Meet Rochester Simon’s MBA Class of 2019

Mike Alcazaren

Simon Business School, University of Rochester

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Mission-driven engineer hoping to solve today’s most challenging problems by commercializing innovative technology.

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love to travel! I drove across the US—from Buffalo to San Francisco—and back. In total, I have visited 43 states and 16 different countries, with plans to visit six more countries this year.

Undergraduate School and Major: University at Buffalo, Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Autodesk, Program Manager

Autodesk, Application Engineer

Canary Drones, Co-Founder, COO

Raytheon, Mechanical Engineer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My greatest career accomplishment to date is co-founding my own clean technology company, Canary Drones. We built an algorithm to detect disease before the human eye in grape vineyards. It was an amazing learning experience to bootstrap a technology company from the ground up. Ultimately, we were not successful – but this was the catalyst for me to attend business school. My entrepreneurship professor at Simon, Dennis Kessler, describes this as a part of the entrepreneurial experience – it’s not a failure, it’s just “tuition” that I paid for making the next venture successful.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in the MBA program so far: My greatest accomplishment at Simon so far is becoming a senior product manager intern at Amazon. This wouldn’t have been possible without our Career Management Center’s help with resume preparation, mock interviews, and connections to our alumni at Amazon.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Make sure that you find the school that fits you. The best way to do this is by doing in-person research such as connecting with the school community, visiting campus, or attending a class. Meet with alumni, staff, faculty, and current students to hear about their experiences and learn about what a typical day is like for students.

Simon has great visiting opportunities for prospective MBA students. Attending an Experience Simon Weekend will help you get a true sense of life in business school and the opportunities you’ll have after you graduate. The conversations that I had during these weekends shaped my decision to join Simon.

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? I had two requirements during my MBA search: a rigorous quantitative program and a close-knit community. With an engineering background, I knew that I wanted a MBA program known for analytics that would allow me to continue to leverage my quant background. This is most certainly true at Simon. From our classes in business modeling to marketing research, we always make data-driven decisions.

Additionally, after attending a large undergraduate university, I wanted my grad school experience to be much more intimate. I wanted more opportunities to truly connect with the school community of staff, faculty, and peers. Simon’s small class size is an absolute advantage. I have been able to take leadership positions in our class, form lifelong friendships, and receive individualized attention from our world-class faculty.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? At the end of my first year of business school, I would consider myself successful if I’m able to launch a clean technology start-up company. There are so many local resources for entrepreneurs that I plan to leverage, including the University of Rochester’s Ain Center for Entrepreneurship and Rochester’s local incubator, High Tech Rochester.

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