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

Shayne Adler, Michigan Ross Online MBA Class of 2023

Age: 37
Hometown: San Francisco, CA, but currently live in Seattle, WA
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Art History at Columbia University
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): After undergrad, I attended law school at UC Hastings and passed the New York Bar. I leveraged my law degree and experience to work in nonprofit management for a little over three years. In 2013, I left the paid workforce to become a stay-at-home parent, and in the intervening years, I’ve applied my legal and nonprofit experience in volunteer positions in my community and my children’s schools.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I decided to attend business school because my kids are in school, and I am ready to reenter the workforce. While the intervening years had given me clarity on what types of roles I’m interested in, I was concerned my skills had grown stale since I was last in a proper office setting. Business school has been the perfect way to not only refresh my skills and network, but also to formalize what had previously been an ad hoc education in management.

Why did you choose Michigan Ross? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose Michigan Ross for a lot of reasons, but my primary reason was because it was the only top program that offered a format that I could fit into my life. I don’t have the luxury of relocating, so I was thrilled to find the Online MBA program at Ross. I have access to a world class education and fascinating classmates with such diverse perspectives without uprooting my family. Ross was my top choice program, so I applied early and, while I had other options on deck, it was the only one I applied to ultimately.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your part-time MBA class?
My most differentiating contribution is probably my legal background – it has been a useful set of skills over the years! I’m also a first-generation American, and I think that helps me bring a unique perspective to the classroom.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I’m an avid fan of Disney travel and plan at least one major Disney trip per year – matching shirts included. I even happened to be on one of the last Disney cruises in February 2020 before COVID-19 temporarily shut down the industry.

Current job or Post-MBA career interests:
I plan to look for a role in either operations or project management.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I only set aside five weeks to prep for the GMAT, which was just enough time to maintain my energy and focus on the exam without risking burn out. It was absolutely the right decision because everything I had reviewed and practiced was fresh for the actual exam.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would have started working on my resume much earlier! It had been such a long time since I had revisited it, and it was a massive undertaking to overhaul the whole thing.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I would have skipped the interview – I find interviews stressful under the best of circumstances, but when it’s on video chat and I can see myself, it makes me far more self-conscious. My spouse “helped” me prepare by randomly firing interview questions at me in the days preceding the interview, which actually did prepare me quite well in the end!

What is your initial impression of Michigan Ross’s students/culture/community?
The word that comes to mind whenever I think about the community is “nice.” It’s a common trope that Michiganders are nice, polite people, but Ross seems to draw in people who fit that description from all over the world. I’m so impressed with how much my classmates genuinely want to help each other succeed in the program.

What is one thing you have learned about Michigan Ross that has surprised you?
I’ve been surprised at the reach of Ross’s network. I have met so many alums here on the west coast in such a range of roles and industries.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how? The growing acceptance of virtual communication and collaboration that the pandemic has facilitated has been a huge benefit for me as an OMBA candidate. The fact that my program is virtual hardly raises any questions in 2021, whereas it may have been a bit more of a foreign concept to a lot of people before the pandemic.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
The fact that I wasn’t working outside the home when I started classes gave me quite a bit of anxiety – I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to bring to the table.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
The coursework! I am really excited to dive into the material.


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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