The following blog post was written by Mikayla Hart, 2016 MBA Candidate. I’m very grateful that I participated in UR Simon the other weekend. This annual event, which is for Simon’s newly admitted MBA and MS students, was a busy couple of days. Students met future classmates, attended a case discussion led by Professor Greg […]
The following blog post was written by Mikayla Hart, 2016 MBA candidate
Attending the semi-finals of the Hult Prize was one of the best experiences I’ve had thus far in business school. The Hult Prize is a global social business plan competition that challenges students to develop sustainable social enterprises to address poverty alleviation, with a winning prize of $1 million in seed capital to help the entrepreneurs start their business. The competition had over 25,000 applicants this year and roughly 300 teams made it to the semi-finals. Our team (which included four 2nd-year MBAs from Simon Business School: myself, Andre Segovia, Mohammad Shaikh, and Greg Sheldon) attended the semi-final round in London March 11-12 where 60 teams competed and just one advanced.
Our team’s solution was called NIA Nest and addressed the issues of food insecurity and post-harvest food loss. Countless hours were put into the development of our business plan in preparation for our pitch in London. Our team meetings were usually scheduled after night class at 9 p.m., and we would work into the night to make sure our presentation would be ready for the semi-finals. We arrived in London a few days early and spent the majority of that time finalizing our pitch as well. The stakes were high and we wanted to be well-prepared. It was a tough couple of months but completely worth the effort for such a rewarding experience.
The day of the competition was a whirlwind experience with 60 teams competing, all giving six-minute presentations and sitting in to peer review others. Our team was scheduled as the last pitch of the day. At this point we had practiced our presentation so many times that we were confident we would deliver it well. My memory of our presentation is a blur as it all went by so fast. We stood on a stage facing the judges and other teams in the audience and presented our idea just as we had practiced, finishing the moment the six-minute buzzer went off. It was followed by a short Q&A and that was it. Months of preparation all leading up to those 10 minutes in front of the judges.
When it was over I felt nervous and relieved all at once. The results were announced and we did not win, however this did not detract at all from my experience. We spent the night getting to know all of our competitors, the other 59 teams that were comprised of students from all over the world. We heard their great ideas to help alleviate global poverty and talked about common interests in the social impact space. I left with a broadened network of many like-minded individuals with whom I’m sure I’ll keep in throughout my career. I believe this new network is the largest asset the Hult Prize provides, even better than the $1 million, and I feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to become a part of it.
Allen Bediako is a 2017 MBA candidate and Simon Leadership Fellow studying marketing and competitive and organizational strategy.
Tell me a little about what you were doing before you came to business school. I worked for a consulting firm in two different divisions. The first involved a Congressional Task Force on military health. We conducted focus groups to collect survey data, both qualitative and quantitative, about how service members and their families were interacting with the military health system. Based on those discussions, we made recommendations for improvements to Congress. The second project involved the implementation of health and social programming with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We provided consulting, business development, and technical assistance to clients working within the family- and self-sufficiency field.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? I had a great manager who allowed me to be in stretch roles, and in those roles I became interested in brand management. Even though my projects were more focused on implementation, I was intrigued by how people thought about the projects based on how they were presented. I realized the only way I could make a long-term career out of this interest was to pursue an MBA. I knew that qualitative information can help you understand what’s happening in a situation but that the quantitative information is often what is needed to convince a group to coalesce around a plan and move forward.
Why Simon? I had a friend who went to Simon and he introduced me to the school. He just loved it. He told me to visit, and when I got here I realized why he loved it so much. There’s a great atmosphere at Simon. It doesn’t feel cutthroat among students here; instead, the community celebrates one another’s success. When I visited other places, I could tell that the experience was not as collaborative—you could just sense it when you spoke to the students. At Simon, the students I spoke to were both responsive and straightforward. I wanted to know the great things about business school but also wanted to be prepared for the challenging aspects, and talking to the students helped me to prepare for my life as an MBA candidate. At Simon, I was able to get a good sense of who people were, and they struck me as people I wanted to spend time around—you spend a great deal of your time with your MBA classmates, so this is important! I could see myself in the students I talked to, and therefore I could see myself at Simon. Beyond the community aspect, I really wanted an economics and quantitative-focused institution, and there was no mistaking Simon’s reputation in that area.
What is life like as a student? I am a first-year Graduate Business Council representative, which gives me insight into student influence at the school. I work in the Admissions Office as an admissions ambassador and event ambassador. I’ve really enjoyed these roles because current students helped me assess my fit at Simon, and I’m glad to now be a part of that process for others. I also volunteer as an assistant coach with the University of Rochester Men’s Basketball Team. This has been a fun opportunity for me to connect with the larger University outside of Simon and to also connect with the greater Rochester community in meeting players and coaches from other local schools.
What advice do you have for prospective students? Don’t underestimate the importance of fit when you’re choosing your MBA program. You’ll spend two years of your life as an MBA student, so while you want to study at a place that will give you a quality education, don’t lose sight of finding a place that will also provide an experience that is personally fulfilling. I would suggest visiting as many schools as you can. You can’t learn everything you need to know about them from a website. Be open minded to new opportunities and don’t be afraid to take a risk. The MBA program will challenge you, but you will find a way to succeed and when you do, you’ll be better positioned to meet future challenges with confidence.
If you have questions for Allen, feel free to contact him.
When looking for an MBA program, finding the right fit is important. Peter Morelli, 2017 MBA candidate, knew Simon was the school for him after visiting campus for Experience Simon Weekend and UR Simon Admitted Student Weekend. The Center for Pricing suited his academic interests and post-MBA goals, and he felt welcomed by the community-oriented atmosphere among students, faculty, and staff. Simon’s smaller size allows Pete to work toward a career in pricing while making lasting connections within the B-school community.
Find your fit at Simon.
As our May 15 application deadline approaches, there is still time to be considered for scholarship support for fall 2016 entry. If you would like to discuss your candidacy, please contact the Simon Admissions Office.
The following blog post was written by Prachi Bobade, 2016 MBA candidate
One of the many perks of living in Rochester is great housing at amazingly affordable rates. As an international student who was visiting the United States for the first time, it was very intimidating for me to think about where I would live. To my amazement, the process was not as difficult as I thought: I resided in on-campus housing for both years of my program, but good off-campus housing is available as well. I’ll highlight some of the options you may explore when deciding on your business school residence.
I chose to live on campus during my MBA program. Some of the perks of living on campus are: Shuttle services to and from the school at 20 minute intervals, snow plowing and maintenance taken care by the campus housing office, and close proximity to campus. The application for on-campus housing is currently available, and the process is a lottery system. This year’s lottery will be run on May 4, but I suggest you submit your application no later than May 1. The results will be announced in mid-May. I found the process to be very straightforward, and basic information is included in your Simon acceptance packet.
Here are your on-campus housing options:
Goler House – Located approximately 1 mile from the school, Goler House is a top choice among graduate students. The popularity is largely attributed to its adjacency to College Town, which is home to many shops and restaurants. Goler House is a C-shaped apartment building with 13 floors and has 2-bedroom, 1-bedroom, and studio apartments. You can opt for a furnished apartment in Goler House by paying a bit extra each month. Typical rent range is from $600 – $1,000 USD per month.
University Park – The University Park apartments are a similar distance from the school as Goler House. Most of the apartments are 2-bedroom units, but there are a few 1-bedroom and studio apartments available as well. The rent ranges from $600- $1,000 USD per month. One advantage of University Park is that the units are spread out and there are children’s play areas, making it a nice choice for families with kids who want to stay closer to campus.
Whipple Park – These apartments are located 2.1 miles away from the school. This housing offers unique advantages for a student who is planning to bring their family along. The housing is located in a very kid-friendly environment and has enough open space for the children’s play areas. Many Ph.D. students live in Whipple Park, which gives this option a very family-oriented atmosphere. There are 2-bedroom apartments, 2-bedroom townhouses, and 3-bedroom townhouses, and rent ranges from $800 – $1,000 USD per month.
There are also various off-campus options available, and in some cases you may find cost savings compared with on-campus housing. Consider these off-campus options:
Hope Lofts at College Town – Close to Goler House, this option is fairly new to the University area and provides basic apartment and community amenities. These studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom apartments are a bit pricier, with rent ranging from $910 – $1,535 USD.
Fort Hill Terrace – This affordable option is also close to Goler House and offers row houses with multiple bedrooms.
Rustic Village – Approximately 2.5 miles from campus, these apartments are a popular choice. It is very close to South Town Plaza and Marketplace Mall, two main shopping hubs in Rochester.
In addition to these popular apartment complexes, many students choose to find housing in more residential areas – a number of Rochester neighborhoods have had historic homes converted into apartments. The Park Ave area, near downtown Rochester, is frequented by both graduate students and young professionals and features many restaurants, bars, and boutique shops. The U of R shuttle system also extends into this neighborhood.
For those looking for a more suburban feel, the 12 Corners neighborhood in Brighton is a great option. This area is still just a 10 minute drive from Simon and offers amenities such as a nearby farmers’ market on weekends, easy access to the Erie Canal bike path, and a number of restaurants within walking distance.
As far as transportation goes, there are several shuttle services provided by the University to reach to various parts of the city. As I said before, a University shuttle service runs between the graduate housing and campus every 20 minutes from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. A full shuttle map can be found online.
I wish you the best of luck finding your business school home away from home. With all the great options, you’re sure to find something that suits your needs!