Review Ross’ Evaluation Criteria and Admissions Director Soojin Kwon’s excellent blog post on the new questions before you sit down to write the essays. Most importantly remember: your essays should reveal the qualities Ross seeks — not just mouth them. Show that you walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
My comments are in blue below.
1. What are you most proud of and why? How does it shape who you are today? (up to 400 words)
The first part of the question is fairly straightforward. What are you truly proud of? The reasons for your pride and the influence of this experience require thought and soul-searching. And of course, you only have 400 words.
Possible examples: Contributed significantly to your team, department, company, or club. Raised money for a favorite charity. Organized a political event. Engaged in interfaith dialogue that broke down communications barriers. Led a sports team to victory. Or perhaps, overcoming a significant personal challenge.
If possible, 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.
Your response to “why?” is extremely important. As Soojin Kwon writes on her blog “We want to understand what makes something important to you. It gives us a glimpse into how you think about and process things, and what your priorities and values are.” Choose the reasons that genuinely reflect who you are and also show fit with Ross and its values.
For the third part of the question (how did it shape who you are today?), think and then focus. Choose one or two lessons from this accomplishment that changed how you think or behave and describe those changes. You don’t have room for many lessons learned, so select the most important.
You can point to 1-3 experiences (don’t focus on the same one used in your response to #1) that convinced you that the desired one is right for you. Analyze the impact of these events. Highlight 1-3 aspects of these experiences that you enjoyed that will also be part of your desired future direction.
Right genuinely about your future career, but realize as Soojin Kwon says that Ross uses the answers to see if business school makes sense. Ross doesn’t want to admit you if its MBA won’t help you go where you want to go professionally. Show that a Ross MBA in the missing link between what you have done in the past and what you want to do in the future.
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.
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By Linda Abraham, 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.