My Take: The Michigan Ross Difference


It is January and this is a busy time for me in my role as associate dean of Undergraduate Programs at Michigan Ross. I’m settling in to teaching BA 100, our business foundations course during the second semester of the first-year Signature Learning Experience. I’m also working with the admissions team as we finalize our in-depth application reviews for the first round of BBA Program admissions decisions. 

That last point means I am gearing for some of my favorite conversations of the year once admissions offers start going out. If you are one of the high school seniors admitted to the University of Michigan and Ross you are likely asking yourself: Why Michigan Ross? Or, put another way: What is the Michigan Difference and what does it mean for me as I weigh all of my options?

We are confident that your Michigan Ross education will transform you professionally and personally. I’d like to tell you about a handful of experiences and opportunities that make this transformation happen.

The Freedom to Explore

The Ross curriculum is designed around a series of Signature Learning Experiences each year.  These start with a goal of welcoming students and preparing them for a rigorous set of core classes that begin laying the foundation for developing well-rounded business leaders, and integrating all of that business knowledge. However, we have specifically designed the curriculum to let you explore and eventually focus on your professional goals through our diverse array of electives and a capstone experience that speak to your unique interests. The flexibility in how you decide to focus your professional exploration with the electives helps set the stage for working with our top-notch career coaches at the Ross Career Development Office who will help you achieve your career goals.

There also are many off-campus educational experiences like our Global Initiatives options. We now have nearly half of our juniors studying abroad all over the world with one of our partner schools each winter semester. We also have numerous opportunities for short-term global immersions within Ross courses.

A REAL Business Education 

Along the way, we are committed to providing every student with opportunities for Action-Based Learning. At the root of Michigan Ross’ longstanding commitment to ABL is the straightforward idea that if you want to learn business, you need to “do” business and have experience being a business leader while you’re still in school – where you can safely make mistakes and learn from them as you are guided by Ross faculty. Ross Experiences in Action-based Learning (REAL) encompasses our portfolio of ABL experiences where there are real stakes, real decisions, real clients, and real capital. This means that through curricular and co-curricular opportunities, Ross BBAs make real investments through our investment funds, they advise real clients through consulting projects, and they lead real business teams. They can even manage and implement business initiatives for real companies in our Living Business Leadership Experience course.  

All the Benefits of a World-Class University  

At Michigan Ross and U-M, you will interact with people from across the U.S. and around the world. This applies to everyone from faculty and staff to your teammates in BA 100 and your peer coaches. The resources available to Michigan students are vast, including access to over 1,600 clubs across the university and the over 60 BBA clubs at Ross. Plus, when you join U-M, you are starting a lifetime journey as a Wolverine. You should not underestimate the power of having an instant connection to more than 611,000 living alumni who are leaders at organizations of all sizes and industries around the globe.

The Best College Town

The university truly has a vast reach and provides so many opportunities, but somehow campus and the City of Ann Arbor feel intimate. Ann Arbor is a great place to spend four years. The city has a great selection of restaurants, outdoor activities (the U-M Arb is a favorite with my family), a great local tech start-up scene, plus so many arts and music opportunities, including two great movie theaters just adjacent to campus. In addition, Detroit is only about 45 minutes away and worth exploring when you want a change of scenery (you will visit the DIA with BA 200 if you don’t go on your own, but also check out the Motown Museum – it is a fascinating bit of music and business history). Check out this blog with even more reasons why Ann Arbor is a great place to attend business school. 

If you need to fly home or to an interview, we are only about 30 minutes from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a major international airport. Better yet, have your parents visit and make them take you shopping or out for a nice dinner.

One Final Piece of Advice: Visit!  

Seriously, you have to be on campus – preferably during the academic year when the building is really buzzing – to get a good sense of what it feels like to be a Ross undergraduate. Coming here matters since you might be spending a lot of time in the Ross buildings, and it will allow you to check out the entire university and Ann Arbor.  

We hope you decide to call this place your home for the next few years!

If you can’t make it to campus or if you want to get a sense of what it is like to be a Ross undergraduate, our admissions team is here to answer your questions. Better yet, you can even engage with one of our Ross Ambassadors.