Taken together, the two mandatory Ross EMBA essays provide both a macro forest-level (essay 2, goals) and close-up, tree-level (professional achievement) view of your career. Each question gives a specific lens through which to focus your approach and shape your answer. Thus, while you address the two questions’ points and nuances, keep in mind the larger picture of your career and your character that they portray together. Also, since question 2 refers specifically to the Michigan Model of Leadership, ensure that the story you present in essay 1 is consistent with the model’s underlying values and character.
Michigan Ross Executive MBA application essays
Ross EMBA essay #1
What is your proudest professional achievement? (maximum 400 words)
Although this essay asks you to discuss your proudest professional achievement, it also, indirectly, is personal, because what is important to you in any area of your life reflects your values, your concerns, your interests, your passions. Accordingly, even though the question doesn’t ask it, I suggest clarifying WHY the chosen achievement is your proudest. It might just be a phrase or sentence, but “why” is what will ultimately make it resonate.
Select a more recent achievement, if there is one that can rise to the superlative (proudest) level, as it’s a chance to show the reader your impact in a higher-level context that you’ll also be bringing to the “EMBA table.” If it’s an older experience, it should be truly pivotal, and perhaps add a sentence about how the experience has influenced you going forward. With only 400 words, keep the structure simple – start with the story and tell it directly, with perhaps a brief concluding reflection.
Ross EMBA essay #2
Adopted by thousands of businesses and leaders around the world, and recognized by the Financial Times as one of the 40 most important management frameworks in history, the Michigan Model of Leadership underlies all leadership research and teaching at Michigan Ross. Please describe your personal leadership goals and how the Michigan Model of Leadership and the EMBA leadership development curriculum will help in the achievement of those goals. (maximum 400 words)
First, to state the obvious, familiarize yourself with the Michigan Model of Leadership (MMoL). To encapsulate, I quote from an article on MMoL by Ross professors and others: “At the centre of the MMoL is a core purpose: to make a positive difference in the world” and “The Michigan Model of Leadership enables leaders to recognise and effectively manage competing tensions in organisational life. Leaders who utilise the process of Mindful Engagement learn to balance these tensions and make an impact in a world where there are no easy answers. We need leaders with empathy, drive, integrity, and courage … whose core purpose is to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
With that as a context, discuss your goals, spotlighting the leadership component. That means what you will do in terms of position, industry/company, AND how your envisioned impact aligns with the MMoL AND how in the specific positions you will employ leadership consistent with MMoL. Give more detail about the roles immediately post-EMBA and the several years following. Longer-term goals need less detail, but they should present a clear direction, building on the earlier roles. In both short- and long-term goals, present them through the MMoL lens – i.e., discuss things such as the difference you want to make, the likely tensions and conflicts that you’ll face, the ambiguity you’ll have to navigate, and how you intend to employ MMoL-based leadership in managing these factors.
In discussing how the MMoL approach and Ross’s leadership development curriculum will benefit you, again be specific: describe where you are as a leader and where you need to improve, and how the program meets those needs.
Ross EMBA essay #3 (optional statement)
This section should only be used to convey information not addressed elsewhere in your application, for example, completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.
This is your opportunity to fill in any information gaps, clarify any issues for context, and explain specific relevant points (e.g., why you aren’t using a supervisor for a recommendation) that are necessary for an accurate understanding of your candidacy. Do not veer from this focus. Be as succinct as possible.
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Michigan Ross EMBA 2023 application deadlines
|Round 1||December 15, 2022|
|Round 2||February 1, 2023|
|Round 3||March 15, 2023|
|Round 4||May 1, 2023|
Source: Michigan Ross EMBA website