The Ross MBA Curriculum & Connection with University of Michigan

Here at Menlo Coaching, we appreciate the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for its commitment to teamwork and real-world experience.

Menlo Coaching’s Founding Partner, David White interviewed Soojin Kwon, the Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Student Experience at Ross to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to be both an applicant and a student at this prestigious MBA program. They also take a look at some of the unique traits that Ross applicants can expect to be central to their MBA. 

This interview includes:

You can watch more from David and Soojin, with videos covering Admissions & School Research, The Ideal Ross MBA Candidate, and Employment Outcomes and Ross Alumni Network.

Interview with the Ross School of Business Admissions Director

Ready to start your application now? Apply to Ross

The Ross MBA Curriculum & Experiential Learning

Ross has capitalized on the idea of hands-on learning. While every MBA program has some experiential learning, Ross makes it central to the degree. More than just capitulating to a passing fad which has come into vogue in the last five or so years, Ross’ twenty-five years of experience with experiential learning is a vital part of the MBA with programs to match. 

Ross has a large portfolio of action-based learning opportunities which they call REAL—Real Experiences in Actual Learning. While Ross understands that learning how to do something is important, the school also understands that you cannot fully comprehend how to do something until you’ve done it. That means real experience in a real organization or company which grounds their MBAs in learning that goes beyond the theoretical. There are four parts to the REAL portfolio.

The benefits of these programs can be invaluable for MBA students that are looking to gain real world experience in a variety of roles. It provides a low-stakes environment in which to gain critical experience and avoid being turned down post-MBA for a lack of demonstrated results. It also provides MBAs on-the-job market with great experiences and bullet points that can be discussed in interviews. 

The basics of accounting, finance, marketing, and operations can be learned in a book or through an online class. But the team-based experience that is provided by REAL is difficult to replicate. The average Ross MBA will work with between twenty and thirty different teams and learn, not only how to become a highly functioning team member in the short span of seven weeks, but also how to manage and navigate relationships, something that really can’t be learned in a long class. 

Ross’ MBA Elective Courses

As a part of the larger University of Michigan, Ross MBAs are given the opportunity to explore courses and electives outside of the Ross School of Business. There are two different paths towards broadening their learning beyond the scope of a traditional MBA.

In addition to these two paths, Ross also features a Data and Business Analytics Concentration. It focuses on getting MBA students to be able to effectively work with data which, as most MBAs know, is an incredibly important skill. Ross is also in the midst of launching the Impact Studio where cross-campus interdisciplinary graduate student teams work on societal changes, employing faculty research towards an actual, real-world impact. 

This past year, one of the program’s inaugural projects included the Flint water crisis. A Ross marketing professor developed an algorithm to be able to predict which houses in Flint had what level of lead in their pipes. Students came up with strategies to implement the algorithm on behalf of the city so that Flint could more efficiently use its budget and figure out which households were most in need of remediation.

This coming year, the focus will be on how to provide more financial access to people who lack it. One of their first assignments will be to get a check cashed in Ann Arbor without a bank account. From that real world experience, they will attempt to figure out how strategies and design can be implemented in the real world, using business as the central tool.