Meet Rochester Simon’s MBA Class of 2019

Aparna Unnithan

Simon Business School, University of Rochester

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Leslie Knope meets Wonder Woman! Sociable and fiercely ambitious woman who appreciates the little things in life.

Hometown: Kerala, India and Muscat, Oman

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a huge fan of upcycling. I like turning ordinary discarded things into works of art.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Kerala, India, Electronics & Communication Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Oracle Financial Services, Associate Consultant

Arbitron (Nielsen Audio), Data Analytics Specialist

New York City Government, Department of Information Technology & Telecommunication, Senior Analytics Developer

T Fashion Boutique, Co-Founder.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I got the opportunity to take a lead on an analytics project for New York City government that focused on prevention and rehousing of the homeless population of NYC. This was a project very close to my heart because my volunteer work at a homeless shelter and my resolve to do something more to help was what initially got me interested in the government sector.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in the MBA program so far: My biggest achievement so far in the MBA program has been my ability to form close bonds with my classmates. The diversity of both thoughts and culture of my friendships has helped broaden my perspectives and round out my education. I honestly feel that these friendships will be as valuable to me in the future as what is being taught in the classroom.

Being one of the students chosen to represent my class in this Poets & Quants feature also feels like a significant accomplishment since I get to represent an outstanding class of superstars.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? My advice regarding the interview process is to be as genuine as possible. Do not be afraid to show your personality. Know your unique selling point and have stories to support it. This is important because finding the right fit is as important to you as it is for the school. An MBA degree can be stressful, so make sure you invest time to find a school that suits you. Try to reach out to current students or alums before your interview to get an accurate account of their experience. This has the additional advantage of getting you started on the networking aspect of business school if you are not used to it. Do your research thoroughly on rankings, job opportunities, and culture but make sure to choose the school where you will be able to excel the most and make an impact.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Going to a school with a smaller class size was important to me because I felt that I could make significantly more impact and form closer bonds within the class. My undergrad was in a small tight-knit community which offered life-long bonds, and some of the places I have enjoyed work the most and performed the best were in small collaborative environments.

With just over a hundred students in a class, you know everyone and everyone knows you! I attended several admission events before starting school. At all of these events, the most noticeable aspect was the strong ties between students as well as between students and faculty. Everyone seemed eager to help and were super supportive of each other. One of the key things I remember is a current student reaching out to me after one of the admission events to let me know that she felt I was a good fit with the culture. I found that level of personal attention indicative of the overall culture of warmth and support at Simon. 

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? I have always been someone who celebrates small victories. After the first year, I hope to look back and see the positive impact I have had on my classmates and school. I hope to continue my spot on the Dean’s List and intern at an organization which is challenging and intellectually stimulating. I also intend to leverage the larger network of the University of Rochester and utilize the available resources to focus on my long-term goal of entrepreneurship. Most of all, success to me would be living in the moment and thoroughly enjoying every aspect of my first year of business school.

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