Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Adam Brewster, University of Michigan (Ross)

Adam Brewster

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

“I’m a driven, curious and collaborative person who’s always searching for good ski slopes.”

Hometown: Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve been quote-tweeted by former President Trump, who called my reporting “Wrong!”

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan, political science and communications

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Political reporter at CBS News

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Michigan Ross’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Coming from a non-traditional background, I was looking for a school that offered exceptional experiential learning opportunities. MAP set Ross apart from the other schools I was considering because it offers a chance to tackle a real business problem before starting my internship. I know that this will provide a valuable opportunity to apply skills from my previous career and learn new skills from my peers that will help me be successful during my internship and beyond. It also offers a chance to gain experience in a different industry or with a different company than the one I do my internship with, creating a more well-rounded MBA experience.

What has been your first impression of the Ross MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Ross story so far. I’ve found Ross alumni and current students to be eager to help future Ross students. In my experience, they’ve been honest about their experiences at Ross and in their careers. I’ve also found my future classmates to be welcoming, curious, and sharp. I haven’t had too many in-person interactions with future Rossers yet outside of Go Blue Rendezvous, but our New York City group has met up a few times. When I showed up to the first (and only) meetup that I could attend, some of the students had previously met and welcomed the new admits with open arms. The conversation flowed naturally, more like old friends getting together than a group largely meeting each other for the first time. Everyone was interested in getting to know each other and learning about where we came from and what we were most excited to experience at Ross.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Michigan Ross? I’m excited about the chance to join one of Ross’ student venture funds. I don’t come from an investing-oriented career, but these funds offer a chance to do the due diligence that’s required before deciding whether to invest in a business. Being able to understand these questions and to anticipate them in the future will provide a more holistic understanding of what makes businesses successful. Working with a student-led venture fund not only allows me to understand the rigor and analysis that goes into an investment, but provides a chance to stretch myself and try something new. As a bonus, I’m incredibly excited to try the Leadership Crisis Challenge at the Sanger Leadership Center, which puts you in a simulated business and media crisis. As a journalist, I covered businesses and politicians going through crises. This exercise provides the chance to figure out how to quickly navigate through an emergency and test my skills on the other side by answering tough questions rather than asking them.

When you think of the Michigan Ross MBA program, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? The first word that comes to mind for me is collaboration. Ross alumni and students have been supportive and generous with their time, answering questions about all aspects of life at Ross, including recruiting, academics, clubs, career tracks, social life, and housing. Everyone I’ve spoken with has been willing to help with whatever I’ve needed and has urged me to stay in touch with them. That willingness to answer a stranger and take the time to talk with them, especially when I was just exploring applying to the school, clearly comes from a strong sense of community and teamwork that’s instilled while students attend Ross.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I lived in Iowa for eight months leading up to the caucuses, criss-crossing the state to follow every twist and turn of the presidential campaign in the first state to participate in the 2020 Democratic primaries. My Iowa-based colleague and I spent months interviewing voters and candidates, talking with sources about strategy and mapping out where the candidates traveled. When caucus night came, we expected to use months of on-the-ground reporting to explain the results. Of course, the story drastically changed around 9:30 p.m. that night when there weren’t any results, but our ability to quickly piece together accurate information for the entire network provided a tremendous sense of accomplishment. We woke up that day expecting to cover the first step in the 2020 presidential election, but when the story turned on a dime, our months of preparation helped us tell CBS News’ audience what went wrong in Iowa.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? It would be Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions by James Ryan because the book focuses on the importance of asking questions. As a former reporter, asking questions was an essential part of my job. There’s so much focus on having the right answers, but this book stresses that asking questions is equally important. Ryan explains how a few simple questions can help you understand people and situations, maintain curiosity, kickstart projects, build good relationships and sort out what’s most important in life. The questions he outlines are open-ended, making them relevant for solving complex business problems because they force people to provide detailed and thoughtful answers.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? After working in broadcast news for nearly a decade, I decided I was ready to try something new. When I took time to think about what I’d want in my next adventure, I was drawn toward marketing because it’s cross-functional and intellectually challenging. After further reflection, I realized that getting an MBA would not only arm me with stronger foundational business skills, but also provide a chance to continue to sharpen communication and leadership skills. After graduation, I’d like to pursue a career in either brand or product management.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, Columbia Business School, NYU Stern School of Business, Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, UCLA Anderson School of Management, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Emory University Goizueta Business School

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Michigan Ross’s MBA program? Reach out to current students, particularly those who are pursuing career paths that intrigue you. The admissions team at Ross did a tremendous job offering programming that provided a clear picture of what two years at Ross will look like, but supplementing those events by speaking with students allows you to get direct answers to personal questions about life at Ross, classes and recruiting through the eyes of a peer. Ross students and alumni have been generous with their time and always provide honest answers about their experiences. Taking the time to speak with them can help you decide if Ross is a good fit and help you sharpen your application.


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