Michigan Ross 2014 MBA Essay Tips
1. Introduce yourself to your future Ross classmates in 100 words or less.
What’s your elevator pitch? What do you want them to know first about you? That’s not what do you think they want to read, but what do you want your classmates (and yes the admissions committee readers too) to know?
2. Multi-part question:
This is a very directed goals questions broken into three segments. Past, present, and future.
What about your professional experiences has led you to determine that business school is the right next step? (150 words)
What have you done or not been able to do in the past that convinced you to apply to bschool. Did you have an experience you found particularly satisfying (and perhaps excelled at) such that you would like more of it? And does the "it" require, or at least will benefit from, a graduate management education? That's one approach.
Another would be an example of an experience, perhaps an attempt to start a business, where you felt that lack of a business education really limited you. You want to remove the limitation and prepare for the next such experience.
As you have researched MBA programs, what actions have you taken to learn more about Ross and what has led you to believe that Ross is the right MBA program for you? (150 words)
First of all, how have you researched Ross? What about its program appeals to you? How will those aspects of the program prepare you for the goal you set below and fill needs you identified above?
What career do you plan to pursue after business school and why? (150 words)
Clearly the answer in this segment should build on the answers you gave to the first two parts of this question. For example, if you are using an example of a project that you enjoyed and excelled at, and choose Ross because you believe its experiential approach to the MBA and MAP will prepare you to lead similar and more complex projects, you can outline your ideal career, perhaps starting as a management consultant or a project manager and then moving into management in industry or starting your own consulting company.
FYI: The previous paragraph is 91 words, about 60% of the word limit for each section of the previous question and almost the amount given for your elevator pitch.
3. Describe a time in your career when you were frustrated or disappointed. What advice would you give a colleague who was dealing with a similar situation? (400 word maximum)
Choose one professional experience where you revealed resilience and growth in response to disappointment or frustration. Please note: Ross is not requesting a general discourse on frustration or disappointment. It wants a specific example showing how you respond to challenges and hurdles.
Then (off the page) think about it. What did you do right? How could you have handled the situation more effectively. Also possibly think about another time when you applied the lessons learned in the first situation and had a better outcome.
Now, what would you tell your colleague? Let’s call her Jane. You would probably tell Jane what happened and that you can relate to her experience because you once stood in her shoes. Then you would encourage her based on your experience. You might share that you too felt disappointed (or frustrated or stymied or worried or ?) and then tell her the effective part of your reaction and how you have used these lessons since then.
4. Optional question: is there anything not addressed elsewhere in the application that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (300 word maximum)
Optional questions aren’t junk drawers or shoe boxes in which to jam “stuff.” Focus on one facet of your life or an experience that is important to you, reveals the human being you are, and isn’t described in other parts of the application.
Of course, you can also use this essay to provide context for a weakness, but I prefer not to end your application on that note if possible. So weigh your options. If you have something to explain, do so. If you can slip in the explanation somewhere else, great. If the best place for the explanation is this last essay, so be it.
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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.