School News

A Diverse and Motivated Cohort: Meet the Michigan Ross MM Class of 2021

Representing a range of backgrounds and interests, the 125 members of the Master of Management Class of 2021 began their academic journey at the Ross School of Business virtually in June.

These individuals come to Michigan Ross from 20 different undergraduate institutions, including 104 from other schools at the University of Michigan. Seventy-five percent of the class earned liberal arts degrees, while 13 percent have STEM and 7 percent have creative arts degrees. 

Women account for 58 percent of the newest MM class, and 13 percent are from underrepresented minority backgrounds. Many started at Ross after recently graduating from undergrad or with less than two years of work experience in a range of industries — from the performing arts to health care and the environmental sciences.

What unites this class is their enthusiasm for what lies ahead in the MM program this year, and how they plan to leverage their Ross degree — and all the business skills they learn — into successful careers across a multitude of fields after graduation. 

Let’s meet seven of the members of the Michigan Ross MM Class of 2021!

 

Ariana Barnes

  • Hometown: Detroit
  • Undergraduate degree/school: Bachelor of science from U-M’s School of Public Health
  • Why did you decide to pursue an MM degree at Ross right now? I decided to pursue an MM degree at Ross right now because I am currently trying to figure out the best way to contribute to bettering the health of my community. I knew the MM Program would give me the skillset to be a competent and confident addition to any team working toward creating a healthier world for all. 
  • What are you most excited for this year in the MM program? I am most excited to meet my classmates in the fall! Everyone that I have interacted with on Zoom has been awesome, so I can’t wait to get to know them better in person. Academically, I am excited to learn business topics and ideas for the first time. I come from a science background so everything being taught will be something new, which is super exciting!
  • What are your career plans? My plans are to work with an organization that has a focus in healthcare for a few years before ultimately going to medical school. 

*Barnes will serve as the president of the Ross MM Student Association this year.

 


 

Danielle Bidigare

  • Hometown: Detroit
  • Undergraduate degree/school: Bachelor of arts with honors in art history from Wayne State University
  • Why did you decide to pursue an MM degree at Ross right now? I decided to pursue an MM degree at Ross because, after a couple of years of work that followed my undergraduate education, I saw firsthand how valuable business skills are in almost any discipline. I look forward to spending the coming year learning components of accounting, finance, marketing, communication, and managerial organization. But ultimately it is the diversity of the program that helped inform my final decision to apply to Ross: The students that make up my class come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and the skills that each of my peers brings to the table give me confidence that this cohort is unique, and I find that to be extremely valuable. Not only am I learning from amazing professors and faculty, but I am also learning a whole lot from other students. 
  • What are you most excited for this year in the MM program? I am most excited to get to know the Ross community better and be a part of it. I am also excited to continue my education and gain new skills at the University of Michigan. It feels good to have this opportunity while staying so close to my community in Detroit. Go blue!
  • What are your career plans?  I hope in the future to continue working with art and artists as I have in the past. I plan on using the skills I gain from the program to contribute to something bigger than myself!

 


 

Katelyn Boisvert

  • Hometown: Pickerington, Ohio
  • Undergrad school and degree: BS in environmental sciences and a minor in sustainability science from Emory University
  • Why did you decide to pursue an MM degree at Ross right now? I am interested in corporate sustainability as a career path, so I am pursuing a MM to develop the skill set I need to apply my environmental background toward business applications. After I interned at a sustainability consulting firm in Ireland last summer, I realized I needed a strong background in business fundamentals to successfully merge these fields. 
  • What are you most excited for this year in the MM program? I am looking forward to connecting and working with others in my MM class. Part of the reason I was drawn to Ross is because of the cohort-based program and the opportunity to engage with other non-business students from a variety of disciplines and career interests. 
  • What are your career plans? After completing the MM program, I will be continuing at Michigan for an MS in sustainable systems at the School for Environment and Sustainability. My plans are to work in a corporate sustainability or sustainability consulting position. Throughout undergrad, I developed an interest in the choices people make concerning the environment, the impacts of those decisions, and how to motivate others to support the environment. Businesses are increasingly becoming an important driver of environmental action and I am interested in working to help them reach their goals while guiding them toward positive and impactful sustainability action.

 


 

Marco Gutierrez 

  • Hometown: Potomac, Maryland/ Currently living in Washington D.C. 
  • Undergrad school and degree: BA in psychology and certificate from the Cappo Sales & Marketing Track from U-M
  • Why did you decide to pursue an MM degree at Ross right now? I chose to pursue an MM degree because I wanted to build on my psychology degree and develop a strong foundation in numerous aspects of business so that I can be better prepared for any situation. Additionally, after beating cancer both in high school and my first year at Michigan, graduating with an MM degree will be the culmination of a nine-year journey and really will be a dream come true.  
  • What are you most excited for this year in the MM program? I am most excited to get to know as many people as possible in my MM program, whether it be in person or virtually. I think this program is an experience unlike anything else and I can’t wait to see how far we will go in the next 10 months.
  • What are your career plans? I hope to be able to find a job in marketing or management after the program concludes. But my long term goal is to join my parents in our family coffee business. My dad started the business over 25 years ago, bringing Nicaraguan coffee to the DMV area. I have always loved coffee and it would be amazing to be able to join them to keep the family tradition going. 

 


 

Josh Nichols

  • Hometown: Ann Arbor
  • Undergrad school and degree: BA in International Studies and Spanish and minor in German from U-M
  • Why did you decide to pursue an MM degree at Ross right now? Graduate school was always something that was on my mind. After my junior year internship, I received a return offer, but due to COVID it was rescinded. On the very same day, I got an email from OYM at Ross saying that the application deadline was extended! I took this as a sign and applied! Thankfully, I was admitted and I have not looked back! 
  • What are you most excited for this year in the MM program? I am looking forward to meeting my cohort in person (hopefully). I am a big people person so getting to build relationships with my classmates in person is paramount to me! I cannot wait to hear their stories and learn more about them! 
  • What are your career plans? I am extremely passionate about the aviation industry and plan to work for Star Alliance in Frankfurt. 

*Nichols will serve as the vice president of the Ross MM Student Association this year.

 


 

Michele Ripka 

  • Hometown: Long Island, New York
  • Undergraduate school and degree: BFA in violin performance and arts management from U-M
  • Why did you decide to pursue an MM degree at Ross right now? It’s a stepping stone to reaching my goal of becoming a chief of development at an arts organization.  I wanted to gain a fundamental background knowledge in business to help accelerate my career in the workplace. Additionally, most nonprofit organizations are in a huge financial deficit right now/have frozen hiring, so going back to school to continue learning was an attractive option!  
  • What are you most excited for this year in the MM program? I am excited to (hopefully) meet my classmates and professors in person! One of the most impactful experiences of my undergraduate career was forming lasting relationships with professors who became mentors.  
  • What are your future career plans? Development, Individual Giving for an arts organization.  I love making connections and building relationships with people.  

 


 

Jack Zimmerman

  • Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania 
  • Undergraduate degree/school: BS in chemical engineering from the University of Alabama. 
  • Why did you decide to pursue an MM degree at Ross right now? I decided to pursue an MM degree at Ross because throughout my undergraduate experience, I found an ever-growing passion for business and the positive impact on society it can bring. The Ross MM program is the perfect fit to transform my non-business background into a marketable skill set that will propel my career forward in the business world.
  • What are you most excited for this year in the MM program?  I'm currently most excited to be engrossed in a community of talented individuals that are going to be tomorrow's leaders. I am already blown away by the Ross School of Business just after a few weeks of taking classes, and I'm beyond excited to see how my admiration for this school and program continues to grow over the next year.
  • What are your career plans? I plan to pursue a career in management consulting immediately following my time at Ross.

 

Learn more about the Michigan Ross Master of Management program

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Email: visb@umich.edu