2010 Michigan Ross MBA Admissions Q&A with Soojin Kwon Koh

2010 Michigan Ross MBA Admissions Q&A with Soojin Kwon Koh

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Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 11:59:00 AM)
Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s chat. First I want to welcome all applicants to the chat today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. It is critical to your decision process and your admission chances that you know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask experts about this top business school. I also want to extend a special welcome to the Ross representatives who have taken the time to meet with us today.

  • Soojin Kwon Koh, Director of Admissions
  • Doug Thomas, Senior Associate Director of Admissions
  • Matt Schaar- Current Ross MBA Student
Matt is in the third year of a dual MBA/MPP degree at the University of Michigan, focusing on corporate strategy and international policy. He graduated in 2003 with a BSE in Aerospace Engineering from Michigan and worked for several aerospace firms in the US, Europe, and Brazil prior to returning to Ann Arbor for graduate school. He spent the summer working for A.T. Kearney, a global management and strategy consulting firm, and is interested in pursuing a post-graduate career in consulting or greentech development in emerging markets.

Thanks you for joining us.

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:00:07 PM)
Hi everyone!

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:01:16 PM)
First off, thanks for the chat Soojin, Doug, and Matt. I'm having a little trouble with Essay #3 and what constitutes a "multidisciplinary problem." Can you give an example of what a multidisciplinary problem would be, say, in a Ross class?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:02:17 PM)
G.Tan - a multidisciplinary problem would be something that doesn't fit into just one discipline, say finance or operations. From an essay perspective, it's the ability to look at issues from multiple angles. Essay 3 seems to be the one we get most questions about. What we're looking for in that essay is an authentic answer about what you'd love to do other than the career you identified in Essay 1.

Cory A. (Sep 10, 2009 12:03:00 PM)
Doug: For applicants applying through the Consortium: Is it viewed favorably if a candidate applies to only Ross rather than multiple schools in the Consortium if the candidate knows Ross is his/her top choice?

Ash (Sep 10, 2009 12:03:07 PM)
Soojin: How is Ross unique in offering courses related to the sustainability sector? I know about one course offering "Sustainable Finance" which is unique to Ross. What are other options available at Ross in this regard?

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:03:17 PM)
Matt, what do you view as Ross's strengths?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:04:48 PM)
Cory: It shows that you have a strong interest in our program, but I don't know if I would recommend to any applicant to only apply to one school.

jzd (Sep 10, 2009 12:04:56 PM)
Doug: I am applying to Ross and the Tauber institute. Am I limited to operation/manufacturing majors in Tauber? Would I be able to take some product management/marketing electives?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:04:58 PM)
Ash: Our Erb program, which is a dual degree with the School of Natural Resources, provides a wealth of curricular and other sustainability opportunities.

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:05:11 PM)
Soojin, I am acquaintances with a faculty member at Ross. Does the admissions committee accept unsolicited letters of recommendation?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:06:33 PM)
Jzd: You would still be able to take some electives, but the opportunity would be greater if you were not in the Tauber program. I recommend that you reach out to them directly and they can discuss the specifics.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:06:45 PM)
G. Tan: We recommend that applicants provide 2 professional recommendation letters from supervisors who know you well. If the faculty member knows your professional abilities and potential, an additional letter can be submitted, but should not be used as one of your two official submissions.

GoBlue10 (Sep 10, 2009 12:06:51 PM)
Thanks for answering our questions! Soojin, what is your advice to an applicant that's been laid off for 4 months now? Would the candidate be looked down upon if he/she does not have a full time job while applying?

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:07:12 PM)
Doug, how does Ross's Multi-disciplinary Action Project differ from a traditional internship or consulting project?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:07:37 PM)
Linda, having worked alongside students from other programs, I can say that Ross excels in several areas: First, its ability to instill a multi-disciplinary approach to developing business acumen is unmatched. It was extremely easy for me to pursue a dual degree here, and I haven't regretted it one bit. The other area is in instilling a balance between analytical capability and personal skills. Because of the emphasis Ross places on extracurricular involvement and team-building exercises. both in and out of the classroom, it creates a significantly more well-rounded MBA. I think it's refreshing for companies to have a more well-rounded young professional within their ranks.

Azule (Sep 10, 2009 12:07:57 PM)
Matt: How would you compare Ross to other top business schools? For example, its philosophy, curriculum, etc?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:07:58 PM)
GoBlue10: Absolutely not! We know what's happening in the economy, and we've seen many highly qualified and experienced people get laid off. The important thing is to address it in your essays and to discuss what you've been doing in that time.

Jessie (Sep 10, 2009 12:08:12 PM)
Soojin: Many applicants had a different undergraduate major other than business. Would you recommend people with a BBA degree to apply, especially a Ross BBA?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:09:55 PM)
Jessie: If you question is whether non-business majors are accepted to MBA programs, the answer is yes. If your question is whether someone with a BBA should consider an MBA, the answer is yes as well. And if someone has a BBA from Ross, I would, again, recommend that they consider Ross for their MBA since the experiences and opportunities are significantly different in the two programs.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:10:15 PM)
Soojin, What’s new at Ross for the 2009/10 academic year?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:10:40 PM)
Linda: In many ways it does not differ, though students are evaluated on their final presentation and their participation throughout the project. The team also has the advantage of using faculty advisers as a significant resource. Students also choose MAP projects for very different reasons, such as getting some non-profit experience so that they can make a bigger impact in their community.

jzd (Sep 10, 2009 12:10:49 PM)
Doug: Am I going to be severely disadvantaged if I submit an application for round 3 (3/1/10) vs. round 2 (1/5/10)?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:10:59 PM)
Azule, I addressed a few of those points in my response to Linda, but from a functional perspective, the Ross Leadership Initiative and MAP are both unique aspects of the curriculum in their own right. In addition, Ross has the added benefit of being part of a University with dozens of highly-reputable graduate programs, which allows for students to collaborate with peers from around the University community. It makes for a very, very exciting environment that goes beyond the "degree factory" that MBA programs have been labeled as recently.

choni (Sep 10, 2009 12:11:04 PM)
Hi Matt. How did you make the decision to pursue a dual degree? Are you also planning to explore any international opportunities prior to the completion of your degree?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:11:53 PM)
Linda: We're excited to welcome our biggest class of MBA students this year. The class of 2011 is 500 strong! Our new building has given us the capacity to expand our cohort from about 430. In addition, we've revisited the content in some of our core courses in response to the financial crisis.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:12:19 PM)
Jzd: No, but we do tend to offer the bulk of our scholarship money prior to round 3. We do recommend that you apply when you can submit the best application possible.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:12:36 PM)
Soojin, have you added/changed cases or projects in response to the financial crisis?

Ash (Sep 10, 2009 12:12:40 PM)
Doug: As a reapplicant at Ross, what are suggested areas to work upon, since no feedback is available for past applications? Is it positive to apply with same job-profile (but with improved responsibilities), 3 out of 4 new essays and new recommendations?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:12:51 PM)
Jzd: the other drawback of applying in R3 is that admits in that round won't be able to attend our admitted student weekend in April.

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:13:07 PM)
Hi Choni -- I was about 80% sure I wanted to pursue a dual degree before I arrived on campus, and after speaking with several classmates with similar interests, I applied to the MPP program here during my first year at Ross. Essentially, I discovered that the coursework I wanted to undertake, specifically to understand the economics and politics in developing countries, wasn't quite deep enough at Ross -- I don't think it is at any business school, really. Plus, having an extra year here really allowed me to focus on areas in which I wanted to invest my time more fully. As for international opportunities -- my MAP was in South Africa, I traveled with the Emerging Markets Club to Jamaica to develop a farmers' cooperative in a rural village, and I'll be co-leading an economic development trip to the Philippines in February. So, yes, I've had quite a few opportunities!

Tyler (Sep 10, 2009 12:14:00 PM)
Hi Doug, I'm a reapplicant this year. Can you describe what role (if any) last year's essays will play in my application package this year? Can I reference some of the same themes (i.e., I've expanded my experiences with 'x') as last year's essay topics? Or should I re-summarize those themes if I still want to expand upon them this year?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:15:02 PM)
Linda: yes, the finance curriculum has been restructured and our Management & Organization core course will focus even more on developing students' leadership skills. Our courses and leadership programming will focus even more on dealing with uncertainty and complexity.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:15:19 PM)
Thanks Soojin.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:15:51 PM)
Ash: We require a cover letter highlighting what you have been doing since your previous application. Review your essays from your previous application. Did you answer the question? Were they well written? In any application, you should be finding ways to highlight your leadership and teamwork skills. Same job profile with increased responsibilities would certainly be something to highlight.

Ash (Sep 10, 2009 12:16:03 PM)
Doug: As a reapplicant, is it possible to get a feedback on last year's application?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:16:54 PM)
GoBlue10: That's a good question. We've seen applicants write successful essays that go far back. What we're looking for in the essay is what you tell us about that challenge - how it might have shaped you, what you learned because of it and how you grew.

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:17:00 PM)
Shake, our Healthcare and Life Sciences Club has a specific focus in connecting students with health care companies; Plus, there are a few dual-degree students at Ross, both in the Master of Public Health and MD programs. Additionally, the Emerging Markets Club is developing a partnership with M-HEAL, a student organization in the College of Engineering that focuses on designing low-cost medical devices for developing markets.

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:17:04 PM)
Matt, I know Ross stresses experiential learning, so how much of class is lecture and how much is working with other students?

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:17:07 PM)
Soojin, is the increase in attendees a result of more applicants getting accepted or just more applicants applying?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:17:14 PM)
Tyler: When reviewing your new application, we will also be looking at last year's application materials and evaluation comments as well. It is up to you how you want to approach the essays.

jzd (Sep 10, 2009 12:17:39 PM)
Doug: How important does the adcom view a campus visit? I plan to visit the campus if I am offered an interview after submitting my application. Is this something I can mention in the optional essay?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:18:13 PM)
Shake: you can reach out to one of the students in our Healthcare and Life Sciences Club.

Jessie (Sep 10, 2009 12:18:32 PM)
Thank you for your answer Soojin! What kinds of entrepreneurship programs does Ross offer? Is it open to all MBA students?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:18:44 PM)
G.Tan: Are you referring to the increase in students?

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:18:56 PM)
Yes, the increase from 430 to 500.

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:18:56 PM)
G. Tan, in your first semester at Ross, you should expect to be in class for ~15-20 hours per week. Each of these courses will have team-based projects and assignments you'll need to complete outside of lecture times. Of course, during MAP, you'll have no additional classes and your entire quarter will be devoted to team-based collaborative efforts.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:20:16 PM)
Ash: We offer feedback only to a select group of people simply due to staffing issues. Unfortunately, we are no longer offering feedback at this time. I can tell you that most candidates I offered feedback already had a good idea where they may have fallen short.

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:20:29 PM)
Azule, I always suggest avoiding the temptation to "boil the ocean". You want to do your homework on each club, perhaps join several, and pursue leadership opportunities in very few. Some students choose to devote more time to their studies and less to extracurricular activities, or vice versa--the choice is yours.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:21:00 PM)
Matt, What’s been your not-to-be missed class/professor?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:21:50 PM)
Jessie: We have a variety of entrepreneurship courses and co-curricular activities offered through our Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. For example, students can win a grant to start a business while they're in school. They can work on a venture capital fund.

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:21:57 PM)
Soojin: As top business schools are trending towards younger applicants, is the class profile of Ross getting younger as well? I know the average age at matriculation is 29 and with 5 years work experience.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:22:31 PM)
Jzd: I usually recommend visiting the campus prior to applying. By having a clearer understanding of all that Ross has to offer, you can better convey how our program fits with your goals/interests. That said, I would note on the application that you have a scheduled visit.

Ash (Sep 10, 2009 12:22:37 PM)
Doug: I've heard that visiting the campus and interacting with students helps a lot during application, and also builds a positive rapport for the Adcom. However, since I can't visit campus and connect with students in person due to constraints, will that be viewed as lack of interest in Ross? What other options can I avail of, other than connecting with students/Alumni via mail/calls?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:22:58 PM)
Linda -- oooh, that's a good one. I had Aneel Karnani for my core strategy course and immediately signed up for his Strategies for Growth elective --I loved it! And this may be speaking too soon, but I'm taking Jim Price's New Venture Creation course this semester, and it's already shaping up to be a fantastic experience.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:23:15 PM)
Great. Matt. Thanks.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:23:17 PM)
Matt, What is your biggest take-away so far from Michigan?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:23:56 PM)
G.Tan: Our class profile is similar to what it was last year - 28 years old and 5 years of Full-Time work experience. But the range of ages spans from 23-48. We're more interested in an applicant's achievements and potential than we are in their age or years of Full-Time work experience.

Tyler (Sep 10, 2009 12:24:00 PM)
Soojin: Can you speak about the typical 'profile' of students pursuing their MS-MBA through the Erb Institute? Are there any students interested in Marketing careers participating in the program? (Seems like this track may be more geared toward people interested in operations or supply chain management or policy/planning).

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:24:40 PM)
A general rule might be that it is unlikely someone will be admitted if both their GMAT and GPA are weak. We want to make sure applicants can be academically successful at Ross.

Gaurav (Sep 10, 2009 12:24:44 PM)
Doug: Could you give a little bit of insight on how first year students are mentored? Is there is specific process in place to do so?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:25:50 PM)
Tyler: I'd say there isn't a "typical" profile of Erb students. They run the gamut from "traditional" jobs such as finance and consulting, to more non-traditional jobs such as nonprofit and NGOs. I've seen grads go to Wall Street and Wal-Mart.

FutureMBA2010 (Sep 10, 2009 12:26:10 PM)
Soojin: What's the average financial aid package that each MBA student gets at UM for this year?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:26:54 PM)
FutureMBA2010: About 70% of our students take out loan of varying amounts. Over a third receives some level of scholarship.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:27:23 PM)
Ash: We understand that not everyone will visit. We recommend it because it is the best way for you to see for yourself what a great program it is and how you would fit into this community. Reaching out to current students is definitely a good option for learning more about Ross, especially when you can reach out directly to students who you have something in common with.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:27:24 PM)
Soojin, what percentage of accepted students was accepted each round? Is there an advantage to applying in different rounds?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:27:34 PM)
Linda, I have a bit of a unique perspective, having spent my undergraduate years at Michigan, but if anything my experience has taught me how capable a group of like-minded, passionate people is at achieving great things. It sounds super-cheesy, but I arrived at Ross with a goal of making it a better place than before I arrived here, and alongside an equally-committed group of faculty, staff, and students, I'd say we've accomplished that goal. All it takes is a little bit of patience and a whole lot of listening!

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:27:54 PM)
Matt, is there anything you'd like to change about your experience at Ross so far?

jzd (Sep 10, 2009 12:28:06 PM)
Doug: Can I take a graduate engineering class (for example in manufacturing) as an MBA student if I am not in a dual degree program?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:29:37 PM)
Gaurav: We don't specifically have a mentor program. The resources are here, such as our Office of Student Life, Career Counselors through our Office of Career Development and so forth, but it is up to you to use these resources.

Ankush B (Sep 10, 2009 12:29:43 PM)
Hello Doug: I have a reapplicant question: I need to submit a cover letter along with my application. Do I need to use the optional essay section to upload this cover letter? Is there a word limit on the cover letter?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:29:47 PM)
G. Tan, good question. I would have gotten involved in courses related to entrepreneurial studies earlier -- I'm just taking my first one now, and I realize how much more comfortable I am with the oft-changing, uncertain nature of start-ups. I think I boxed myself into a certain "career" criteria way too early in my studies.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:29:50 PM)
Linda: About a third apply and is accepted in R1, about half in R2 and the remainder in R3. We recommend that applicants submit their application when they think it's the best it can be. But, we do encourage students to apply in one of the first two rounds so that they have the option to attend our admit weekend and meet potential future classmates, as well as priority consideration for scholarships and other financial aid.

Jon (Sep 10, 2009 12:29:56 PM)
Matt: What one or two words would you use to differentiate Ross from other top MBA programs?

Jon (Sep 10, 2009 12:29:57 PM)
Soojin: Where have you seen students who embark on an 'entrepreneurial track' take jobs after school and for their first year internship? Do they use the office of career services? Are they put at a disadvantage to the other students as they may not have pursued recruiting events?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:31:24 PM)
Jzd: You can take up to 10 credits at another graduate program at the University of Michigan and count it towards your graduation requirements from Ross. This normally equates to about 3 classes. You could take more than that, but would not receive further credit at Ross.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:31:26 PM)
Jon: Some entrepreneurial track students start off in traditional b-school grad jobs (e.g., finance, consulting, or operations). Others seek opportunities in venture capital or private equity. And a few try to make a go of their own entrepreneurial pursuit.

Ankush B (Sep 10, 2009 12:31:34 PM)
Doug/Matt: How has Ross adapted to the changing economics in the finance industry? Are there new courses introduced at Ross to help students understand what they might deal with in the near future?

quiver (Sep 10, 2009 12:31:36 PM)
Soojin: I applied last year and was invited for an interview, but then it didn't go too well. I didn't understand the reason for the ding. Do you think I should re-apply?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:31:37 PM)
Jon: Only two words? That's tough! :) Okay, I'll use one: "swagger".

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:31:50 PM)
Why swagger? Sorry, I couldn't resist asking. :-)

DougThomasROSS(Sep 10, 2009 12:33:05 PM)
Ankush: You are correct. Use the "optional essay" to submit your cover letter. There is no word limit, but keep in mind that we are looking for students who can communicate in a clear and concise manner.

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:33:37 PM)
Ross doesn't pretend to be a peer school; Its leaders, professors, and students all understand what it excels at -- developing a highly collaborative, passionate set of leaders, year in, year out. You don't hear many of us say "well, why can't we be more like that MBA program?" -- and regardless of how the rankings fluctuate, the spirit and mission of Ross doesn't waver. I hope that's an appropriate definition for "swagger"... :)

inspiron (Sep 10, 2009 12:33:53 PM)
Doug: Do you give preference to families of Michigan Alumni?

Tyler (Sep 10, 2009 12:34:01 PM)
Matt: After the applications are done, do you have any general recommendations on how to spend the time between now and next fall preparing for the quantitative/analytical aspects of b-school? Or, which (if any) analytical courses did you find most challenging?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:34:06 PM)
Quiver: The interview is rarely the only reason for a deny decision. To the extent that we have the capacity, we try to extend interview invitations to as many potential students as we can. I would recommend reviewing your application and figuring out what piece(s) of it could be improved and focus on that.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:35:18 PM)
Thanks Matt. Good answer. "Swagger" is certainly more colorful than "pride" or "confidence", but I suspect they're related.

Ash (Sep 10, 2009 12:35:21 PM)
Soojin: In the optional Essay, is it ok to talk about something like "One life-changing experience that taught valuable life lessons..." (non-professional)? Or the optional essay is to be strictly used for explaining some weak areas etc...?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:35:44 PM)
Tyler, I think it depends on your quantitative background: You certainly want to be brushed up on your basic calculus skills, so if it's a concern to you, I'd suggest taking a course at a local college. I've found the finance courses to be more challenging from a quantitative perspective, but it's less so the math than grasping the concepts having come from an engineering background.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:36:41 PM)
Ash: the optional essay can be used to explain anything else you think the AdCom should know about you. In the example that you chose - one-life changing experience - that might be appropriate material for E4.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:36:55 PM)
Matt, Do you have advice for prospective MBA's that may make their transition back to student easier? What could make those first few weeks as an MBA student easier?

choni (Sep 10, 2009 12:37:05 PM)
Soojin: I am interested in a career in General Management, and have been informed that in addition to strong management skills, recruiters are also looking for strong communicators. Are there specific programs/initiatives and/or classes that help students develop their communications skills?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:37:32 PM)
Ankush: That is a good question. I know that at least one elective was added to address the changing financial landscape, and I believe our core finance course has also been updated a bit. We consistently re-evaluate all of our courses, including feedback from the students who take them.

Ankush B (Sep 10, 2009 12:37:42 PM)
Doug: Another reapplicant question - If I opt to resubmit an essay, will that essay be replacing last year's essay, or will it be read in conjunction with last year's essay? Further, am I expected to present only the new and updated information in the new essay, or does the essay needs to be able to stand alone, containing all the details as per the essay topic?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:40:03 PM)
Linda, seeing all the new first years struggle through their first week of classes has brought back a lot of wonderful memories. ;) I would first suggest that you take as much time off from work as possible before starting your MBA program -- it'll allow you time to relax and clear your head. Second, I'd recommend that students find a core group of classmates (which you'll likely meet through orientation) who can support you -- and you, them -- when things get overwhelming. I think both of those little tidbits can help alleviate the oft-stressful experience of returning to school.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:40:11 PM)
Inspiron: We would certainly take into consideration if you have family who are alumni, but this would never override the rest of the application. For me, I would expect you to have a strong understanding of the program if someone close to you attended. If this was the case, I think it would allow you to put together a better application.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:40:23 PM)
Choni: There are many communications skill-building opportunities throughout our curriculum (e.g., Persuasive Management Communications; Management Presentations), making presentations in other courses, including MAP, as well as extracurricular activities (e.g., mock interviews, club leadership roles, conference chair roles, and Toastmasters.)

williamsMBA (Sep 10, 2009 12:40:29 PM)
Soojin: My undergraduate GPA is low/lacking. Is there anything that I can do to strengthen my chances?

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:41:08 PM)
Matt, what is the extra-curricular activity that you have found most beneficial?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:42:22 PM)
WilliamsMBA: The GPA is only one factor among many that we use to assess an applicant's academic abilities. Course rigor, GPA trends, post-undergrad coursework, and GMAT also play into the assessment. We also consider your professional experience; that often gives us an idea of a person's analytical and quantitative skills.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:42:48 PM)
Ankush: We will read this year's essays in conjunction with last years. The cover letter allows for some flexibility, but f you are writing one of our essay questions, then the expectation would be that you are directly addressing that question.

azule (Sep 10, 2009 12:42:58 PM)
Doug: In researching full and part time opportunities, I find that most people discourage being full time and working part-time in a top MBA school. Do you feel as though this is the case at Ross?

Ash (Sep 10, 2009 12:43:08 PM)
Soojin: Can you provide some idea on what is the reapplicant-admit ratio at Ross?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:43:56 PM)
Linda, I know Soojin will LOVE this answer -- I've been serving as a Ross Ambassador for the past two years, working with the Admissions office to serve as a resource to prospective students. Over this time span, I've probably spoken with hundreds of potential Ross MBAs, and with each new conversation I discover how much I've really loved being here -- and how fortunate, too!

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:44:05 PM)
Ash: we don't track that. I'd have to look into it.

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:44:11 PM)
Soojin: I've only worked at Deloitte and in the same group since Undergrad. Earlier, you recommended two professional recommendations but I feel that the two recommendations from my supervisors would be fairly similar. If I have a significant position in a community non-profit, would it be a red-flag to have one professional recommendation and one from my non-profit?

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:44:24 PM)
Great answer Matt. :-D

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:44:39 PM)
Yes, great answer Matt!

Jon (Sep 10, 2009 12:45:08 PM)
Doug, how do you view applicants who have a BBA from Ross?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:45:27 PM)
Jon: You will not really be viewed differently at all. We will consider all of the same criteria to evaluate your candidacy. Obviously, we know it is a strong undergrad program, so this could be a good indicator of academic success.

RSF (Sep 10, 2009 12:45:57 PM)
Doug: For reapplicants who were on the waitlist, would it be appropriate in the cover letter to mention items (promotions, improved test scores, etc.) that were communicated to the admissions committee in waitlist update?

Gaurang (Sep 10, 2009 12:46:35 PM)
Soojin: How does the fact that one is applying for the MBA/MS dual degree- at Ross and NRSE (ERB) affect one's chances to get an admission into both schools? Does it make it a lot tougher, since it's the dual degree that I am interested in and not just one of the two courses?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:46:37 PM)
G.Tan: Have you worked on the same kind of project during your entire tenure at Deloitte? If so, it would be better to have two different project managers write your recommendation letters. But if you've always worked on the same kind of project and your performance and role were the same throughout, then an outside recommendation letter might be ok.

GoBlue10 (Sep 10, 2009 12:46:41 PM)
Matt, how many extra-curricular groups would you say the typical student is involved in? Do you find it hard to manage all the commitments due to your class load?

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:47:34 PM)
Soojin & Doug, if you are looking at an application and the numbers and basic profile are in the ballpark for a Ross student, what distinguishes an application that is accepted from one that is rejected?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:48:06 PM)
Azule: I can't speak for other programs, but so much of the learning experience at Ross is outside of the classroom that there is little free time. If you are going to invest in an MBA at Ross but continue working, I can guarantee that you are not getting the most out of the program.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:48:13 PM)
Gaurang: The two admissions processes are completely independent. We don't reserve or limit the number of admits we give to dual degree applicants. It's no tougher (or easier) to be a dual degree applicant than an MBA-only applicant.

Tyler (Sep 10, 2009 12:48:17 PM)
Soojin: Can you tell us about the way you evaluate an applicant's extracurricular activities? I know it's preferable to have leadership experience in these activities, but in some cases, that's not possible or realistic. Are there additional aspects you look to see an applicant highlight in these experiences in addition to examples of leadership?

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:49:34 PM)
GoBlue10 (and yes, Go Blue indeed!), it really does depend on your capability to balance your course load with extracurricular involvement. I, for one, am probably on the higher end of clubs in which to be involved, and it certainly does stretch your time. I usually suggest you take the first seven weeks of your time at Ross to understand just how demanding your coursework may be -- then adjust your time commitments accordingly.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:49:38 PM)
RSF: Yes, I would address all of those things in your reapplication regardless of what you submitted while being on the waitlist.

Ankush B (Sep 10, 2009 12:49:41 PM)
Thanks Doug, do you recall the name of the elective on the changing financial landscape? I would love to read about it online.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:49:56 PM)
Tyler: Good question. In addition to leadership, we're looking for applicants who have a track record of engagement, initiative and impact. None of these things requires that someone be a leader in an organization.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:52:02 PM)
Jon: much of the first year is reserved for core courses that provide students with a general management foundation. After that, students can take electives in any area they choose. They can focus in one area, e.g., entrepreneurship, or they can take a broader approach and even take classes outside of the b-school, e.g., a language class, or law, public policy, area studies, engineering, etc.

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:52:32 PM)
Soojin: I love the UM commercials about "The Michigan Difference". What would you say about Ross contributes to the Michigan Difference?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:53:25 PM)
G.Tan: I'd say the collaborative, community-spirit you see in the Michigan Difference commercial pervades the entire campus. There's a strong sense of community and giving back across our large campus, and especially at Ross.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:54:55 PM)
Linda: Most of our applicants will fit our basic profile. After that, we consider their life/work experience. Do they have experience to both build upon and share with their classmates? Will they provide a different perspective? We heavily consider leadership and teamwork skills since it is such an important part of a successful workplace. We also look for students who take initiative, since as I mentioned earlier, a great deal of learning at Ross takes place outside of the classroom. Does the applicant have a track record of getting involved?

GoBlue10 (Sep 10, 2009 12:54:55 PM)
Soojin: What percentage of applicants do you extend an interview to and how many of those interviewed are accepted?

Ankush B (Sep 10, 2009 12:56:11 PM)
Doug: Is there a possibility of skipping certain core courses which are already my strength? And instead take up other courses of interest in the same semester?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:56:42 PM)
GoBlue10: The % of interview invites has varied each year based on the number of applications we receive. Last year, we invited about 40% of applicants to interview.

Ash (Sep 10, 2009 12:56:52 PM)
Thanks Soojin. In my GMAT score there's a wide gap between quant and verbal score (verbal being low) - although the overall score is above the median score at Ross. Will that be a negative factor at Ross? What things can I justify as improvement in the verbal part, since the time I took GMAT?

Beebe (Sep 10, 2009 12:57:06 PM)
Doug: Do you have a minimum GMAT requirement?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:57:48 PM)
Beebe: We don't have a minimum GMAT requirement, but this year's 80th percentile range was about 640-760. What I tell applicants is the farther you fall below this range, the better the rest of your application will need to be. Every year we admit some stellar candidates who simply struggle with standardized testing.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:57:57 PM)
Ash: in addition to the score breakout, we'll look at the AWA portion of the GMAT, as well as your essays, what your recommenders say about you, and how your interview goes to assess your verbal skills.

inspiron (Sep 10, 2009 12:57:58 PM)
Matt: What role is Michigan MBA playing in the Environmental/Energy sector?

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:58:11 PM)
Ankush: Absolutely. Students can waive out of core courses. Some are based on an exam and some are based on previous experience. As you mentioned, this would then free you up to take further elective courses.

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:58:12 PM)
Inspiron, I can't think of a program that's more involved in that sector. Aside from the Ross Energy Club, the Erb Institute is the front-runner in offering a core focus on sustainable enterprise. I've been blown away by some of the experiences my classmates involved in that program have undertaken -- including some start ups blossoming from their work here.

GoBlue10 (Sep 10, 2009 12:58:13 PM)
Doug: How does Ross feel about the essay word limits? Is it ok to go a little over?

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:58:32 PM)
GoBlue10: Try to stay close to them, but we won't count.

G. Tan (Sep 10, 2009 12:58:53 PM)
Good point GoBlue, it's hard to fit all I want to say in the 500 and 250 word limits.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:59:04 PM)
That's part of the challenge.

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:59:14 PM)

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 12:59:17 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Soojin, Doug & Matt!

We look forward to seeing you at future chats, and here is a list of the upcoming scheduled chats in the next several weeks:

Sept. 16: London Business School

Sept. 24: Notre Dame Mendoza

Oct. 1: Columbia Admissions Q&A

Oct. 12: Cornell Chatter

Oct. 14: NYU Stern

Oct. 20: Consortium Application Strategies

If you would like to automatically receive notices about MBA admissions events and other MBA admissions events, please subscribe to our MBA event list. Please check the website for additional details.

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 12:59:38 PM)
Thanks Linda, and everyone who participated! We hope to see you in Ann Arbor! Go Blue!

GoBlue10 (Sep 10, 2009 12:59:59 PM)
Thanks! Go Blue! :)

Tyler (Sep 10, 2009 1:00:01 PM)
Super helpful. Thanks so much!

MattSchaarROSS (Sep 10, 2009 1:00:06 PM)
Thanks everyone -- Go Blue!

Jessie (Sep 10, 2009 1:00:10 PM)
Thank you everyone!

SoojinKwonKohROSS (Sep 10, 2009 1:00:10 PM)
Good luck with the application process!

Linda Abraham (Sep 10, 2009 1:00:15 PM)
You're most welcome.

DougThomasROSS (Sep 10, 2009 1:00:19 PM)
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to learn more about us!

inspiron (Sep 10, 2009 1:00:21 PM)
Thanks all!

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