How The Admissions Director Would Answer the Michigan Ross MBA Essay Questions


All of us at Ross were thrilled to finally welcome the Class of 2020 last week at new student orientation.

420 students from 40 countries including students who have saved lives in the ER, founded charities and startups around the world, created a popular data science podcast, won national athletic championships, appeared on MTV, recorded an EP, managed cities, and protected our country. (Oh, and there's a past President).

Starting this weekend, many of them will be traveling the world on MBA2-led MTreks to places like Tanzania, Galapagos, Croatia, South Africa, and more.

We’re also looking forward to welcoming rising MBA2s back to campus. Read about some of their internships at places like Facebook, Snap, Glossier, Kiehls, Civic Consulting Alliance, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and more!

Read about student internships

My Responses to Ross’ Essay Prompts

Responding to essay prompts can be tough. You may wonder if you should tell a professional or personal story. If there’s a particular kind of story the Admissions Committee is looking for. If yours is epic enough. Or unique enough. Or if the AdCom will stop reading after the last word in the word limit.

All of those questions went through my head (except the last) as I contemplated how I would respond to our essay prompts. Below are my responses to two of our prompts. Read them not as “models” to replicate, but as a glimpse into who I am.

That’s the purpose of our essays — to get a sense of who you are, and the experiences that have shaped you. And I assure you that the team will not want to read hundreds of essays that sound just like mine; we want to hear your unique stories.

I was out of my comfort zone when I became the Admissions Director and had to speak in front of hundreds of people. I was terrified of public speaking. Before getting my MBA, I worked as a policy analyst on Capitol Hill because I loved researching issues and making recommendations that someone else would give voice to. As the A.D., I had to not only make decisions about whom to admit, but also promote the school to prospective students around the world. Through preparation, practice, and feedback, I not only became comfortable with it, I came to enjoy it. Overcoming that fear gave me the courage to tackle other fears.   

I knew I was different when I was in first grade. Another child pushed me off the teeter-totter - because I was “Chinese Japanese...” That’s how I lost my first two teeth. That’s also how I learned I wasn’t like the other kids. I’d thought I was. I hated looking different. I resented being Korean. My mother told me that I couldn’t change what I look like, but I could determine who I am, and what people would notice me for. She taught me to be the kid who’d be noticed for succeeding as a student. Her advice opened doors that simply looking different would not have.  

If you haven’t checked out our short answer essay prompts, you can find them here. There are six options, but you can choose the question you want to answer from each group.

For More Advice and Tips…         

A few members of the admissions team and I had a candid conversation about application tips and common admissions myths last week. You might find the recording helpful as you start putting together your Round 1 application.



Also, we hope you come meet us at events around the world this month. We’ll be in Asia, Latin America and on both coasts across the U.S. We look forward to connecting with you and getting to know you through your application.

Check out upcoming online and in-person events