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Career Accelerators: Meet the Michigan Ross Weekend MBA Class of 2026

Photo of Michigan Ross Weekend MBA Orientation with many new students sitting at tables and collaborating

The 112 members of the newest cohort of the Weekend MBA Program at the Ross School of Business began their MBA journeys in May, kicking off an accelerated two years of rigorous coursework, action-based learning opportunities, leadership development, networking, and more.

The accomplished professionals of the WMBA Class of 2026 bring unique backgrounds and diverse perspectives. Of the incoming WMBAs, 25% are women, and 9% are active military/veterans. With an average of seven years of full-time work experience, the cohort’s career paths represent a variety of industries, including 24% from engineering management, 14% from finance, 11% from operations, 10% from consulting, as well as marketing, strategic planning, sales, and more. Additionally, 38% of the class already has an advanced degree.

The lockstep cohort members attend class in Ann Arbor every other weekend. They hail from states across the country, including Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and California. 

Below, meet three members of the newest Michigan Ross Weekend MBA cohort. 

Julie Kessler
Photo of Julie Kessler Michigan Ross WMBA student with long blond straight hair wearing a red dress and smiling

Hometown: Springboro, OH/ Currently living in Perrysburg, OH
Current job: Sourcing leader, Owens Corning
Undergraduate school/major: Bowling Green State University, B.S., supply chain management; EM Strasbourg Business School, B.A., European management

What is your greatest professional accomplishment so far? 
Upon graduation from my company's leadership development program, I was promoted to a supply chain manager role on our roofing planning team. I took this role in late 2020 when supply chains were completely upended with raw material shortages, and I led my team to execute a planned availability program for half of our shingles production network. This was an extremely challenging time from a resource perspective, and I am very proud of both our team's performance and my personal development during this period.

Why did you decide to enroll in the Michigan Ross WMBA Program? 
I have always aspired to earn an MBA, and as a lifelong Michigan fan now based in Northwest Ohio, the Weekend MBA at Ross was an obvious choice. I am proud to be enrolled at Michigan Ross and thrilled to gain access to the Sanger Leadership Center programs and countless other industry-leading opportunities as a student at Ross. The weekend format is compatible with my leadership role, which requires regular travel, and it allows me to strike a balance that works for my husband and me. 

What made the Ross WMBA Program stand out to you versus other programs? 
It's no secret that a large portion of the value of an MBA comes from the network it helps you build. The cohort-based curriculum allows WMBAs to forge deeper connections through consistent interaction, which was extremely appealing to me. The Ross WMBA is also the most highly ranked part-time MBA program within driving distance from my home, so it was a great option for me.

What are you most looking forward to in the program and at Ross? 
I am most looking forward to the Multidisciplinary Action Project I will complete at the end of my first year. I hope to have the opportunity to work on an international project to help a business outside the United States address a challenge in their market. MAP will allow me to combine my passion for travel and learning about cultures with a best-in-class professional learning experience.

How do you believe pursuing your MBA at Ross will help you in your career? 
In my first month, it's already obvious to me that my classroom learning and group work experiences are helping me perform in my day job. Through the experiential learning curriculum, I will gain business case evaluation and other technical skills that will provide a solid foundation for me as I grow into larger organizational leadership roles in the future.

Anything else you'd like to add about your experience so far? 
I have been surprised and impressed by how intentional my cohort has been about connecting and supporting each other, even in the first month. Sharing resources, texting to check in, and trading anecdotes about our professional experiences and challenges is the norm. I know we have two years of hard work ahead of us, but I am beyond excited to grow alongside this impressive group of leaders.

William (Reese) Marsh Jr.

Photo of William Reese Marsh Jr Michigan Ross WMBA student wearing a light blue shirt with short dark hair and smiling

Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Current job: Senior consultant, human capital offering at Deloitte
Undergraduate school/major: University of Akron, BA, AYA 7-12 integrated social studies

What is your greatest professional accomplishment so far?
I would say my greatest professional accomplishment was the ability to pursue my goal of serving in the military and then successfully transitioning to the civilian world. A large percentage of veterans leave their first job within six months of transition as it is a major culture shock going from the military to civilian lifestyle. With the help of my network, I was able to make the transition and hit my two-year mark with Deloitte this past May. Now, I am able to help veterans with their transition process!

Why did you decide to enroll in the Michigan Ross WMBA Program?
I have always been driven by experiencing new opportunities to learn, especially in areas I feel there is growth potential. I enrolled in the Ross WMBA Program to find those “missing pieces” and build on the foundational business principles I didn’t have the opportunity to pursue during my undergrad or during my military service time.

What made the Ross WMBA Program stand out to you versus other programs?
The ability to get a top-tier MBA while working full-time to support my family is what caught my eye initially. While researching schools, the Ross experiential learning (MAP) and their leadership development courses stood out to me as differentiators in comparison to other part-time programs. Also, speaking with current students and alums made me realize that Ross has an extensive network of alums who are easily accessible and more than willing to take the time to chat and network.

What are you most looking forward to in the program and at Ross?
I look forward to making mistakes and learning from them! In both my full-time career fields, it’s not often you can try something new and have it fail without some sort of consequence. In the short time I’ve been at Ross, I have learned from students and faculty that this is a culture that wants you to try new things, make mistakes, and learn from them. I’m excited to participate in programs that promote growth, such as career coaching, MAP, and the Sanger Leadership Center’s Michigan Ross Leader Endorsement.

How do you believe pursuing your MBA at Ross will help you in your career?
I believe that pursuing my MBA at Ross will improve my foundational business skills while improving my understanding of other business areas like strategy, marketing, operations, and finance. But most importantly I believe an MBA at Ross will help me grow as a leader in my industry by working closely with my classmates from so many unique and diverse backgrounds.

Anything else you’d like to add about your experience so far?
After a month, I have had a blast meeting and interacting with my classmates. Knowing that we are all pursuing the same goal while maintaining our full-time jobs has been a sense of inspiration for me. In this short amount of time, I have felt a sense of camaraderie and compassion as we try to help each other in class and work around each other's hectic schedules outside of class.

Subashree Ramachandran

Photo of Suba Ramachandran Michigan Ross WMBA student with medium length dark curly hair wearing a blue jacket and a lime green shirt

Hometown: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India/Currently living in Fort Wayne, IN
Current job: Senior software engineer, Dynatrace
Undergraduate school/major: Pondicherry University, India/ B.Tech., electrical and electronics engineering; Northern Illinois University, MS, computer science

What is your greatest professional accomplishment so far? 
I developed a software build process that embraced a new technology that few to none have used in the industry. The new build process is user-friendly and easy to maintain, improves team productivity, and yields cost savings. I presented the new methodology at IBM user group conferences held in the United States and virtually in Europe. The project was a great success and received positive feedback.

Why did you decide to enroll in the Michigan Ross WMBA Program? 
I’ve been wanting to do an MBA at one of the top business schools. The Ross MBA is a renowned degree that is highly valued in the workplace. Besides, the University of Michigan is one of the finest universities in the nation. I was debating between whether to enroll in a full-time program or in a part-time program. Attending the information session, mock class, and meeting alums gave me the confidence that the WMBA curriculum and the program design have nothing short of FTMBA. In addition, the business concepts I learned during the weekend can be applied at work during the week, and I can come back with more questions/clarity in the following classes. Last but not least, having a Ross MBA is a prestigious addition to my career and elevates my resume.

What made the Ross WMBA Program stand out to you versus other programs? 
First and foremost, what I loved about Ross WMBA was that it is a two-year lockstep program. This will help me align with a schedule and graduate in two years with utmost value. The fixed cohort aids with better networking in the class. I also loved the fact that the weekend classes are held on the main campus, which will give a real back-to-school feeling. The MAP opportunity was also certainly a differentiating factor for me. In addition, I was excited to learn about other initiatives/clubs at Ross, such as the C.K. Prahalad Initiative, Business+Tech, and Women in Business, which I’d like to be a part of to learn and give back. The Quantitative Readiness Course test format encouraged me to apply. I couldn’t thank the admissions team enough for designing a test that is pragmatic in nature.

What are you most looking forward to in the program and at Ross?  
I’m looking forward to enhancing my communication and leadership skills, expanding my network, and learning from the brightest minds at Ross. I'm also looking forward to participating in the Ross initiatives I listed above to learn, contribute, and grow.

How do you believe pursuing your MBA at Ross will help you in your career?
It has been only a month for me in the program, and I can already feel the Ross WMBA difference at work. I can better understand the context of business terminologies and financial and marketing strategies discussed at our town hall meetings at work. Post-MBA, I would like to transition into a leadership role. I’m confident that the Sanger Leadership Center will shape me into an effective leader who can excel in leadership roles. Having access to communication coaches/consultants at Ross will help me achieve my communication goals. I'm starting to feel that this has been the best career decision I've ever made.

Anything else you'd like to add about your experience so far?
It feels amazing to be in the class and on campus every alternate weekend, meeting people with similar mindsets and goals. Everyone is bright, and it is refreshing to be amongst the brilliant energy. I eagerly look forward to the class weekends. The group assignments have been fantastic, as I was able to collaborate with peers coming from diverse backgrounds and learn from one another. I’m impressed with the exceptional resources and coaching that the Career Development Office offers. I’m excited to be here and can’t wait to experience the energy this fall when FTMBA students are on campus as well.

Documents & Links
Learn more about the Michigan Ross Weekend MBA Program