On Thursday, May 25, 2017, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business unveiled its new application deadlines and essays.
They seem to be really excited by them. Clearly, a lot of care has been taken in moving away from last year’s more traditional essays (“What are you most proud of?” “Career path?”) to essays that are new, different and even a little…devious. A few examples are: “I turned an idea into action when I…” “A valuable thing I have taught someone is…”
Why do I say this? Because the essays are short and you have a lot of choice in which essay questions you answer. This spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
Three of the essays are really ‘short answers’ at only 100 words each, while the career path essay remains the same as last year – only 300 words. This reminds me of the old saying, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
In other words, to hit a 100 word limit, you have to be concise, to the point, and make every word count. This is hard to do and it takes a lot of editing and a lot of extra iterations.
Thankfully, Ross’s round 1 deadline is a little bit later at October 2 to give you the extra time you will need.
Of course, there is another wrinkle: the three short answer essays that you decide to answer have to be chosen from a total of nine possibilities. Think back to permutations in high school math – there are 27 different ways you could select the three you will answer.
I can already imagine applicants losing sleep on which to choose and then starting on one only to scrap it to try another one.
Sometimes choice is good (flavors of ice cream); sometimes choice is bad… and in this case it’s bad. (By the way, if you want to find out when choice is good or bad, go to Columbia Business School and study with Sheena Iyengar – but that’s another story.)
So what to do? The best first step is hearing what Ross has to say about these new, devious essays by attending their “Tips from the Top” webinar on June 13.
Then I’d start trying to answer the three “whys” of every application: Why business school? Why now? And, why at that particular school?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]