ended and allows you to talk about something you are proud of. This can be a quality, an experience or a situation where you showcase a personal strength.
  • I turned an idea into action when I: Given Ross’s emphasis on action based learning, you can use the second question to describe when you were able to think through an idea and successfully execute it.
  • I made a difference when I: Use this question to showcase how you have made a difference to a person or an organization. If possible, quantify your accomplishments!

Group 2: This group is more about your reaction to events in your life and your character. These prompts enable you to talk about some of the unique experiences in your life, like working with people different from yourself,  or facing challenges and difficult situations.

  • I showed my resilience when I: Use this space to address how you  interpret what happens to you and how you handle adversity, failure and discomfort.
  • I was humbled when: Use this space to address how  you react to being proved incorrect. Are you someone who is easily challenged? Do you get bogged down easily?
  • I am out of my comfort zone when: Use this space to address what challenges you. This could be a professionally challenging situation.

Group 3: This group is an opportunity to highlight your personal brand and uniqueness. Questions in this group ask for self reflection as you describe who you are and how others may get to know about you.

  • I was aware that I am different when: Use this space to address what personal quality makes you different from the people you know. How does this quality influence your behavior?
  • I find it challenging when people: Explain what makes situations challenging for you. Mention certain people’s behaviors that have been challenging towards you. How do you deal with these challenges?
  • A valuable thing I have taught someone is: Explain what you have taught people in terms of a professional skill or personal development.

Although these questions are presented as short-answer questions on the Michigan Ross application, they are unquestionably mini essays. Each one offers you around four to five sentences in which to present your selected story. Some of the personal attributes most valued at Ross include community engagement and interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills.

When you think about your short answers, write about an important extracurricular moment, a challenge you overcame, or an event in your life that highlights something unique about your background. Ross wants to use these questions to get to know you. So choose the response in each group that feels most authentic to you and reveals who you are as an individual. Let your three choices reveal something new and interesting about you.

While drafting your responses make sure that they:

  • Genuinely reflect who you are as a candidate and are as specific to you as possible.
  • Are complementary to each other.
  • Do not discuss a part of your profile that is already well explained or represented elsewhere in your application.

Essay Two:  Please share your short-term and long-term career goals. What skills/strengths do you have that will be relevant to your career goals? How will Ross prepare you for your goals? (300 words)

To craft a successful essay response to this question follow the tips given below:

  • Clearly present both your immediate post-MBA goal and your longer-term aspiration.
  • Ensure that the connection between these two objectives is clear. Provide appropriate context or explanation to reveal the connection and why the transition from one to the other is reasonable and attainable for you.
  • Describe the skills and background you already possess that can position you for success in your desired roles and industry. Along with these, highlight the skills you need via an MBA education. This will demonstrate your understanding of what is required to reach your stated positions and thrive there. You don’t need to show that you already have the experience to pursue a particular career goal, rather that you understand the skills that are important for your chosen career path.
  • Identify the resources and experiences Michigan Ross offers (and, ideally, that other top business schools do not) that will allow you to gain the abilities and exposure you currently lack.

We hope these essay tips help you create an excellent Ross application! Happy essay writing!

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