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

Robbin Lee, Michigan Ross Online MBA Class of 2024

Age: 29
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Undergraduate Institution and Major: UMBC University of Maryland, Baltimore County – BA in Art History & Museum Studies and BA in Media & Communication Studies
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 8 years, arts, event planning, and social impact

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
Really what sparked the idea was the pandemic.  I found myself thinking – what do I do with all this extra time I have not commuting to the office and to meetings?  Naturally, I always seek to continue to grow as a human being and move forward in my career.  At that point in my career nearly two years ago, I had been leading organizations from within and from behind-the-scenes type roles for years.  I thought the next step in my career would be to challenge myself to step out from behind others to take on a more public-facing leadership role.  So, I decided a masters’ education in business would help me to fill the gaps of knowledge and know-how that would allow me to have the confidence I need to lead organizations in my next career chapter.

Why did you choose Michigan Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
As I started to navigate potential MBA programs, one factor that heavily weighed on how I narrowed in on the programs I would eventually apply for is diversity of perspectives.  On one hand, I applied to programs local to the Baltimore-DC area as I felt connections from these communities could strengthen my current social capital.  On the other hand, mentors and advisors stressed the importance of being able to “go beyond my regional bubble”.  Having grown up in Maryland, having done my undergraduate education in Maryland, and having spent all of my career in Maryland, I saw my MBA education as an opportunity to maximize the diversity of perspectives and experiences from beyond Maryland that would broaden my own perspective.  Ultimately, I decided on Michigan Ross for the diverse, global, and, frankly, massive alumni network that bleeds to proudly blue.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your part-time MBA class?
As a woman of color navigating systems of power in the nonprofit/social impact sector, I constantly have to toggle between communities and communicate across lines of difference.  I’m looking forward to joining the diverse classrooms of Ross to sharpen those skills and share that experience with my classmates.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
My bucket list goal is to see all the Cirque Du Soleils in the world and I’ve so far seen 12 out of 23!

Current job: Executive Director, Baltimore Homecoming (
Post-MBA career interest – To continue to change the world through social impact, whether in the nonprofit sector, corporate sector, tech industry, or elsewhere. Social impact is increasingly relevant and important in every industry.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Know and be able to communicate my goals and be authentically myself! Through the application written responses, through my interview – all the way through.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I wish I spent more time talking with student ambassadors or Ross alumni to get a more well-rounded perspective of the program.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I actually very much enjoyed the application process – kudos to the Ross admissions team for making me feel like a valued candidate!

What is your initial impression of Michigan Ross’s students/culture/community?
Since I would have been joining the Michigan Ross OMBA community, and since the OMBA program is fairly new, my first impression was that the community is small, tight-knit, and nimble.  By nimble I mean that students in these initial cohorts would have a major voice and influence in how the program is shaped and the program could respond “nimbly” to our feedback.

What is one thing you have learned about Michigan Ross that has surprised you?
Many of my classmates have STEM backgrounds – which was not necessarily a total surprise, but just further emphasized as I started classes.  It’s a nice surprise as I think I can learn a lot from my classmates who have very different backgrounds and I too can bring a unique background in the nonprofit social impact sector to the classroom.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
(See answer 1). The COVID-19 pandemic certainly solidified my decision to pursue an online MBA as opposed to an in-person part-time MBA.  With more MBA programs starting online programs and the credibility of an online MBA matching in-person full-time MBAs, it was a no-brainer to expand my choices to MBA programs beyond driving distance.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Time commitment.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Expanding my network of professional peers!


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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