2015 Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips

Ross MBA Essay TipsRoss MBA Essays for fall 2015 has been released. The number of questions has come down from three mandatory questions that include three sub-questions to two questions and one optional essay.

Ross MBA Essay Tips Fall 2015

1. What are you most proud of professionally and why? What did you learn from that experience? (400 words)

With just 400 words, and the second part of the question asking, “What did you learn from that experience”, it is clear that you have to focus on one experience that is worthy to be mentioned in an MBA Application. There is a wide misconception among MBA Applicants that professional achievements should be something spectacular. Sure, you cannot write about trivial achievements but an experience that is close to your heart is worth writing.

Any professional experience where you cannot communicate the work you put, the small failures you faced, and the lessons learned are trivial professional achievements.


Before you go into the events, and circumstances, offer context on the professional environment – colleagues, team size, hierarchy in the organization/team, and your role. You don’t have to explain it in one go, but makes sure that the Admissions committee is aware of the role that each individual in the narrative played.


After you have set the context, describe the roadblock. It can be something related to the deadline, a difficult colleague or boss, technical challenge, or lack of resources to complete the project. The admission team should feel the challenge, and it depends on how you explain the problem. This is the most crucial aspect. Without a clear description, overcoming the problem might not seem inspirational.

Overcoming Roadblock

You could not be proud of an achievement if the roadblock were not substantial, and the learning curve steep. Explain how the experience changed you as a person, and reinforced your values.

The word count is 400 words, which means less than a page and this limits applicants from elaborating about the context. Spend 1/4th of the words on the context, 1/4th on the roadblocks, and the remaining ½ on the results and what it meant to you.

2. What are you most proud of personally and why? How does it shape who you are today? (400 words)

Writing about professional achievement is a breeze compared to writing about personal journey. Since first essay reveals your professional competence, this essay should focus on the extracurricular or hobby that defines your personality.

If you have worked in a non-profit, and your strategy had helped the team raise considerable fund for the organization, cite them in this essay. Give a 1-2 sentence summary of the strategy, and offer context about the fund raised, and what it meant to the non-profit – “Funding 100 underprivileged children for 1 year”, “Sponsoring 1500 Textbooks for Grade 5 Students”, and the like. The results should be tangible so that the Admission team understands the impact. Results in dollar value might not elicit the right emotional response but when you explain that the dollars were immediately put to good use, the impact becomes clear.
If it was a competition - a half marathon, explain the daily routine that you endured for the preparation, how you felt initially, and how you overcame procrastination. The change in behavior is important and should be explained precisely. What motivated you to sign up for the event? If your mantra is “To sign-up for things you hate or fear” - explain how this attitude has helped you overcome some of the toughest challenges. Dwell on the feeling you went through on reaching the goal, and why you still remember that event.

Don’t include multiple life events as it would dilute the impact of the narrative. Shortlist 3-5 events, and pick the event that had a permanent impact on your personality and behavior.

If you want us to evaluate your life events and shortlist the best one, fill this form

3. 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 words)

Use this space to write about courses in your undergraduate where you have fared below the average of the class. If you had an unusual career path, a.k.a, tried different career options, failed and realized that management is where your heart is, use this space to explain how you realized your true strengths.

Once you have written your draft essay, submit it to us for a detailed review

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