Podcast: Business Beyond Usual
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Episode 802 — The People and Process of Full-Time MBA Admissions

On this episode of the Business Beyond Usual podcast, Full-Time MBA students sit down with Andrea McHale, director of Full-Time and Global MBA admissions, and Lysa Wang, associate director of Full-Time MBA admissions, to discuss the admissions process at Michigan Ross. The group dives into authentic applications, the class-building process, admissions events, and the people behind the admissions process. 

In the first half of the episode, the panel focuses on the people behind the admissions process. Like all members of the Michigan Ross community, McHale and Wang have unique backgrounds that prepared them for their roles today. In the conversation, McHale and Wang share more about their journeys to Ross, their goals as admissions representatives, and some of their motivations behind their work. Although McHale and Wang had different paths to Ross, they share a vested interest in using their diverse professional experience to make an impact.

A major focus of the first part of the discussion is the responsibility the admissions team has to uphold the ideals of the Ross community. As many current students and alums know, admission to Ross can be life-changing, and McHale and Wang explored their responsibility to applicants.

“I lose sleep every time we get to decisions," said McHale. “You battle with your own insecurities of, ‘am I good enough to make these informed decisions?’ But we have an amazing holistic process where we have multiple evaluation points through multiple people. So, we do this holistically. We can only admit so many individuals into the Ross MBA class each year. And it's very hard to make decisions. On the flip side of that, once those decisions are made, and we are the first person to inform this applicant that they're admitted into the Ross MBA, it is thrilling. You cry with them, you laugh with them… That small but impactful moment that you play in an individual's life really matters in this role.”

In the second half of the discussion, the group focuses on the admissions process itself.  A primary focus of the discussion is what differentiates Michigan Ross and the strategy behind building a class. Through a multi-tiered, collaborative process, the admissions team attempts to ensure mutual fit, impactful experiences, and a robust community of support.

A particularly insightful moment of the second segment was when the panel discussed authenticity and personal essays. Michigan Ross has relatively short essays compared to other MBA applications. The reason for this is to get a clear view of an applicant’s goals, background, and aspirations. Wang shared some impactful advice for prospective Full-Time MBA students.

“The essays are not your entire application. It's just a compliment to your application. They’re supposed to provide more stories, more context to who you are outside of what we can already find through your letter of recommendation, through your credentials, through your resume, and all of that,” said Wang. “One thing I tell students is to always reflect back on your personal and professional experiences and then think about what was not portrayed within the other areas of your application and pick out different stories that you can share that are both impactful and authentic to yourself.”

To close the conversation, the panel answers questions about the admissions process from prospective students. From standardized tests to the impact of visiting campus, McHale and Wang prepare applicants for the next round of admissions application deadlines. 

 Have thoughts about topics we should cover, or just want to get in touch? 

Send us an email at bbupodcast@umich.edu.

 Want to hear more from Ross students, faculty, and alumni? 
Check out more of our podcasts. 

Business Beyond Usual LogoWorking for the Weekend: A deep dive into the daily life of part-time MBAs at Michigan Ross. Weekend and online MBA students discuss their experiences and advice for prospective and current students.

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About the participants

Hosts and Producers: John Brown and Chloe Bally.

Guest: Andrea McHale and Lysa Wang

Executive Producers: John Brown, David Amorim, Arpit Sharma, and JT Godfrey

Audio Engineer: Jonah Brockman