Ross School of Business

Approach: Pre-MBA career transition influencing post-MBA Goals

The third common theme for the Ross MBA goals essay is the mini transition that the applicant already had undergone within the organization. An MBA becomes the official ‘sign of approval’ for the complete transition.

Those who started their career in software development and later moved into product management or marketing, typically use this narrative arc. Even within this experience, the applicant’s impact in an extra-curricular is essential to highlight the development of the functional skills in a different domain with unique goals.

In this example, the applicant traces his interest in ‘selling’ to an accidental deal he closed while narrating the origins of the annotating feature for the flagship product – DotXYZ. The transition from software development to sales is the first half. The second half is about the contribution in a non-profit, leveraging technology with his storytelling skills.

The post-MBA goal to continue in...

Approach: Limitations of Pre-MBA Experience

For career enhancers, drafting the short-term career goal might be tricky. Finding the nuanced limitations of the current role requires explaining the inciting incident for the motivation. It could be a mentor’s suggestion, an observation on the lack of traction without an MBA or a trend that requires the fast acquisition of skills in leadership or strategy. The permutations are many.

In this example, the applicant who is pursuing an Entrepreneurial career in offering training services for teachers in charter schools found the limitations. An interaction with an investor is cited as the inciting incident for the transition from a firm offering only training service to expanding into consulting for an educational services company. Ross MBA becomes pivotal support to realize this ambition.

Q) Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. Please share your short-term career goal. Why is this career goal the right choice for you?  (300 words)

Sample Essay – Short-term...

Q) Michigan Ross is a place where people from all backgrounds with different career goals can thrive. Please share your short-term career goal. Why is this career goal the right choice for you?  (300 words)

Approach: Extra-curricular feeding into post-MBA Goals

The most common but effective narrative is about the extra-curricular feeding into your career. It could be a role in a non-profit that complemented your functional skills or an entrepreneurial pursuit that gave you exposure in multiple functions. With 300 words, the narrative must hook the admission team and sound believable.

Most post-MBA placements in highly competitive functions – consulting and technology requires some form of pre-MBA experience in the function.

The admission team must make a call whether your experience is good enough with an MBA, to...

Michigan’s Ross School of Business has announced the MBA Application Deadlines for the class of 2022 (Entering 2020)

Round 1

Applications due Sep 30, 2019
Decisions released on Dec 18, 2019

Round 2

Applications due Jan. 6, 2020
Decisions released on March 18, 2020

Round 3

Applications due March 30, 2020
released on May 8, 2020

Prompt 2: I am out of my comfort zone when

Before you articulate how you came out of the comfort zone, understand what the term means. If you are working on a project where the tasks have become routine, with low to no pressure and there are few incentives to take the risk, then you are in your comfort zone.

Two traits define comfort zone: anxiety and skills.

If you are using an existing skill to solve a problem with no anxiety-inducing characteristics, the scope for growth is low. Most applicants develop a plan for an MBA when they become intensely aware that they will be in the comfort zone for the next 3-10 years. By motivation, MBA applicants are coming out of their comfort zone. But the Admission team is expecting pre-MBA experience or an extracurricular for this prompt.

Ideally, include an extracurricular or a volunteering experience or an experience that breaks the stereotype of your profession, gender or nationality.

Example 2: Publishing daily Science Show

Even the activities for which you have made a name for yourself can lead you out of your comfort zone. In this example, the applicant explains how the responsibility to capture accurate information through the daily science show and guide young scientists has taken her out of the comfort zone.


Prompt 1: I was humbled when

When the phrase starts with “I was humbled when” most applicants will skip it. They don’t have the emotional intelligence to look at the essay objectively. The essay is a rephrased, “when was the last time you failed.”

Example 1:  Losing a Client

In the first example, we look at the experience of an applicant who lost a client just after presenting the idea for a campaign. Although such examples are rare, the shock of the drastic step is articulated through the perspective of the client. Starting with the result then expanding on the circumstances that led to the result should be the strategy for the short essay questions.

Sample MBA Essay: Losing client (100 Words)

I was humbled when I lost the client. The responsibility to develop a campaign for a Fortune 500 company rested on my shoulders. While selecting the director for the video campaign, I chose one based on potential, instead of relying on previous work. 19th-century artists influenced her frames. Unfortunately, the client found it...

Ross values volunteering and extra-curricular activities. If you have more than two active volunteering experience, use this question for highlighting both or offering context on the challenges, setbacks, and change that you brought about with one active volunteering.

The applicant in the example addresses the complexity of sanitation and enabling behavioral changes. With the emphasis on infrastructure, funding, and marketing, the essay concludes with the impact the applicant had on the slums in Mumbai.

Sample MBA Essay: Three-Level Sanitation Campaign (100 Words)

I made a difference when I volunteered to be part of the X’s Sanitation Re-programming campaign. We tackled the problem at three levels: awareness, partnerships, and infrastructure.

Building awareness was the easiest as it correlated with miles covered by our team whereas partnering with local influencers needed understanding the persuasion matrix. However, the most effective step was at the Infrastructure level...

Download 19 Sample Ross MBA Essays with F1GMAT's Ross MBA Essay Guide

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