Meet The Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2017

Ally Stewart

Ally Stewart


University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Hometown (City and State): Barnet, Vermont

Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University, Public Policy

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Digital Strategy Manager, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights

Communications Coordinator, Social Impact Research Center

Research Fellow, Women’s Initiative for Self Employment

Business Analyst, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? If you’re set on business school, I’d say take the GMAT since it preps you for school too. Also, take the practice tests on a computer not on paper to simulate the actual exam.

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? Reach out to students at the schools you’re considering and ask them about their experiences there, and then ask them where else you might consider applying. Then apply broadly to give yourself plenty of options and be sure to look at school rankings in your area of interest, not just overall rankings.

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? The earlier the better! Even if you’re still deciding whether or not to apply, if you think there’s a chance you will, start early so you can submit your best materials.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? On a number of fronts, Ross is really walking the walk: a commitment to social impact, developing women leaders, and providing scholarship opportunities.

The Ross culture of “developing leaders who make a positive difference in the world” is apparent right from the beginning when you kick off your first year with the Impact Challenge, a weeklong orientation challenge to develop a profitable venture with a social mission in Detroit. It also rings true when you talk to students about their career goals. That culture fit was very important for me.

As someone committed to empowering other women, I wanted to see the same commitment in a business school. The Ross commitment to women in business is evident not only in facts like the high percentage of women-led clubs on campus and participation in scholarship organizations like the Forté Fellows Program, but in the leadership at Ross itself – Ross is one of the few top business schools with a female Dean.

One other difference that drew me to Ross was the 7-week applied learning project (“MAP Project”) component of the first year curriculum where you tackle a pressing business challenge for a company or nonprofit. Hands-on learning is one of the best ways to learn, and I’m looking forward to gaining experience outside of the classroom early and often.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? A big win for me would be to obtain funding for or join a startup “making the workplace work for women.” It’s time to hack the traditional labor market to create more opportunities that meet millennial, and especially women’s, needs. I’d also be thrilled to join a B-Corporation, triple bottom line startup, or another socially responsible company in the food or clothing industry with a strong mission and company culture fit. In terms of building core capabilities, I’m looking to add to my analytical toolbox and grow my leadership skills. And of course, meet new friends!

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