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How to get into University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Although the Stephen M. Ross School of Business offers various undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, it’s MBA and Executive MBA programs are the ones that got it the recognition it deserved. Rated amongst the top MBA programs in the US, the school gets its fair share of applicants each year.

Being a top school, Ross enjoys its pick of the MBA applicant pool, and the selection criteria are not as straight-forward as many Indian schools have. The school prefers profiles with high interpersonal skills and is known to give academic deviants a chance to plead their case through work-experience, and other skills in their profile.

Do not take this as a chance to work any less-harder for your GMAT though. The school’s average GMAT range starts in the upper 600s and ends in the upper 700s.

Ross also focuses on team-work and practical use of business as structural parts of their MBA programs.

But before we get into the details of what Ross’ admissions committee is looking for in an applicant, let’s look at what Ross offers to the students that wish to be part of the school’s student body.

Which MBA Program at Ross is right for you?

To provide complete flexibility under the prestigious name of their brand, Michigan’s Ross School of Business has added different variations of the MBA program to their list of programs offered.

Depending on where you are in your career and where you wish to be, any of Ross’ MBA programs can be picked to fulfill your needs. While one program might suit you better than the other, we are sure that choosing either of these programs will give your career the boost you are looking for.

However, the applicant pool comes with various needs, and in this section, we will focus on what needs are fulfilled by which one of Ross’ MBA programs.

Full-Time MBA Program

The Full-Time MBA Program at Ross, as the name suggests, is aimed at students who wish to ‘eat, sleep, and breathe the full B-school experience for two years.’

The average work-experience for this program is 4-5 years, although the school doesn’t state any minimum requirements for the same.

The main distinguishing factors for an application for the full-time MBA Program according to the school are:

  1. Personal accomplishments
  2. Working well with others
  3. The GMAT/GRE score

Part-Time MBA Programs

For working professionals who wish to continue their jobs as they receive an MBA education, Ross’ part-time MBA programs are the perfect solution. It lets you earn an MBA degree, with an education that meets the Ross standards and is as good as the full-time MBA program offered at the school.

The school offers three part-time MBA Programs.

Online MBA Program

This is the most flexible of Ross’ MBA programs as the student can earn credits at their own pace and on their own time. The program usually lasts for 3-4 years.

Weekend MBA Program

The weekend MBA program includes on-campus classes twice a month and lasts over a duration of two-years.

Evening MBA Program

The Evening program can be considered a mix of the previous two as it provides both online and offline classes to students and generally lasts 3-4 years.

Executive MBA Program

The Executive MBA program is aimed at high-level executives who wish to refresh their skill base to match the demands of an ever-changing business environment.

The program lasts 21 months, just short of two years, and has classes on weekends once a month at the Ann Arbor or Los Angeles campus.

Cost of attendance at Ross

The cost of attendance at Ross is lower than many business schools that it shares the Top 10 lists with. While top business schools in the US tend to have yearly Cost of attendances in six-digit numbers, the cost of attendance of Ross is just shy of $100,000.

To get a rough understanding, here is the cost of attendance, per year, at Michigan’s Ross.

ExpenseCost in USD (for one year)
Tuition Michigan residents:$66,048
Non-Michigan Residents:$71,048
Mandatory fee$328
International Students Services Fee$1,000
Books and Supplies$1,716
Food and Housing16,194
TotalMichigan residents: $91,638

Non-Michigan Residents: $96,638

In addition to slightly lower cost of attendance, Ross also offers various scholarships and financial aid options to its students.

Scholarships at Michigan’s Ross

Ranging from $10,000 to full-tuition, Ross offers scholarships based on academics, professional and personal accomplishments and the applicant’s potential to contribute to the school’s community. No separate forms or requests need to be placed for most scholarships. All applicants are considered for most scholarships during the application process itself.

The scholarships that require a separate form are the ones that only students admitted to ross have access to.

Here is a list of a few scholarships offered at Ross which do not require separate application forms.

  1. Camp Michigania Scholarship
  2. Ernst (Robert and Deborah)
  3. George (William Hamby and Libbie B.) Scholarship
  4. Gavett (George Irving) Scholarship
  5. Harrison (Gus) Scholarship
  6. Robbins (Frank E.) Memorial Scholarship
  7. Verdier Scholarship Fund
  8. Mack (Rev. Hw Am and Vm Ernst) Scholarship
  9. University of Michigan Alumni of China Scholarship Fund

Application Deadlines

There is no particular round that the applicant should apply in to have better chances of admissions to the Ross MBA Programs. However, each round has unique pros and cons to it. For example, the first round generally has more seats available as the class hasn’t been filled by any applicants yet. But it also receives highly competitive applications in terms of GMAT scores and GPAs.

Similarly, round 3 and 4 receive a much diverse applicant pool in respect of academic performance but also has much fewer seats remaining.

the first criteria to know if you’re ready to apply to Ross is when your application has been completed and double-checked to make sure you’ve put the best foot forward.

Full-Time MBA Program

Round1January 6, 2020March 18, 2020
Round2September 30, 2019December 18, 2019
Round3March 30, 2020May 8, 2020

Online MBA Program

Early DeadlineMarch 30, 2020
Final DeadlineMay 18, 2020

Weekend MBA Program

Early DeadlineDecember 2, 2019
Final DeadlineJanuary 20, 2020

Evening MBA Program

Fall 2020Dates
Application dueMay 18, 2020
Decisions ReleasedJune 29, 2020

Executive MBA Program

Round 1December 15, 2019
Round 2February 1, 2020
Round 3March 15, 2020
Round 4May 1, 2020

The application process for Ross Full-Time MBA Program

Once you have decided on the deadline that most suits you, the next step is to get your online application ready for submission. Your application will only be considered in a given round if you can complete and submit it before 11:59 PM EST on the deadlines mentioned above.

Here are the requisites of a complete Ross MBA application.

Application StepRequirements
TranscriptsA student must have completed an undergraduate, or equivalent degree, education to be eligible for admission. An unofficial transcript can be provided for application purposes, but an official transcript needs to be produced in the event of an offer made by Ross
GMAT/GREGMAT/GRE scores, just like the transcript, can be self-reported or reported through the un-official score reports. The official score-reports are demanded once and admit is offered.
ResumeAn up-to-date one-page resume needs to be uploaded to the applicant’s page. This must contain the applicant’s education and professional background along with their accomplishments. The resume should also include dates for everything mentioned in it.
EssaysThe Michigan Ross essays come in three parts. The first part has various prompts that the applicant is required to answer. This is the short essay section with 100 words max for each answer.

The second essay is the career goals essay with the word limit of 300 words.The third essay is the optional essay that can be used to provide explanations to any part of your application or resume.

RecommendationRoss only requires one recommender per applicant. The recommender should be a current supervisor or someone who can talk about the applicant in a professional capacity. If your recommender is not your current supervisor, you must provide the reason for the same. The questions asked to recommenders are as follows:


  1. Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (50 words)
  2. How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (E.g., what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (500 words)
  3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (500 words)
InterviewInterviews are on invitation basis only and are available on-campus, off-campus with an alumnus, or via Skype.
Team ExerciseThe team exercise is an optional event that an applicant can participate in. it is only offered during on-campus interviews and select regions where it is currently available. The admissions committee uses the team exercise to analyze the interpersonal skills and the cultural fit of the applicant and thus is highly recommended.

The application is only considered completed once the application fee of $200 is paid.

Application Fee waiver

An applicant can request for an application fee waiver from the school under the following circumstances:

  1. They are active members of the US Military or Veterans.
  2. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America volunteers who have serviced within the past three years.
  3. Citizens of countries on the UN’s developing nations list.
  4. Current students of the University of Michigan’s undergraduate programs.

Starting compensation after Ross’ Full-Time MBA Program

Before talking about the compensation at Ross, let’s look at a small portion of Ross’ employment report for the graduating MBA Class of 2018.

Consumer Packaged Goods$98,000-$135,000$108,000$30,000
Financial Services$100,000-$180,000$150,000$47,500


About 32% of the class went into consulting. As you can see in the table above, Consulting, along with financial services, is the highest paying sector in regards to salaries for fresh MBA graduates.

However, the prospects change as the diverse MBA student pool of the business school comes into play. While 93.8% of the complete class received offers within three months of graduation, only 87.5% of international students received job offers before graduation.

Thus, keeping in mind your diversities while scoping out your employability through Ross is a must. Although Ross is a top business school and ground zero for top recruiters, factors like your previous work-experience, the location you wish to work in, etc. could be determining factors in recruitment.

Guide to get accepted to Michigan Ross’ MBA Program

Fortunately for applicants to Michigan’s Ross School of Business, the program is highly demanding academically and professionally. Don’t get that statement twisted, the school is amongst the top business schools in the US and requires a good academic and professional performance, but their application process focuses more on the applicant’s personal story.

Here are some tips for applicants to polish their Ross MBA applications.

Explain your thought process

While almost all business schools have essays asking to explain your personal accomplishments, the answer to Ross’ essay about the same is analyzed differently than most business schools.

Soojin Kwon, the Admissions Director of Ross, explains that the school wants to learn about the applicant’s thought process through these essays. What you believe to be an accomplishment and chose to disclose through the essays tells a lot about what things matter to you in life, what your priorities are.

Furthermore, your journey to that accomplishment reveals your thought process as you explain the decisions you took that finally helped you achieve your goal. All of these things reveal intricate details about an applicant’s personality.

So, when writing your essays, or in other parts of your MBA application, remember to reveal your thought process. When you refer to an anecdote where you had to choose between various things, mention the reasons clearly but precisely for the factors that made you lean in a particular direction.

Explain Ross’ MBA Program’s place in your plan

This point, just like the last one, stands true for most business schools too. However, this plays more of a role in Ross’ MBA Program acceptance.

Ross’ admissions committee has a target class size, and a target class profile every year. These two factors are highly affected by market forces and change every year. So, you can hardly know what the target class profile would be and then make an application to fit it.

What you can do is understand why this is done. These numbers are set to make sure that in the two years that the class graduates, they have high employability and have benefited from the business school’s academic as well as cultural environment.

If you use your application to show the school that you will have high employability as an individual, and fit the school perfectly in terms of professional goals, your application would be much more attractive.

Ross’ admissions committees know well enough which industries yield the best job offers and will probably show up to recruit the MBA graduates.

If you decide a career goal in an industry that is poorly represented on Ross’ recruiter’s list, chances are your application might not be the one that the admissions committee members decide to accept.


Keep the resume short and self-explanatory

This is simple. With every business school application, you are asked to submit an up-to-date resume. This resume should be kept as short and simple as you can keep it.

The ideal length of the resume is one page and it should only include major achievements. For anything within your resume, that you wish to explain, mention it in the optional statement section of your essays.

Also, make sure you mention dates for everything you put down in your resume as it is a requirement from the school.

Anything that doesn’t add value to your application should be left out of your resume. To mention any personal achievements/ personal growth, you have the application essays. Thus, make sure you don’t turn your resume into a saga about everything you have done since you were born.

Waive your right to access recommendations

Most business schools require an applicant to submit Letters of recommendation or have separate forms for recommenders to make sure the applicant doesn’t tamper with the letters in any way. However, Ross lets you decide.

The school provides applicants with the opportunity to decide to either be able to see the Letters of recommendation or be kept out of the process completely. When you choose the former, the credibility of your recommendation goes up.

Also, if you choose your recommender carefully, you will not require the access that the school offers to your letters of recommendation.

To choose your recommender, go for someone who has a good rapport with you, can speak about you in a professional capacity (like a supervisor, or a client), and has readily agreed to write your recommendation. In case someone is not interested in writing your letter of recommendation, move on to your next option as they will probably end up writing an average letter if you convince them to do it.

Be a team player

Ross is a school that focuses on Team-work. One of the school’s primary values is teamwork and is reflected in a lot of things. From the application process to the teaching methods, the school has team-oriented projects.

When your application is shortlisted, and you receive an interview call, you will be given an option to participate in a team project. This project is to get students together and create a hypothetical business plan. It is only available in interviews in a few countries and the on-campus interviews.

The school also has the Multi-disciplinary Action Course. it is a seven-week long project that exposes students to real-life business experiences. This course is also a group project, and only furthers the idea of team-work in the Ross MBA culture.

While, you should mention skills like leadership and problem-solving in your essays, pay some special attention to your abilities as a team player and make sure to mention any incidents proving the same.

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