Meet The Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2017

Vanessa Cheris

Vanessa Y. Cheris


University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Hometown: Spring Valley, NY

Undergraduate School and Major: Stony Brook University, Economics major

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Teach For America

Human Assets Business Partner Assistant

Houston Independent School District

Middle School Math Teacher

Deloitte Consulting LLP

Project Controller

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Determine what works best for you and then commit! As you prepare to start studying for the GMAT or the GRE, you will be inundated with information about study materials and best practices. Before you begin studying, take time to understand the type of learner you are, how far you are from meeting your target score, and the resources available to help you get there. Use this information to develop and commit to a study schedule, and then find an accountability partner to keep you grounded.

After you have committed significant time and effort to your studies, if you are still not getting the score that you want, take a step back for a couple of days and force yourself to think of other things and relax. You will be surprised to see how your performance will improve because you chose to not stress about it. 

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? Get a clear understanding of what you want out of your business school experience. Establish a list of criteria like career placement, reputation, teaching methods, etc. and give each criterion a value depending on its importance to you. As you research schools and document your findings, go back to your list and rank accordingly. This will provide clarity in your decision-making process.

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? Find a few people who have been successful with the process to serve as advisors who will give you objective and candid feedback. Every component in your applications matters a great deal. You should be sure that you are highlighting your best stories in your essays, clearly articulating your value proposition in your interviews, and carefully selecting the right recommenders. These advisors can be friends, colleagues or coaches. I joined an organization called Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and they provided invaluable advice on my approach to the entire application process.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I love the culture at Ross. Everyone I interacted with was personable, intelligent, and lively! I was looking for an MBA program with a culture that encourages bold and positive action. After my first visit, I knew that Ross was a place where I would be challenged academically, personally, and professionally while being supported in the process. Secondly, I was looking for a program with ample experiential learning opportunities. Ross is a great fit because “learning by doing” is a standard component in the curriculum through programs such as the Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP). 

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I expect my two years at Ross to be a transformational experience. By the time I graduate, I plan to be the most well-rounded person that I can be, not only scholastically, but also professionally and socially. I am excited about the many opportunities that Ross will provide for me to excel. When I complete the program, I want to come out with a better sense of who I am, what I want, and how I will continue to make a positive impact in the world. 

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.