The theme of the MBA program at the Ross School of Business is action-based learning. Many schools give lip service to this buzzword, but Michigan lives it with the most extensive consulting projects with outside organizations offered by any business school in the world.
First year core features four seven-week terms: Fall A, Fall B, Winter A, and Winter B. The first three terms provide a broad grounding in the fundamentals of business. In the fourth term, students put the core to work in the Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP) course, combining analytical tools with teamwork and leadership development on a consulting project with an actual firm or organization.
For MAP, students are assigned to five-person teams and then lent to a company and a project that starts in the third week of January. There are 150 possible projects to choose from, with a bewildering array of global companies, for the 500 first-year students. This isn’t part of a course and the experience is not optional, as it often is at other business schools. It’s mandatory, intense, all-consuming, and occupies your complete time for seven straight weeks. Each team has two faculty advisers who act as coaches on the project.
In 2010, Google had the most popular project: 246 of the 497 students asked to be assigned to the Google team which had to come up with a strategy and plan for Google to successfully launch a new product in the European and East African markets. The logistics of pulling this off, with companies as varied as Amazon, Citigroup, Colgate-Palmolive, Barclays, General Electric, and Hershey’s, among others, in places as farflung as Peru, Malaysia, Italy, India and South Africa, among others, represents as huge an investment as any business school has ever made to create a truly differentiated experience for MBAs.
In the second year, students choose electives at Ross and other graduate and professional schools at the University of Michigan. A total of 57 graduate credit hours must be fulfilled to complete the MBA program.
Michigan’s Ross School is on the rise again. It slipped one place in the 2012 Poets&Quants ranking, falling to a rank of 13th from 12th a year earlier. However, in 2013, the school reclaimed the 12th place. It has also seen gains in rankings that have come out in 2014: in the U.S. News list, Ross jumped from 14th place to 11th place, and in the Financial Times, it came in at 13th place among U.S. schools, up 2 spots from last year.
A Class of 2012 graduate summed up his MBA experience to BusinessWeek this way: “Among many others, three main factors differentiate Ross: 1) The opportunity to attend school in the wonderful, close-knit campus town of Ann Arbor. 2) A highly collaborative student body that is passionate about social and environmental issues and how business can be leveraged for positive global impact. 3) The Multi-disciplinary Action Project and many extracurricular activities that push students to apply their MBA skills in ambiguous, new situations that, while often annoying, are highly realistic of challenges we will face in the real world.”
Note: MBA Program Consideration Set: If you believe you’re a close match to this school–based on your GMAT and GPA scores, your age and work experience, you should look at these other competitive full-time MBA programs as well. We list them by stretch, match and safety. These options are presented on the basis of brand image and ranking status as a general guideline.