Meet Rochester Simon’s MBA Class Of 2021

Andrew Datu 

Simon Business School at the University of Rochester

“I’m an adventurous free-spirit with a passion for people.”

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m an international videographer.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California Irvine, B.S. Biology

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Genesys Works, Program Coordinator

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I worked with nine local musicians to create a 10-song music video DVD during my Peace Corps service in Malawi. The music was focused around three core issues: encouraging youth to go to voluntary counseling and testing, building an inclusive society for people living with HIV, and educating people about medication for those affected by HIV. Our videos were broadcasted nationally on Malawi Broadcast Station’s music video hour, Music Splash, leading to my 15-minutes of fame.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I’d describe my classmates as “accomplished”. Everyone comes from incredibly unique backgrounds. People have worked in consulting, brand management, journalism, entertainment, education, and non-profit, and they have all accomplished extraordinary things in their respective roles. I’m excited to get to know each of my MBA classmates and learn all I can from 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? I’ve worked in education, communications, and non-profit. My decision-making process was limited by my own experiences, empirical evidence, and the institutional knowledge of my peers. I didn’t know how data could be leveraged to make better decisions, so I’m really looking forward to all of the STEM classes that Simon has to offer.

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? My interactions with the Alumni at Simon recruitment events were the main factor that drew me to Simon. They took a genuine interest in getting to know me and they took the time to help me get prepared for B-school. I remember interviewing with an alum and he took twenty extra minutes after my interview to provide me with critical feedback. I am attending business school so that I will be prepared to become a leader in business and it’s that culture of feedback that really attracted me to Simon.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m really looking forward to the connections I’ll make through Net Impact. I believe that business has the most potential to make a positive impact in our communities and that it will be through social enterprise that we will be able to advance society.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “What value will you provide to the program?”

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I’ve transitioned from academia to education, to communications and then to non-profit. Throughout all those experiences, I always wanted my work to influence people’s lives for the better. I initially wanted to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health. After I saw what MBA programs had to offer, I was convinced this was the path forward for me. Consumer insights, data analytics, and strategic management: these were the skills that I was looking for that would empower me to make a positive impact on society.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and USC

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The most important aspect was the personal interactions that I had with the people when I visited. I was most impressed with Simon’s recruitment efforts. I came from the West Coast and they made visiting Simon extremely accessible. My consistent positive interactions with alumni and staff were also influential towards my decision to attend Simon. The curriculum was also a big part of my decision-making factor and I was really drawn to the fact that Simon had a STEM designation and a large selection of electives so that I could choose my course load.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I applied for the media specialist position during my Peace Corps service when I barely knew how to make a video. It was a stretch for me. Because of that, I really pushed myself to go beyond expectations. I took ownership of that role and accomplished things I never imagined, and since then I’ve felt empowered to turn my visions into realities.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I see myself as a director for a consulting agency that provides brand and marketing strategy that integrates meaningful socially equitable and sustainable practices into business for Fortune 500 companies.

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