Michigan Ross 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Click here for more top b-school application essay tips!Michigan Ross essentially condensed last year’s two required questions into one and added a goals essay question.  

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.

Please don’t write that you learned you can do anything you put your mind to. That response is cliched and not really true. There are limits to what you can do. A good response will show how this crucial experience has molded you.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. 

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. 

Michigan Ross 2016 MBA Application Deadlines:

Round 1
Applications due Oct. 5, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST)
Decisions posted Dec. 18, 2015 at 12:00 PM (EST)

Round 2
Applications due Jan. 4, 2016 at 11:59 PM (EST)
Decisions posted March 21, 2016 at 12:00 PM (EST)

Round 3
Applications due March 21, 2016 at 11:59 PM (EST)
Decisions posted May 13, 2016 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.

  • Yasser Clor

    Hello Linda,

    Thank you very much in advance for agreeing to field our questions and give us profile evaluations.

    (1) Currently working as a legal consultant with Genentech as part of a recent acquisition of another Biotech company. I have only been there 6 months so far. Since I did law school full-time right after undergrad, I did not have much time to work full time. I have done several quality internships throughout law school with law firms and the Department of Commerce.

    (2) 670 (42 Quant and 40 Verbal)

    (3) Graduated from UC-Berkeley in 2010 with a 2.8 GPA and a BA in Political Science. I have some unique circumstances that are a bit too detailed to get into here. However, I raised my GPA dramatically after my first year when I was depressed and not attending classes. I was placed on probation that first year and then had a wake up call that motivated me to take my academics very seriously. It was a dramatic turnaround that I will explain in my application.

    (4) I played three years of Division one baseball at UC-Berkeley and took full courseloads to graduate in four years. I was drafted twice by the MLB (once out of high school and once out of Cal). I did not sign either time since I wanted to go to law school. I immediately went to law school and graduated Cum Laude with my JD in 2013. I then received an LLM specialization degree in business and finance law from George Washington Law School, which sparked my interest in getting into business.

    (5) California Attorney

    (6) I would like to become a securities analyst and eventually work myself up to a Portfolio Manager.

    Your feedback is appreciated greatly. While Ross is my number one, I am also interested in Tepper, Johnson, Emory, McCombs, Georgia Tech, and Foster. Thanks so much!

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


      You are hard to assess, but my reaction is that you are stretching. If you can, I recommend you retake the GMAT and raise that score, especially the quant. If necessary first improve your quant skills and prepare again and retake even if it means postponing your application a year. But given your goals, you need a competitive school.

  • CivilianN00b

    Hi Linda,

    1. I’m a 12 year Army Officer veteran, currently working as a government contractor. Managed various teams in sizes from 5 – 50 people and equipment worth over $5 million in both combat arms and intelligence. Always worked on improving upon, or implementing, systems and processes to lighten workload and increase efficiency. I’ve been stationed and/or deployed overseas for 11 of those years including Europe and South Korea.
    2. I’m taking my GMAT in August, working towards a 700.
    3. I have a hodgepodge of schools I went to over the years. The last 100 credit hours GPA is a 3.8 with a 4.0 in a few graduate classes I’ve taken over the years. My BA is in Foreign Language and Literature with a minor in Computer Science.
    4. Minor volunteering around Army communities.
    5. Just Army certifications.
    6. Enter the civilian business arena. I’d like to focus on operations in the tech industry (Operations/Business Development/General Management). I took a few Master’s level classes in Cybersecurity. My goals need some more fleshing out as I look into what all is available in the civilian world and I’m hoping to get some internships to further refine my goals.

    Thanks for the advice.

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

      Civilian N00b.

      Certainly your GPA is competitive. Military experience is valued, especially when it involved international exposure and leadership as yours did.

      If your GMAT comes in as a balanced 700, then you have a competitive profile for Ross. Also consider CMU Tepper, Broad, Kelley, Darden, UNC, and Duke.


  • CivilianN00b

    Hi Linda,
    when does the application window for Ross open? At other schools we can already start populating our applications and have the system send requests to our referees.