Michigan Ross 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Click here for more top b-school application essay tips!Ross completely redid the essay part of its MBA application this year. Getting rid of its long-standing goals essay, a fairly new “elevator pitch” question, and a question about dealing with frustrating or disappointing situations, it added two questions on achievements.  The overall word count is down 150 words.

Since the application is not live, I can’t see the short answer questions or the online boxes. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Ross asks about goals in the non-essay portion of the application.

Review Ross’ Evaluation Criteria before you sit down to write the essays. And remember: your essays should reveal the qualities Ross seeks — not just mouth them. Show that you walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Also, read carefully the introductory paragraph to the essay questions. The advice is excellent.

My comments are in blue below. 

Essays:

Our goal with these new questions is that we’ll get a sense of who you are, how you think about yourself and how you process your experiences. The range of responses can be quite wide – from an accomplishment to a challenge or difficult situation that you overcame or a characteristic about yourself. There isn’t a “right” or “preferred” type of response. Applicants often ask how they can differentiate themselves. The essays are the best way to do it. Your undergraduate school and major may be similar to another applicant’s. Your career path and goals may be similar to another applicant’s. But your experiences and what you take away from them will be unique.

1. What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience? (400 words)

The first part of the question is fairly straightforward. What are you truly proud of professionally? The reasons for your pride and the lessons learned require thought and soul-searching. And of course, you only have 400 words.

Good reasons for the choice: Contribution to your team, department, company, or society.  Impact on you or others. Try to quantify this part of your answer. Numbers are a great way to show both contribution and impact.  However, if your #1 achievement is qualitative or difficult to quantify, don’t let lack of numbers stop you from using it.

For the lessons learned part of the question, focus. Choose one lesson that has changed how you think or behave and describe those changes.  You don’t have room for many lessons learned, so select the most important one.

2. What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today? (400 words)

This response should compliment your response to #1 and obviously it should not be professional. Ross wants to know that you have a life off the job and that you make a difference then too.

What have you done off the job that you are really proud of? Raised money for a favorite charity by running a marathon? Organized a political event? Engaged in interfaith dialogue that broke down communications barriers? Led a sports team to victory? 

Any of the above and many, many other non-professional achievements would qualify as a good topic for this essay. 

Then what was its impact on you? Please don’t write that you learned you can do anything you put your mind to. That response is cliched and not really true. It’s a non-answer. A good response will show how your behavior or thinking has changed as a result of this accomplishment.

3. Optional question: is there anything not addressed elsewhere in the application that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (300 word maximum)

Optional questions aren’t junk drawers or shoe boxes in which to jam “stuff.” Focus on one facet of your life or an experience that is important to you, reveals the human being you are, and isn’t described in other parts of the application. 

Of course, you can also use this essay to provide context for a weakness, but I prefer not to end your application on that note if possible. So weigh your options. If you have something to explain, do so. If you can slip in the explanation somewhere else, great. If the best place for the explanation is this last essay, so be it.

If you would like professional guidance with your Michigan Ross MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Michigan Ross application. 

Michigan Ross 2015 MBA Application Deadlines:

Round 1
Applications due Oct. 6, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST)
Decisions posted Dec. 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM (EST)

Round 2
Applications due Jan. 5, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST)
Decisions posted March 13, 2015 at 12:00 PM (EST)

Round 3
Applications due March 23, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST)
Decisions posted May 15, 2015 at 12:00 PM (EST)

MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips - Download your free copy!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for Michigan Ross, please provide the following info:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

    • The Airline Guy

      Hi Linda, I guess I’m lucky number one!

      1) Brief description of your full-time work experience- Project
      Manager at a leading airline technology company. Managed implementations for major international airlines, traveling to client sites to conduct functional training and advise them on product strategy. Promoted within 2 years and entrusted to lead my product delivery for
      the company’s largest implementation. Spearheaded a 15% reduction in project implementation hours by removing redundancies and optimizing processes, leading to savings of $25,000 per project for all future implementations. Managed internal and customer teams of 20 people or more throughout the project life-cycle, with a >90% on-time project completion record.

      2) GMAT 760 (Q50,V42, AWA 6.0)

      3) College info: BITS Pilani, GPA (7.0). Masters
      of Physics + Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering. Graduated-2012.

      4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience-Extensive involvements in non-profit education efforts, raised significant funds for sending students from a charitable school to good colleges. Head of company CSR department. StartingBloc Fellow. President of a
      Toastmasters club, College football vice-captain.

      5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA- None

      6) Your post-MBA goal-Immediately post-MBA I would like to move into a consulting role in the airline industry, advising clients on network strategy, inventory control, revenue optimization and so on. In the long-term, I want to take up a leadership position at a leading Indian airline and drive strategy and operational decisions.

      Thanks very much for your advice!

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Airline Guy,

        Thanks for your post.

        It’s better to be #1 than #2. :-)

        You have a highly competitive profile for Ross and it’s a good program for you considering your goals and background. Also consider MIT Sloan, CMU Tepper, Kellogg, and Wharton.

        Best,
        Linda

        • Airline Guy

          Thanks Linda, appreciate the inputs :)

    • uday arora

      Hey Linda,
      1.I have close to two years of full-time work-ex. I have done my undergrad in Electronics and Communication Engineering. Recently, I have moved into Consulting Industry. I was previously working as an Analyst at KPMG but now I am working as a Consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Generally, a person with 3+ years of experience is taken as a Consultant.
      Also, I have received ‘Applause’ at my previous Organization. I was also the Star Performer.

      2. I was also a part of Make A Difference(NGO) from 2013-2014.

      3. GMAT – 690(Q:49, V:35)

      4. Post MBA, I wish to continue my career in Consulting. To be specific, Strategy Consulting.

      5. Being in Consulting, my Job Role currently involves a lot of Client Interaction.

      6. Academics: 10th(86.5%), 12th(91.33%), Undergrad(76%)
      Also, I have received Director Awards at Undergrad level.

      I will be applying to Ross this year for Fall, 2015 session.

      Please provide your candid feedback.

      Thanks and Regards,
      Uday

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Your work experience is competitive. Your GMAT is a tad low given your demographic. Your GPA is competitive assuming you also attend a rigorous college.

        In short, you have chance at Ross, but don’t apply exclusively to Ross. Also consider Johnson, UNC, Duke, Yale, CMU Tepper, Emory, Darden, and Georgetown.

        Best,
        Linda

  • the_IT_GUY

    Hi Linda ,
    1.Working in Oracle as Senior Sftware devloper , Soon to be a team lead …. handle product development for JDEdwards ERP , pluss have interaction with Global customer support and Product strategy .
    Have had meetings with customers from Brazil ,Russia Singapore , US , UK , Romania , etc . on issues and enhancements for product .
    2. CGPA -8.4/10 did B.Tech in Electrical and Electronics from NIT Surathkal
    3. Gmat – 720 (38 verbal and 50 Quant )
    4. Post MBA want to go into product management in technology company like Amazon , microsoft , google .
    5. Founder of Grey to Green initiative . Oracle fintess club in my company (i am a complete fitness freak . )

    • uday arora

      Hey Linda,
      1.I have close to two years of full-time work-ex. I have done my undergrad in Electronics and Communication Engineering. Recently, I have moved into Consulting Industry. I was previously working as an Analyst at KPMG but now I am working as a Consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Generally, a person with 3+ years of experience is taken as a Consultant.
      Also, I have received ‘Applause’ at my previous Organization. I was also the Star Performer.

      2. I was also a part of Make A Difference(NGO) from 2013-2014.

      3. GMAT – 690(Q:49, V:35)

      4. Post MBA, I wish to continue my career in Consulting. To be specific, Strategy Consulting.

      5. Being in Consulting, my Job Role currently involves a lot of Client Interaction.

      I will be applying to Ross this year for Fall, 2015 session.

      Please provide your candid feedback.

      Thanks and Regards,
      Uday

  • Bschool2k17

    Hi Linda,

    1. I have been working for three years in strategy and operations. Started off with Tata Consultancy as a tech analyst and moved on to be a strategy and operational consultant for a european telecom firm (market share – 5%) , I revamped the complete process for BA team here, which helps them save 46,000 euros annually! Was the youngest manager too, and handled senior members and external vendors. I am working as an independent consultant right now, where I restructure business processes for a real estate firm. The last audit revealed that the new processes have helped the firm reduce revenue leakages by 200,000 USD.

    2. GMAT score – 700 VA: 83 percentile, QA – 79, IR – 7, AWA – 6
    3. Graduated from the #1 engineering school under GGSIPU, New Delhi. Percentage – 66%, class rank – 12
    4. Founder of a national organization that helps students prepare for interviews and confidence building. Student base of over 3000 students. Also financial advisor to a national bank under a central government welfare scheme.
    5. Certifications – None, though I plan to enroll as a CFA 1 candidate in December.
    6. Post MBA goal – Continue in same practice – Strategy & Operations but more focused towards Business design & Process Improvement.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      bschool2k17,

      Your work experience looks highly competitive. Your academics less so.

      Has all your work experience been in India?

      Linda

  • sonofindia

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for doing this.

    My profile :

    GMAT score – 730 GPA – 6.3/10 Work-ex – 2.5 years, till now. will be 3 the time I join in any university. Working as an analyst in one of the big 4 Consultancies. Received awards in the organization through the past two years and am a valued team member.
    Co-curricular – president, college press club and captain of football team.

    I am thinking of Anderson, Kelley, McCombs, Sloan(long shot?), Ross, Cornell.

    Thanks ! : )

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Sonofindia,

      You’re welcome!

      Sloan is a long-shot. But you have a competitive profile for the other programs on your list.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Rajiv Rajput

    hello linda
    thanks a lot for writing this beautiful piece

    my GMAT score is 710

    college information: MSc in software engineering from university of southampton, UK (76%), B TECH computer science(7.9GPA), 12th (73%), 10th (84%).
    work ex: worked in openbet (software) london for 13 months then returned back to INDIA due to some family issues and after the gap of 6 months i resumed my job in software industry presently working as teach lead.
    extra curricular: in the last two years i have been involved in variety of extra curricular activities ranging from participating in seminars and political mobilisation of people. previously, as well i was very involved in extra curricular activities and received many awards and accolades.

    i am planning to apply for BOOTH, ROSS, CORNELL
    please provide a straight forward reply that what are my chances at these schools, and particularly booth?
    Regards.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Rajiv,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Booth is a stretch unless you have unusual achievements at work or in your extra-curricular activities. You are more competitive at Ross and Cornell.

      Best,
      Linda