Entrepreneurship is another staple of the Ross MBA experience. This year, Ross ranked 2nd in P&Q’s MBA Entrepreneurship ranking. It also ranked #1 for the highest percentage of MBA startups launched from 2017-2021 (22.2% of students). That’s hardly a surprise considering over two-thirds of MBAs were part of an entrepreneurship club or involved in a startup during the 2021-2022 school year. More impressive than that, 100% of Ross faculty are involved in entrepreneurship and innovation in one form or another according to P&Q research. Mejoy Lawson, a ’21 grad, collected over $100K in 100,000 via grants, pitch competitions, and accelerators to build his startup while earning his MBA at Ross.
“I participated in several programs through the Zell Lurie Institute, an institute dedicated to immersing U-M students in entrepreneurial environments where they create, lead, and shape innovative ventures. These programs included the Eugene Applebaum Dare to Dream Grant Program (a multi-semester business creation program offering startup workshops and mentoring, and awarding $300-$5,000 in grants) and the Michigan Business Challenge (a campus-wide, multi-round business plan competition where student teams have the opportunity to win cash prizes totaling over $100,000, gain feedback from leaders in the business community, and expand their business network), which we won. Also, I was elected managing director of the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund, a student-run early-stage investment fund, which gave me exposure to other startups within the University of Michigan ecosystem.
The Ross MBA also features unique programming that can’t be found anywhere else. Case in point: the Ross Open Road. During the summer, MBAs hit the highways, plying their b-school lessons to help entrepreneurs across the country. Last year alone, the Ross team supported nearly two dozen startups.
“For me, Ross Open Road exemplified the many experiences Ross provided that were at the intersection of business and impact and blended it with my love of road trips,” explains Carlos Delfino Sotelo. “Essentially, after the academic year ends, students embark on a drive across parts of the country to enable socially-driven entrepreneurs to scale their impact with solutions or recommendations to one of their business problems on-site for a week at a time. Open Road fellows organize into teams and map out the entire month’s logistics while selecting which theme for the types of companies and organizations the team will work with.”
EXCELLENCE ACROSS THE BOARD
Delfino is also bullish on the Sanger Leadership Center, which provides courses, workshops, speakers, coaching, and even a certification program centered around leadership. It also sponsors the Story Lab, where MBAs gather to share personal stories about their passions and personal growth. In addition, Sanger hosts one of Ross’ most popular traditions: the Leadership Crisis Challenge.
“[It] 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.”
Another defining feature of the Ross? Think excellence across the board! For three consecutive years, MBA deans and directors have ranked Ross in all 13 specializations measured, with the school placing among the Top 3 in Project Management, Marketing, and Management. In the latest Princeton Review satisfaction survey of alumni, Ross produced the 2nd-highest score for Consulting programming and the 4th-best for a Family-Friendly Campus. More than that, the school ranked #1 for both Professors and Administrator – a testament to the quality of the teaching and experience that MBAs enjoy. One reason is rock star faculty like Gautam Kaul, who is described by ’22 alum Sam Buck as someone whose “eyes actually sparkle when he talks about finance.” Anotherdifferentiator is unique coursework like Tom Buchmueller’s Washington DC Residential on Healthcare Policy and Politics course.
“The course lets students spend one week immersed in DC, learning from healthcare leaders on the Hill and in industry,” explains Alex Perez-Garcia. “We dove deep into hot topics such as drug pricing and healthcare access and analyzed these issues through robust class discussion from an economic, policy, and political lens. To me, the course was the pinnacle of learning by doing. The course also showed the power of the Ross network – all the panelists had some connection to Michigan Ross. I knew that if I wanted to make a difference in the healthcare space, Michigan Ross was the place to gain that knowledge and experience.”
A CLASS PROFILE
…and have a pretty good time too. Anindita Ravikumar, a ’22 graduate, hypes the Ross Follies, an SNL-like sketch comedy show put on by Ross students to get laughs over MBA life. Of course, there is football tailgating – all the better now that the Wolverines have eclipsed Ohio State. Let’s not forget Ann Arbor – the quintessential college town that’s as walkable as it is lively. Did you hear about all the trees – 1.5 million in all – and the squirrels?
“If you enjoy people-watching, you’ll probably enjoy squirrel-watching,” jokes Esther Chen, a newly-minted ’23 grad. “There have been so many times I’ve walked through campus close to the university Diag and saw squirrels looking for nuts, chasing each other, and people-watching. Some squirrels in Michigan seem to have a “Maize” or blonde color in their tails, which seems fitting.”
By the numbers, the Class of 2024 boasts 380 students, who bring an average 720 GMAT and 3.50 GPA to Ann Arbor. Women and U.S. minorities each constitute a 42% share of the class. As a whole, the class hails from 39 countries, with 36% being international students. Academically, 40% of the class majored in STEM-related fields as undergrads, with the remainder of the class composed of students who hold degrees in Business (38%) and the Humanities (22%). Professionally, Consultants make up 19% of the class, followed by students who last worked in Health (14%), Finance (14%), Education and Nonprofits (11%), and Technology (11%). Military veterans comprise another 7% share.
The University of Michigan – and Ross – name goes a long way. In terms of range, the school features 640,000 alumni in nearly 180 countries, including 52,000 Ross alumni. And that doesn’t count the prestige of ranking as the #3 public university in the United State according to US News & World Report. Certainly, the Ross MBA is gaining increasing popular among employers. In 2022, 99.2% of the graduating class had received job offers within three months of graduation. More than that, the class’s median salary package jumped $21,000 to $192,270 in one year alone.
A Q&A WITH ROSS LEADERSHIP
That’s not the only big news on campus. Here are some thoughts on what MBAs can expect from Brad Killaly, associate dean of MBA programs, and Taya Sapp, senior associate director of Full-Time MBA Admissions.
P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program in the past year and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?
BK: “There are a couple:
Last October, we formally announced the launch of our new Business+Tech initiative, which is aimed at preparing students for thriving careers at the intersection of business and technology. Along with hosting established annual events, such as the Datathon, FinTech Challenge, and SportsTech Conference, Business+Tech organized many new events and programs this year, including a +Tech Innovation Jam. There was also the +Tech Literacy Download at the beginning of October, which allowed students to develop their tech literacy skills from a selection of 25 sessions, covering everything from blockchain and artificial intelligence to cybersecurity and analytics, and digital branding and marketing.
Michigan Climate Venture
Michigan Ross has more student-run investment funds than any other business school, and MBAs are able to manage the funds in all aspects of their operations. Right now, students are managing $10 million through the various funds. The newest fund is the Michigan Climate Venture fund, which was launched by Michigan Ross MBA students and faculty to invest in early-stage climate tech companies that have potential to make a real difference on climate change. This new fund is noteworthy because it is the first fund open to all University of Michigan students, which aligns with the interdisciplinary nature of our MBA program and allows the fund’s leadership team to tap into the expertise of students across campus. In addition, the fund a first-of-its-kind clean tech venture fund of all top MBA programs and gives students a first-hand opportunity to work in sustainable investing – a growing interest among MBAs – and it supports the mission of Michigan Ross to build a better world through business.
New Michigan Ross dean
While not a development in our MBA program, we are very excited to welcome Sharon F. Matusik as the new dean of Michigan Ross. We are confident her desire to focus on further enhancing our action-based learning programs and increasing accessible to a Ross education will positively impact the Michigan Ross community and MBA program.”
P&Q: If you were giving a campus tour, what is the first place you’d take an MBA applicant? Why is that so important to the MBA experience?
TS: “While our campus tours would start off in the beautiful Davidson Winter Garden, the first place I would take an MBA applicant to is the +Impact Studio. The +Impact Studio launched, which was launched within the Business+Impact Initiative in 2019, encompasses an interdisciplinary graduate course, a design lab for impact-focused ventures and projects, and a collaboration space for workshops and events. The aim of the studio is to create a space for students and faculty across the University of Michigan campus to work together to use design and business to bring impactful ideas to life. The +Impact Studio course, called Translating Research into Practice, teaches design thinking and futuring and provides students the opportunity to design a tech-enabled equitable enterprise. Last year in the course, students created designs for equitable enterprises in the restaurant industry. You can read more about what they did in this story. The +Impact Studio also has a Founders Program, which allows students to bring their own idea for impact to life, and an Applebaum Impact Design Fellowship program, where students can develop and prototype concepts related to social impact.”
P&Q: What is the most innovative thing you have introduced into the MBA program in recent years? How has it been a game changer for your program?
BK: “I’d like to highlight one of the most important things we have introduced to the MBA program in recent years: increased funding for students and alumni to make a positive impact in the world. Last April, we announced our 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.
We’re 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.”
Next Page: Profiles of 12 Members of the Class of 2024
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