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? 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.
The question doesn’t ask why you are proud of your achievement, but I believe the question is implied as indicated in Soojin Kwon’s post about this year’s questions. She 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.” Briefly discuss reasons that genuinely reflect who you are and also show fit with Ross and its values.
For the last 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.
2. What is your desired career path and why? (up to 400 words)
What do you want to do after you earn your MBA? This question doesn’t limit itself to your first job. It ask for the “path” and is asking how would you like to see your career progress. Why is this path appealing to you? 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.
Write 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.
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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.