Mohsen Khabir, Michigan Ross School of Business MBA Class of 2025
Hometown: Estahban City, Fars Province, Iran
Undergraduate Institution and Major: B.Sc. Chabahar Maritime University – Naval Architecture; M.Sc. Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic) – Naval Architecture
Pre-MBA Work Experience (role, company, years): (Vice President of Projects – IOEC – Nilsun Kish Co., 11)
Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I made the decision to attend business school because I believe it’s the right step at this point in my career, especially in light of the challenges and opportunities presented by recent global events.
The significant drop in oil and gas prices, coupled with decreasing market demand, has underscored the urgency for businesses in this sector to diversify, innovate, and embrace sustainability. These challenges, while daunting, also represent an opportunity to transform the industry into a more sustainable and resilient one.
The COVID-19 pandemic further emphasized the importance of crisis management, adaptability, and sustainability. It highlighted the vulnerabilities of global supply chains and the need for businesses to be more resilient in the face of unforeseen disruptions.
Attending business school now allows me to deepen my understanding of sustainability and resilience in complex situations, equipping me with the knowledge and skills to navigate the evolving energy landscape. It’s a pivotal moment to bridge my engineering background with business acumen, enabling me to drive positive change, make informed decisions, and seize opportunities, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and resilient future.
Why did you choose Michigan Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Choosing Michigan Ross for my MBA was a decision driven by several compelling factors that align with my career aspirations and personal growth objectives.
- Action-Based Learning: Ross’s renowned Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP) program and experiential learning opportunities strongly resonated with me. These programs provide hands-on experience, allowing students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world challenges. As someone deeply committed to practical application and problem-solving, Ross’s emphasis on action-based learning was a major draw. It aligns perfectly with my belief that learning is most effective when applied in real-life situations.
- Strong Alumni Network: Ross boasts a global network of accomplished alumni who actively engage with current students. This vibrant community offers mentorship, networking opportunities, and the potential for valuable career connections. I see this as an invaluable resource for both personal and professional growth, providing access to insights, guidance, and potential collaborations in the sustainability and energy sectors.
- Leadership Development: The Ross Leadership Crisis Challenge and leadership-focused curriculum stood out as essential components of my MBA journey. I am passionate about leadership and believe that effective leadership is crucial for driving sustainability initiatives. Ross’s commitment to developing leadership skills aligns perfectly with my goals of becoming a sustainability leader in the marine and energy industries.
- Top Ranking: Ross’s consistent ranking among the top business schools, including being 3rd in The Economist’s 2021 MBA ranking, reflects its excellence and reputation in the field. It’s reassuring to know that I’m part of a program that is highly regarded and respected by both industry professionals and academia.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2025?
My most valuable and differentiating contribution to the class lies in my ability to turn threats into opportunities. This skill has been honed through years of experience in the challenging and ever-changing marine and energy industries, where adapting to unexpected disruptions and seizing opportunities for sustainability and resilience have been paramount.
In the face of volatile oil and gas prices, market demand fluctuations, and the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, I have consistently demonstrated the capacity to navigate complex and uncertain situations. My experience as a project and engineering manager has taught me to remain agile, creative, and solution-oriented when encountering obstacles.
I bring a practical understanding of crisis management and a commitment to sustainability, which will enrich classroom discussions and group projects. I believe in fostering a culture of resilience, innovation, and sustainability within organizations, and I look forward to sharing these insights with my peers.
Moreover, my contributions extend beyond the classroom. I have actively contributed to research on sustainability and resilience in the maritime sector, demonstrating my dedication to making a positive impact in my field. I am eager to collaborate with fellow students on projects that address real-world sustainability challenges and leverage my experience to guide discussions and decisions.
In essence, my ability to turn threats into opportunities, coupled with my extensive industry experience, will not only benefit my classmates but also enhance the overall learning experience at Michigan Ross. I am excited to join this dynamic community, learn from my peers, and collectively work toward building a more sustainable and resilient future.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included in your application:
A fun fact about me that didn’t make it into my application is my fascination with origami. While it may seem like a simple hobby, it has brought me countless hours of joy and creativity. I learned origami as a child, and over the years, it has remained a source of entertainment and a way to unwind. What’s truly fascinating about origami is that it not only serves as a means of crafting intricate paper creations but also enhances innovation and logical thinking skills. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to engage with kids and spark their imagination. So, amidst my busy professional and academic life, you might find me folding paper into various shapes, letting my creativity flow, and finding relaxation in the art of origami.
Post-MBA career interests:
Post-MBA, my career interests revolve around leveraging my education and experience to drive positive change in the maritime and energy sectors. Specifically, I am passionate about sustainability and resilience within these industries. Here are my key career interests:
I aspire to take on leadership roles in sustainability, implementing practices that reduce environmental impact, promote social equity, and ensure economic viability. Additionally, I aim to apply my MBA education to strategic management in the maritime and energy sectors. I’m also keen on consulting and guiding businesses towards a sustainable future by navigating sustainability, resilience, and crisis management complexities.
Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Prepare your true story and highlight your strengths, skills, and experiences. You should find your connections with the MBA program.
–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I had applied earlier for several schools but was forced to apply for the last round. Unfortunately, due to being an international student, I lost several opportunities as most schools do not accept international students in the last round due to the US visa process.
–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
If I could have skipped one part of the MBA application process, it would likely be the exhaustive standardized testing (e.g., GRE) preparation and the examination itself. While these tests serve as a crucial evaluation metric, they can be mentally taxing and time-consuming.
What helped me get through it was maintaining a disciplined study schedule and seeking support from friends and mentors who had previously gone through the process. Their guidance and encouragement provided the motivation I needed to stay focused and perform well on the exams, ultimately contributing to a successful MBA application.
What is your initial impression of the Michigan Ross students/culture/community?
My initial impression of the Michigan Ross students, culture, and community is one of inclusivity, diversity, and a strong commitment to making a positive impact. The students I have interacted with are driven, passionate, and deeply engaged in addressing complex global challenges, aligning with my own values and aspirations. The culture promotes collaboration, leadership development, and practical application of knowledge, which resonates with my background and goals. I sense a genuine spirit of turning challenges into opportunities, a skill I greatly value. Overall, Michigan Ross fosters a supportive and dynamic environment that encourages growth, learning, and meaningful contributions to society.
What is one thing you have learned about Michigan Ross that has surprised you?
One thing that has pleasantly surprised me about Michigan Ross is the extent of its alumni network’s active engagement with current students. The willingness of accomplished alumni to mentor, network, and offer potential career opportunities is truly remarkable. It reflects the strong sense of community and support that the Ross School of Business provides to its students.
What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
One thing that makes me most anxious in my first year is managing the transition back to the education space after 11 years while juggling a demanding workload. Balancing the requirements of passing 57 units over two years, engaging in job recruiting activities, participating in clubs, and completing assignments efficiently can be daunting. I’m anxious about time management and ensuring that I make the most of this valuable educational experience while also successfully navigating the challenges of reacclimatizing to a rigorous academic environment.
What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
One thing I’m most excited about in my first year as an MBA student at Ross is the incredible opportunities to collaborate with renowned companies and firms. The chance to work on real-world projects, gain insights from industry leaders, and apply classroom knowledge to complex business challenges is exhilarating. It’s a unique chance to immerse myself in the business world and make a tangible impact while learning from the best. This hands-on experience aligns perfectly with my career aspirations and represents a pivotal step toward becoming a sustainability leader in the energy and maritime sectors.