In many ways, COVID required the Class of 2023 to become resourceful. Juan Rogelio Lemarroy Montanaro indulged his passion for barbecue. He opened a take-out restaurant, using his homemade smoker to cook and his friends to deliver. In contrast, Karnica Gupta views the past two years as a time that revealed our greatness….and exposed our vulnerabilities.”
“I think COVID-19 demonstrated the best and worst of our economic system, from the fastest production and distribution of vaccines in human history to how many employees labeled as “essential” were more often treated as if they were disposable. More broadly, COVID showed how quickly our lives can be upended and how we must all be able to pivot and change direction.COVID-19 fast-forwarded a lot of key industry and workplace transformations that otherwise may have taken a decade to materialize. This made me realize there was no better time to rethink my career and realign with what’s to come.”
What inevitably came was business school, Ross specifically. What does the Class of 2023 think about their peers thus far? Janet Genser describes her classmates — and the Ross community at large — as “synergistic.”
“Everyone at Ross is so eager to get to know everyone else and all their unique talents and backgrounds. They’re also eager to step in and support each other wherever they can. I thrive in highly collaborative environments, so I knew Ross was right for me when I understood that Ross students operate like a team, not like individuals. That goes for alumni, too! I have never met a group of people so ready to pay it forward like Ross alums. It truly feels like a giant family where everyone is rooting for one another.”
Abhimanyu Vashistha calls this something a little different: team spirit. “I have seen various schools talk about the collaborative spirit, but at Michigan Ross, I have truly seen the school spirit to be integral to the social fabric. Be it the school football spirit or helping you with recruiting the “Go Blue” spirit is infectious. I just bought the season tickets to the football games, and I don’t even know the rules.”
Man, is he in for a treat on November 27th!
APPLICATIONS UP BIG TIME
The Class of 2023 also represents a banner admissions cycle at Michigan Ross. From 2020-2021, the full-time MBA program received 4,003 application, a 56% jump over the previous year’s 2,567 total. It also topped the 3,485 application high water march reached in 2017. More applications meant it was harder to land a spot in the class, as the acceptance rate dipped from 37% to roughly 20% in the past year. Overall, the class consists of 398 students. That’s 40 more students than last year’s class, but 24 fewer than the most recent graduating class.
Average GMAT scores also bounced back in this past cycle. The Class of 2023 brings a 722 average to Ann Arbor, up 12 points from the 2022 Class (and 3 points higher than the Class of 2021). One reason for higher scores: Ross implemented a test waiver in 2020, which it continued this year. Hence, 1 of every 5 applicants didn’t submit a score. A third of the class also turned in GRE scores, which came to 160 in verbal and quantitative sections. GMAT scores ran from 690-760 in the mid-80% range. By the same token, average GPAs inched up from 3.50 to 3.53 for the incoming class.
In terms of gender, the percentage of women rose from 43% to 46% this year, with the percentage of students of color holding steady at 36%. International students account for 28% of the class. That’s up five points. However, the Class of 2023 is far more diverse than recent classes with students hailing from 42 countries, up 13 from last year. In addition, the school’s richest recruiting areas include New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC, and New Delhi.
Academically, the class earned undergraduate degrees at over 200 universities. 48 class members also possess a Master’s degree or better, with another 50 or more pursuing dual MBA degrees at the University of Michigan. As undergrads, 42% of the class majored in business, with STEM (32%) and Humanities (28%) also heavily represented.
The Class of 2023 has also worked in over 300 companies. The largest segment of the class — 23% — was last employed in Consulting. Education and Government and Finance make up 13% and 11% of the class respectively. The remainder of the class includes representatives from Healthcare, Consumer Goods, Transportation, Engineering and Manufacturing, and the Military.
INTERVIEW WITH THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS
2021 could be called a transition year at Michigan Ross. In May, Dean Scott DeRue officially departed from his post He was replaced in the interim by Francine Lafontaine. A 30-year fixture at the school, Lafontaine is the former associate dean for Business + Impact and senior associate dean for faculty research. During the Obama administration, she also spent a year as director for the Bureau of Economics with the Federal Trade Commission. She steps into an upbeat situation. Notably, in The Economist’s latest survey of MBA students, Ross ranked #1 for Alumni Effectiveness and #4 for Culture and Classmates. In addition, Ross ranked 3rd in P&Q’s latest ranking of Entrepreneurship program, finishing among the top MBA programs for school funding of startups and student involvement in entrepreneur-themed clubs.
One reason for the positive vibes around Ross is this: The school never stops devising, testing, and tinkering. Never satisfied and student-centered, the school is always looking to boost its portfolio with programming that anticipates workplace shifts and student needs. And the current school year is no different. This summer, P&Q reached out to Soojin Kwon, Managing Director, MBA Admissions and Student Experience, on some of the school’s new developments and advantages. Here are Kwon’s thoughts on current MBAs and future applicants from Ross.
P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?
Pinkert Healthcare Accelerator
“One exciting new development at Michigan Ross is our Pinkert Healthcare Accelerator that aims to support needed innovation by helping students develop and launch their creative ideas for addressing major challenges in healthcare. The new accelerator – which is managed by the Zell Lurie Institute at Michigan Ross – provides student teams with grant seed funding; mentorship from U-M faculty, staff, and alumni; and advice from a board of leaders in healthcare entrepreneurship and investing. I was impressed with the 13 student ventures that were accepted into the Pinkert Healthcare Accelerator’s first cohort last year. Among the healthcare solutions, those ventures addressed were: transitional aid for postpartum parents to ensure a healthy postpartum environment; inventory management to provide hospitals with real-time data on medical supplies; and a product that replaces plastic prescription bottles with a 100% recyclable solution.
Increased funding for students/alumni to make a positive impact
The second exciting new development is that we have expanded the amount of funding available to students and alumni who want to make a positive impact in the world. In April, we announced our new Impact Advantage Program that provides educational loan repayment assistance to Full-Time MBA graduates who obtain jobs at nonprofit, education, and public sector organizations.
We also have a new Dean’s Impact Scholars scholarship, which is awarded to a highly select group of admitted students. This scholarship is given to students based on their outstanding accomplishments, and more importantly, our belief in their potential to create a positive impact in the world through business. In addition to a full-tuition scholarship, recipients are awarded annually a $10,000 stipend to support their educational travel, leadership development experiences, and non-tuition expenses.
I’m very proud to have these resources available to our students and alumni, as we continue to see growing interest in students looking to make an impact through business.”
P&Q: What are the two biggest differentiating features of your MBA program? How does each of these enrich the learning of your MBA students?
MAP – An unparalleled opportunity for action-based learning
“If you talk with any incoming MBA about why they choose Michigan Ross, they will almost always mention our signature MAP (Multidisciplinary Action Projects) program. Through MAP, every MBA student is able to consult on challenges and opportunities facing real organizations around the world. MBA teams work as consultants to corporations, startups, and nonprofits for seven weeks in technology, social impact, sustainability, healthcare, and many other industries.
MAP is just one of countless opportunities that students have to learn business by doing business. Through our Ross Experiences in Action-Based Learning (REAL) portfolio, we offer more opportunities for hands-on action-based learning than any other MBA program.
The University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is home to 100 graduate programs that are ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report — no other university has the breadth and depth of thought leadership across disciplines like we do. Our MBA students are able to take advantage of this through our 21 established dual-degree programs, including with the Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Law, Environment and Sustainability, and Information. This year, 51 students in our incoming MBA class have already started their dual-degree programs.
Besides our formal dual-degree programs, many of our classes are designed to be interdisciplinary — such as our +Impact Studio course and Living Business Leadership Experience course — to tap into the expertise found at the university. Our Centers, Institutes, and Initiatives also welcome students from other schools around campus, and many clubs, events, and competitions expose MBAs to peers and faculty from diverse backgrounds and with different skills and knowledge.
The power of the Michigan alumni network cannot be understated. There are more than 640,000 U-M alumni in 179 countries around the world, including over 52,000 from Ross. Our alumni are engaged and show up for fellow alums and current students. As one example, the Michigan Ross alumni network earned the top spot in The Economist’s 2021 ranking of alumni effectiveness.”
Next Page: Interview with Soojin Kwon (Continued)
Page 4: In-Depth Profiles of 12 Michigan Ross MBAs