Real Humans of MBA Students: Michigan Ross Part-Time MBA Class of 2023

Manu Mehta, Michigan Ross Weekend MBA Class of 2023

Age: 30
Hometown: Pune, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Pune, Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): I have around 7 years of work experience in technology consulting, product development, and digital transformation working across multiple industries like Life Sciences, Digital Media, Manufacturing & Retail, etc.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
After working as a software engineer for several years, I discovered that I loved operating at the intersection of technology and business. I decided to pursue an MBA to complement my technical know-how with critical business knowledge and communication skills. My goal is to grow as a strategic leader and develop effective business decision making skills.

Why did you choose Michigan Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The Weekend MBA program at Ross provides an immersive and cohort-based MBA experience while allowing candidates to work. This meant that I could immediately apply the concepts I learned in class to my current role. Also, the WMBA students have access to all the resources and opportunities available to full-time students. This was very appealing to me as I was really interested in participating in the student clubs as well as Sanger Leadership Center activities. Finally, Michigan Ross offers one of the best MBA programs in the world and I was really excited to be part of the Ross community.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your part-time MBA class?
I have shared my experiences and knowledge working in technology companies with my classmates. I also joined the Tech Club to foster community building among Ross students interested in technology careers. I was selected to be a board member of the club, and one of the highlights of my role has been securing sponsorship for the annual Tech Week to provide candidates with networking and internship opportunities at top technology companies.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I am very interested in cultural anthropology and always keen on learning about the historical, social, and economic conditions that shaped the unity and the diversity of human societies.

Current job or Post-MBA career interests:
I currently work as a Solutions Architect at a San Francisco-based software start-up where I help our customers adopt robust data, analytics, and AI strategies to unlock growth and accelerate their business models.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Working on the essays was the most challenging yet the most rewarding experience of the application process. The strict 200 word-limit on the prompts ensured that I spent significant time thinking about my career goals and setting a clear vision for pursuing an MBA. I could then tie the vision to specific personality traits or experiences that helped shape that vision.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I deliberated the decision to attend B-school as I did not share the same post-MBA goals as many of the prospective candidates. However, after meeting with Ross alumni and attending several information sessions, it was clear that an MBA was the right fit for me. I would advise students to engage with as many alumni and admissions team members as they can. Ross has a diverse community and many students have discovered career paths that they didn’t originally plan on pursuing.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have skipped the GMAT/GRE test. It was challenging to find the right prep material in the beginning; however, I value the critical thinking capabilities that I honed because of the preparation.

What is your initial impression of Michigan Ross’s students/culture/community?
I found the current students and alumni to be very helpful and invested in the collective good of the entire Ross community. Students guide and support each other to achieve their goals while cheering them to take on new challenges.

What is one thing you have learned about Michigan Ross that has surprised you?
Michigan Ross truly has a vibrant and diverse student body. My classmates have different professional and cultural backgrounds; and many students fly in from across the country to attend the residencies. Every conversation with a classmate is interesting and I have already learned a lot from their diverse experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
My application process was delayed due to unexpected challenges that I faced due to COVID-19. I would advise students to start early in their application process to give themselves ample time to put their best foot forward.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I was anxious about missing out on participating in various activities that Michigan Ross had to offer due to working full time while pursuing my MBA. I found that prioritizing your tasks and being upfront about your time commitments helped me set the right expectations with my teammates at work and at Ross, and I could participate in activities that I truly was looking forward to.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am really excited to be pursuing an MBA at a time when I can apply my learnings to my job. This helps me reinforce my learnings from the classroom and apply them in practical settings. It has challenged and elevated my view of the world of business. Looking back, I’m very glad I made the decision to pursue the Weekend MBA at Michigan Ross.


About the Author

Lauren Wakal

Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.

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