July 28, 2023

MBA Essay Guidance 2023-24: Michigan Ross School of Business

Photo of Michigan Ross School of Business


University of Michigan Ross School of Business has released its MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2023-24 application cycle.  Here are the important dates and Admitify’s guidance on the essays.


R1: September 12, 2023  /  R2: January 4, 2024  /  R3: April 9, 2024




Part 1

Short-answer questions:  Select one prompt from each group of the two groups below. Respond to each selected prompt in 100 words or less (<100 words each; 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 am out of my comfort zone when:

I was humbled when:

I was challenged when:  


Admitify Guidance

The purpose of all these questions is to reveal your depth and differentiators as a person, not merely your qualifications as a candidate or promising professional. Think in terms of self-disclosure here, but also think in terms of accomplishments. Ross is not asking for accomplishments, but we recommend strategically thinking of examples that address the prompt you choose but also show you achieving or at least responding to a situation effectively. Use the Group 1 and Group 2 approach to balance your two best, most revealing and/or most powerful stories, whether they are purely personal, extracurricular/community, or professional in nature. Each of these 6 prompts give you different angles of attack into sharing your personal backstory. ‘I want people to know that’ and ‘I was aware that I was different when’ are both offering you opportunities to share your best ‘diversity’ (broadly defined) material. ‘I made a difference when I’ is inviting you to share any social impact story you may have (and showing you that Ross values social impact). All three of the Group 2 prompts also disclose Ross’s values: they want students who push their own envelopes (‘out of my comfort zone’), are self-aware enough to know the world doesn’t revolve around them (‘I was humbled’), and seek out or welcome challenges (‘I was challenged’). Does Ross favor some specific configuration of Group 1 and 2 prompts? Obviously not; they’re giving you multiple topics because they want you to share the personal material that you want to share, the examples that will present you in the best light. That said, choose two examples that show different sides of you (so ideally you would avoid two professional examples – but always choose the best, most fitting examples for the prompt). Their 100-word limit means you must share your example succinctly; minimize the introductory context and the closing lessons-learned; zero in on the specific ways in which you acted to achieve whatever you achieved. 



Part 2

Career Goal:  What is your short-term career goal and why is this the right goal for you? (150 words)


Admitify Guidance

State your short-term career goal as concretely and specifically as you can. State the role and even specific job title if you know it. Ross is asking you to tell them “why” this is the “right” short-term career goal for you. This is your chance to show that your post-MBA goal is not random or opportunistic but stems from some life objective you’ve had since you first realized your passion was X (fill in the blank) or perhaps stems from some professional experience that sparked an interest you didn’t know you had. Alternatively, your ‘why’ need not be ‘mission’-driven; your goal may stem from your indication of a compelling market opportunity; that’s fine too but show Ross you can talk turkey about the scale of the opportunity. If you have space (you may not) to mention actual people who are doing what you want to do, then go for it, especially if they have Ross MBAs and/or you actually reached out to them to learn about their careers.



Optional statement:  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.


Admitify Guidance

Ross only wants explanatory or extenuating circumstance material here: “the completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues.” Brief, factual statements are expected, nothing essayistic. Their language (“some explanation,” “use bullet points”) makes clear that they do not want you to share an additional accomplishment or community involvement or hobby. Give them what they want.


Now is the perfect time to start on your Ross MBA applications!  Contact us today and we’ll guide you through the application process.