Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Olga Ivanishchuk, University of Rochester (Simon)

Olga Ivanishchuk

University of Rochester, Simon Business School

“Resilient change-maker, fueled by a passion for adventure, storytelling, and serving others.”

Hometown: Kolomyia, Ukraine

Fun Fact About Yourself: An avid lover of coffee and proud member of the Yelp Elite Squad, I’ve visited over 130 different coffee shops all over the United States throughout my travels.

Undergraduate School and Major: Portland State University – BA in Marketing and Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Sparkloft Media – Chief of Staff

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? Coming from an advertising background, I wanted a program that would not only help further develop my leadership skills, but deepen my knowledge and understanding of the other spheres of business outside of the marketing world. Simon, being a program that is analytically-driven, I know that I will be challenged to rethink my approach to solving business problems, using strong data analytics and the latest technology to pursue innovation and inspire change.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Rochester Simon’s MBA curriculum or programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I simply fell in love with the Simon community. Unlike other business schools where I networked, every single Simon alumni and student that I reached out to connected with me to answer my questions and share their own experiences. When the school talks about #SimonStrong and paying it forward, it is 100% true. I cannot recall a single negative interaction over the last months of attending webinars, networking events, and visiting campus. As someone who was deeply involved in coming back as a guest speaker for my undergrad institution for various classes and clubs after graduation, I wanted to be part of a program that built a stronger connection beyond the MBA degree. A diploma may one day disintegrate, but friendships last forever.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Rochester Simon? I’m looking forward to getting involved with the Simon Volunteers Club—mentoring young kids and showing them that they truly can achieve their dreams. Through teaching them about the basics of business and assisting them in completing their own projects, I hope to become a trusted resource for them to ask all kinds of questions and teach them what I’ve learned to hold dear when I was in their shoes. I have worked with children my entire life, including volunteering at summer camps, hosting day camps for the children of agricultural workers of the poorer communities in Mexico, working with the Ukrainian refugees, teaching Sunday School, and being a soccer mom for my younger brothers. Volunteering is the place where I feel most at home.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Throughout my time at Sparkloft Media, I was entrusted with the opportunity to redevelop our internal systems and lead multiple project teams. Working across departments, I crafted new processes for scope of work contracting, project management deliverable tracking, and social sentiment research. I also developed a remote onboarding program to deliver training guidelines and instill an introduction into agency culture when 50% of the workforce had been with the company for less than one year. Many of the processes helped bring increased efficiency and ease to strained departments and supported the directors whom I worked with, allowing them to focus on building their departments and growing the agency as we brought in new clients and expanded to target industries.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande was a book gifted to me by one of my favorite directors that I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my career. In it, Gawande speaks to the power of checklists—a list that allows us to process and compartmentalize the wide array of information constantly bombarding us. He shares stories about the power a simple checklist has had in multiple individuals’ lives and how we can apply that practice to our own. Whenever applications, networking, school visits, homework, and other tasks begin to stress us out, we can turn to this simple task to ground us, helping narrow our focus to get through to the next chapter.

Looking ahead two years, what would make your MBA experience successful? Aside from enhancing my quantitative skills and securing a job—something every MBA candidate wishes to do—looking ahead, my journey will be most successful if I develop into a stronger leader. Together with my incredibly diverse cohort, I look forward to challenging myself by taking on leadership roles within various teams, clubs, and events; leading with compassion and grace while also learning from my classmates; and exploring the unique perspectives each one of them brings to the table.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Simon’s MBA program? While it’s something that everyone may tell you, I encourage that you be your authentic self. We celebrate the different backgrounds, stories, and unique experiences that our classmates bring, as there is not one gold standard for an applicant to be admitted. Not only do we want to hear about why you want to attend business school, but what gets you up in the morning and how you want to leave an impact on the world around you. Let your personality shine through as you connect with alumni, current students, and the Admissions team. We want to get to know you just as much as you want to get to know us.


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