Meet Rochester Simon’s MBA Class Of 2021

Shinjini Neogi

Simon Business School at the University of Rochester

“Happy-go-lucky girl who is funny, warm and super friendly; strong-headed, resilient & fitness freak.”

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love running – as a leisure activity or as an exercise. I have participated in more than 10 half-marathons. I recently came third in the last half-marathon (New Bombay Mayor’s Marathon) in Mumbai, India.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor’s in engineering (Electronics and Communications); MBA (Marketing) 2015

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Ernst and Young, Risk advisory services, Senior Consultant

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At EY, I have provided advisory service to multiple clients in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors. I specialize in internal audits, internal financial controls, gap assessment and policy implementation of Indian pharma and MNCs. I have been a hard worker and along with my team, we have delivered excellent solutions for our clients. During one of my engagements, I was leading a team of nine analysts and consultants. We were given the task of improving 27 process areas for their offices in India, USA, Ireland, Russia, and Dubai. My team and I were able to provide them with a cost recovery of 45 Mn USD over all the areas. The work was appreciated by the client and led to stronger relationships with them. I have been awarded the Spotlight award for exceeding client expectations for this project. Professionally, seeing your work recognized is the most motivating factor for me to keep on working hard and efficiently.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I think my MBA classmates are one of the most diverse groups I have ever interacted with and the best quality that describes them would be that they are very welcoming. They are the friendliest group of people I have met and I am grateful to call them my classmates. I am excited and looking forward to spending my time at Simon with them.

Rochester Simon is known for being “unabashedly analytical.” Why does the program’s focus on quantitative analysis and decision-making appeal to you? How do you intend to leverage this approach as a student and professional? At this juncture of my professional career, Simon is going to be a perfect fit for me because of its analytical-based approach to this course and I intend to leverage this approach to enhance my leadership skills. Having worked in the auditing space, I am aware of the advantages of the development of analytics in business decision-making on a day to day basis. I plan to leverage my sector knowledge in the life sciences industry and help to make life-saving drugs and medicines available to the general public and the poor strata of society.

Aside from your classmates, 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? Aside from my classmates, I think Simon’s culture of collaboration is outstanding. The case-based and team-based assignments help the students to gain a real perspective of the business world out there. It embeds the fundamental principle that Simon has always believed in which is exactly what it preaches its students. And this was important to me because to understand the essence of teamwork and being a good team player. What I would want to take away from this program would be how to be a great woman leader in the future.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to joining the Simon Consulting Club and the Simon Women in Business club because I resonate with the vision and principles of the clubs. The activities and the events organized by these clubs are highly strategic and helpful. As my eventual plan is to become a woman leader in business, I will need support and guidance from fellow women who have faced similar challenges in their own career. Involvement with Simon’s Women in Business program promises to provide that kind of a riveting network. In fact, the Women in Business and Men As Allies series would help me to learn from the stories of the Simon students.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?

The most challenging question asked to me during the admissions process was this: “If you were to change something about yourself in retrospect, what would you change?” It made me think about my life and my actions that have gotten me where I am. I think the message here is whether one can comprehend the challenges in life and how you tackle them with the available resources.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? During my four years of experience, I have worked on internal audits, internal financial controls review, international regulatory and compliance reviews, process improvement review, and aid in entity-level controls, and procedures and documentation primarily for the pharma sector. I have been a part of multiple assignments that helped pharma companies clear their own internal finances and have also advised on multiple cross-border transactions. An MBA from Simon Business School will allow me to explore strategic finance and help me to understand it in the practical context. It will give me an opportunity to interact with and learn from policymakers so I can gain insights about the kind of decision pointers they use in order to shape the regulations in the industry. Since I have already spent many years in the health care industry, I wish to leverage my knowledge with the analytical leadership skills that I will learn at Simon to further enhance myself while working post-graduation.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? 

  • Foster Business School, University of Washington
  • Questrom School of Business, Boston University

How did you determine your fit at various schools? While searching for a Business school, I looked at various factors:

  1. Culture at the school
  2. Alumni strength and their network
  3. Program quality

I evaluated the schools with the top three factors along with others. I spoke to various alumni and current students at the school to understand the culture. The striking difference at Simon that attracted me was that this school, aside from being unabashedly analytical, also gave importance to Experiential learning and overall development of its students. There is an environment of overall development that the school focuses on and I am so happy to be here at Simon for an important time of my life.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I think the defining moment in my life happened when I was working for a non-profit – a cancer foundation in India. I saw so many people affected by this disease and it has destroyed many families all around the world. Still, the affected patients and families live through it and show tremendous strength. In fact, when my own sister was diagnosed with third stage brain cancer, I was more than motivated to be able to help people and give everyone access to life-saving medicines. It changed my outlook to life and since then it has shaped me to be kinder to people because you never know what they are going through.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I have actively participated in volunteer work with various NGOs. I have been associated with Enactus, which operates in 30 countries and has impacted 115 countries worldwide since 2013. Our project, “Patched”, is a community of students, academics, and business leaders. We have transformed and shaped the lives of sex workers, underprivileged girls, and trafficked women in a sustainable manner through dedicated entrepreneurial action. I was responsible for teaching the women tailoring, beauty, and mehndi (henna) classes. I have mentored them about basic training in communication skills. In its lifetime, the project group has worked with five communities from Sonapur, Govandi, Kandivali, Grant Road and Thane, all areas where women were forced to work as sex workers. Overall, we have been able to change the lives of 70 women.

In ten years, I want to be able to set a non-profit organization to help such people get off the streets and make a living themselves along with advancements in my professional career in a strategy role. I truly believe hard work and dedication, coupled with a specific skill set, can give any human being a decent life with dignity. Therefore, I am particularly excited about the Consulting and Business Development Center at Simon to show me other avenues of social work that I can explore and contribute.

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