Student Voices

Q&A: I Talked with Six of My Peers to Hear Why Other In-State BBAs Chose Michigan Ross and U-M for College

By Tayla Jankowski, BBA ’25

At the beginning of the semester, my friends and I were discussing how many of our siblings are in the midst of the college application process.

While over half of undergraduate students at the University of Michigan are from the state, we debated whether our siblings would want to attend U-M as in-state students. This conversation made me reflect upon my own college application experience, bringing up the question: “Was I hesitant to apply to an in-state university?” 

At the time, the answer was yes. I remember being worried about whether I would have the opportunity to branch out, how I would navigate balancing what is considered “home life” versus “college life” when they were within an hour of one another, and everything in between.  Thankfully, despite my initial hesitations about committing to U-M and pursuing my BBA degree at Michigan Ross, I can honestly say that I have not looked back since. I have had such an incredible opportunity to be independent, broaden my interests, and enhance my skill set during my first year alone. And, I believe that any student — in-state or not — could blaze their own trail here at U-M. 

With application season in full swing, I decided to ask other in-state Michigan Ross BBA students about making the decision to attend Ross and U-M as well as their experiences in business school and college thus far. (I even answered my own questions, too!)

Imani Summerville

Program/year: BBA ’25

Hometown: West Bloomfield, Michigan

Organizations you are part of on campus: Delta Sigma Pi, Girl Up Michigan, LEAD Scholars

Favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor: Jerusalem Garden

What factors did you find most beneficial in making your decision on where to attend college?

I needed somewhere close to home because I wasn’t ready to live in a state without easy access to my family, and with Ann Arbor being 45 minutes away from my hometown, it checked that box. There was also a familiarity with Ann Arbor that I’ve gained from coming to this city my whole life, I already was comfortable here. Most importantly, I wanted to be somewhere that had an amazing program for my intended major. Once I got into Ross, the decision definitely made itself. 

Did you have any concerns about applying to U-M as an in-state student? If so, what were they, and how has your outlook on those concerns changed as a Ross BBA and U-M student?

One concern I had is that my application would not seem competitive enough. As an in-state student who came from a school where only a few of its graduates come to Michigan, I feared I may not have had the opportunities and help that applicants from other schools had. Luckily, this did not hold me back during the admissions process or my time so far in Ross. What I did or did not do in high school has very little to do with what I do now, so that worry was diminished fairly quickly. 

Why did you ultimately decide to attend U-M and pursue your BBA at Michigan Ross as an in-state student?

It had been a goal of mine since birth to attend this school, so there was never a doubt in my mind that this is where I was meant to be. As for my BBA, Michigan Ross offers so many opportunities and resources for career growth/professional development, so I knew getting my BBA here would best prepare me for the future. 

What advice would you give to in-state prospective students about applying to and engaging with the opportunities available to them as Ross BBA students?

You don’t know what’s behind the door until you open it. The experience one gains from Ross is entirely their own and dependent upon what the student is willing to do. There are so many resources available here to help students propel themselves toward success. The Career Development Office, your academic advisors, clubs, speaker events, etc. all play a large part in making the most out of your time here. 

Sameer Khed

Program/year: BBA ’26

Hometown: Troy, Michigan

Organizations you are part of on campus: Victor Value Investing, Alternative Investments Club

Favorite restaurant within Ann Arbor: No Thai

Did you have any concerns about applying to U-M as an in-state student? If so, what were they, and how has your outlook on those concerns changed as a Ross BBA and U-M student?

My biggest concern applying to the University of Michigan as an in-state student was my worry about not getting accepted due to the number of applicants to the university. I have realized that wherever you end up pursuing your college education is the experience that is perfect for you. Not getting into your “dream school” doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough, it truly is just not the community that is a perfect fit for you.

Why did you ultimately decide to attend U-M and pursue your BBA at Michigan Ross as an in-state student?

I think it really came down to the network and strong alumni connections that U-M has to offer. I was really looking forward to having peers and professors that supported me in my endeavors, and I really thought that U-M had the perfect environment to explore my passions in business and grow along the way. I loved seeing how willing students and alumni were to help undergrads navigate through college, and I think that support system is what really drew me to Michigan Ross.

What was something you wish someone would have told you about how many opportunities there are available to you at Ross and U-M to make the experience your own?

I wish someone would have told me about the various organizations to explore on campus whether they are fraternities, clubs, or intramural sports teams. I think going in I was aware that these organizations existed, but I wish I had a chance to explore and learn more about them before getting on campus. I had no clue about all the opportunities that were available for students to help find jobs or learn more about their careers. I think it would be beneficial if students got to know about Handshake (the university-wide internship and recruiting platform) and the Ross Career Development Office because they are two stellar resources that can be very helpful in determining what career path to go down and also finding opportunities to gain technical experience.

What advice would you give to in-state prospective students about applying to and engaging with the opportunities available to them as Ross BBA students?

My biggest advice would be to really take the time to explore everything that U-M has to offer and really research everything that Ross has for BBA students. I definitely think that is something that will be very beneficial to you so you aren’t lost when you come to Festifall and see thousands of organizations set up and have no idea where to begin. Personally, I was lost when I saw all kinds of sports teams, clubs, and fraternities. Also, don’t feel the need to apply to everything just because other people are doing it. I think my best advice would be to do the things that you love and are interested in and really commit yourself 100%. 

Gabe Hassan

Program/year: BBA ’24, minor in political science

Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Organizations you are part of on campus: Pi Sigma Epsilon, Arab Business Society, Club Boxing Team, North African Student Association, La Casa, Caring for Cambodia

Favorite restaurant within Ann Arbor: Mama Satto

What factors did you find most beneficial in making your decision on where to attend college?

I think the most important factor when making my decision to attend the U-M and Michigan Ross was speaking with current and past Ross students. I was able to hear firsthand about the prospect of balancing a rigorous academic schedule with the many opportunities to get involved with Ross professional clubs. Hearing these perspectives assisted me in making my decision.

Why did you ultimately decide to attend U-M and pursue your BBA at Michigan Ross as an in-state student?

I decided to pursue my BBA at Michigan Ross because, as a Michigan resident, I knew I was very fortunate to have the University of Michigan as the preeminent in-state institution. Michigan Ross and its world-class faculty seek to build a better world through business and education. This mission is in line with my educational aspirations, as it is the burden of my generation to bridge the gap between business and lasting social and environmental impact.

What have been the most impactful and unique experiences you have had at Michigan Ross and U-M that you talk about most with your high school peers at other schools?

I think the most impactful experience I had at Michigan Ross was in one of my business clubs. I am a member of the business fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon, and through this experience, I had the opportunity to work with a nonprofit organization named Project4Prosperity. P4P’s mission is to to help minority-owned businesses that have been negatively affected by circumstances beyond their control, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. P4P was struggling to acquire the donations needed to continue supporting these minority-owned businesses, as resources were spread thin across nonprofits in the Washington, D.C. area. My team and I worked to introduce P4P to minority-owned businesses in Ann Arbor impacted by the pandemic, and we worked to expand the number of Ann Arbor businesses eligible for P4P’s assistance.

What advice would you give to in-state prospective students about applying to and engaging with the opportunities available to them as Ross BBA students?

If I were to give advice to a new prospective student on the opportunities available as a Ross BBA, I would recommend joining clubs in all different business subject areas. They would benefit from diversifying their exposure, rather than finding themselves limited to just one focus. The broader their experiences are, the greater the likelihood they will find their area of true interest.

Sam Woiteshek

Program/year: BBA ’24

Hometown: Grand Haven, Michigan

Organizations you are part of on campus: Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity, Michigan Sport Consulting Group, The Michigan Daily, Michigan Sports Business Association, Michigan Pre-Law Society

Favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor: TAQ 

Did you have any concerns about applying to U-M as an in-state student? If so, what were they, and how has your outlook on those concerns changed as a Ross BBA and U-M student?

I think the overriding concern I had going into U-M was if I would be overwhelmed by Ross and U-M as a whole. There’s around 4,500 students in Ross and 50,000 enrolled at U-M, so I wondered how I would be able to individualize my experience. After the COVID-19 pandemic, I arrived on campus my sophomore year and quickly realized my fears would be alleviated. Once I found a community within Ross, and met people concentrating in areas outside of business, it became way less stressful and much easier for me to actively seek out the opportunities I was interested in. In general, I’ve discovered that Ross and U-M are what you make of it; the more effort you put into this institution, the more rewarding it becomes. 

Why did you ultimately decide to attend U-M and pursue your BBA at Michigan Ross as an in-state student?

Going into the college search process, I knew I wanted a school that offered a variety of opportunities in terms of academics, extracurriculars, social life, etc. Coming from West Michigan, I felt like the local colleges around me did not offer that. Truthfully, U-M was the only school I felt that could achieve my criteria and, combined with the fact that my mom received her master’s degree in social work here, I decided to pursue U-M 110%. 

As far as pursuing business specifically, it’s an industry that transcends all aspects of daily life. In almost every operation you can think of, business plays a pivotal role. This aspect really appeals to me because I can pair it with my different interests (sports, law, politics, and many more) upon graduation.

What was something you wish someone would have told you about how many opportunities there are available to you at Ross and U-M to make the experience your own?

Get involved early and often. My first year was virtual due to the pandemic; I was able to get somewhat involved with a few organizations, but nothing I could truly immerse myself in. Granted, there were extenuating circumstances, but I felt I could have done more in addition to focusing on academics. To truly maximize your Ross experience, I think the key is to jump in right away. Whether it's through clubs, elective courses, professional opportunities, or anything of the like, it’s impossible to stop learning here. There is always something to be gained from every opportunity, even if you may not think so originally.

What advice would you give to in-state prospective students about applying to and engaging with the opportunities available to them as Ross BBA students?

Similar to the last question, be a sponge! If you’re thinking about applying to U-M, come to Ann Arbor to visit and engage with the campus. If you’re here already and are unsure of what to do, take a walk down Main Street. There is so much to do - from academic to professional to social and everything in between. I have truly never experienced a place like Ann Arbor; I find that when I’m not here, I really miss this place and the people who make it so special. There are only four years of college — don’t waste a minute.

Emmalyn Braun

Program/year: BBA ’25

Hometown: Manistique, Michigan

Organizations you are part of on campus: Michigan Business Women, Michigan Real Estate Club

Favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor: Stray Hen Cafe

What factors did you find most beneficial in making your decision on where to attend college?

My most important factors included campus life, academic and career resources, size, and location/distance from home. I searched for a school that had a good balance of an integrative campus life with enriching academic and career opportunities. Coming from a small community in the Upper Peninsula, I wanted a large school size yet available, smaller communities, an exciting campus location, and a manageable driving distance from home. More specifically to my major, I searched for a business school that offered a multitude of business courses, networking opportunities, real-world experiences, and professional development resources.

Did you have any concerns about applying to U-M as an in-state student? If so, what were they, and how has your outlook on those concerns changed as a Ross BBA and U-M student?

As an in-state student from the Upper Peninsula, my biggest concerns surrounding college mainly involved the transition to college. Luckily, U-M is located in my home state. Compared to the UP, though, U-M and Ann Arbor are drastically larger and much different than what I was used to. I didn’t go without struggles adjusting to college, but U-M and Ross were there to guide me along the way. U-M offers a U.P. Scholars program in which I could connect and relate with students coming from similar areas to me. With that, Ross provided me with a guide of resources for every need to ease the transition period and a smaller community on a big campus where I could find familiar faces, reach out for support, and get advice from my peer mentor. 

Why did you ultimately decide to attend U-M and pursue your BBA at Michigan Ross as an in-state student?

I ultimately decided to attend U-M and Ross because of the incredible amount of opportunities, resources, and staff/student/alumni support. From the first campus tour and orientation, I knew U-M and Ross had amazing opportunities in academics, student organizations, and real-world experience waiting for me across many aspects. Along with that, from on-campus support groups to peer mentorship to career development and on, U-M and Ross have resources readily available for when I need it most. Plus, not without mention, the Michigan school spirit and U-M and Ross love from all areas of the world!

What was something you wish someone would have told you about how many opportunities there are available to you at Ross and U-M to make the experience your own?

I wish someone would have told me that I didn’t have to have it all figured out when coming into U-M and Ross in order to take advantage of the opportunities available. Going in, I felt behind, lost, and nervous because I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do post-grad. I quickly learned that the opportunities are here for everyone. Whether you have everything figured out or not, there's an enormous amount of opportunities on campus and in Ross that are here to guide you, enrich you, and give you lifelong memories and experiences.

Nikki Ambas

Program/year: BBA ’25

Hometown: Saginaw, Michigan

Organizations you are part of on campus: Delta Sigma Pi, Ross Summer Connection, BA100 Peer Mentors, Filipino American Student Organization, Ross Retail Club, Urban Outfitters Campus Reps

Favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor: Kanbu Sushi or Madras Masala

What factors did you find most beneficial in making your decision on where to attend college?

For me, one of the biggest deciding factors, while I was making my college decision, was campus culture. I wanted a place where I knew I would be happy and could thrive while pursuing a degree. I also considered distance from home, cost, and prestige/reputation.

Did you have any concerns about applying to U-M as an in-state student? If so, what were they, and how has your outlook on those concerns changed as a Ross BBA and U-M student?

Honestly, coming from a school where only a handful of all current and past Michigan BBA students were from was a little intimidating. I didn’t know if I had the same competitive opportunities and experiences as those of students coming from Metro Detroit schools. I was lucky enough to have a friend I could ask for advice, but I know that is not an option for everyone. I think, as a current Ross student, I do see a lot of kids from Metro Detroit, but I see just as many that are from smaller towns like I am.

Why did you ultimately decide to attend U-M and pursue your BBA at Michigan Ross as an in-state student?

U-M had it all. It was the top business school I was accepted into, and the cost was significantly cheaper than my out-of-state options. Most importantly, though, I’ve dreamed of attending U-M my whole life. Ann Arbor was always one of my favorite towns and the work-life balance here is amazing. I get to live out the “typical college experience” of going to football games but also get access to top recruiters and experiences. 

What have been the most impactful and unique experiences you have had at Michigan Ross and U-M that you talk about most with your high school peers at other schools?

I was given the opportunity to participate in Ross Summer Connection the summer before my first year. This program selects a group of diverse, high-potential students who could use a little extra help transitioning to college. This program set a foundation for my first year, allowing me to thrive academically and socially. I developed so many amazing friendships during those three weeks. I actually returned as a mentor this year because of how passionate I am about this program and my drive to give back!

What advice would you give to in-state prospective students about applying to and engaging with the opportunities available to them as Ross BBA students?

Be your most authentic self. It’s no secret that there are countless applicants who are academically qualified, but what sets you apart is your story. Don’t be afraid to take risks; admissions officers aren’t looking for one specific kind of person.

Tayla Jankowski

Program/year: BBA ’25

Hometown: Royal Oak, Michigan

Organizations you are part of on campus: Center for Campus Involvement Advisory Board, Professional Business Fraternity, Michigan Business Women, BBA Ambassadors, BA 100/102 Peer Mentor, Ross Summer Connection participant, Delight Ministries

Favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor: Lan City

What factors did you find most beneficial in making your decision on where to attend college?

When deciding where to attend college, I focused predominantly on the “fit” of the school. I wanted to ensure where I was going was a place that could offer me new experiences and a wide variety of diverse opportunities beyond what I had been able to seek out during high school. Weighing the size of the university was also a big factor for me. As someone who had come from a very small high school, I strongly debated what impact the size of the university would have on my success there. 

Did you have any concerns about applying to U-M as an in-state student? If so, what were they, and how has your outlook on those concerns changed as a Ross BBA and U-M student?

When applying to U-M, I definitely was a bit hesitant to commit to the same university that many of my peers did. I feared that I would not have the chance to have my own experiences and find new communities to join on campus. Although I had an amazing group of people that I knew coming to U-M, I wanted to forge my own path in college and branch out from my high school friends. 

Two years later, I can confidently say that my hesitations of not being able to pave my own path have proven far from the reality. Within my first week on campus, I had the opportunity to pursue entirely different experiences than the individuals I had known prior to attending U-M. From having the chance to participate in a National Undergraduate Case Competition in Dallas, Texas,  to finding a club on campus that welcomes me with open arms, there are plenty of ways to make your campus experience unique.

What have been the most impactful and unique experiences you have had at Michigan Ross and U-M that you talk about most with your high school peers at other schools?

Two of the most impactful and unique experiences I have had through Ross would be attending the National Undergraduate Case Competition and being a member of the first Investing Academy cohort through the Weiser Center for Real Estate, both in my first year. Having the chance to travel to Dallas to attend Deloitte’s NUCC — without my team having any prior consulting experience — was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had thus far. Being able to meet other students from across the country, as well as leading partners at the firm so quickly in my college career, reminded me of how fast students can integrate into the Ross community and accelerate their education. Similarly, having the chance to attend the Weiser Center for Real Estate’s inaugural cohort for their Investing Academy in New York City gave me a new perspective on the non-traditional path of real estate development as a potential career. Having the opportunity to travel to NYC and learn from leading developers throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, I was able to gain such a new perspective on what my career interests could be. Both opportunities, especially occurring so early on in my college career, offered unparalleled access for career exploration and more.  

What was something you wish someone would have told you about how many opportunities there are available to you at Ross and U-M to make the experience your own?

Coming into Ross, I wish someone would have let me know how many opportunities there are to join a variety of organizations, with multiple offerings for each interest you may have. Additionally, I wish I would have been told about the Ross Career Development Office and all that they had to offer first-year students related to their career exploration and resume building. There are also so many centers that can be taken advantage of to help add to your time here, including the Sanger Leadership Center, Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business+Impact initiative, Erb Institute, and more!

Learn more about the Michigan Ross BBA Program

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