Michigan Ross MBA Essays: Tips for 2023-2024

The 2023-2024 Ross MBA essays have been released, which means it’s time to start preparing! Most MBA programs will highly value the personal statement in your application. So don’t slack on it! Writing a unique essay that captures your individuality while responding to the prompt is a challenging task, but here at Menlo Coaching, we have the comprehensive guide to help you perfect it.

Ross is looking for students with a well-rounded background and lots of experience that can be translated into a succinct and compelling statement. One of the essential tips for an impactful essay is asking yourself why you chose to highlight a particular experience. Did it show significant professional development? Did it show how you overcame a personal struggle? Connecting your essay to the prompt, especially how it shows why you are pursuing an MBA, will make your essay stand out. No matter what the essay prompt is, these tips are broadly applicable.

At Menlo Coaching, we noticed that most MBA essays will fall into one of a number of categories: personal essays, career goals essays, behavioral essays, etc.. Read ahead for our expert guide on approaching these essays for the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

The Behavioral Essay

  • Select one prompt from each group of the two groups below. Respond to each selected prompt in 100 words or less. (200 words total)

Group 1

  • I want people to know that I:
  • I made a difference when I:
  • I was aware that I was different when:

Group 2

  • I was out of my comfort zone when:
  • I was humbled when:
  • I was challenged when:

One Thing From Your Resume

  • Pick one thing from your resume and tell us more. (100 words)

Career Goals Essay

  • What is your short-term career goal and why is this the right goal for you? (upload file, 150 words)

Optional Essay

  • Is there something in your resume or application that could use some explanation? You might want to discuss the completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate. (No word limit)

The Behavioral Essay

To make it simple: the behavioral essay is meant to show the team at Michigan Ross that you have developed some sort of leadership skills, what your values are as a leader, and how you are going to most benefit from their development programs. 

The admissions committee is looking for applicants that are self-reflective. Whether it’s through a setback you’ve experienced, or how you dealt with situations that have gone awry, the school is looking for students who are resilient and able to learn from their mistakes.

Do not overexaggerate (or underexaggerate!) the situations you decide to write about. Be honest about what happened; Ross is looking for genuine people to join their campus community, and they are less likely to admit an applicant who has overinflated their prior experiences. 

Last but not least, make sure to describe what you learned and how you implemented this in a subsequent situation. This is an expected element of the behavioral essay, even if it’s not directly written in the prompt. The school is looking for applicants who will act with humility, and have confidence without attitude. Prompts that deal with these topics can be daunting, especially when they require you to write about a weakness you have or a failure you’ve experienced.

One Thing from Your Resume

Another of Ross’ MBA essay prompts concerns your resume, which—surprisingly—is quite unusual in the MBA application landscape.

In this essay, Ross gives you the opportunity to highlight an aspect of your resume that you’re particularly proud of, so you can afford to keep your resume nice and tight.

One thing to beware of, however, is that this essay has an upper limit of only 100 words, meaning that you will still need to be concise in your approach.

The Career Goals Essay

The career goals essay is the space to emphasize your post-MBA plans. MBA programs want to accept students who have concrete, achievable career plans and a roadmap to success. MBA programs want a glowing post-grad report that proves they produce successful graduates with many job prospects (and who will donate money in the future)! Ross also wants students to promote their program to friends, co-workers, and prospective applicants. The career goals Ross essay combines your hard statistics (ex: GMAT score) with your interpersonal skills (ex: recommendations) to formulate the case for getting an MBA.

Make sure to state your achievable short-term and long-term goals explicitly. Explain why an MBA would help you achieve these goals and how Ross is essential to your plan. Connecting the positive attributes from your personal essay to your career goals essay is critical to forming a well-rounded application. Ross students enter the consulting, technology, and financial service industries, so emphasize your findings in the essay to show you’re genuinely interested.

Optional Essay

Once you’ve completed your application, the optional Ross essay gives you an additional opportunity to provide the AdCom with any additional information or clarity that you feel would enhance your application.

One trap that MBA applicants fall into is using the additional space provided by this essay to write on a whole new topic. However, this is not always the best idea.

You should only make use of this essay if you what you write will provide context to an element of your application to improve your candidacy—you don’t want to jeopardize your chances by adding unnecessary noise to your application.

Conclusion

Overall, honesty and growth are the most important parts of a successful MBA application essay. In addition, applying the lessons you learned shows improvement in your interpersonal and professional skills, making you a more attractive candidate for MBA programs.

At Menlo Coaching, we are prepared to help you take the next step and perfect your essays. Seamlessly navigate the Ross MBA essay prompts with our expert MBA consulting guidance and personalized feedback.

Early Birds Toolkit

Learn 3 Steps You Should Take NOW to Improve Your Profile for R1 2024

In MBA admissions, starting early can significantly boost your chances. 

But there are no shortcuts, and while R1 2024 deadlines might seem far off, building your profile takes time.

Our Early Birds Toolkit has everything you need to get started right now—leave your name and email, and we’ll send you three actionable steps to elevate your profile, plus time-saving tools for faster progress.