Meet The Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2017

Dannan Hodge

Dannan Hodge


University of Michigan, Ross School of Business 

Hometown: Ridgecrest, CA

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California, San Diego; BA International Economics, BA Chinese Studies

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

The Microcarbon Foundation, Project Manager

Climate Action, Business Manager

Highrise Homestead, Co-founder

Mookies Vegan Cookies, Co-founder

Dow Chemical, Sustainability Intern

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Have fun with it.  If analytical writing and integrated reasoning aren’t your idea of a good time, try an in-person or online system like Knewton that will help keep you motivated and on-track. Give yourself time to enjoy taking it a second time if necessary.

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? If there isn’t a good coffee shop in the building then scratch them off the list immediately.  If there is easily accessible caffeine then check if companies you are interested in working for actively recruit from your schools of choice. Also look into dual-degree programs; having the opportunity to get an MS in environmental science was a big pull to the University of Michigan. Check to see whether clubs and organizations important to you exist and have support. Out for Business, Ross’ LGBT business club, has enthusiastic and supportive officers, members and networks that immediately reached out to me. Finally, make sure you like the feel of the school and city. Don’t like idea of snowshoeing to school, then maybe look closer to the equator.

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? Start early, as in catch-the-worm early. Write that first round of essays and then come back to it a week later and see if you sound like an MBA applicant or a real person that you would actually want to spend substantial time learning from and with. In writing essays and prepping for interviews, make a list of your attributes and bullet point a few stories that go with each one—keep them short and to the point with a sense of emotion and purpose.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA?

An MBA/MS student from the University of Michigan interned with the company I was working for. When she asked for a review of her performance, I stated with confidence that I believed she could start and run every department of a company with competence and integrity. In addition to drawing impressive individuals, I was also impressed by the interest and support faculty at Ross showed in their student’s work. Our company was based in Beijing, China and three faculty members who were in the country on business came by the office to learn about our company and her project. The faculty’s interest and commitment in their students’ work and progress was of a level I didn’t find in any other program.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate?

Pile up as much student debt as possible. Nailing it. Aside from a solid bag of business skills to feel confident jumping into any industry or position, I will put those skills to use in a handful of experiences through competitions and clubs offered at Ross. The Leadership Crisis Challenge, Social Impact Challenge, and sitting on the advisory board of a local not-for-profit will refine my classroom knowledge into actionable skills. Lastly, continue forming close friendships with faculty and classmates that challenge and inspire me.

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