My thoughts are in red; Michigan’s are in black.
November 1, January 7, March 1
You must answer all parts of the three questions below. (Each essay has a 500-word maximum.)
1. We believe one of the keys to effective leadership is the ability to transform ideas into action. Describe a time within the last three years in which you exercised such leadership. What did you learn about your leadership strengths and development needs?
This question is slightly changed from last year when it emphasized leadership as being "through people." I wouldn’t let that change fool you. Leadership requires followers, among other things, and those followers are almost always two-legged.
Last year this question also emphasized professional leadership. Ross has now given you leeway to use a non-professional example if you feel an extra-curricular activity provides your best leadership example. At the same time, keep in mind that some if not most of your essays should refer to professional experience.
Finally, include the lessons your learned both about your leadership strengths and about leadership areas you need to develop, and make sure you answer all parts of the question, just as the instructions say. And one last tip: Given Ross’ multi-disciplinary action projects (MAP), the ideal response would be multi-disciplinary.
2. What are your career goals? How will a Ross MBA help you achieve your goals? How might the action-based learning aspects of the Ross curriculum make a difference?
This used to be #3 and Ross has clarified it for this year. Made it a little more straightforward. Note again the action-based part of the question. What do you want to do after your MBA, and how will the Ross MBA help you attain that end. Do you homework about Ross. Know what MAP, M-trek, and other Ross programs are. Which do you want to take advantage of? This is the essay where you can show that you have really done your homework about Ross.
3. Describe the initiatives you have taken over the past two years to develop professionally and personally. What motivated you to take those initiatives?
The second sentence in this question is new this year, and like #1, this question has also changed from a strictly professional question to one allowing for a personal or professional response.
This question is pretty straightforward, but not easy. When have you taken initiative to develop new skills, hobbies, or interests? When have you pushed yourself to change or improve? Examples could be leadership or professional training, assumption of responsibility at work, development of "soft" skills you need for a volunteer position, sports team, or band, joining Toastmasters, or a number of other developmental activities. The examples are endless, but remember to discuss your motivations for pursuing this personal growth.
Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (500-word maximum)
Do not use this essay like a storage room, my son’s bedroom closet, or even a large salad: a place to put everything. Focus on one facet of your life or experience that is important to you, reveals the human being you are and isn’t described in other parts of the application. Write about it here.
You can of course also use this essay to "explain" a weakness, but I hate to end your application on that note if it can be avoided. So weigh your options. If you have something to explain, do so. If you can tuck the explanation somewhere else in the application, more power to you. If the best place for the explanation is this last essay, so be it.
If you would like help with your Michigan Ross MBA application, please consider Accepted.com’s MBA essay editing and admissions consulting or a Michigan Ross Comprehensive Package, which includes essay editing, interview coaching, consultation, and a resume edit for the Ross MBA application.
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