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MBA Careers Q&A: Michigan Ross

MBA careers interview with Michigan Ross

A business school’s career services are a vital part of what you stand to gain by embarking on an MBA, but did you know that they also influence the admissions process?  


At the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, the careers team assists the MBA admissions team by identifying potential ‘Stars’ and ‘Strugglers’ among the applications they receive, as Damian Zikakis, the school’s director of career services explains in this interview. Of course, this comes alongside the way in which the careers team interacts with both current students and alumni. For example, as Zikakis explains below, the team prepares students for post-MBA and internship recruitment by helping them to “tell their experiences through stories and succinct highlights” that bring out their key attributes and skills as MBAs. Read on to learn more!

Damian Zikakis, Michigan Ross Does the Ross career services team work with the MBA admissions team during applicant assessment?

The Ross Career Consulting Team meets with the MBA admissions team during the post-application analysis to improve application evaluation methods. The admissions team reviews the applications of students identified by career consultants as ‘Stars’ and ‘Strugglers’ to determine whether clear indicators exist of a student’s potential while at Ross.  

When do on-campus corporate recruitment events and interviews typically take place at Michigan Ross?

Full-time and internship recruitment events occur between September and November. Full-time interviews are conducted throughout October and November and internship interviews are conducted from January to February.

Are there particular skills that career services helps students to accentuate during job fairs and recruiting?

[Michigan Ross’] career consultants help students tell their experiences through stories and succinct highlights that effectively describe the following skills (among others): Leadership; creative problem-solving; strategic thinking; communication; analytical thinking; creativity; quantitative skills; risk-taking; and comfort with ambiguity.

How does career services help MBA students prepare for recruitment events?

We have a complete program of offerings, beginning with a three-day event called Career Action Days as part of orientation week. We follow up with students by offering weekly meetings in small groups that are focused on students’ career interest, one-on-one coaching with staff career consultants and peer coaches, and workshops tailored to their functional area of interest throughout the fall (autumn). We communicate via a weekly newsletter with relevant career articles and updates on recruiting events. We also partner with club leaders to ensure education via clubs is aligned with what we are hearing from companies.

In what ways does the career center help match students with companies that will be a good cultural fit for them?

Students are encouraged to research a company to identify good cultural fits through attendance at corporate presentations, participating in networking events as well as by connecting with alumni who work at the firm, etc.

Are there any new companies recruiting on campus?

We recruit new companies to campus every year. A few recent additions include American Industrial Partners, Bloomberg, Davidson Hotels and Resorts, Everest Group, Fidelity Investments, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services, Kohl's Corp., Nestlé USA, Nomura Holdings America Inc., Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, Shell Oil Company, Thomson Reuters, Verizon, and Yahoo! Inc.

Have you seen a change in industries?

We have experienced fewer students expressing interest in the consumer packaged goods industry as it relates to brand management roles. Interest seems to have shifted to roles within the technology industry.

Are there any changes to the way in which companies are recruiting – e.g. the webinar?

Technology companies have experimented with Skype-style first-round interviews.


What kind of contact does the UM Ross career center have with MBAs after they graduate?

All Ross graduates have access to lifelong career support from our dedicated Alumni Career Services Career Consultant. She provides individual coaching (both virtually and on site), small-group job action calls and webinars with speakers. We also support Ross alumni clubs in various cities with career programming and/or resources.

Written by Mike Grill

Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for TopMBA.com, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.

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