In addition, 34% of the class is comprised of women, a percentage that betters higher-ranked programs like UCLA, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Emory, and Indiana. It also features a potent mix of undergraduate academic backgrounds, headed by business and engineering (30% each) and followed by humanities (23%), economics (10%) and mathematics and science (7%).
The 2018 Class is walking into an enviable situation. Over the past two years, Simon has averaged a 96% placement rate for graduates within three months of earning their MBAs. The 2016 Class also landed starting salaries of $99,000 along with 20,000 signing bonuses, with the highest percentage of class entering financial services (25%) and technology (20%). Overall, Amazon, Citigroup, Deloitte, Constellation Brands, and Staples were the biggest consumers of Simon talent in 2016.
“WE’RE QUITE LITERALLY LIKE A BIG FAMILY”
Despite its quantitative roots, Simon is far from a lecture-and-theory program. Instead, it relies heavily on hands-learning, which is guided by a “FACt” model that focuses on framing and analyzing issues before communicating solutions. In fact, MBAs are required to take a three quarter business consulting course, where student teams partners with a company on a project — a precursor of sorts for the summer internship. Many classes also embed projects in their curriculum. Introduction to Business Analytics is one course that culminates with a team capstone. This year, for example, one team used big data to predict the popularity of comic book characters. In doing so, they developed a blueprint for firms like Marvel and DC to follow in deciding which character combinations could potentially yield the biggest returns in print and theatrical formats.
Technically, Simon counts 14,000 alumni in 85 countries among its undergraduate and graduate schools. Still, it was the small school environment that drew many 2018 class members to Rochester, including DiGiacomandrea. “This strategy leads to close interactions between the faculty, students, and community,” he observes. “Everyone knows everyone; we quite literally act like a big family. At Simon, I’ve had the ability to have coffee with the dean of the full-time program, enjoy a meal with the dean of the school, and have had multiple one-on-one meetings with the dean of the career management center. This personal touch and availability has been invaluable for me.”
The school also resembles a European program, to an extent, with over half of the class traditionally hailing from overseas. Such a cohort was comforting for Escobar-Mejia. “Simon has one of the most diverse MBA programs in the U.S. and as a woman, a Latin American, an MBA candidate over 30 from a non-business, non-engineering background, this mindful approach to diversity has helped me feel at home.”
BRAINS, STRENGTH…AND HUMILITY
Don’t expect the Class of 2018 to get too comfortable in Rochester. Many have already laid out their plans for after graduation. Rinck, for example, hopes to convert her retail experience at Macy’s into a consulting gig that focuses on retail or consumer goods. “The way that the customer consciously shops is ever-changing, causing many challenges in the supply chain, digital and marketing space. I hope to draw upon the variety of experience I was afforded at Macy’s to help inspire disruptive innovation.”
Singfield is looking to take the proverbial next step, moving into a strategy role where he can make decisions on new services and revenue streams. However, it is the culture, as much as the role, that will determine which tech firm he chooses. “It is important to work for a company that cares about its people, both within and outside of the firm. They also shouldn’t be intimidated by the large problems that the world faces, while also focusing on enjoying the work that they do.”
For Escobar-Mejia, a Simon MBA is the ticket to making a difference on a larger scale. Her goal is to foster a triple bottom line of financial, social, and environmental returns by bringing together investors who share her values. “I would love to put the sophisticated financial skills that I am learning at Simon to good use by helping clients develop a strategy for doing business while doing good.”
While the Class of 2018 is defined by its strength, it is also esteemed for its humility. When it comes to leaving a legacy at the school, DiGiacomandrea probably sums up the aspirations of his class best.
“I’d like my classmates to recognize me as a passionate servant leader. I’m glad to take the reins in uncertainty, but only measure success when my team has succeeded.”
DON’T MISS: THE STEREOTYPE-DEFYING MBAS IN THE CLASS OF 2018
To read profiles of incoming Simon students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.