Meet Rochester Simon’s MBA Class Of 2021

Juceliz Batista 

Simon Business School at the University of Rochester

“Intersectional Feminist. Go-Hard New Yorker with the wit of a Golden Girl. Connector of people.”

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: When I was in 5th grade, I faxed a handwritten letter to the NYC Chancellor’s office. I was requesting our state test scores because our teachers needed them to receive them. A few weeks later, I was called into the principal’s office to discuss my letter. I was concerned because I hadn’t told anyone about my letter, so I just knew I was in trouble. To my surprise, my principal handed me an envelope with a letter from the Chancellor thanking me for my message. We received our test scores within the week.

Undergraduate School and Major: Syracuse University, Economics and Public Policy with a concentration in Education, Health, and Human Services

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: The Armory Foundation, Manager of Success

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My most significant achievement is from my days in the classroom, where I helped my students achieve two years of growth in just five months on the NWEA MAP Reading test. The NWEA MAP measures students’ academic progress in comparison to their peers nationwide. For me to accomplish this, I had to be strategic with my lesson plans and ensure that I differentiated my content to meet the needs of all learners. We worked hard and had constant check-ins about their progress. In the end, I was proud of my students’ growth and happy to help them bridge gaps in their reading and writing skills.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far, and why? My classmates are inquisitive. They bring different perspectives and contribute to the conversation in ways that broaden my thoughts. They’re also willing and open to share so much about their experiences, which is great when you’re in a program with people of different backgrounds and experiences.

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?  We need data to make crucial decisions. In the grand scheme of things, it drives change. As someone going into Human Capital consulting, data will be vital in devising suitable recommendations that address the needs of the client. Being in a program that’s “unabashedly analytical” gives me a bigger toolbox to use when solving business problems. It allows me to think from a different vantage point.

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? The factor that led me to choose Simon was the diversity of the program. It was vital for me to be a part of a program that made me feel like I belonged as a woman of color. Simon demonstrates its long-standing commitment to diversity through its involvement in the Consortium and Forte, both of which are organizations whose mission is to increase diversity in the business world. I feel like I can be myself without having to censor parts of my existence to fit a mold of what a person in business should “look or act like.” We also have a large population of international students, which allows me to learn so much about other countries and cultures.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m looking forward to joining Simon VISION Consulting Club because it will allow me to make an impact on the Rochester community by providing pro-bono consulting services to local businesses. Simon VISION Consulting is one of the things that primarily attracted me to Simon during my admissions process because it closely aligns with my career goals.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?  “Where do you see yourself in five years?” This question forces you to look beyond the admission process and your post-MBA job goal and think about what you want your career path to be. This can be hard, especially when you’re focusing so much of our time on making sure you are accepted into the program of your choice.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  Since graduating from undergrad, I’ve worked at four different locations. In my professional experience, I always involved myself in work that revolved around workplace culture, employee satisfaction, and stakeholder engagement. I enjoyed solving problems centered around organizational effectiveness and knew I wanted to pivot into a role that intersected with my desire to solve problems and my affinity for people and culture. After some conversations, reflections, and analysis, I quickly realized that the best way for me to make this pivot was by pursuing my MBA. I wanted to expand my skill set, involve myself in extracurriculars centered around my interests, and gain exposure to a vast network of people in careers that align with my personal goals.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Emory, Georgetown, George Washington

How did you determine your fit at various schools? To determine fit, I prioritized diversity, employment statistics, and average salaries post-MBA. I also considered the types of roles people were landing, specifically in consulting. I used admissions and employments statistics to inform my decision better. I also connected with current students to learn more about their experiences in their respective programs. I considered how I felt during my conversations with current students to determine if this was someone I could see as my future peers.

What was your defining moment, and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment happened when I attended Syracuse University Summer College as a junior in high school in 2008. The professors of this program forced me to think critically and see things beyond the surface level. Summer College changed my outlook on the world and made me more conscious of my existence as it relates to our social locations. If it were not for this program, the trajectory of my life would have been different. It also the reason why I ended up attending Syracuse University (Go ‘Cuse!).

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I see myself leading others, using my skills and experiences from the consulting world to help those after me become effective consultants, and volunteering my time to all the organizations and programs that were pivotal to my success.

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