Accepted.com is continuing a blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.
Here’s a talk with Katie Tamarelli, a second year student at Michigan Ross – a Michigan native who just can’t seem to get enough of the area! Thank you Katie for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from? What did you study as an undergraduate and when did you graduate?
Katie: I am basically from the Detroit area, Beverly Hills, MI to be exact. I studied Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan and graduated in 2007. I lived in New York City for three years before business school working as a software developer/business analyst for an investment bank.
Accepted: Why did you decide to attend Michigan Ross School of Business? Was it that you just couldn’t pull yourself away from the UMich system? Is the program meeting your expectations?
Katie: I decided to attend Michigan for a number of reasons, one of which does include that I do love Ann Arbor and love the University. I was looking for a strong general management and leadership programs, both of which Ross excels in.
I like the strength of the other graduate programs at Ross and how Ross encourages dual degrees. I find this really enriches the classroom as so many of my classmates are approaching programs in different angles. The College of Engineering, which I attended for undergrad, has a dual program with the business school in the Tauber Institute.
I do love the University and Ann Arbor. Ross actually has a high number of people returning for their second degree at Michigan. I am not sure of the exact percent, but my guess is that it is about 7-8% of students, which seems higher than what I hear from students at other schools. I think Ann Arbor offers an interesting atmosphere where you are definitely in a college town with great collegiate sports, but also a town that attracts very important performers, speakers, and shows.
I also have a long term interest in philanthropy either within a corporation or large foundation. I found that Ross has a number of programs to support those interests including the Nonprofit Management Center and the William Davidson Institute.
Accepted: Can you share your thoughts on Ross’s signature Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP)? (Note to readers: MAP is a program that all students participate in at the end of their first year.)
Katie: I had such a great experience with MAP last year. I was selected for a project with Fauchier Partners (my number one choice!), a hedge fund provider, based in London. My team of 4 basically was tasked with assessing the globe and finding attractive new markets for them regarding a certain type of investor.
I think this project is definitely the cornerstone of the MBA program. As Ross pushed you through the core curriculum, sometimes it is hard to see how things come together. Our project involved marketing, finance, MO (Management and Organizations), strategy and a little bit of econ. They truly are multidisciplinary.
The MAP project also gives you a second internship, which can be great for career switchers or if you have side interests or just want to try something completely different for a few months. My project was in an industry that I had worked in previously, but a totally different function.
Our project sponsor was fantastic. They had spent a number of meetings identifying and specifying our project. When we arrived in London, our liaison had arranged over a dozen meetings for us with all of our key stakeholders including the CEO and his two direct reports. Throughout the project, we interacted with a number of high ranking investment officers to learn about their views on alternative investments. I was amazed that these people were willing to take the time out of their day to help us with our project. About 90% of these people were either alums or alums put us in contact with them.
Accepted: You already mentioned some of the reasons why you love Ann Arbor. Can you share a few more of your favorite things about the city? Least favorite?
- All the students live relatively close to one another.
- Very walkable town for nightlife.
- Close to Detroit, 30 minutes to a major hub airport.
- You do need a car to drive to the grocery store.
- Unfortunately Ann Arbor does NOT do a good job plowing in the winter.
Accepted: Can you recommend any cozy places to study, drink coffee, and shmooze near campus?
Katie: Some of my favorite places in Ann Arbor are:
- Potbellys for studying and lunch.
- The Grange on Main Street for their cocktails and appetizers.
- Ashley’s on Liberty for their wide variety of beers on tap.
- Knights (a little out of downtown) for its unbelievable meat selection. They have their own butcher shop and supply most of the nice restaurants in Ann Arbor with its meat.
Accepted: In terms of job search/recruitment, what is the best thing Ross has done? I see you worked at Amazon.com last summer — what role did Ross play in that?
Katie: I think the best thing Ross has done is hire so many of the second year MBAs (MBA2s) to act as peer counselors for the other students. At Ross, the career office handles general career preparation, but most of the functional specific information comes from the professional clubs (like the Finance Club, Marketing Club or Consulting Club) and MBA2s.
Ross brought Amazon.com to campus last year for interviewing and the clubs helped create networking opportunities with Amazon prior to the interviews.
Ross does a great job of bringing just about every large company you can think of to campus from all over the US in just about every industry. They enable opportunities for students to interact with the companies. I definitely got my full time job through them as well.
Accepted: Congratulations on the job! Could you tell us a bit more about that? What’s the job and what steps were taken (on your side and Ross’s) to secure it?
Katie: I am going to be working for Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a consultant in their Detroit office located in the suburb of Troy, MI. Ross is considered a core school for BCG. As I approached my final (for a while at least!) job search, I was really interested in positions within the Detroit area particular within corporate finance or consulting. Ross’s relationship with BCG was very important. I became intrigued when they had a corporate presentation on campus and I had a chance to interact with Detroit office consultants and partners. I worked with the Consulting Club and peer counselors in the Office of Career Development (OCD) to prepare for the case interviews. I had a number of informational interviews with BCG consultants and used my own network as well to prepare for the interviews. First round interviews were held on campus through OCD with the second round following shortly after in the Detroit office.
I am very excited to be staying in the Detroit office and working on exciting, challenging projects with BCG! I am very lucky that my career search wrapped up so early.
The second wave of offers (primarily from marketing and corporate finance) are coming out right now.
Accepted: Now that you are a second year student, can you offer advice to incoming students on how to make the most of their first year in business school?
Katie: As I am sure everyone says, try not to get behind. I think going back to school is a different experience for some, especially since recruiting tends to not have hard and fast deadlines. It seems really easy to slip on those and just push back what needs to get done. Don’t let that happen! It was nice going into recruiting last year feeling in control and like I knew what would happen next.
Also, be aware that everyone has different priorities and just try to get those on the table early. Most group work problems seem to stem from a lack of communication about priorities and commitments.
Don’t get sucked into saying yes to certain events just because “everyone is doing it.” I think it is really important to figure out your personal priorities.
Accepted: Do you have any admissions tips to offer our Ross applicants?
Katie: Even if you cannot make it to Ann Arbor, try to find Ross alumni in your area to speak to, ideally in person and if that doesn’t work, speak to someone over the phone.
I also receive a lot of questions about employment opportunities for Ross graduates. I would recommend reviewing the Career Development report to answer those questions. Ross grads are really hired all over the U.S. in all sorts of industries and company sizes.
Please visit our Michigan Ross B-School Zone page for more Ross-specific advice. Still haven’t decided which b-school are best for you? Download our FREE special report, Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Choosing the Right One for You, to help you narrow down your choices and begin your application efforts out on the right foot.