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Network Like an MBA Boss with Advice from Michigan Ross

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Attending a multi-school event to learn more about potential MBA programs is a great start for gathering information. Even better is using that opportunity to build your MBA network. But that’s just the start of your networking experience at Michigan University’s Ross School of Business. The school offers a variety of events, clubs, organizations, and opportunities to meet new people, expand your viewpoint, and build your network for the future. The key is to take advantage of everything that’s available.

Diana Economy, Michigan Ross’s Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions

To get an idea of what that is, we talked to Diana Economy, the Director of Full-Time MBA Admissions, to learn more about MBA networking at Michigan Ross.

How does attending a multi-school event open up networking opportunities and how can an MBA candidate take advantage?

Our multi-school events bring several top business schools to various venues across the country, giving prospective students the opportunity to meet one another throughout the admissions process. MBA programs have unique cultures so if a prospective MBA sees others who tend to frequent the same business school circles at events, they should consider exchanging contact information. This helps them update each other about upcoming events, and opportunities to engage with various schools and it starts to build bonds that can be leveraged in business school and beyond. It’s also a great sounding board for the application process. Building your professional network starts before you even set foot on campus and you might even find a great roommate in the process!

To learn more, consider reaching out to one of our 200+ student ambassadors online—you can filter by their student club involvement, where they’re from, career interests, and more. Be sure to ask them about their favorite hands-on learning experience at Ross or life in Ann Arbor.

How does your program promote candidate diversity and why is it important to your students’ success and network?

At Michigan Ross, we believe different perspectives, cultures, and life experiences create an environment that enriches learning, inspires new thinking, and builds the best leaders. Initially, Michigan Ross promotes candidate diversity by seeking people with diverse cultural, educational, and professional backgrounds to apply to our program. We travel the world, participating in events that connect our staff, students, and alumni to prospective students across the globe. There is still a popular misconception that “non-traditional” backgrounds are not competitive in the MBA application process but at Ross, the vast majority of students who apply come from non-business functions and have undergraduate degrees outside of business. Our efforts to attract these students and to demystify the application process helps us draw a diverse applicant pool.

At Ross, MBA1 students take all of their core classes with a cohort of about 80 section-mates. We intentionally create very diverse sections that help the students meet and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. Each section elects a student to serve as the “Inclusion Chair” responsible for keeping a pulse on the climate in the classes and to coordinate activities to help ensure that people are connecting with classmates. We have also created a comprehensive DEI Strategic Plan that we use to guide our efforts to ensure that each member of our community has full opportunity to thrive in our environment. Learn more and experience the Michigan Ross community as well as Diversity & Inclusion at Michigan Ross.

Are there any unique opportunities that your school offers to expand an MBA candidate’s network?

Michigan Ross partners with a number of fantastic organizations, which not only enhance the diversity of the program but offer unique opportunities for our students to network. Many of these organizations also offer access to unique career opportunities. Here are some of our key partnerships: Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Forte Foundation, Reaching Out MBA.

In addition, Michigan Ross hosts a number of special on-campus events, which help expand a candidate’s network with both current students and alumni. Here are some of the highlights: Women In Leadership Conference, Military Preview Day, VETx , UpClose Diversity Weekend, Alfred L. Edwards (Black Business Students Association) Conference, National Black MBA Conference, Diversity Week.

Finally, we would encourage applicants to connect with alumni who work in areas they are passionate about. Candidates should feel comfortable not only reaching out to Ross alumni but all alumni of the greater Michigan network. The University of Michigan has the largest alumni network in the world- about 600,000 living alumni in over 100 countries. We pride ourselves on having the most accessible and passionate alumni network- take advantage of it!

Michigan Ross wasn’t the only school to answer these questions. If you’d like to see what the admissions teams at Berkeley Haas, Cornell Johnson, Duke Fuqua, NYU Stern, UVA Darden, and Yale SOM had to say, head here.