A BIG RETURN AFTER GRADUATION
Still, Simon remains one of the most female friendly MBA programs around, consistently ranking among the Top 20 in the world for women according to annual Financial Times data and surveys. The Simon MBA’s finance and entrepreneurship programs also consistently rank high with the Financial Times. The program’s startup culture was particularly appealing to Wallace Gundy. She cites the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, whose offerings range from an incubator to internships with local startups, as a motivator for joining the Class of 2020.
“I wanted a school that would foster an entrepreneurial mindset, while providing the analytical and quantitative skills to be a successful entrepreneur,” she writes. “In the few months I have been here, I have had the opportunity to seek counsel from faculty members in the Ain Center, and have joined the Ain Team to promote entrepreneurship throughout the entire University of Rochester community.”
It is also a program that delivers results. Over the past two years, the Simon MBA has ranked among the top five MBA programs worldwide for percent increase over pre-MBA salary according to The Economist. The Class of 2018, for example, pulled down average pay packages of $122,000. Within three months of graduation, 93% of the class had also landed job offers, with employers including Amazon, Microsoft, Deloitte, Barclays, PwC, and Zappos. That trend is expected to continue, as 99% of the 2019 Class completed internships over the summer.
One reason for this? The program maintains an active career center whose involvement with students starts early and devotes intensive time and resources to student growth throughout their two years in the program. “Even before coming to school, the students start receiving materials, courses and assignments related to their preferred career paths,” observes Raul Carvalho. “Before classes started, I was scheduling appointments with the CMC and meeting with my career advisor. Not only this, the different areas of the school are interconnected in a way that you are constantly working on something related to your desired industry.”
MBA PROGRAM INTRODUCES A REVAMPED CURRICULUM
While Rochester Simon ranked 44th in the newest U.S. News ranking, the program’s innovative curriculum make it an emerging power whose ranking simply doesn’t do it justice. “The professors are incredibly knowledgeable and resourceful,” says Shahbaaz Mubeen Mamadapur, a 2018 grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “Being a small school, we get a lot of facetime and personal attention from the amazing faculty and the ever-supportive staff.”
The STEM designation wasn’t the only big news on the Simon campus this year. The school also revamped its curriculum. That started with the program moving from a quarter to a semester system to better sync with recruiter schedules. In addition, says Dean Ainsle, the MBA program has beefed up its portfolio of elective courses and injected them into the first year sooner.
“[This] leads to deeper job-specific knowledge that translates into success during the interview process and internship and job itself,” Ainsle points out. “The curriculum is built around 10 areas of specialization within three tracks — finance, marketing and consulting — and includes a project course specific to the track a student chooses. Along with core courses, students select 15 electives, including two required breadth electives designed to bolster professional skills employers desire. There are also several minors available for students who wish to enrich their studies in a second area of interest.”
AN “UNABASHEDLY ANALYTICAL APPROACH”
This year, the program also rolled out what it calls its Integrated Student Experience e (ISE). Think of it as a customized plan designed to both fit each student’s career goals and place them among like-minded peers. As a result, Ainsle adds, students receive both the training and support to advance their career outcomes and make an impact in the job they want.
“The ISE intentionally links all of a student’s coursework, co-curriculars, and career-search activities and tailors students’ education to their career goals. When students arrive on campus, they choose one of 10 specializations or select a general management track. Based upon their chosen specialization, a customized plan is built for the student, with recommended courses, student clubs, and career-search and professional-development activities. Students are also placed into career action teams (CATs). These small groups, made up of students with similar career interests, advisors, and alumni, will meet regularly to share experiences, exchange insights, and network.”
Even with these changes, the Simon MBA will retain its “unabashedly analytical approach.” Of course, the technical aspects of dissecting data are only part of the Simon difference. Here, the goal is to minimize uncertainty by following the FACT model: frame, analyze, and communicate. As part of this process, students learn to recognize the best questions to ask in different contexts; create a framework for sifting through data, pinpointing trends, and synthesizing it with other clusters; and build urgent and easy-to-understand pitches that deliver buy-in.
That demands a lot of work – and the Class of 2020 wouldn’t have it any other way. “Simon’s focus on analytics is long-standing, proven, and far surpasses the recent buzzword of “analytics”, writes Jazmine Carter. “The analytical approach to solving business problems rusn deep in the program spanning cousework, experimental learning, and extracurricular activities. As I had a deep desire to enhance this skill-set, I felt very confident Simon would place in the analytical environment to challenge not just the way I think but also my ability to impact the business world.”
PRICING EXPERTISE IS THE PROGRAM’S HIDDEN GEM
This data-centric model comes in handy for one of Simon’s signature specializations: pricing. Just one of two American MBA programs with this offering, Simon takes far pricing far beyond the proverbial ‘know your costs and customer’ mentality to bring students in touch with the function’s leading players, notes Dean Ainsle.
“In 2007, Simon founded its Center for Pricing to promote excellence in pricing education and research, and to provide a platform for meaningful interaction between business executives, educators, and researchers. With the Center for Pricing came Simon’s groundbreaking MBA pricing track. Graduates earn comprehensive, state-of-the-art training in pricing techniques and are well-equipped to make an immediate impact on their company’s bottom line. Simon also enjoys an exclusive relationship with the Professional Pricing Society (PPS), which serves thousands of members, representing all leading industries and over 50 countries. As a result of this relationship, Simon students have exclusive invitations to the PPS annual conference, which provides unique exposure to industry executives.”
The pricing specialization is just one of the unique wrinkles found in the Simon MBA program. The school also boasts several traditions, including a Diversity Fashion Show and a West Coast Tech Trek that hits leading players like Facebook and Google. Students can also complete a global immersion, where students travel to destinations like Latin America and Israel to experience diverse business practices. In the process, they can apply their skills and build their networks by completing projects for companies like Microsoft, Citibank, and Toyota.
STUDENTS RUN THEIR OWN CONSULTING FIRM
Such immersions aren’t the only way for students to gain real world experience. Aside from a consulting course – supported by industry practitioners – Rochester Simon also maintains Vision Consulting. Think of it as the MBA answer to Bain or BCG, a student-run, pro bono consulting firm that provides support to organizations like local nonprofits and alumni-run firms. In the process, MBAs can sharpen their problem-solving skills and practice working with clients in a team environment.
Several members of the incoming class have already picked up their assignments at Vision Consulting. Jorge Rould, a banking manager from Penu, is compiling a team of MBAs and MS students to tackle a national product launch. At the same time, Ryan Bell has been partnering with a local wine entrepreneur to develop a business plan and secure funding. “I’m thrilled to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to a real business and look forward to the fast-paced challenge of working with a startup,” he says.
What’s on the horizon for the Class of 2020? After graduation, Krishna Patel is heading to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. From there, she plans to work in New York City as an investment banker. However, her goal is just to make money there. “I see myself working on initiatives that focus on empowering women especially in the Banking industry and hopefully inspiring them to never give up on their dream,” she writes.
Wallace Gundy also has big ambitions. That starts with transitioning from non-profits to retail eCommerce. In the process, she hopes to drive the full Pacific Coast Highway and finish her screenplay. Long-term, her goals are much like her Class of 2020 peers.
“I will own a successful retail company in a place I love, waking up every morning excited to spend the day growing it. And, most importantly, I’ll be happy, healthy, and closely connected to all of my wonderful Simon classmates.”
What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.
|Ryan Bell||Boston, MA||University of New Hampshire||Liberty Mutual Insurance|
|Jazmine Carter||High Point, NC||University of North Carolina||Southwest Airlines|
|Raul Carvalho||Fortaleza, Brazil||Faculdade Farias Brito||Santander|
|Wallace Gundy||Pottstown, PA||University of Virginia||Portsmouth Abbey School|
|Lohit Korrapati||Mumbai, India||National Institute of Technology (NIT), Bhopal||ZS Associates|
|Mark Matthews||Detroit, MI||Benedict College||CLS Investments|
|Vibhor Mishra||Gwalior, India||Rajiv Gandhi Technological University, Bhopal||OpenText Corporation|
|Benjamin Moskoff||Cape Town, South Africa||University of Cape Town||Standard Bank|
|Krishna Patel||Mumbai, India||N. M. College of Commerce and Economics||SBI Capital Markets|
|Rachel Robinson||Los Angeles, CA||Oberlin College||Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)|
|Jorge Rould||Rochester, NY||University of Piura||BBVA Banco Continental|
|Joshua Solomon West||Philadelphia, PA||Northwestern University||Coca-Cola|