University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business likes to call itself REAL.
That stands for Ross Experiences in Action-Based Learning.
“At Michigan Ross, we offer a distinctive way to learn business: by doing it,” Paul Kirsch, managing director of the Office of Undergraduate Programs at Ross, says. “Every student has the opportunity to start a business; advise a business on a real, pressing strategic issue; invest real money in a diverse range of student-led investment funds; and, contribute their leadership to an on-going, real business. These components comprise what we at Ross call REAL.”
Students at Ross have an abundance of opportunities to learn by doing.
The Living Business Leadership Experience is one course that’s part of Ross’ REAL initiative. Through the course, students establish and run a functional team in an actual, operational business unit, working directly with executives of a sponsoring company, and learning under the supervision of faculty advisors.
The Ross Summer Connection is a four-week program for incoming first-year students that helps them prepare for the Ross culture and curriculum, offering prerequisite courses, mentoring, cultural seminars, and more.
“The goal of the Ross Summer Connection program is to provide students with an authentic Ross experience,” Rhonda Todd, Director of Academic Success at Michigan Ross and Director of RSC, says in a press release. “The program offers a host of academic and social opportunities so that they are well prepared and confident in their ability to succeed here and beyond.”
Identity and Diversity in Organizations (IDO) is a requirement of all Ross students. Each year, Ross students participate in an IDO event, which is presented from a range of speakers including corporate partners. Students then write a reflection paper in which they discuss relevant issues and why they’re important the student and to society.
“The IDO curriculum requirement allows students understand the real-world value and importance of recognizing their own identity and the role of diverse perspectives in organizations,” Kirsch says. “The activities that comprise IDO are designed to help students think about relevant issues in new ways and to understand why these issues are important to themselves, society, and for business amid a changing workplace.”
THE SIGNATURE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
Each of the four years in the Ross Program, students partake in a signature learning experience.
In the first year, the signature learning experience is a “Foundations in Learning Business” course that teaches first-years how to successfully learn business and transition them both to Ross and the overall University of Michigan. Additionally, first-years are assigned to upperclassmen peer counselors who act as guides or mentors.
In their sophomore year, the signature learning experience is a course called “Business & Leaders: The Positive Difference.” Through the course, students learn about the role of business in society, the individual’s personal and professional responsibility, and the values and practices of positive leaders. The course is formatted as a seminar of 24 students or fewer per section.
The third-year signature learning experience is a four-course initiative called the Ross Integrated Semester. Courses include Business Communication, Business Law, Technology and Operations, and Management and Organizations. The experience aims to demonstrate that complex business issues are successfully addressed when multiple tools and disciplines are used together.
In their last year, students partake in a signature learning experience called the Capstone Experiences, which provides an integrative learning experience that builds on the knowledge of previous courses and co-curricular experiences.
Outside of the Signature Learning Experience series, Ross also offers a number of courses that simulate hands-on learning.
Jess Vander, a Class of 2016 alum, says a marketing course called “Designing Persuasive Communication” was one the most significant experiences she took part in at Ross.
Through the course, Vander and her team created a campaign idea for the mobile payment company Square and their P2P payment product, Cash.
“I led my team and was highly motivated to see the idea through to the end, even going the extra mile using my film experience to make a sample video,” Vander says. “After reigning as one of the top three pitches of the class, it was extraordinarily validating to receive word forwarded from Jack Dorsey (the founder and CEO of Square) himself that he was impressed by our work. Through this project, I gained an authentic sense of what creative business work is like, and it made me hungry for more.”
Reetika Purohit, another Class of 2016 alum, says her experience taking an MBA field study course in Ireland her senior year was the most memorable experience she had at Ross.
Purohit and her group worked with a female technology entrepreneur to create a business plan for a female empowerment camp for Irish middle school girls. The goal of the camp was to encourage young females to pursue their interest in STEM fields while emphasizing technology, entrepreneurship, mindfulness, resiliency, and personal branding.
“This experience was significant to me because it gave me the opportunity to understand how to start from a broad concept with little to no direction and actually create a tangible, digestible product from it,” Purohit says. “I had no background in this space prior to working on this project, but I learned how to ask the right questions to better understand what gap we were seeking to fill through our business, or our product. This skill has been tremendously important to me as I’ve moved along in my career, as asking the right questions has been integral to best determining custom portfolio solutions for clients based on their specific needs.”
Career outlook for Ross grads is strong. According to numbers provided by Ross, 97% of the Class of 2018 seeking employment was employed full-time by the end of September, with an overall average salary of $72,268. Strong employment outcomes as well as a solid alumni survey and stringent admissions standards shot Michigan Ross nine spots up this year’s ranking to fourth place.
What Alumni Say:
“Ross offered multiple hands-on, capstone courses focused on real world business problems. Most pivotal for me was a capstone course focused on acting as a client serving consultant for both local and large companies. Specifically, I was able to work directly with P&G to assist in a marketing campaign. My team was engaged as if we were true consultants and held weekly status meetings with the client, as well as an end of semester deliverable.” – Class of 2016 alum
“I consulted on sustainability practices with water conservation and management in Peru in addition to worked on a organizational development project with an urban farm community in the city of Detroit.” – Class of 2016 alum
“I took a business and government class at Michigan’s Washington D.C. campus, and then also participated in an entrepreneurial course in Ireland, working with local female entrepreneurs.” – Class of 2016 alum
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
EY – 13
Goldman Sachs Group – 12
Citi – 11
JP Morgan Chase & Co. – 10
PwC – 9
Deloitte – 8
Morgan Stanley – 8
McKinsey & Company – 7
PepsiCo Inc. – 7
Oracle Corporation – 7