Michigan Ross Deadlines, Essays & Analysis, Recommendation Letter Questions (Class of 2015, Starting Fall 2013)

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1. Introduce yourself to your future Ross classmates in 100 words or less.
Analysis: We tell our clients to imagine themselves standing up in front of the entire school at the first gathering of the year. These will be your future teammates, friends, colleagues and hopefully business associates, so be interesting, exciting and engaging. Make people interested in you and want to talk to and work with you. We think it's fine to mention your work and goals, but don't dwell on those things. Instead focus on the experiences, adventures, beliefs, etc. that make you unique. Everyone will contribute professional skills. What can you contribute beyond that? Have fun and don't be afraid to show some good-natured attitude.

2. Describe your career goals. How will an MBA from Ross help you to achieve those goals? (300 word maximum)
Analysis: Straight up - The MBA Goals Essay

3. Describe a time in your career when you were frustrated or disappointed. What advice would you give to a colleague who was dealing with a similar situation? (500 word maximum)

Analysis:  There are two possible approaches to this essay, depending on your interpretation of the words “frustrated” and "disappointed". If by these words you mean a "failure" from which you learned something important and which led to success the next time, then a typical “failure” essay could work well here. If you overcome your initial frustration and disappointment on the way to success, then you’re looking at a typical “leadership/accomplishment” essay, with a particular focus on the obstacles that were dragging you down. In either case, the topic has to come from your professional life, which may be good or bad depending on your situation. We like the analytical component of the essay in the form of advice to a colleague, since it forces you to think concretely about how you would  apply the lessons from your experience more broadly. 


4. What are you most passionate about and why? How will this passion positively impact Ross (300 word maximum)

Analysis: We recommend you avoid more esoteric and grandiose topics like "contributing to the team" or "driving innovation". It sounds too "MBA-ish" and your other essays and materials should give a good indication of your potential for professional contributions. For most applicants, this essay is a good chance to balance the set with a concrete hobby, interest or other activity you feel strongly about and do outside of work. When thinking about potential contributions, don't forget the underlying skills that your passion requires, which might be strategy (board games, chess, etc.), an eye for presentation (flower arranging), planning, watching out for teammates (scuba diving), etc. 
5. Optional question: Is there anything else you think the Admissions Committee should know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (500 word maximum) 
Analysis: Straight up - The MBA Optional Essay
1. Please comment on the context of your interaction with the applicant. If applicable, briefly describe the applicant's role in your organization.
2. How does the candidate's performance compare to other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?
3. Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant's response (more recent examples preferred).
4. Please provide any additional comments about the applicant's performance, potential, or personal qualities you believe would be helpful to the Admissions Committee.