2023 MBA To Watch: Alec T. Dietsch, University of Rochester (Simon)

Alec T. Dietsch

University of Rochester, Simon Business School

“Loyal and driven teammate who overcomes challenges with thoughtfulness and integrity.”

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Fun fact about yourself: Ran the Boston Marathon last year to raise funds for the Play Ball Foundation, a Boston-based nonprofit organization. The foundation provides funding and organizational savvy to build quality sports opportunities in high-need communities.

Undergraduate School and Degree: St. Lawrence University, B.A. Economics, B.A. Government

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Morgan Stanley, Associate, Institutional Equity Trade Support Group

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? L.E.K. Consulting in Boston

Where will you be working after graduation? Consultant at L.E.K. Consulting

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice President of Allyship with Forté Foundation
    • Lead allyship initiative in supporting traditionally underrepresented groups at Simon and in the workplace.
  • PIECES Mentor
    • Volunteer weekly in a Rochester City School District classroom to close achievement gaps in underserved communities.
  • Workshop Leader
    • Dedicate 6-8 hours per week teaching quant-heavy courses to first-year MBA students.
  • Vice President of Alumni Engagement for Simon Life Sciences Club
    • Recruit Simon alumni in life sciences roles to engage in club events.
  • Racial Equity Taskforce
    • Represent student body to administrators in evaluating Simon’s progress toward DEI goals.
  • Dean’s List
    • GPA of 3.7 or greater (all semesters)
  • John R. Lewis Case Competition Finalist (Hosted annually by Goizueta Business School)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Hands-down it’s my work as vice president of allyship with Forté, in partnership with classmate Ahmed (Rafsan) Tashfiq. Our goal this year was to expand the conversation of allyship beyond a gender-centric lens, extending the definition to include other traditionally underrepresented groups in business. Our team creates spaces for important, albeit sensitive, conversations around allyship at the intersection of gender, race, sexuality, and cultural heritage. At Simon, the Forté-inspired initiative ‘Allies for Gender Equity’ is quite advanced, thanks to buy-in from the student body and impressive headway made by previous student leaders. I’m proud to say that our team has only continued this momentum. Our most recent event, a partnership with Simon Black Student Alliance, set a record for attendance—we even ran out of chairs! Our events continue to be some of the best attended DEI events at Simon, but most importantly, the intentionality we’ve brought to this initiative has led to deeper conversations.

I would like to acknowledge the women leaders of the Forté board at Simon who have lent support to the allyship initiative and continue to inspire the next wave of Simon leaders: Mihika Naik, Urja Sevak, and Sophia Leung. This initiative wouldn’t have reached its current level of impact without their dedication and leadership.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of my ability to adapt to what’s been a diverse set of experiences to begin my professional career and succeed within that diversity. I’ve managed people and production schedules as a carpenter in Australia. I’ve facilitated meaningful conversations around gender, racial, and cultural dynamics in the workplace. I’ve communicated with strategic leaders at life science companies about industry trends, and I’ve managed international teams for an international investment bank.

I began each of these experiences with not knowing—not knowing the path from here to there, not knowing the skills I’d need to be successful, and not knowing the existing interpersonal dynamics. Along the way, I had plenty of missteps, moments of self-doubt, and frustration. Yet, I’m proud to say I overcame these challenges by being flexible, research-orientated, and empathetic.

Why did you choose this business school? Getting the most from existing resources was an important lesson I learned growing up in a working-class family that sometimes struggled to overcome financial challenges. Therefore, it was important for me to gain admission to an institution with a strong reputation that also provided an affordable opportunity. Choosing Simon came down to a simple ROI calculation. I was confident about Simon’s credentials and resources to help me achieve a gainful post-MBA career opportunity. This, combined with a strong scholarship and a lower cost of living in the Rochester area, made the ROI difficult to beat.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Ravi Mantena teaches two classes that were keystones in my business school experience—Business Modeling and Business Analytics. Through those classes, Ravi was the first professor I’ve had that effectively connected the science of statistics with its relevant professional application. I always enjoyed statistics but sometimes failed to see its practicality—how are companies really using this? Ravi bridged this gap for me. He always makes time for his students and strives to empathetically listen and provide meaningful feedback. He also works hard to provide learners with new, fresh applications of his courses’ contents. As a workshop leader for Ravi’s Business Modeling class, I’m currently helping first-year students work through problem sets in an interactive format. Through this, I’ve had a front row seat to observe the admirable intentionality and thoughtfulness that guide his teaching approach.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? The course Entrepreneurial Finance, taught by the esteemed Urs Waelchli, ignited in me an interest in both entrepreneurship and venture capital. The course centered around how investments in private companies are structured and paid out from pre-seed to exit. Through a better understanding of valuation techniques, division of returns, payback schedules, and term sheet structures, I began to understand the transformative potential of early-stage financing. I continue to apply concepts learned in that class to better understand the venture capital, private equity, and M&A landscape.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Stewardship of the Rochester community is a key focus for Simon. Starting as early as first-year orientation, our class was shuttled to a Habitat for Humanity worksite to build housing in an under-resourced section of the Rochester community. As a member of Simon Volunteers, a student-led volunteering club, I’ve had ample opportunities to give back to the community throughout my time at Simon. This year, Simon Volunteers raised over $18,000 to provide 200+ children with Christmas presents via its annual Secret Santa program. Also, by far the most rewarding experience I’ve had at Simon, I teach financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and growth mindset to fifth graders in the Rochester City School District as part of the PIECES Program. These programs are prime examples of Simon’s ongoing commitment to improving the Rochester community through action, and they’re aligned perfectly with University of Rochester’s credo, Meliora, which translates to ‘ever better.’

I must also acknowledge the selfless contributions of the PIECES coordinators and Simon Volunteers leaders—Diandra Brown, Jazzman Taylor, and Tseegii Tsogbadrakh—and all my fellow PIECES volunteers.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?
Looking back at my MBA experience, I’m generally pleased with how I’ve spent my time. One thing I might do differently is to find more opportunities to interact with students from other MBA programs. Through my summer internship at L.E.K. and Emory Goizueta’s John R. Lewis Case Competition, I had the privilege to interact with a handful of inspiringly intelligent MBA students. At L.E.K. this summer, my fellow interns impressed me with both their ability to master the intricacies of consulting and, more surprisingly, their charisma and shamelessness on the karaoke stage. At the John R. Lewis Case Competition, I was moved by the thoughtfulness of my fellow finalists with respect to how they approached improving representation and furthering DEI in Corporate America. Had I realized how formative these experiences would be, I would have sought out more opportunities to engage with students from other MBA programs.

What did you love most about your business school’s town?
One thing I didn’t realize before living in Rochester was the critical and central role the University plays in the resurgence of the City of Rochester. The University is a research hub, especially in the medical and optics fields, and there’s a robust entrepreneurial buzz that’s grown around the University: venture capital and consulting firms have sprung up to support the commercialization of novel technologies developed at the University. In this way, the University is helping to transform the city that’s still recovering from the demise of its largest employers—Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch + Lomb. I have been fortunate to get a chance to work with some of the companies involved in this ecosystem through experiential learning opportunities offered through Simon, like Simon Vision Consulting.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Extracurricular opportunities, like experiential learning and club activities, are a major part of the Simon experience. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, looking back, I had done substantial research into key programs Simon offers like the PIECES Program, Simon Vision Consulting, and the ‘Allies for Gender Equity’ initiative. During my 1:1 admission interview, I used my passion for those programs to portray to the interviewer what I believed I could contribute to the Simon community. Reflecting back, my consistency and my follow-through on those commitments are a major source of pride.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire most is Rhotkinen Parradang. Rho serves as the head of the Racial Equity Taskforce and vice president of DEI on our Graduate Business Council (Simon’s student government). She runs Zoom meetings with both grace and efficiency, an art form I’ve seen very few master—she always has the best icebreakers. Rho knows how to get things done at Simon: she finishes key tasks in hours that would take others days. Most importantly, she plays a crucial role in holding Simon accountable to its DEI goals. With all these skills and accomplishments, you’d expect her to be commanding attention, but instead she displays an honorable humility through it all, making her all the more worthy of admiration. So much so, if she knew I was recommending her, she would be very unhappy with me! Thank you for inspiring us all, Rho!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1) Commercialize a product that creates immense value for its user

I aspire to help commercialize a product that creates immense value for its users and stakeholders. One beautiful thing about the American version of capitalism is its ability to unlock value for humanity through technological innovation. I’m motivated to contribute to this culture of innovation by accelerating the commercialization timeline and adoption curve for a product that promises to bring substantial positive impact to the community.

2) Serve on a board of directors for a nonprofit organization that creates opportunities in underserved communities

A common thread across the many pitstops in my life is my passion to give back to those that lack the resources to help themselves: I’ve individually raised over $8,000 for impactful organizations and volunteered countless hours to address opportunity gaps in underserved communities. Someday, I intend to scale my impact by serving on a board for an organization that’s doing this important work.

What made Alec such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Alec is well connected within the Simon community, due to his involvement in a variety of leadership initiatives.  Alec’s involvement in service projects and his desire to make an impact on the world around him began long before at Simon. He has continued to demonstrate this commitment in a variety of ways. First, Alec is a member of PIECES—a program where MBA students and staff work with 5th and 6th grade students in the Rochester City School District to provide positive role modeling while teaching a curriculum that emphasizes a growth mindset, personal finance, and entrepreneurship. Alec serves as the VP of allyship and works as a male Ally for Gender Equity with Simon Forté.  He also leads DEI events and programming—and encourages his classmates to participate in DEI programming—as a member of the School’s Student Racial Equity Task Force.

Alec has held leadership roles in several other key organizations, including serving as a second-year workshop leader for a first-year MBA core class (facilitating small group learning through interaction and engagement) and as a VP of alumni engagement for the Simon Health Sciences student club. Alec also “pays it forward” to current first-year MBA students through informal networking and mentoring conversations.

While it is hard to believe Alec has any additional free time, he has been involved in a few other key activities during his time as a full-time MBA student. These include serving as project manager for Simon Vision Consulting, a group that provides pro-bono consulting assistance to start-ups and small companies, and most recently, participating in the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition sponsored by Goizueta Business School at Emory University, where his Rochester Simon team was one of only four finalists in February 2023.

Alec has worked tirelessly to create a legacy that will outlive his Simon MBA experience, and has positively impacted both the Simon and Rochester communities.”

Rebekah Lewin, MBA 2002
Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions & Programs


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.