2019 MBAs To Watch: Victoria Vossler, University of Rochester (Simon)

Victoria Vossler

Simon Business School, University of Rochester

An energetic explorer standing at the intersection of fine arts, captivating cultures, and transformational strategies.”

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Fun fact about yourself: I founded and run an Instagram account, @DogsofBuffalo, featuring dogs from my hometown of Buffalo, NY. Since its inception in 2014, I have acquired 25,000 followers, 175,000 hashtag mentions, and over 2,500 posts. My PUPular content and active following drive strong engagement, making it one of the most favorited accounts in the region. This venture has given me the opportunity to stay connected to my beloved community of Buffalo and brightened the day for thousands of fellow dog-lovers. After building my brand, I have now monetized my account by promoting and collaborating with national and local businesses. As an entrepreneur, I curate content and advertisements targeted towards my client’s digital marketing goals.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

St. Lawrence University, Bachelor of Arts – Double Major: Art & Art History and Economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

M&T Bank – Banking Officer, Internal Consultant, Buffalo, NY

Cross-functionally collaborated with various business units, aligning initiatives to optimize the overall profitability of the bank.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018?

Cognizant Consulting – MBA Associate, Retail & Consumer Goods, Bentonville, AR

Developed eCommerce strategies and improved process efficiencies for vendors.

Where will you be working after graduation?

PwC Advisory – Senior Associate, Management Consulting, Consumer Markets, New York, NY

Upon receiving the offer from PwC, I reached out to over a dozen of my future colleagues. All of them echoed a commonality across the firm: leadership and the value of the individual. I knew joining PwC would allow me to be guided under outstanding leaders, as well as strengthen myself as a future leader.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership:

  • President – Simon Women in Business
  • Vice President – Simon Consulting Club
  • Student Career Advisor – Consulting – Jay. S. and Jeanne Benet Career Management Center Project Manager – Simon Vision Consulting
  • MBA Consultant – Wilmot Cancer Institute

Community Work:

  • University of Rochester Presidential Search Committee – Simon’s Student Advisory Committee Representative
  • Admissions Event Ambassador
  • Simon Women’s Conference Ambassador

Honors:

  • Forte Foundation Fellowship
  • Dunstan Scholar
  • Dean’s List

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?

My involvement with the Simon Women in Business (SWiB) organization as first a 1st Year Representative and then being selected as the President, has been an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience. Under my leadership, our organization and the school have done the following:

  • Increased membership by over 50%, which led to the highest membership for SWiB since its inception.
  • Created new board positions to diversify our leadership and ensure a holistic representation of the Simon community. This includes the positions of Vice President of Men as Allies and Executive MBA Representative.
  • Enhanced and developed programming to support current events, including self-care and parental leave informational sessions. Held 2+ events each month.
  • Achieved Simon’s 13th placement for Top MBA Programs for Women in US & 1st placement for Women in the US for Pay Gap Percentage – Financial Times

My passion for driving the expansion and inclusion of women in business at Simon has been present since I stepped foot on campus. With the support of a strong board to co-lead these initiatives, I have been able to reap a great sense of gratitude toward the greater Simon community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My greatest achievement in my professional career is my pivot out of financial services and into strategy consulting for the retail sector. With the long and competitive road ahead of me, I established a mindset determined to make the switch. I set out on an aggressive networking plan through which I attended several industry conferences, helping to immerse myself into the retail world. By the time I reached Bentonville, I was ready to continue learning at the compass of the industry. I fully embraced my environment, connecting with leaders from retail technology to merchandising. At the conclusion of my internship, my enthusiasm for retail consulting had grown exponentially. Receiving the opportunity to join PwC Advisory for their Consumer Markets practice was the peak of my business school climb. I am grateful that my hard work and persistence to enter the field has come to fruition.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor is Gregory Bauer, Associate Dean of Full-Time MS & MBA Programs. Dean Bauer taught my International Macroeconomics course, which took us all the way to India. His practical approach to learning and intent to encourage students to achieve their highest level of intellectual achievement exemplify why I have chosen him for this designation. Through his interactive lecturing style, the heavy content was relatable and attention-grabbing. His ability to tie course theory to real-world decisions and their global impact enhanced my understanding. It was excellent to see Dean Bauer, one of Simon’s leaders, in a classroom setting, listening to his immense knowledge, which translated easily to his passion for economics.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Professor Guy Arie’s Economics of Competitive Strategy course augmented my understanding of building sustainable strategies across industries. The class was entirely case-based, 75% of each session was spent fully engaged in a case discussion. From Starbucks to Twitch to CVS/Aetna, we covered multiple business scenarios. Professor Arie created the cases based on news articles, linking our classwork directly to the frontlines. Nearly half of the cases drew upon consumer-facing companies, making the coursework extremely applicable to my future career as a management consultant in the consumer markets industry. I loved this course so much that I am taking Part II, Advanced Competitive Strategy.

Why did you choose this business school? My decision to join the Simon community came naturally. Simon’s culture of encouraging classmates, supportive faculty and staff, and an inclusive learning environment – all in a beautiful space – provided the best opportunity to challenge my mind. Simon’s community-centricity drew me in, as I sought to grow myself both professionally and personally. The team-based coursework and 100 students per MBA class were major assets. I felt confident that this intimate setting would create strong lifelong connections, which has more than exceeded my expectations.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Simon welcomes students from diverse cultures and backgrounds. My top three pieces of advice for admittance are:

  1. Focus on your intentions. What makes you tick and drives your passion? Have the answer ready to go because at Simon and beyond business school passion will lead you.
  2. Showcase your interest in being a leader. Simon’s small and mighty class presents a great opportunity to step up and lead organizations.
  3. Express curiosity for a deeper understanding. Simon’s focus on analytics and the power behind comprehending data is a wonderful foundation for growth. You do not need to be an expert to be accepted. That is what our fantastic professors here teach us.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? To take the time to slow down to reflect on my hard work and accomplishments, as well as to spend more time with the loving people around me. For me, my first year was challenging and stressful, as I was intently focused on fall recruitment. In my second year, I have taken more time out of my days and weeks to pause. I remind myself that, in the end, my dedication and determination will finish the task and eventually I will graduate. I remind myself that, in the end, my dedication and determination will carry me through graduation and beyond.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Simon has transformed me by increasing my independence. I’ve built my confidence through achieving my business school career goal and leading Simon Women in Business, which has helped me to forge my own path. From moving to a new city (not to mention a different part of the country) where I knew absolutely no one (Bentonville) to being encouraged to make life-altering decisions, I have proven to myself how capable I am.

As I was experiencing my own transformation, I was noticing the same in my peers. In a short 18 months, we have advanced ourselves into such poised and powerful individuals. I know this is only the start of our transformations, and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Thea Le I had the pleasure of getting to know Thea from being assigned on a five-person team. Our teammate relationship quickly turned into a friendship, which I cherish deeply. Since then, we have chosen to be on a team together for nearly every elective! Thea is one of the hardest-working and enthusiastic individuals that I know. Coming from Vietnam, Thea has successfully landed her dream job here in the states with General Mills. Her passion for empowering the LGBTQ+ community, as a ROMBA Fellow, pushes her to be her best self. From translating books, guiding peers through the international job market, and learning new skills, Thea does it all. I am very grateful to not only call Thea a classmate but a dear friend.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? The most influential person in my decision to pursue business school was me. Deciding to go to business school full-time was challenging. I recognized early in my career that to reach my full potential, I needed to leave the security of my hometown.

To gain perspective, I spoke to dozens of MBA alumni from different programs about their paths from starting business school to their current successful outcomes. All conversations led me to confirm my decision to pursue my MBA full-time. Ultimately, I knew that my MBA would pay off on all levels – personally, professionally, and financially. While I most influenced my decision, I am extremely grateful for the huge support system that has been cheering me on since day one.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Intern – First off, I am a proud member of Team Anne Hathaway, and like the rest of the world, a big fan of Robert De Niro. This movie resonated with me because it speaks to the importance of not losing sight of your personal life, while your professional life is overflowing with success.

On a more personal note, this movie emphasizes the value of generational diversity, which I certainly gained at business school. I had the absolute delight to stay with my healthy and active grandparents during my time in Rochester. Living with them brought me such joy and taught me to think about life and business decisions on a long-term basis. We must ask ourselves, how will the future perceive our work in the present day?

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? To remember how the elements of the accounting equation increase and decrease, our Financial Accounting Professor, Glenn Huels, taught us his funny trick:

lemonADE LiQuoR

A = Assets, D = Dividends, and E = Expenses – Debit for increases; L = Liabilities, Q = eQuity, and R = Revenues – Credit for increases

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… making my way through law school, wishing I was in business school.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Since I stepped on campus, I saw the value of my MBA rise day over day. It is hard to place a number on it, but I do feel confident saying that it is worth more than the price tag. I dove deep into business school, embracing every opportunity that came my way. This only made the financial sacrifice all the more worth it.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Keep traveling the world – especially skiing in Chile and eating more shumai in China
  2. Invest in a peer’s business that will empower others and invest in my own future business!

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? When my peers and friends think of me, I want them to remember my vivacious energy, willingness to help, and passion for pushing others forward towards their dreams.

Hobbies?

In my off time, I am a…

  • Lover of the arts for both visual arts and musicals
  • Skier, wherever I can find snow, whether it be in Ellicottville, NY or Austria
  • Influencer of @DogsofBuffalo, sharing the cutest dogs from my hometown
  • Traveler from state to state (27 count) and country to country (18 count)
  • Conference Attendee, constantly seeking more opportunities to learn from the expert

What made Victoria such an invaluable member of the Class of 2019?

“Victoria Vossler is a powerful leader who leaves her mark in every experience she embarks upon.  She is a quiet force that enables others to rise up to their full capabilities while continuing to constantly strive to learn more herself.  She has excelled professionally, on a high potential track in banking in her early career, to translating a consulting internship into a successful senior associate role at PWC for her post-MBA career.  While doing this, she still prioritized travel and learning about other cultures throughout her experience – from study abroad in China and London, a consulting project immersion in Israel, and acing a very tough international macroeconomic immersion in India.  In some ways, these accomplishments are expected of a key leader in business school.

Victoria, however, has made her mark by creating sustainable initiatives and demonstrating immediate success in a few specific areas.  She is the President of our Simon Women in Business (SWiB) professional club, and set the bar high for her club and the expected outcomes.  Simon was rated in a Financial Times ranking as #13 in the US for women.  This was based on the actual pay outcome for our female MBA graduates, which was #1 in the US for lack of pay disparity.  However, in the same year, Stanford had a class that was 50% female, appropriately representing the gender balance of the US population, and above the current percentage for Simon.  As a result, Victoria took on the initiative to support our Admissions process to create the opportunity for Simon to achieve the same result.  She pulled together separate clubs and organizations to work together to provide the student voice to share why Simon is the best place for a woman to get her MBA and achieve her goals.  This included direct outreach to candidates; exclusive brunches and events with prospective students on campus, driving to highlight the accomplishments of our students and alumnae; and partnering with the Forte Foundation to continue to drive visibility of the strengths of our program.  With this goal in mind, she effectively increased SWiB membership by 50%, up to 56 students, and has provided ongoing professional development and mentoring opportunities through the club programming.

In addition to her professional and educational success, Victoria is a social media influencer.  She runs an Instagram page, Dogs of Buffalo, which currently has over 25,000 followers, as well as corporate sponsorship for the account.  It is just another example of her ability to learn and master the skills necessary to be successful in our global marketplace.

As a leader, she is looked up to by her classmates. It has been a pleasure to partner with her on the continued success of women at Simon Business School.”

Carin L. Cole
Assistant Dean of Students
Simon Business School

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