Sam Schmitt, Michigan Ross School of Business MBA Class of 2025
Hometown: Horsham, PA (Philadelphia suburb)
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Penn State University, Finance & Sociology
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): Human Capital Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, 4 years
Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
From a young age, my mom always taught me and my sisters the value of a lifelong education. She was a first-generation college graduate (both undergraduate and MBA) and often spoke of how an MBA helped accelerate her career.
I have also always loved learning, which was part of the reason I chose to enter consulting. In consulting, I was able to learn every day while helping our clients solve complex business challenges. I knew now was the right time to return to school because I have had many experiences to shape my interests, while I am still malleable enough for a business school to shape my perspectives to continue to refine my future career path and leadership style.
Why did you choose Michigan Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I loved the energy of attending a large state university for undergrad – from being in a college town, the excitement of college football, an expansive alumni network, and everything in between. I knew Michigan and Ann Arbor would match the energy I was seeking (even if Michigan and Penn State are rivals!).
Additionally, two of my top priorities for business school were to deep-dive the healthcare industry and develop as a future business leader. Ross has countless opportunities in both of these areas: interesting classes, renowned faculty, experiential learning opportunities (such as multidisciplinary action projects, MAP), student-run venture funds, the Sanger Leadership Center, and more.
Lastly, I wanted a program where I could be my authentic self. I immediately felt at home at Ross and knew I would be able to be the best version of myself over the next two years. I believe this comes from the strong sense of community that Ross has – everyone wants to help each other and bring out the best in everyone.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025?
Prior to Ross, I spent four years in consulting. Knowing many of my peers are interested in pivoting into consulting, I am eager to share my experiences with them to help them learn more about consulting and preparing for the interview process.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I started making sourdough bread in 2020 and haven’t stopped since! To date, I have made 200+ loaves and love to share with my family and friends.
Post-MBA career interests:
Consulting, focusing on the healthcare and life sciences industry to redefine the patient experience and provide equitable access to treatments.
Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Give it 110%! My mindset was to do absolutely everything I could to best position myself when applying to each school. This meant attending several on-campus events (check out Ross Women’s Weekend!), local events in your city, virtual information sessions, and coffee chats with current students/alumni. When decision day came around, I didn’t want to have any doubt or “what ifs” that I could have done more. This also helped me learn SO MUCH about each school I was applying to and really get an intimate understanding of each program. If you are really enjoying the events and the people you are talking to – it’s probably a sign that it is the right school for you!
–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Have less self-doubt! The application process is a period of self-reflection, and it’s easy to think you won’t be as impressive as other applicants. Everyone has something unique to offer; your application is meant to bring that to life. All you can do is put your best foot forward and show each school what makes you you and how you would be an asset to their program.
–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I feel like the obvious answer is taking the GRE/GMAT. Most people don’t enjoy taking standardized tests, and it’s the least exciting part of the application process. I started studying two years before I was applying, so it was nice to have less pressure to “just get it done” and instead focus on getting a good score before actually applying. Getting into the habit of studying every day (outside of a regular job) also helped me get into the mindset of studying for school and finding ways to balance competing priorities.
What is your initial impression of the Michigan Ross students/culture/community?
Every student or alumni I talked to during the application process mentioned the strong sense of community and collaboration at Ross, and it couldn’t be more true. Everyone is so friendly and willing to help or just get to know each other. Just in my first few weeks, I have met so many people from different backgrounds and walks of life. At our MBA Games (think Field Day for all the MBA1s), we had some people in our section who had never played kickball. Everyone was quick to jump in and not only teach them the game as a spectator but encourage them to play. It was one of the many moments of community I experienced in my first few weeks that made me proud to be at Ross.
What is one thing you have learned about Michigan Ross that has surprised you?
I am surprised by how applicable all the classes already are. As a Finance major in undergrad, I took two accounting classes, and it just didn’t click as easily as some topics. In my first week of accounting, I feel like I already have a much stronger conceptual understanding of accounting through our case-based learning. We spent the first hour of our first class in an engaging discussion about financial fair play for a soccer league, understanding both the players’ and owners’ perspectives. The accounting professors aren’t trying to convert us into accountants in our six-week class but rather teach us foundational accounting concepts to help us as future business leaders.
What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I consider myself a maximizer who always wants to do everything, yet I know there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything at Ross! I keep reminding myself there will always be things going on, and I will have to prioritize what is best for me day by day and week by week. I know this will mean lots of club meetings, networking events, social activities, tailgates, and more – but also finding the time to have a quiet night in with my partner or catch up on my favorite show or book.
What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
The travel! Ross is known for having various trips throughout your two years. I just came back from MTrek (small group domestic/international trips led by MBA2s), where I spent a week in Egypt with 17 other MBA1s, MBA2s, and partners! It was an amazing way to see a new place while getting to know my classmates before school started. As someone with a partner, I also appreciate how welcoming Ross is for the partner community, welcoming them at all events. Ross has many other opportunities to travel, such as class residences and study abroad opportunities, and I can’t wait to take advantage of them!