How to Master the Michigan Ross MBA Application Essay Prompts


We recently released our essay questions for the 2019-20 admissions cycle. Most of the questions are the same as last year’s, but we did modify one of the short answer prompts. (See my last post to see what changed). 

The questions that candidates frequently ask related to the essays are: 

“Should I focus on professional stories or personal stories? What will help me stand out?” 

The answer is simple: “Share stories -- and insights -- that no one else can, and that haven’t been highlighted elsewhere in your application.” 

We created short answer prompts that naturally lend themselves to giving applicants an opportunity to share unique stories that will give us insight into who they are. While the “what” may be similar to another applicant’s “what,” the details and the “why’s” are bound to be different. 

Here’s one way to think about it: Imagine that you’re having coffee with one of us on the AdCom, and you start with, “I want people to know that I…” and you share something you want people to know. 

Essential Read

How The Admissions Director Would Answer the Michigan Ross MBA Essay Questions

Here are my responses to two of our prompts. Read them not as “models” to replicate, but as a glimpse into who I am.

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We’re bound to say, “That’s interesting. Why is that significant? Why would you want people to know that about you?” 

Same thing with any of the other prompts: “I was humbled when…” When you share the time you were humbled, and we’re bound to follow up, “Why did you find that humbling?” 

Giving us insight into how you think and feel is the unique and interesting part for us. Responses to these prompts helped the AdCom get a deeper sense of who an applicant is, not just what they’ve accomplished. If you’d like to see what I would’ve written for a couple of our essay prompts, click here

Another thing to keep in mind as you toil over your essays is that this is only one part of your application. There are many other pieces that the AdCom looks at to evaluate your candidacy; so don’t sacrifice spending time working on the other parts of the application (e.g., resume, test prep, lining up for and prepping your recommender) in an effort to write the “perfect essay” — just be real with us and show us who you are.

Michigan Ross MBA Application Essay Prompts

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