Meet The Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2017

Mikaela Rodkin

Mikaela A. Rodkin


University of Michigan, Ross School of Business 

Hometown: Berkeley, CA

Undergraduate School and Major: Undergraduate: U.S. Naval Academy (2007), B.S. in Political Science. Graduate (dual with MBA): University of Michigan, M.S. in Environmental Justice

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: U.S. Navy, Surface Warfare Officer

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Start early and do a little GRE or GMAT specific work everyday. I prepared by taking a 10-week course that included once a week meetings with an instructor, homework, and practice tests. This allowed me to hone in on specific areas of the test that I found difficult and to focus my attention on the sections that needed the most development. Don’t spend time studying stuff you already know!

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? The most important factors when choosing my target schools were the post-MBA network and the on-campus community and culture. When searching for target schools, many programs will offer you incredible academic and professional credentials, so look for a place where you can explore your specific interests and have a great time doing it.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? I would recommend finding a mentor who can help guide you through the process. I reached out to numerous students and administrators at various programs and was able to connect to MBA graduates through my network. Through extensive conversations and mentorship, I was able to gain a better understanding of what an MBA can offer and how to best represent myself in my application. Additionally, speak candidly to people about your interests and nail down a concise idea of what you would like to pursue and how an MBA will help get you there.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? My selection process was very straightforward; I knew I wanted to pair my MBA with another graduate program that was focused specifically on sustainability and environmental stewardship. The Erb Institute at the University of Michigan is a wonderful blend of both programs and I was drawn to the unique environment and important discussions taking place within the Erb community.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? This past year, I started a company with three other graduate students at University of Michigan in the School of Public Health and Ross focused on improving access to healthy and affordable food by improving methods of transportation. I would like to continue piloting and expanding our company and make it an appropriate and useful tool for anyone who is in need of it. I want to achieve a better understanding of how to weave sustainability and social responsibility into all facets of business.

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