Ross Portfolio Exercise Lets BBA Applicants Showcase Their Uniqueness


When high school seniors apply to the BBA Program at Michigan Ross, they are asked to do a little something extra.

As part of their standard application to the university, they also submit the two-part Ross Admissions Portfolio. Now in its second year, the portfolio helps give the Ross Undergraduate Admissions team some insight into the unique character of each applicant.

“The Ross Admissions Portfolio serves a couple of important purposes,” says Norm Bishara, associate dean for undergraduate and early career programs. “First, it allows applicants to express their thoughts about business in their own words; and second, it gives them an opportunity to show us a side of their personality that we wouldn’t otherwise see from the standard application.”

The portfolio consists of two elements:

  • A business-specific, 500-word essay question: Choose a current event or issue in your community and discuss the business implications. Propose a solution that incorporates business principles or practices.
  • A personal document or artifact (see examples below), representing something the applicant learned, along with a 250-word explanation describing its significance.

“The portfolio is our opportunity to get to know you on a deeper level, and it’s your opportunity to share what makes you who you are,” says Blaire Moody Rideout, director of undergraduate admissions for the Ross School of Business.

She offers the following tips for applicants:

  • For both elements, keep it personal and use your own words. Part of the goal is to get to know you as an individual.

  • In the essay question, draw some connections among the business world, your life, and your local community. The admissions team values creativity and originality.

  • When choosing an artifact, try to find the “missing piece” in your application. What don’t we know about you? “Consider sharing something that you are proud of and that is unique to your identity or your personal story,” Moody Rideout says.

  • Artifact examples can include a high school project or paper, a community newspaper article highlighting an important achievement, a personal website, a piece on a school or community program or event that you were instrumental in creating or implementing, or a certificate of a high school or community award. It should be something that shows your passion and a unique aspect of yourself. It does not need to be business related.

For more information on the Ross BBA Admissions Portfolio, visit our Preparing Your Portfolio page.

BBA Preferred Admission Process

The portfolio is one element of Preferred Admission to Michigan Ross. Most Ross BBA students are admitted to the program through Preferred Admission as high school seniors. (A small number apply to join the program during their freshman year of college or later.)

To earn Preferred Admission to Michigan Ross, you must first be admitted to another school or college at the University of Michigan -- the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; College of Engineering; the School of Kinesiology (Sport Management only); the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance; or the School of Art & Design. You submit a Common Application or Coalition Application to the University of Michigan, indicating interest in both Ross Preferred Admission and the other school or college. Priority is given to applications submitted by Nov. 1.

As part of your application, you will submit the Ross Admissions Portfolio. Once you have been admitted to the university by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, then Michigan Ross will consider your application, including the Ross Admissions Portfolio. If you are not admitted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the Ross School of Business cannot consider your application.

For full details on the process, see the Preferred Admission page on the Michigan Ross website.