Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Interview with 1st Year Student in the Michigan Ross MBA Program

I am pleased to offer the following interview with a current 1st year student at the University of Michigan's Ross MBA Program.

1. Looking back on the way you prepared for the MBA, is there anything you would change? Anything you would have done more of or less of?

I did not spend enough time to meet with current students and alumni of my target schools. I think this is important when applying to schools, so I wish I had done this more. 

I had a plenty of time to think about essay content but began to write them late and so I was submitting my applications close to the due date. I would begin to write essays earlier. 

2. Can you write a bit about a course that you have really enjoyed or benefitted from?

It is called “Leading People and Organizations,” one of the core courses that covers both personal leadership skills and organization management strategies. The key feature is the variety of teaching styles like lecture, case discussion, computer simulation, role playing, movie watching and so on. 

In my favorite class we watched a movie where jury members are discussing whether a defendant is guilty or not and one of them who think that the defendant is not guilty changes the mind of other jury members who initially believe that the defendant is guilty. After watching the movie students discussed what kind of persuasion skills and techniques that man uses, and at the end the professor summarized the discussion and introduced useful persuasion skills and techniques. 

In this course I learned leadership skills and techniques in depth not only through lectures but also from hands-on experience. It shows that Ross is focusing on leadership education and experimental learning (“Action Based Learning”). 

3. Have you had the time to get involved in any extra-curricular activities? If so, what ones and what are you doing in them?

I joined a consulting project in the Community Consulting Club, which is providing free consulting services to NGOs and other organizations by leveraging Ross students’ knowledge and the skills they’re learning in classes. 

My project was to think about solutions to increase the facility rental revenue of a museum. I was responsible for one customer segment together with another member and we considered strategies to increase revenue from that segment by using knowledge and skills learned in marketing and organization management class. 

It was not only a good opportunity to use knowledge and skills learned in class and learn them more in depth but also a good chance to work with other students having different background and learn teamwork and leadership in that situation. 

4. What have your experiences been like in learning/project teams? 

Almost all courses at Ross have group assignments or projects, and in addition to that, Ross has a big team learning opportunity called MAP where students engage in consulting projects for companies or NGOs outside Ross by using knowledge and skills learned in class. During this program students basically do not take other courses and focus on their projects. 

Although it is really difficult to discuss with other students in English, Ross students are really collaborative and help me join discussions and show my opinion, so I can contribute to the team to some extent. The key take-away is that it is important to prepare for discussion well and not to hesitate to show my opinion even if it might be wrong. 

5. Can you share your plans for the summer?

I will take an internship in the New York branch of my company to understand how overseas branches operate and provide value to customers. I will also join a volunteer activity for marine conservation which I am interested in. 

6. Can you offer any words of advice for those applying to the MBA program you are enrolled in?

To get admission to Ross your test scores are important factors so you should initially focus on TOEFL and GMAT. Regarding the essay and interview, I think that it is important to put emphasis on your team work experiences and show how you have worked with other team members. 

Thanks very much for your time! 

John Couke