Michigan Ross’ Master in Management (MM): All You Need to Know [Episode 560]

By - Jan 30, 06:00 AM Comments [0]

Show Summary

Are you a college junior or senior with an interest in business and a non-business major? Or perhaps you recently graduated and realized you need to boost your business knowledge to propel your career? 

Tune into this episode with Julia Hoffert, Director of Admissions & Recruitment of One-Year Master’s Programs at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Julia provides an overview of the program, including the curriculum, opportunities for international exposure, and job outcomes for graduates. She also discusses the application process, including the academic background and experience requirements, the essay questions, and the interview process. Julia highlights the resources available to students at Michigan Ross, such as the Ross Career Development Office, and emphasizes the fun, happening character of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Show Notes

Welcome to the 560th episode of Admissions Straight Talk. Thanks for joining me. Before we dive into today’s interview, I want to mention a resource at Accepted that can help you prepare your statement of purpose to a Master’s in Management program or other graduate programs. Download Five Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Grad School Statement of Purpose to learn how to avoid the five most common mistakes we see in statements of purpose, as well as to gain tips on how to write a statement of purpose that makes your story memorable and highlight your qualifications for your target programs. Download this valuable and free resource at accepted.com/560download.

Our guest today is Julia Hoffert, Director of Admissions & Recruitment of One-Year Master’s Programs at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Julia earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Vocal Performance, which was one of the less common educational foundations for a career in higher education that I’ve come across. She moved into higher education administration at NYU with its educational theater program and then became Assistant Director of Admissions there at NYU. In 2012, she moved to Michigan, and in 2013, she became the recruiting director for U of Michigan’s Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Administration programs. She has been in Admissions at the University of Michigan ever since. She became the Director of Admissions & Recruitment for Ross’ One-Year Specialty Master’s Programs in August 2023.

Julia, welcome to Admissions Straight Talk. [2:15]

Thank you, Linda. Thank you for having me.

Let’s start with a basic question. What is the Master of Management at Michigan Ross? Can you provide an overview of the program? [2:22]

Absolutely. The Master of Management program is a 10-month program that is really designed to offer a very foundational business skillset for individuals who do not come from a business background from their undergraduate degree. On a very basic level, the type of people that we see that are the most interested in this type of program come from a variety of undergraduate programs and curriculums, but somewhere in the course of that time, they realize that they lack a certain skill set to add on top of their expertise from their undergraduate program, and they see the business skillset as something that would be a jumping point for them, whether that career be directly from what they did in their undergrad or perhaps even a pivot. But this program really is designed to offer that foundational business skillset that is so functionally useful.

Can you discuss the structure of the program? [3:35]

Within the curriculum, you will see elements of marketing, accounting, financial evaluation, and economics. It’s really sort of an overarching view of the business fundamentals that we would likely use in any scenario that we might be doing. We also have students have the opportunity to take elective credits, and that’s where they can, in their own way, perhaps take advantage of some of the other areas of interest at Ross, specifically some of the MBA electives. It’s very exciting for a lot of students. But in the general sense, you’re looking at a really foundational skillset within accounting, finance, and marketing and getting quantitative-based skills within that.

You mentioned that you get a wide variety of applicants, basically everybody except those who majored in Business or got a BBA. So, this is for, let’s say, somebody who studied Chemical Engineering as well as somebody who was an English major? [4:23]

I think that’s one of the things I love the most about this program. I can think of, this year alone, somebody that I worked very closely with in this program was a viola performance major in their undergraduate. And then we have engineers, as you mentioned. Interestingly enough, I love to see this. We have many students who are considering maybe a medical degree or a law degree later on but feel that this skillset will be really useful for them as they head into that type of practice.

I see pre-law, I see pre-med, I see people that are coming from all of these really interesting STEM or Science or Arts-related backgrounds, and they see this as just a really foundational opportunity for them, and they plan on using that later on in their own practice. It’s fascinating.

So for many of them, it’s not at all a terminal degree? [5:28]

Not necessarily, but I think what ends up happening is, I think, sometimes we come into something, and we think, “Well, I’m going to do this after. I’m going to go get a PhD or I’m going to go get an MBA.” But, sometimes, what happens is they land a position that they really like, and then they find themselves heading in a different direction that they didn’t necessarily think of before, and it might ultimately change their trajectory.

Michigan Ross has four One-Year Master’s Programs, the Master’s in Management, which is the focus of today’s episode, and Master’s programs in Accounting, Business Analytics, and Supply Chain Management. Those other three seem to be much more focused degrees. From what you’ve said, it sounds more of a generalist degree for those without a business foundation. Is that right? [6:09]

I’m going to see it through a different filter than that presentation. In part, because I think in some ways we’re comparing apples to oranges in terms of the type of program. What I would say specifically about Master of Accounting, Master of Supply Chain Management, and Master of Business Analytics is that it is not atypical for us to see business majors going into that type of degree. So they’re often coming from already having those business foundational skillsets, and they’re looking for another type of skillset to add on to what they’ve already done business-wise. Whereas our students often come into the Master of Management and they are experts in something. They spent four years gaining a level of expertise through their undergraduate, and they’re looking to this to layer onto that to then leverage that expertise.

So I hesitate to really think of it from a generalist perspective because these students are very specialized in their own way coming into the program. For them, they’re looking to leverage their expertise rather than to develop new expertise.

Can you give me an example? [7:37]

I think in some ways, what sometimes happens, since we talked about pre-med just recently, we have students who initially went into pre-med and may have done perfectly well within those courses but, through shadowing doctors or being in a situation, have actually ultimately realized they don’t want to be a doctor. But they want the business skillset so that they can head into an administration type of role within a healthcare system or be a healthcare consultant, that type of work. Sometimes it is where they are using that expertise they already have from their undergraduate, adding that business layer on top of it, and then still going into a very related field within that, but just in a different way than they had originally anticipated.

I’m really glad you provided this alternative perspective to it. I think it’s great. Thank you. I noticed in preparing for the call that the winter semester in the MM has something called a Management Consulting Studio. What’s that? [8:37]

Oh, it’s fantastic, Linda. So, we offer a consulting studio very specifically for Master of Management students. We also have it for our Supply Chain program. We also have it for our Business Analytics program. The reason we don’t have it for Accounting is that we have a separate type of experience for them, Ernst & Young in DC. So the consulting studio is actually a required course, and what happens is our partners, the Office of Action-Based Learning, do this incredible job of sourcing projects or issues with companies and industries in and around the United States, sometimes even abroad, and these companies offer students basically an opportunity to take everything that they have been learning in the course of their degree and applying it in a very real world scenario with that company. But that is still within the scope of a course.

This actually just happened a couple of weeks ago. We had the reveal, which was a lot of fun. Students have the opportunity to learn about which companies and what project or issue they’re looking to have the students do. They then have the opportunity to basically do a rank order and say, “This is what I would like to be considered. These are my top three choices.” Ultimately, the professor will assign students in groups with one another with that company and they work on that project for the duration of the winter semester. I love it. To me, it’s where we talk a lot at Ross about the concept of action-based learning, and this is, for me, one of the pinnacle points of how we live that out because students are working on a real project with a company and really having to synthesize everything that they’ve been learning up to that point.

All right. When I was reviewing the website, I was thinking, where does action-based learning come in? Because that is Ross’s signature and brand really, and this is apparently it, right? [10:46]

I would say this is probably the most forefront of that or the easiest way to show it. But in truth, I think for a lot of students, what is really surprising for them is the type and the delivery of the courses that they go to. I think a lot of us are accustomed to our undergraduate degrees heading into lectures, where our primary job is to listen and take notes. And that is still certainly an element of a lot of the courses. But on the other side of it, within each course, there are group projects and expectations of engagement. I think there’s a thread of action-based learning throughout the entirety of the curriculum in that that’s a very active and engaged type of course experience. And then I think the consulting studio just takes it, notches that up, just one more level.

What are the opportunities for international exposure, which is certainly a really important element of most MBA programs? [11:50]

Due to the fact that it is a 10-month program, we don’t send students away for a semester because that would constitute a huge amount of time. But we do have short-term global opportunities that are done over the spring break. So students will have the opportunity, and I believe this year, if I’m remembering correctly, if they’ve decided to opt into that, they are going to Italy, which sounds spectacular to me.

Is there a consulting project? [12:25]

Oh, it’s definitely part of a course. So there is some sort of course and there are objectives to the experiences. It’s not just, “Hey, let’s go have fun in Italy,” which is a perfectly normal thing to want to do, but this is tied into learning objectives. I certainly would love to do that.

What jobs are graduates of the MM getting? For those who don’t go to medical school or law school. [12:47]

Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular spaces is consulting. I’m part of the team that does the admissions interviews and that is often identified as one of the top types of jobs that people are looking to go into, and a decent portion of them do. Consulting, media, entertainment, it’s sort of a smattering. We have our employment data posted on the website, and it’s really interesting to see how it sort of breaks down, but the three top ones are consulting, marketing and sales, and finance.

Are they doing well in terms of job outcomes and employment opportunities? [13:40]

Absolutely. I think for a lot of students, it helps get the foot in the door, and then ultimately, once the foot is in the door, it helps with how fast they’re able to progress within an organization because they have the skillset on top.

What kind of academic background are you looking for from applicants? [14:08]

Well, for this particular program, anything but business, full stop. And within that, what we see and what we ask for is we do have one prerequisite course. We want one quantitative course that we can sort of look at and review. We specify that that has to be either Pre-Calculus or Statistics. Obviously, if people have Calculus or above, that’s great, but the baseline is that we need to see one prerequisite quantitative coursework during college.

Do AP credits from high school count? [14:40]

If the AP transferred over to college credit, we will still accept that. Because if the university that you’re going to says that that is legitimate for that type of course, then we will accept that.

And in terms of grades? [14:57]

If we were to look right in the middle, I would say the average GPA stands around 3.6 to 3.7.

And in terms of experience? Obviously, most of them won’t have full-time work experience. What are you looking for there? [15:08]

For us, it is very specifically a pre-experience program. They cannot have over two years of work experience by the time they apply to the program. And I would say probably a solid 90% of the people coming into the program are coming directly from their undergraduate degrees. So some of them are definitely in the zero category.

We don’t have expectations necessarily. So the students, due to the varied backgrounds that they have, it’s not uncommon for us to see maybe one to two internships or part-time work experience or sometimes we really try to contextualize if we have students that come from backgrounds where they had to work during the entirety of their college career to be able to pay for it and therefore didn’t have the opportunity to do internships. So, I think in general, we want to see students who have somehow engaged within their community while in college, during their college years, and if they have an internship or two that has helped craft why they want to do this program, that’s even better.

Let’s turn to the application components. I know the test requirement is the GRE or the GMAT, but if an applicant can waive the test if their GPA is above 3.3, is that correct? [16:43]

That is correct.

Is there any test preference between the GRE and the GMAT? [16:56]

There isn’t. So the students who can waive it must have a cumulative undergraduate of 3.3 and above. And then we simply do not have a preference, GRE versus GMAT, if they have to take that exam. Practically speaking, because I’m always practical, I understand that students will likely apply to multiple programs, so take the test that makes sense for all of the programs you’re applying to.

Are there other scenarios where somebody got the waiver or they got the 3.3, they waived the exam, and you would say, “Gee, I really wish I would have a test score to help me evaluate this person’s candidacy”? [17:37]

No. If we put that information out there that we’re okay with the 3.3 and above, then we have to live by that. So we’re very strong about that. But we do retain the right that if we need to ask for that, we will ask for that. I would say in a circumstance where I might feel that is if I am seeing a transcript where I have way too many withdraw or pass/fail courses on there and the 3.3 that’s on there, especially if they’re towards the 3.3, that’s the end of that spectrum if you will.

Honestly, Linda, I just don’t see a lot of that in my group of applicants, thankfully. I have not had to necessarily exercise that right. But we do retain that right to say, “Listen, we need a little bit more information about you, could you provide it?” And that would be something we would do, but it would have to be a fairly extreme circumstance.

The essay questions seem to value concision, with their 200 and 300-word limits. Okay. Which is not a bad quality. Could we review them, and could you give some tips for answering them? [18:50]

Essay One: How will the Master of Management support you in achieving your short and long-term goals? What led you to pursue a graduate degree in business? 200-word minimum. Content above 300 words will not be reviewed.

Essay Two: Please describe two or three meaningful ways in which you have engaged in your communities. 200-word minimum. Content above 300 words will not be reviewed. 

Essay Three: Please answer the following questions and provide specific examples where possible:

  • Please describe your strengths and provide detailed examples of where these strengths were exhibited. 150-word minimum, 300 maximum. 
  • Please comment on your areas of development or weaknesses and what efforts you have made to address those areas. 150-word minimum, 300 maximum. 
  • Please describe your ability to work with others on group projects or other team settings. Provide an example of when you contributed positively in a group project or team setting. 150-word minimum, 300 maximum. 

So, let’s talk about the brevity first. The reason why we’ve put this out there is that a few reasons. Number one, we live in the world of AI, where we can generate a lot of text fairly easily, but not necessarily a lot of meaning within that text. So what I don’t need and what none of the readers need is 1,000 words of expounding and fluff. What we want is a sense of purpose and a sense of efficiency, which is frankly within the business realm. A lot of times when we’re talking about making first impressions and being able to talk about yourself, you’ve got to get to the idea, and you’ve got to get to it efficiently. Otherwise, you’re going to lose your audience.

This is not to be punitive, but it is to drive home the example that we don’t want. I am not here to look at your academic sample writing elements. We are here to review information about you that we need to know that we’re not necessarily going to be able to glean from the other elements of your application. So, if we wanted to walk through the first one about the short-term versus long-term career goals and what led, we need to know your overall ideas for yourself.

I will say for the Master of Management students, this essay overall tends to be a little bit more general than some of my other programs that are reviewed for, in part because, in some ways, students are still exploring what that might look like for them. That’s okay. But really, being able to talk and be aware of that is wonderful. And also, the second part of that question is how this program fits within the scope of why you want to do this and how it will help you. So that’s what we would like to see. If you have some specific goals, fantastic. I will take that a thousand times over. If you have dreams for yourself, beautiful. That’s what we want to see. We want to see people that are really excited about something. Whether or not they know the specifics yet of that something, we can work with that.

Then when we talk about student engagement beyond the classroom, one of the joys of my job that I really love creatively is thinking about asking questions that really get at the heart of what we’re hoping to understand about somebody. We previously used to ask questions that said, what would you do while you’re at Ross? What ended up happening was that I would get my website regurgitated in an essay form. And what I realized was, wait a minute, what I really want to know is how you have engaged in the past. Because sometimes, past behaviors will show the type of person that will be coming into this program. That’s more useful.

So I’d love to see a student who has been involved in some kind of extracurricular activity that means something deep to them and perhaps where they have grown into it. I started off as a participant in this, and now I’m the VP, or I’m doing the marketing or I’m doing something. It’s wonderful to see when people have actually taken an activity and grown with it, rather than just put it on a resume to have a checkmark. I don’t want a check mark. I want to know how you’ve made an impact.

And then, the self-evaluation is new this year, and I love this because it gives us the opportunity and allows the student to do some self-reflection. What do I do really well? What are my key strengths? Our team just recently did the Clifton StrengthsFinder. It’s really interesting to see your strengths and know that and be able to talk about them. Where do I need to develop? That’s an important thing to ask yourself, and I love seeing students that can say something specific. “I’ve really had to work, and I continue to work on my presentation skills.” Or “Public speaking is not my favorite thing, but here’s what I’m doing, here’s how I’m sort of thinking about it,” or my networking skills. Things that are opportunities and ways for them to grow. If all I get through the course of an application is how perfect a student is, I have no reason to understand why a student would need to gain these skills. What’s the point?

And then finally, the other one we find really important because a lot of times when we talk about, we see people that have amazing GPAs, their test scores are off the charts, everything’s off the charts, but how are they to work within a team environment? Ross, and the way the students learn here, you do not get to sit in a corner of the library by yourself and work on an island of your own. You are working in a group setting very frequently. Are you going to be a good group member? How have you been a good group member?

What’s really interesting to me, you will probably giggle, but a few times on the one where we have asked for comment on your areas of development, we’ve had people brave enough to just simply put N/A, which is not a good thing. We all have areas of development. This is not to trap somebody in the corner, but this is to see a level of self-reflection and understanding.

I remember one client said, “I’ve never failed.” And I was thinking to myself, “You just failed at self-evaluation.” I don’t think I said that to him, but that’s what I was thinking. [25:57]

Can you imagine working with that within the scope of a team? What would that be like?

What about the optional essay? Is it really optional? [27:05]

Oh, absolutely. The concept of the optional essay is truly not a trick. You do not have to submit it, but if you do, I want information in there that you feel we really need to know about you for some reason or another. As admissions professionals, our goal and our job in reviewing an application is to see where there may be gaps or holes that could look like a really crummy semester where you took way too many classes that were not your strength, and it just didn’t go well for you. It could be a semester where perhaps you had a health crisis of some type, and that affected you.

So we see when something is slightly not right. And if you are willing to give us some context and talk a little bit about acknowledging that and how you perhaps journeyed through that to another positive side, that is what that optional essay really is for. If on your resume you have no internships and your extracurriculars are limited, maybe talk to me about how you’ve been working 20 to 25 hours a week at a job so that you could help fund your undergraduate college degree education and that’s why you don’t have those types of things.

You can also talk about what you learned in that part-time job. [28:29]

Exactly. I love it when I see applicants list the part-time jobs within their resume and see they’ve been doing it for three years and progressed in their duties. That speaks volumes to me. Let me know about these things. This is your opportunity to flesh out areas of your application that may just be great for us and that we may not understand. So give us an opportunity to understand it. I would say probably, on average, in any given cycle, it’s about 15% to 20% of students who ultimately submit that optional essay. I don’t want the personal statement you wrote for another school to just be put in there as something to put in there. Don’t feel that you have to put something in there. Give me something that gives me more information.

What can an interviewee expect if lucky enough to be invited to interview? Are all admitted students interviewed? [29:20]

They can expect a party, Linda. It’ll be so much fun.

They can expect somebody from the Admissions or recruiting team to be doing their interview. This is not a current student, nor is it an alumni, but someone who is on the Admissions and recruiting team here in the One-Year Master’s Program. They can expect a Google meeting for a 20-minute conversation. The questions are centered on behavioral-based types of questions, your academic behaviors and experiences, and perhaps your professional experiences and behaviors. We will sometimes ask things about diversity, equity, and inclusion, as those are the values of our university and we want to really talk about those in a substantive way. We want to try to assess how you behave in these scenarios to understand how you might be within a group scenario if you’re on a group project.

So the questions might be like “How have you handled xyz situation in the past?” [30:30]

Absolutely. We might ask a question like “Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a team member. How did you handle that disagreement?” Or “Tell me about a time you’ve had to motivate your group.” Or “Tell me about a time when you’ve had a different idea than the rest of the group. How did you manage communicating that?” These are not designed to trick you. I’m not looking to ask you to create an algorithm from something. I’m not looking for your skillset. I’m looking to understand a little bit more about your behavioral-based scenarios.

The interviews are conducted by the Admissions Office personnel and they’ve reviewed the application. Would they possibly ask a question about something in the application? [31:14]

No, we won’t put anyone on the spot like that. We’re more likely in that scenario to simply have the resume in front of us and maybe ask or reference pieces of the resume in terms of telling us about this extracurricular activity that you did. What did you learn from it? Those types of questions. We’re going to presume that if there are those gaps we will give the student the opportunity to have addressed that in the optional essay portion.

Is an applicant at a disadvantage if applying in Round 4 or Round 5? Are they better off waiting until next year? [32:24]

Julia Hoffert:

The first question, in terms of whether they are at a disadvantage, I would say no. We absolutely, in the past, have admitted from every single one of the rounds. We have never closed down applications or stopped admitting people from rounds. That is not something I anticipate happening this year. So, I would not put that as a point of concern. I will always advocate for an earlier application simply because it takes that task list off of your task or a task off of your task list, so to speak, and gets that out of your way. However, one of the things I really want to drive home is to apply for the round in which you feel really ready to submit the materials, and you have your materials ready. And then on top of that, this year we have published the dates that if admitted within a certain round when we expect a student must give us their final decision as to whether to attend the program.

So I want students to really apply for the program so by the time they know that they got into the program and the time they have to tell us, they know they are ready to make that commitment. We very specifically put those dates on our website purposefully this year to avoid situations where they’re waiting for another school to tell them their decision. Apply for the round that you are ready to apply and ready to make the commitment.

What are some common mistakes that you see in applications to the Master of Management program at Michigan? [34:00]

One hundred percent, my top mistake is when somebody submits their essay for another program. It’s a combination of charming and slightly unfortunate that that happens. What I will tell you is we are not mean. We do not throw the baby out with the bathwater and say, “That’s it. How dare they talk about Duke during their application to us?” We don’t do that kind of stuff. But please do yourself the favor and review everything before submitting it. That’s one of my top ones that definitely happens.

The second one that happens is deciding that the recommender source that somehow flashier is better, or that special is better in terms of the person. I don’t want the top name of the people that you know in your world. What I want is the person who will take the time to actually write a thorough, thoughtful recommendation about you that is going to give me information that I’m not going to get from the rest of the application.

I’ve had a circumstance before where I’ve had an excessively famous rock star write a recommendation. This was from NYU Steinhardt, but it was two sentences long. So yes, the name and the autograph were so exciting on a very basic level, but the information was really not there, and that’s not useful. So, choose the professor or even the TA or GSI, as we call them in our world at U of M. If that person has had a lot of time with you and has seen your growth academically, that’s great. I want that type of source. Or I love the supervisor from your internship. Or, if you are a student-athlete, I love the coach who talks about how you are on the team, how you’ve grown as a human being, and what types of attributes you have. But I don’t need a famous person just for the sake of having a famous person. That’s not the goal.

A consultant in Accepted was the Admissions Director at Michigan Business School. Before, it was Ross. I’m almost positive. She said that they got a letter of recommendation once signed by former President Ford, who was originally from Michigan. It got passed around the office, and it was a novelty, but it didn’t say much. He barely knew the applicant. And he was doing somebody a favor and signed a letter. It was a novelty, and that was all. I think the key is that you want your recommender to know you well, not to be the most known in the world. [36:13]

It’s not helpful. I know a lot of people think that it just takes a secret handshake or knowing the right person. That’s not really the case. We just want to know about you and we want to know it in a thorough way, not from a flashy novel source. It just doesn’t do anything.

Keep the focus on you, not on the recommender. [37:16]

One hundred percent. Always keep the focus on you.

Let’s say I’m a junior in college now, and I’m thinking that a business degree would really complement, as you said earlier, the skillset that I’ve developed in college. How can I prepare myself to apply successfully in 2024/2025? [37:26]

Absolutely. My first thing is to get the prerequisite course out of the way if you have not already done so. If you don’t have Statistics or a Pre-Calculus-based course, then get that done. Just register for it now, or make sure you register for it for the fall of your senior year. Don’t hold off later to do that. Then my second recommendation would be to start interacting with us through our recruiting events. We offer online recruiting events, and we also have an upcoming Ross OYM Open House happening on February 1st, where you can come into the Ross building and meet our students, talk with our centers and institutes, and really get to know us and see the space in person, which is very powerful for a lot of people, but start interacting with us.

We have two incredible Admissions Advisors who are part of our team. Jillian Drzinski is the person who oversees the Master of Management one specifically. She would be somebody to start having a conversation with. Their primary job is really to welcome a student into the process of applying and to be of reasonable assistance. And by reasonable, I mean at least do your homework online, look at things, don’t ask us things that you can find out online very easily, and come to the table with a little bit of preparation.

Let’s say I go for the Master of Management, work for a few years, and then decide I want to go back for an MBA at Ross. Will I have to take the full two-year MBA program at Ross? [39:08]

I want to say this with a big qualifier. Right now, the answer to that is yes. My qualifier is, please have this conversation with me in another one to two years, and we might have a slightly different conversation. Now, what I will say about that current answer of yes is that the expectation is never that someone has to repeat the same coursework that they’ve already done. So there are waiver exams offered where students can potentially waive out of some of the core courses required for the MBA.

Now, what that means is you waive out of having to take that course, it does not waive you out of the credits. So you could find other courses to fulfill those credits and augment your experience. But currently, the MBA program would still be at the two-year mark. Again, I want to have this conversation with you in one to two years, and we will recheck with each other because things evolve as they should, and this may evolve.

What is your favorite resource or part of the MM program at Ross or being a part of Ross? [40:17]

I would be remiss to not really highlight the Ross Career Development Office. It is 100% one of my absolute favorite elements of the experience for students here that I think, oh, man, I wish every school in college had something like this. I wish I had had this when I was going through my 20s. The Ross Career Development Office is the hub for what it means to be looking to go into your career post-Ross. And what that looks like is career coaching, so you have the opportunity to speak with a career coach who is in contact with the industry and really understands the temperature of what’s happening in the industry so that students can have really substantive and realistic conversations about their goals.

Also, we do resume-building, networking opportunities, and other skills-building pieces so that when students are heading into the recruiting season, they are really in a space where they’re putting their best foot forward to have the most successful outcome that they can hope for. Also, one of the things I love is that the office engages our alumni beautifully, which is a distinctive quality about U of M as a whole, as well as Ross. Our alumni are excessively interactive and want to stay connected with our students. And I think students are not required to take advantage of this resource but it’s amazing. I think had I had the opportunity to have a conversation about my career trajectory in my early 20s, what a beautiful thing, what a great idea. And I think that that is one of my absolute favorite resources.

What question would you like to answer that I haven’t asked? [42:05]

Well, I think that every school and every town has its character. And I think that one of the things I love is the character of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the Ross School of Business lives. I’m going to filter it through my perspective, so please pardon that because this is not about me, but I think it’s important to know that I’m a big town girl. I love a big city. I spent 13 years of my formative life in New York City. It was one of the best things in the world. But it was also time to leave when it was time to leave. I had a two-year-old kid, and getting through the subway system with a stroller and everything else was just no longer my jam. But, what I will say is that Ann Arbor as a town and as a home space was really the one place that we as a family and myself as an individual really looked at and thought, wow, this is really excellent.

Did you have family there at the time? [43:07]

No. So, my husband is an alum of U of M. And a little fun fact that you don’t know about me, Linda, is that I started at U of M and then transferred to NYU. So I already have a little bit of experience here at U of M and in Ann Arbor. And what I love about it is that we find that there’s still so much culture and distinctive qualities that really allow for students to be in an incredibly active and engaged atmosphere. And that is such a fun and distinctive space. I think whenever anyone is looking at a college or a university, what you never know until you go there is how you’re going to feel when you’re there. And that’s the part that I really wish I could bottle it up, put it in a cute little package, and send it to students because I think that being in this community is an important part of the entire experience.

You can go to a football game in The Big House, and then you can go to a concert in Hill Auditorium, which is one of the most acoustically perfect spaces in the United States. There’s just this incredible variety and spectrum of opportunities, and I think students are often really surprised by that. They think, “Oh, it’s the Midwest, right? This is just the Midwest.” No, there’s a lot happening here, and it’s really a great time to spend a year here. I mean, I plan on spending much longer than that. But for those going into this program, it’s a year. And that’s the other thing I really want to highlight, it’s a year.

So keep that in mind. When you’re dealing with a rigorous curriculum and all of the things you’re trying to figure out, we can get through a lot of things. And a year, functionally speaking, is not … You can get through anything in a year. But Ann Arbor is a great place to be, and I think how it feels to be here is fun and exciting.

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