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Breaking News: Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA Program Named ‘MBA Program of the Year’ By Poets&Quants for its Continued Innovation and Leadership in Action-Based Learning


Poets&Quants has selected the Full-Time MBA Program at the Ross School of Business as its MBA Program of Year for 2021.

In a news article announcing the honor, Poets&Quants describes Michigan Ross as having “a continually innovating MBA program that puts experiential learning at its core and students at the center of the experience.” The publication emphasizes that the “ever-evolving nature” of the Ross Full-Time MBA Program makes it stand out from competitors. 

Time and time again, Ross continues to roll out one innovation after another.


The Michigan Ross 2021 innovations cited by P&Q include the Michigan Climate Venture, a first-of-its-kind, multidisciplinary program at the intersection of climate technology and venture capital that was recently launched by Ross faculty and MBA students in the Erb Institute; the new Business + Tech initiative, which aims to prepare students for careers at the intersection of business and technology; the new Pinkert Healthcare Accelerator, which provides student teams with grant seed funding and mentorship for U-M student entrepreneurs in the health sector; and Business+Impact’s new Founders Program, which welcomed a half-dozen student-led ventures this summer.

Poets&Quants also talked with faculty, staff, and students from the Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA Program for the article. Associate Dean for Full-Time MBA Programs Brad Killaly spoke about the innovative approach that Michigan Ross takes to its top-ranked program. 

“We are built on innovation,” said Killaly. “We listen to our students and we listen to our alums. Innovation and creativity are celebrated. We have a culture of rolling up our sleeves and trying and doing. That comes from faculty, students and alumni, and from staff. The boldest thing we have done is our ability to make investments in our curriculum, in our community, and in our co-curricular activities to educate and inspire students. It’s our unwavering commitment and success in innovating new courses that equip our students with the most current skills.”

The Leaders and Best in action-based learning

Beyond innovation, Poets&Quants cited the leadership by Michigan Ross in experiential learning as another reason why it named the school its MBA Program of the Year: “While many schools have only recently tacked on required consulting engagements with companies and nonprofits, Ross is now celebrating the 30th anniversary of its learning-by-doing experience, the so-called MAP (Multidisciplinary Action Projects).” 

The article mentions how Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA students participated in 68 MAP projects around the world from more than 100 potential sponsors this year, and that more than 35 faculty members directly advise student teams, along with a host of research scholars and librarians. Since around 95% of Ross Full-Time MBAs are career switchers, the article states that the MAP projects help facilitate career transitions and often lead to summer internships and full-time jobs. 

In addition to MAP, P&Q highlights the great number of student-run funds at Michigan Ross.

“Just as central to experiential learning at Ross is the student-run funds, with a total of $10 million under management. No other business school in the world has as many student-managed investment vehicles. Each fund is run under the supervision of a senior faculty member and provides students with the experience of evaluating pitches from entrepreneurs, performing due diligence, and deciding whether to invest or not,” wrote P&Q. 

Focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion

With the recent emphasis on diversity and inclusion by business schools, Poets&Quants highlights the diversity of the Michigan Ross Full-Time MBA Class of 2023, which has the program’s highest percentage of women ever (46%) and the largest group of students in the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (66) after receiving the most Consortium applications ever. Additionally, the article describes how women at Ross represent 68% of club leadership, and that the last 10 student body presidents have all been Consortium members and the last four were women. Eight of 10 section presidents also are women.

 “They are leading and that helps to build a more inclusive community,” Soojin Kwon, managing director of Full-Time MBA Admissions and Program, told P&Q.

Full-Time MBA student Brittani Banks, MBA ’22, described how the Michigan Ross community stepped up after a challenging time following the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in 2020. 

“But my entire section of classmates just stopped and made sure we addressed the issues of social injustice in person,” said Banks, who received support from Michigan Ross to organize an extremely successful health equity case competition this year. “There was a flood of people who wanted to acknowledge what was happening. My classmates were willing to make dinner for me. They were ready to have that conversation because we had built a community of trust with each other.” 

A community people love and a student-centric culture

Poets&Quants describes Michigan Ross as having a community that people love to be a part of and stay engaged with. 

One of the first aspects of the Ross community that the publication drew attention to was the support students receive from each other, the program team, and the powerful alumni network. The article shared the experience of Elizabeth McLaughlin, MBA ’22, who reached out to dozens of alumni when she was recruiting. 

“Every single one of them got back to me. It speaks to people’s willingness and love for the school,” McLaughlin told P&Q. “And my classmates are passionate and fun. Whatever you want to focus on, you can do it here. There is just an energy and a willingness to make things happen. I love that.”

Another aspect of the Michigan Ross community that P&Q touched upon is its connection to the University of Michigan, noting the more than 30 dual degrees and opportunities to take classes with graduate students from other top-ranked schools across campus, including public policy, law, and the environment.

P&Q ended the article trying to explain what makes the Michigan Ross community so special. 

Bottom line: The MBA program attracts people with great values who make the community a priority… Call it magic.


Read the 2021 MBA program of the year story on Poets&Quants

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