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Application Tips: Keys for Optimizing the Effectiveness of your Master of Supply Chain Management Application

The Ross Supply Chain Management Program is looking for individuals who desire to be part of the next generation of supply chain management leaders. We are building a strong and diverse class of supply chain management students and are seeking applicants who possess a number of key characteristics. These include:

- Strong intellectual ability as measured by GMAT or GRE test scores and previous academic record

- Leadership, initiative, and impact as evidenced through professional achievements, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, and personal essays

- Strong interpersonal and teamwork skills identified in letters of recommendation and personal essays

- Clear goals and rationale for pursuing a master's degree in supply chain management as indicated in personal essays

- Fit with the Ross School's approach to management education as indicated in your personal essays

If you would like to discuss the application requirements in detail, please email us to arrange an appointment:

Q: What items are required to apply for the Master of Supply Chain Management Program?

A: List of application requirements:

- GMAT or GRE results

- TOEFL or IELTS results (international applicants only, see requirements for possible exemption)

- Undergraduate and post-graduate transcripts

- Resume

- Two letters of recommendation

- Essays

- Interview (by invitation only)

Q: I am a college senior. Can I apply to the Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) Program?

A: Yes, although some full-time work experience prior to entering the MSCM Program is a plus. For applicants to be admitted directly into the MSCM Program without full-time work experience, we generally expect them to have superb academic credentials; extensive evidence of leadership through extracurricular or community activities; and quality part-time, summer and/or internship work experience. These students are mature and self-confident and can effectively articulate the reasons they wish to attend Ross at this early stage in their career.

Q: How much work experience do I need before I can apply?

A: We do not require a minimum number of years work experience prior to entering the MSCM Program. However, we expect that most of our admitted students will have at least one year of work experience prior to entering the program. We evaluate work experience – not in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality – and the impact the applicant has had on their organization as well as his or her natural leadership qualities. Those who are joining us at an earlier stage of their career should be able to demonstrate this in their application. We want to know what each candidate will be able to contribute to the Ross experience and their colleagues within the classroom. In addition, these candidates should have superb academic credentials and possess the maturity and self-confidence to handle the intensity of the program. Review our class profile for a snapshot of the current students in our program.

Q: What type of work experience are you looking for in the admissions process?

A: We seek diversity in the professional backgrounds of our admitted students, just as we do in other parts of our applicants’ profiles. No one industry or field is favored over another. We are more interested in the applicant’s contribution to the group or organization. Experience in the areas related to supply chain – including purchasing, logistics, transportation, distribution, retail, international trade – will be considered a plus.

Q: Do I need a business degree or business classes in undergrad to be admitted?

A: We welcome applications from a wide variety of backgrounds and do not look for or favor specific undergraduate majors. "Business” classes are not required before entering the Master of Supply Chain Management Program. Due to the analytical rigor of the program, it is expected that students have a working knowledge of college-level mathematics.

Q: Is a three-year undergraduate degree from India acceptable to apply?

A: Yes.  As of August 2010, we can consider applicants who hold a three-year undergraduate degrees from India.

Q: How do I submit supplemental information (e.g., transcripts, additional pages detailing jobs held, letters of recommendation) if I am unable to download it with my online application?

A: There are three ways to submit supplemental information. Be sure to indicate your name and contact information in a note and let us know that this is supplemental to your application.

  1. Email it to
  2. Fax it to our office at 734-763-7804
  3. Mail it to our office at: Ross MSCM Admissions 701 Tappan St., E2607, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234

Q: Who may write my letters of recommendation?

A: Recommendations should be from persons who have been directly responsible for assessing your professional performance. At least one, and preferably both, of the recommendations should come from an employer or supervisor.

  • Recommendations from former professors are not as helpful to the admissions committee since they cannot evaluate your performance in a professional setting. Of course, there are exceptions, but a recommendation from a current or former employer usually provides more helpful information.
  • There are situations in which applicants do not wish to inform current supervisors that they are applying to business school. In this case, a former manager, client, or supervisor from an extracurricular organization may provide a recommendation.
  • It is important that recommendations provide details and/or examples to support opinions about an applicant. For example, noting that "Julie is a great team player" does not provide as much insight as providing concrete examples of how well Julie performed on a team when faced with certain responsibilities and challenges. Recommendations that state strong feelings, either positive or negative, without examples are not helpful.

Q: Do I need to schedule an interview?

A: No. Interviews will be conducted by invitation only. If the admissions committee invites you to interview, you will receive the invitation and scheduling information via email. The interview provides the admissions committee with more information about you. It is not an indication of the outcome of your application. Interviews are typically conducted by faculty in the Operations and Management Science department, advisory council members, and Ross alumni. Interviews may be conducted in person or by telephone.

Q: Do most applicants write the optional essay?

A: It varies, but is recommended. The essay is primarily there to give applicants a place to tell the admissions committee pertinent information that has not been addressed in the other areas of the application. For example, if there are gaps in your resume, the optional essay could be used to explain them.

Q: How important is it to have extracurricular activities detailed in the application?

A: We are looking for individuals who will be highly involved at Ross and later as alums. One way for us to gauge future involvement is by looking at past and recent involvement.

Q: What happens to applications that arrive after the deadline?

A: Applications must arrive in our office by the deadline to be considered during a particular period. Applications that arrive after a deadline are processed in the order they were received and on a space-available basis.

Q: My friend received a call informing her that she had been accepted. I haven’t received a call. Does that mean I wasn’t accepted?

A: No, this does not automatically mean you have not been accepted. When possible, the admissions committee will try to call or email admitted applicants to inform them of the decision, but we cannot guarantee that all applicants will be contacted. Your decision will be mailed to you according to the deadline.

Q: Can I reapply to the Master of Supply Chain Management MSCM Program if I wasn’t accepted previously?

A: Yes. You can apply to the next available admitting term. Reapplication procedures are streamlined if you reapply within two years.

Q: How do I reapply? Do I have to fill out the whole application again?

A: Reapplicants must submit an updated resume, new application forms, and one new letter of recommendation, along with the application fee. Additionally, reapplicants must include a cover letter discussing experiences since the last application. Although not required, we strongly encourage reapplicants to respond to one or more of our essay questions. International reapplicants also need to resubmit official documentation of funding. Credentials and other supporting materials sent with your initial application will be held for two years. If you reapply after that time, you must submit a completely new application and supporting documents.

Q: I was not accepted to the Master of Supply Chain Management Program. Can I appeal?

A: Except in some rare cases, decisions are final. However, you may appeal the decision by putting the request in writing to the Director of Admissions. The appeal must include additional information that you feel would have an impact on your application (e.g., a promotion, job change, etc.). No applications will be reviewed if new information is not included with the appeal. Letters can be sent to: Office of Admissions, 701 Tappan Street, E2607, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1234 or via email to

Q: Can I have my application fee waived?

A: The application fee is only waived if an applicant is a former member of the Peace Corps or Teach for America within three years of applying, or a former member of the U.S. Military who has been on active duty within three years of applying. We do not waive application fees for any other reason. Please email to request an application fee waiver prior to submitting your application.

Q: Does Ross grant deferrals?

A: Requests to defer admission to the Master of Supply Chain Management Program are reviewed by the admissions committee. Only in cases of documented, extraordinary personal circumstances is it even considered. Deferrals are never granted for work or visa-related reasons. If granted, deferrals are limited to one year.

Q: Can I transfer into the MBA Program?

A: Ross MSCM students cannot transfer into the MBA Program.