Poets&Quants Highlights 12 Members of the Full-Time MBA Class of 2022 and Explains Why Students Should Attend Michigan Ross
In its annual “Meet the Class” feature, Poets&Quants featured 12 talented and diverse members of Full-Time MBA students from the Class of 2022 at the Ross School of Business. Those members include a medical student, a former ABC News Pentagon reporter, and a CFA Charterholder.
P&Q describes Michigan Ross MBAs as action-oriented, stating that “if you’re a Ross MBA, you go out and do it. There’s no way around it.” This action-based philosophy is one of the many reasons students choose to attend Michigan Ross and making it a top-ranked business school.
The feature also includes a Q&A with Soojin Kwon, managing director of Full-Time MBA Admissions and Program at Michigan Ross. Kwon talked about the work Michigan Ross is doing on enhancing diversity and inclusion at the school, including the Ross Commitment to Action and new Allyship 101 workshop, programs that reflect Ross’ action-based philosophy, and much more.
Learn about the outstanding Ross Full-Time MBAs highlighted in P&Q’s “Meet the Class of 2022” in their own words:
Stephanie Babij - Ontario, OR
“Never-say-die competitor, number-cruncher, fitness/outdoors enthusiast, and lover of all things chocolate.”
What has been Babij’s biggest accomplishment in her career so far?
“Although it was only a building block in my career, I’m very proud of becoming a CFA Charterholder. Having no significant finance background when I started my job, I recognized that I needed to gain a certain skill set to be successful. Three years of self-study and three rigorous exams later, I achieved my designation, and a solid understanding of the fundamentals of portfolio management and financial analysis. Working and honing this new skill set, I believe, led to an even more consequential accomplishment: becoming the sole bank analyst on my team, responsible for upwards of 40 companies within our investment portfolios at any given time.”
Marissa Cooper - West Bloomfield, MI
“Avid traveler, empathetic listener, and lover of sports and ice cream.”
What makes Cooper most excited about getting her MBA at Ross? What makes her most nervous about starting business school?
“The opportunity to take this next step in my ‘backyard’! The University of Michigan represents more than an incredible academic opportunity; it is a source of family pride. My mom attended medical school here in the late 80s and is a beacon of hard work, perseverance, and selflessness. She raised me as a single mom, while serving others as an anesthesiologist. I am excited to continue her legacy representing the Maize and Blue, while creating my own waves in consulting and social impact at Ross! As for nerves, I am most worried about not having enough time to pursue all my interests.”
Christopher Connolly - Chicago, IL
“I am a medical student interested in genetics, 3D-printing, and developing treatments for diseases.”
What has been Connolly’s biggest accomplishment in his career so far?
“My biggest accomplishment has been getting into medical school as a person with a disability. Currently, individuals with disabilities can be denied the ability to matriculate into medical school due to physical requirements called ‘technical standards.’ When applying to medical school, I knew that my test scores and grades were strong enough to go anywhere. However, I needed to find a program willing to work with me. After I was accepted at Michigan, a dean from the medical school called me and said, ‘Once you’re in, you’re family — and we take care of family.’ This is the culture that permeates throughout the University of Michigan. That is the ‘Michigan Difference.’”
Daniel Ketyer - Washington County, PA
“Strategy consultant and aspiring climate tech investor from Western PA.”
What was the key part of Ross’ MBA programming that led Ketyer to choose Ross and why was it so important to him?
“The student-run investment funds stood out as a unique opportunity. Ross has more student-run funds than any other MBA program. The options are limitless: a lab-to-market tech VC (Zell-Lurie Commercialization Fund), an international VC (International Investment Fund), and an impact investing VC (Social Venture Fund). These opportunities particularly appealed to me as I aspire to move from consulting to investing. The hard part is deciding which fund to apply to!”
Anna H. Lam - Walnut, CA
“I am a first-generation Asian American who is fighting for a world that empowers and gives a voice to all.”
What was the key part of Ross’ MBA programming that led Lam to choose Ross and why was it so important to her?
“Ross cares a lot about intersecting business with social impact. Through its centers, institutes, initiatives, and course offerings, I saw that Ross was providing the necessary resources to truly lead the way in making business a force for positive and social good. Just to name a few things that stood out to me – Business+Impact, +Impact Studio, Social Venture Fund, Nonprofit Board Fellows, and Social Innovation Series. Coming from a nontraditional, nonprofit background, this spoke to my hopes of creating a bridge between the private, public, and nonprofit sectors for the betterment of society. Ross was the only school that made me feel like they could provide a safe and resource-filled space for me to explore my goals for social impact.”
Drew McKnight - Birmingham, AL
“Family-first sports fan dabbling as an amateur chef and professional taste tester.”
Fun fact about McKnight: “When I was an undergraduate, I was part of a small team that put on a private clinic to teach Prince Harry the basics of American football. It went well… but not well enough to get invited to the big wedding.”
What club or activity excites McKnight the most at Ross?
“I’m most looking forward to joining the Armed Forces Association. I connected early on with a few fellow Air Force Academy graduates who thrived at Ross. It was incredibly helpful to be able to draw upon similar experiences and really see myself in their shoes. The mentorship I received from these relationships, and the larger AFA, is what ultimately convinced my wife that Michigan is the place for us… at that point, I was sold. We’re excited to pay forward this mentorship and help future veterans and their families navigate their own path forward.”
Elizabeth McLaughlin - Manhattan Beach, CA
“Former journalist but a forever news buff; happiest on or near the water!”
What has been McLaughlin’s biggest accomplishment in her career so far?
“My biggest career accomplishment was quickly and accurately reporting complex, consequential stories in competition with some of the most renowned reporters in journalism. I was assigned to report from the Pentagon for ABC News at the age of 24. Suddenly, I shared a hallway with journalists I had long admired — many of whom had spent more than a decade deeply entrenched in military and foreign policy issues. Though intimidated at first, I quickly learned how to break news and report stories with confidence and precision, hopefully having earned the respect of sources and coworkers along the way. An ABC Pentagon colleague and I tackled major news events like a well-oiled machine: confirming details of events with sources, consulting with network executives on reporting plans, publishing stories on abcnews.com, filing radio pieces that would be disseminated to dozens of local ABC stations, and preparing show teams to air our reporting on ABC’s television broadcasts. From the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, and the creation of the Space Force, there was never a dull day covering the U.S. military.”
Harshita Pilla - Dallas, TX
“Amateur beer brewer and aspiring affordable housing developer.”
What was the key part of Ross’ MBA programming that led Pilla to choose Ross and why was it so important to her?
“It’s probably no surprise that I’ll mention a stellar action-based learning curriculum, and specifically Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP), as one of the key factors that led to my decision in choosing Ross. I learn best through practice, and there is no shortage of opportunities at Ross to gain real-world experience. Furthermore, as a dual-degree student, it was critical for me to choose a business school that not only valued, but prioritized an interdisciplinary approach to learning. I met the highest number of dual-degree MBA students while visiting Ross, and hearing their experiences of feeling genuinely supported by the business program as well as by the greater University ultimately solidified my decision.”
Alexia Sabogal - New York, NY
“Sports enthusiast and storyteller who’s curious about innovation, passionate about cooking, and a people connector.”
What makes Sabogal most excited about getting her MBA at Ross?
“I am most excited about going to Ann Arbor, meeting and bonding with my classmates and the MBA2s. Living in a college town like Ann Arbor will only help facilitate relationships with my fellow Rossers. Especially coming from New York City, it is nice to have a change in pace and experience the Midwest hospitality (I hear that’s a thing!).”
Michael Walsh - Evanston, IL
“Husband, dad, and three-dog pack lead who enjoys working on seemingly unsolvable problems.”
What was the key part of Ross’ MBA programming that led Walsh to choose Ross and why was it so important to him?
“The strength of the Ross alumni community turned out to be the differentiator for me. During the on-campus interview day, there were several student panels. Without fail, every student on every panel had a story to share about one or more alumni who had gone above expectations to help them secure an internship or full-time offer — case prep help, mentorship for career switchers, industry and firm specific insights, or mock interviews. An MBA provides a lifelong network, and it was impossible to turn down the opportunity to be part of Ross.”
Y.C Wong - Singapore
“Aspiring human capital-centric, analytics-savvy consultant, operating in a variety of cultures while leading others.”
What was a defining moment that prepared Wong for business school?
“A defining moment was surviving jungle training in Brunei to become an officer in the Singapore army. The course included trekking through the jungle in full combat load and surviving on two days’ worth of food for ten days. I lost ten pounds, suffered injuries, and watched a peer lose consciousness due to multiple hornet stings.”
“Despite the challenges, I became aware of a foundational element of my identity – proactivity – that has consistently guided my life choices. Rather than react based on the external environment, I proactively delivered solutions. When my comrades felt frustrated and lost motivation, I led by example by taking point and actively checking our bearings as we navigated through the dense jungle. When it got too dark to travel, I leveraged the downtime to make survival tools. I hope to leverage and strengthen this aspect of my identity in business school by being proactive and intentional about shaping my unique MBA journey at Ross and focusing my energy on experiences that are aligned with my interests.”
Justin Woods - Colorado Springs, CO
“A social activist passionate about racial justice and Black emotional health.”
What has been Woods’ biggest accomplishment in his career so far?
“The most meaningful experience I’ve had in my career was during my Peace Corps service when I worked with LGBTI Burundian refugees at a Rwandan refugee camp who were fleeing political hostility in their home country. We worked to write an emergency grant to help them find safe housing outside of the camp where they were experiencing anti-gay/trans bias. The refugees were bold queer activists in a country whose environment was much more hostile than I’ve ever had to endure. I take pride not because I was a ‘savior’ of the moment as I wasn’t, but because I believe I had done enough work so that my native-English, American privilege was useful and not harmful to their lives.”