The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » Real Humans of MBA Students » Real Humans of the Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2024 » Page 6

Real Humans of the Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2024

Image for Real Humans of the Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2024

Lauren Warrender, Michigan Ross MBA Class of 2024

Age: 29
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Pittsburgh, History and Political Science
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 7 years; U.S. Army

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
Once I decided to leave the military, attending business school was an easy choice to make. There is no better place to increase analytical skills while getting to experience the civilian sector than business school. I realized that I needed to find a career that would allow me to do the things I am passionate about, but I didn’t quite know what that path would be. I spent most of my time as a human resources officer, but I knew I wanted to pivot into a consulting role. Business school provides me with both time and experience to better understand the career possibilities that are now available to me.

Why did you choose Michigan Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? 
The culture and location were the two biggest factors in my decision to attend Ross. I wanted to attend a school that was inclusive and made me feel as though I was part of a team rather than competing against other students. I quickly realized how amazing Ross is at building an inclusive environment. Being in the military, I missed countless holidays, weddings, and celebrations with my family so being within driving distance for the first time in seven years was at the top of my list. Luckily, I can make it home in just over four hours now!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I am extremely compassionate and see it as my greatest strength. I’ve come from a non-traditional background my entire life — I grew up in a low-income, single-parent household and then joined the military. The Army gave me the opportunity to travel to various countries and experience unique cultures. These experiences opened my eyes to the importance of being kind and understanding, and I want to bring that sense of compassion into the classroom.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I am known for my baking skills! I love making cookies and cakes, but oddly do not have a sweet tooth, so most of the baking I do is for others.  My key lime pie cookies are a fan favorite!

Post-MBA career interests:
Human Capital Consulting and Sports Management

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Find a few mentors early on and lean on them heavily! The MBA veteran community is outstanding, and I was lucky enough to have a few mentors who spent countless hours helping me study, review essays, and prepare for interviews. I jokingly tell people to find three different mentors to help you through the process: One who is critical of your work, one who is encouraging, and one who will answer your call at 1 in the morning to calm you down.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
It is so easy to compare yourself to others throughout the application process. We all compare GRE/GMAT scores, previous experiences, and what schools we got into. It is important to remember that we are all unique and to consistently remind yourself of all the incredible things you’ve accomplished thus far!

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I am sure that this is the most common answer, but I would have skipped the GRE. It was difficult finding an adequate amount of time to study. I was able to get into a routine of studying — I mostly studied during my lunch breaks and heavily on the weekends. I also tried to give myself one day off from studying each week to make the process a bit more bearable.

What is your initial impression of the Michigan Ross students/culture/community?
The culture and community at Ross are like nothing I have experienced before. You could be in any part of the world with a Michigan shirt or hat on and somebody will shout “Go Blue!” It makes the community feel very close-knit which I love. The students at Ross are extremely remarkable and accepting! There are so many great traditions such as M-Trek and the Ross Bus which I can’t wait to take part in.

What is one thing you have learned about Michigan Ross that has surprised you?
Although I learned about MAP during the application process, I believe it sets Ross apart from other programs. I find that action-based learning is the best approach, especially in preparation for a new internship or career. I did not expect to have another real-world work experience outside of a summer internship, but I am grateful Ross gives us that opportunity.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am most anxious about managing all the different events and requirements, especially within the fall semester. Everyone says that time management is the most important thing in business school — I know both my calendar and to-do list will be my best friends this year.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most excited about meeting my classmates and learning about their backgrounds and experiences — having great classmates makes learning much easier. Sports are a huge part of my life, so I am highly anticipating football, basketball, and hockey season!

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.