Thursday, September 10, 2009

Univeristy of Michigan (Ross) MBA Admissions Essays for 2009-2010

Today we look at The University of Michigan's Ross School of Business' admissions essays. Ross's essays actually carry over completely unchanged vs. last year, and so our analysis remains pretty much the same.

Note that when a school keeps its essays the same, that suggests that its essays are working well for the admissions office, meaning that they do a good job of helping the admissions team separate out the great applicants from the merely good ones. So, make sure you're sufficiently answering the questions they ask! That's always important advice, but in this case it's even more important (if that's even possible!).

Here are the Ross MBA admissions essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Michigan (Ross) Application Essays
Long Answers:
  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 Ross? (500 words)

  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. (500 words)

  3. (Note the emphasis on leadership in the second question. Ross not only wants to know what you accomplished, but also wants to understand exactly what you did to make it happen. Also, note that this question also focuses on the impact that your actions had on your organization. More than your role or job title, admissions officers care about what positive impact you truly have on those around you.)

Short answers:
  1. 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 multidisciplinary problems? (300 words)

    (This question provides a good opportunity to show another side of you that may not otherwise come out in your application. As long as you can tie it back to one of the core dimensions in your application, don't be afraid to write about something that seems to be off the wall here.)

  2. Describe your experience during a challenging time in your life. Explain how you grew personally, either despite this challenge or because of it. (300 words)

    (As is the case with all "personal growth" questions, the most important part is the second one -- describing what you learned and how you changed as a result. While many schools ask more job-related failure/challenge questions, Michigan's focus here appears to be a little more on your personal life. If your most compelling story is a job-related one, that's not out of bounds, but make sure you can tie it back to what you learned and how you grew.)

Optional Question:
  1. Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy?

    (If you really do feel the need to explain something, then address it and move on. In other words, don't dwell on it or provide that weakness with more stage time than it deserves!)

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