An Example of UMich’s Ross School of Business Prompt 1
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Robert Crystal in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
In this post, we go over an example answer to the first essay prompt for the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. For more information about this college’s admissions, check out this article on how to get into the University of Michigan.
The first essay prompt reads:
“Choose a current event or issue in your community and discuss the business implications. Propose a solution that incorporates business principles or practices. The review panel will look for creativity, drawing connections, and originality.”
Setting the Scene
This example essay is about how one student worked to close the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by making their robotics club more inclusive. It begins:
“Over the whir and clank of the seniors’ latest 3D printing project, I struggled to hear the freshmen introduce themselves during our school’s first robotics info session. My heart sank as I looked around the lab and realized that orientation was in just a couple of weeks, and it looked like I’d be the only girl on the team — again.”
This response starts off with an anecdote, using onomatopoeia and sensory language to draw in the reader right away. You can imagine what’s going on here as you’re being immersed in this world. This writer also sets up the main issue that she’s trying to solve, all within the first few sentences. Even if she doesn’t say explicitly that there aren’t enough girls on the robotics team, the reader can gather that immediately. It’s a good idea to keep the background and context short like this, so the reader knows the central issue of your essay right away.
Proposing a Solution
Next, the student shifts to discussing her proposed solution:
“Day to day, practices can be tough in this boys’ club. It’s not that I don’t get along with my teammates, but sometimes, they exhibit a sort of bromance I just don’t feel like I’m a part of. This year, I was tired of setting an example from afar — I was determined to make sure everyone who was interested felt empowered to join our team.”
This is what the writer plans to do about her problem, spoken in plain terms. We get a sense of the dynamic of this club and what the student’s goals are in terms of changing the culture.
She goes on:
“After the info session, I laid a whiteboard on one of our workbenches and got to work brainstorming potential solutions to this gender gap. I analyzed our current recruiting methods by crafting a flowchart and pinpointing specific spots in which the gender balance started thinning out. I isolated our social media approach as a faulty positive feedback loop — as we grew our mainly het-cis male following, more of them were likely to follow us, and their mutuals, typically also male, would show up as our suggested outreach audience.”
This is where the student shows that she has thought critically about why this gender gap issue exists. She’s done her research by analyzing the current recruiting methods, crafting a flowchart, and identifying a potential issue. Business elements are making an appearance in the essay at this point.
The essay goes on:
“With this information in mind, I drafted up a social media campaign that I felt would attract and retain more nonmale participants. I focused on the target audience and drafted tenets for our robotics team to embody this year that would hold us accountable to gender parity. By catering this campaign to women and nonbinary folks at my high school, I hoped that the right groups of people would feel empowered to at least check our robotics club out.”
This section shows initiative on the part of the student. It’s clear she was actively working toward increasing the number of nonmale participants in the club. This section would be a bit stronger, however, if the student gave more specific details about what she did and how she put these ideas into practice while using more business terminology specifically and correctly.
“Pitching my campaign idea to my team reinvigorated my love for engineering. Together, we talked through logistical barriers, potential obstacles, and other conflicts that could arise as we tried to reach our goal of making the team more inclusive.”
This section demonstrates the student’s leadership skills in including the rest of the team in her initiatives. She could have added more detail about whether there were any difficulties in getting the male participants on the team to be receptive to her ideas. This section could also benefit from including more business case terms and more specifics about the process.
“Not only did I pitch my campaign idea to my team, but I also did cross-club outreach by presenting to the Women in STEM Club and Gay/Straight Alliance to reach my target audiences. I created fliers to hand out at these events with our social media handles to maximize our reach.”
Here, the writer is providing specific details on how she worked to achieve this goal. For this essay prompt, it’s important to give as much detail as possible on your initiative: what you did, who you engaged with, and how your experience aligned with your own principles and business goals.
The essay concludes:
“Two weeks later, I stood by the 3D printer and passed out orientation badges. As I glanced over the pronouns written under the name stickers, my heart soared as I took in the diversity around me in this once homogenous robotics lab. Seeing the hopeful faces of our newest members, I vowed to continue championing diversity within STEM to create safe spaces within technology for all.”
This is a great ending. It ties everything together and reiterates the student’s goals and principles. It could be improved by the inclusion of more specifics, such as numbers to show the exact increase in nonmale participants following her campaign. The student does hint that there are more nonmale participants, but the ending would be stronger if she quantified them with data.