2021 MBAs To Watch: Andrea Bell, University of Rochester (Simon)

Andrea Bell

University of Rochester, Simon Business School

Black, woman, Social Worker, travel enthusiast, Zumba lover, foodie, strategic thinker, and future business leader.”

Hometown: Baldwin, New York

Fun fact about yourself: I used to play tennis competitively during high school and I was ranked on Long Island. I even wanted to be a professional tennis player after I attended college. Those dreams did not come to fruition but I was able to play tennis with my business school classmates, so those skills I developed many years ago were useful during my first year of business school.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Dartmouth College, A.B Sociology modified with Women’s and Gender Studies; University of Pennsylvania, Master of Social Work

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, New York Asylum Office: Management and Program Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Kalypso (remote) Where will you be working after graduation? Kalypso: Senior Consultant Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Vice President of the Benet Career Management Center and Alumni Relations, Graduate Business Council

Coach for a team of 4 first-year MBA students Volunteer youth mentor for P.I.E.C.E.S.

Mentor for a University of Rochester undergraduate student via the Forte program

Community Service Outreach, The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM) Simon Board (2019-2020 academic year)

Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence (2019-2020 academic year)

Project Manager, Simon Vision Consulting (Fall 2019)

Recipient of the CGSM Leslie Adkins Endowed Scholarship Forte Fellow, Forte Foundation

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Serving as the Vice President of the Benet Career Management Center (CMC) and Alumni Relations on the Graduate Business Council (GBC) has been my proudest extracurricular achievements. Within this role, I partnered with Simon staff to enhance the student experience as it relates to their career and alumni engagement. I worked with the CMC to create financial literacy programming, created programming, which showcases the internship experiences of 2nd year students, and highlighted entrepreneurship of Simon alumni during a GBC event.

I also saw the need to create programming around wellness and mental health and started a Let’s Talk Mental Health series. The goal of this program is to destigmatize the conversation around mental health and give students tools to manage their wellness and mental health as professionals especially during the many challenges that existed in 2020 and due to the pandemic. Finally, my GBC role also allowed me the opportunity to create and co-lead a task force with my classmates focused on racial equity. After the Black Lives Matter movement in Summer 2020, I wanted to channel my pain, frustration, and anger into action. The Racial Equity Task Force has worked with Simon staff and faculty to identify ways to advance racial equity within Simon in all areas within the school. My hope is the work I completed while serving on GBC the foundation will be there to incorporate equity, diversity, and inclusion into every facet of the student experience as well as the overall school organization.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In 2011, I was employed at the United States Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). My team received a FSASSY award for the work we completed with simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The award was accompanied by a signed letter and picture from President Obama. It was amazing to have an impact on so many student’s ability to attend college and receive this recognition.

Why did you choose this business school? I wanted to attend business school to switch to a career in consulting. Simon Business School was a member of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management as well as offered individualized attention through the career preparation resources and career advisors within the Benet Career Management Center. My ability to achieve my career goal would not have been possible without being a member of the Consortium and the guidance of Andy Tempest throughout my recruiting endeavors.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Kate Washington is my favorite MBA professor who taught the South Africa immersion class. This class allowed me to better understand business in an international context and she provided a plethora of information about the Rochester community that I know I would not have learned if I had not taken the class.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA event was during orientation when we traveled as a class for team bonding activities at Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventure. The event included zip lining and rope courses. Zip lining is not an activity that I would choose to engage on my own. However, I loved the experience and the opportunity I had to get to know my classmates during that event.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would explore Rochester more with my classmates. Rochester has a lot of cultural as well as outdoor activities to engage in that allow for a better understanding of the history of the area.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about my school is that it is small and due to that people may not have the opportunity to engage in activities that are offered at a school with a larger student population. There are many clubs and events to become involved with at Simon, The student body is also very diverse, which means that each of my classmates have a unique experience that enriches our school community. The small student size means that those in my class really do get an opportunity to get to know each other.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was most surprised by the volume of activities I could become involved with via clubs or experiential learning, such as case competitions. I quickly learned that I was not going to be able to attend every event while balancing recruiting and academic work.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I was continuously engaging with Simon students as I went through the application process. I had multiple conversations with students to understand their experience at Simon and ultimately those conversations helped me with deciding to attend Simon Busines School.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jessi Garhart served as the President of Simon Business School’s Graduate Business Council and began and ended her tenure in a virtual format. I know she never imagined that she would have to lead students through what has been an unprecedented disruption due to the pandemic, a global social justice movement,

 

and the impact of politics on our student body. Jessi has an unflinching dedication to her classmates and her ability to truly care for each person’s individual needs is unmatched. I am excited to see what impact she will have within her career post business school.

What made Andrea such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“It is no surprise that Andrea is a Forte Fellow and Consortium member; she is driven, determination and a sense of caring for others that goes above and beyond a typical student. Her background in Social Work and Sociology provides her with insight that most students do not have. Andrea has stood out since the day she applied to business school. Even prior to arrival at campus, I remember my phone ringing and having an extended conversation with her on how to best create a job search strategy that could give her some momentum when she arrived in Rochester. In the hectic first year of the MBA program, where clubs, classes and activities all compete for a student’s focus, she continued to make sure she made time and progress with her career – actively participating in the Benet Center’s Career Action Teams and meeting regularly with me to ensure she was on track and prepared for the recruiting season.

This tenaciousness and drive continued on into her second year. Pandemic or no, she always made time to connect via Zoom – never missing an appointment and always prepared to discuss her career. Once she secured a full-time position, this passion was refocused on helping those students still on their career journey. I vividly recall her joining virtual career sessions focused on those students still seeking just to see what she could do to help. Coupled with her role on the Graduate Business Council, she does everything she can to make sure the students here are prepared for their careers after graduation.

She is involved with Simon Vision Consulting, Simon Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center of Excellence as a council member, The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management as a Community Service Outreach Board member and is involved with the Graduate Business Council. I should rephrase that last part, Andrea is very involved with GBC, she is the Vice President of the Benet Career Management Center and Alumni Relations representative with Graduate Business Council and worked with us to ensure that MBA students were engaged and active with the Career Center, aware of what was being offered and available to students and, more importantly, provided essential feedback to the Career Center that allowed us to focus our programming.  Andrea was active and engaged with all of her fellow students and made sure to bring concerns or questions to the Career Center.

An example of this was her asking about our employment report. While we post the report on our website and it is available to anyone we have never really made it a point to tell students where they could find it and what it means to them. Andrea brought to our attention that her negotiations were prompted by a recruiter stating that they looked at and referred to our school “average” salary. Andrea pointed out that if students are not aware of what that is or where to find it they are at a disadvantage in their negotiations. Andrea also discussed the need for us to think past the current student to when students are out in the work force for our programming.  It was Andrea that helped guide our series of progressive programming that would help students now and when they graduate.  With Andrea’s input we hosted a personal finance 101 workshop, a Career Conversations Webinar: Salary Negotiation strategies & advocacy, “Accepting, Delaying, Declining, and Negotiating Full time offers”, and most recently the “Achieving Financial well-being in 2021 and beyond,” with our final in the series being “Life after graduate school, buying vs. renting, HSA vs. FSA, High deductible vs. co-insurance, navigating your options after you take the offer.” Thinking of what students don’t learn in the classroom Andrea made sure to focus programming on areas that students needed and wanted help and understanding and she brought those topics to us.  She also was a strong voice for the benefits of using the career management center, herself an example of someone that used the resources and advising to her advantage, she made sure that all students, MBA, MS, P/EMBA knew of the resources and how to find out about them, taking the time to share flyers and announcements about upcoming events and programming through her personal channels and that of the Graduate Business Council.

Andrea is – quite frankly – an amazing student, future alumni and person. We felt fortunate to be part of her time here at Simon and look forward to seeing what she accomplishes in the future.”

Andrew Tempest
MBA Career Director, Benet Career Management Center
Simon Business School, University of Rochester 

Julie Bazan
Executive Director of Benet Career Management Center
Simon Business School, University of Rochester 

DON’T MISS: THE FULL LIST OF MBAS TO WATCH IN 2021

 

 

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