Posted on June 1, 2021

Michigan Ross MBA Deadlines and Essay Tips: 2021-22

Michigan Ross_2021-22

Located in the heart of the vibrant city of Ann Arbor, Michigan Ross is "a top-ranked business school offering action-based learning to prepare our graduates for today's ever-evolving world." The leaders at Michigan Ross create "innovative solutions to the world's most complex business challenges. "

Michigan Ross has announced the deadlines and essay questions for the 2021-22 MBA application season. This year, Ross has returned to three rounds of application unlike four rounds last year. Ross has pushed back the Round 3 deadline rather than having an additional round.

Application Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Decision Announced
Round 1 September 20, 2021 December 8, 2021
Round 2 January 10, 2022 March 18, 2022
Round 3 April 04, 2022 May 11, 2022

Standardized Test Waiver: In response to hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Ross offers candidates of the Full-Time MBA 2021-2022 application cycle the ability to request a waiver for standardized test requirements. For more details, click here.


There is no change in the essay questions. Like last year, this year's applicants will answer two short answer questions and a goals essay. Soojin Kwon, managing director Full-time MBA program writes in her blog, "We felt really good about the quality of this year's candidates and the prospective students' feedback about our application, so I encouraged the team not to tinker too much with what is working… We enjoy providing students a choice in their essay answers. This past year, we received very insightful answers to the prompts that allowed us to learn more about your values and what you would add to the Michigan Ross community."

Once again, the applicants have only 400 words to present their candidacy to the admission committee.  From 5 essay questions totaling 1700 words in 2012-13 to 2 essays of only 400 words, Ross has come a long way in its 'less is more' requirement.

Let us take a closer look at the essay questions:

Part 1- Short-answer questions: Select one prompt from each group of the two groups below. Respond to each selected prompt in 100 words or less.

Group 1

I want people to know that I:

I made a difference when I:

I was aware that I was different when:

Group 2

I am out of my comfort zone when:

I was humbled when:

I was challenged when:

The purpose of these short questions is to give the admissions team valuable insights into who you are as a person and how you view yourself. Therefore, answer it in such a way that allows you to tell them what you want them to know about you. These questions require you to introspect and dig deeper for specific stories/ life experiences when you 'made a difference' or 'when you were humbled' or 'when you were challenged.' Begin your response to each prompt by completing the question. Your answers to these questions will showcase your unique personal traits- your interest as well as the impact you made, your self-awareness, (Group 1) your humility, and your experience of being out of your comfort zone (Group 2). Both the groups ask for a behavioral response, where you discuss one anecdote or situation and reflect on it. The key to all these responses is to demonstrate how you responded in the face of different situations and emerged a better and stronger person.

What makes these essays more challenging is the multiple-choice component? I can imagine applicants having a hard time deciding which was the best option for them or which stories will paint them in the best light. My advice is to brainstorm ideas on all the six prompts and then evaluate the best two stories about your personality and values that you want the Ad Com to know about you. After you have finalized your best two stories, begin formulating your response, focusing on the challenges you faced, the action you took, and the impact you made. Don't forget to include your thought process behind your decisions, as your thoughts and actions will provide the reader with a glimpse into your values and beliefs.

It is a challenge to discuss two different experiences in only 200 words. To meet the tight word limits, be as precise as you can.

Part 2- Career Goals Essay: What is your short-term career goal, and why? (200 words)

This essay focuses on short-term goals and your reasons for those goals. When explaining your post-MBA goals, make sure to be as specific as you can. Specify which industry, which company, and what position you would like to see yourself at after graduating from Ross. Even if you are not 100% sure, you should be clear and decisive about your short-term goals. Though the question asks only about the short-term goal, you may still touch upon your long-term goal, but you should not elaborate on it.

Next, provide a brief account of your career history, summarizing your skills/ strengths. Then go on to explain how your work experience has inspired your career plans and discuss the gap in your skillset that an MBA would fill. You do not want to discuss the 'Why Ross' part because the admission committee has not asked for it. They don't want you to provide a 'laundry list' of the courses offered by Ross. You should be ready to discuss 'Why Ross' during your interview.

With a total of only 400 words to tell your story to the Ross admission committee, you should make every word count. There is no room for elaborate details or beating around the bush. To present a well-rounded picture of your candidacy, use 200 words (short questions) to demonstrate who you are as a person and 200 words (goals essay) to showcase who you are as a professional.

Optional Statement: Is there something in your resume or application that could use some explanation? You might want to discuss the completion of supplemental coursework, employment gaps, academic issues, etc. Feel free to use bullet points where appropriate.

As directed in the essay prompt, you may use this essay question to address a weakness in your profile, such as employment gap, low GPA/low GMAT, completion of supplemental course work, or unusual choice of the recommender. Your weakness may also bring out a positive aspect of your personality. You may either use bullet points or essay format for the optional statement.

Reapplicant process

Applicants can submit an abridged application. They will complete an application form, submit an updated resume, and update a letter about their achievements and goals since their original application. The updated letter should be uploaded via Essay 3 Optional Statement. If their previously submitted scores have expired, they will submit a new test score. Michigan Ross is also hosting a panel of current Michigan Ross students who were successful reapplicants in July to share tips and success stories from their reapplicant journey. 

For more information about the reapplication process click here.

For Short answer questions Tips from Ross MBA Admissions Blog, Click here.

For more advice and tips on application essays, resume, and LORs, do not forget to check out the video from a few members of the admission team of Ross:


You may be interested in MER's analysis of previous years' essay questions:

Ross Essay Questions Analysis- 2020-21

Ross Essay Questions Analysis- 2019-20

Ross Essay Questions Analysis- 2018-19

Ross Essay Questions Analysis-2017-18

Ross Essay Questions Analysis– 2016-17

Ross Essay Questions Analysis– 2015-16

Ross Essay Questions Analysis– 2013-14

Video interview of a Ross MBA: In this video interview with Poonam, former MER student and Ross grad Pablo Troncoso shares how Ross MBA was a life-altering experience for him, personally and professionally.

Free Resources:

10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

Essay Analysis of Other Top Programs-2021-22

 MER Students Share their success Stories

Case Studies

AIGAC Virtual Conference 2021: MER’s Key Takeaways

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs, including Ross. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Do you have questions about your application? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.