• UR Simon Weekend Reflections

    UR Simon Weekend Reflections

    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 […]

    Apr 20, 2015 | 0 comments | View Post

  • Tips for Creating a Competitive Application

    Tips for Creating a Competitive Application

    The following blog post was written by Senthil Sevugan, 2015 MBA Candidate. Narrowing down the schools you want to apply to is half the job. Applying to them is probably the other, more significant half. Like anything else that is important in life, a b-school application requires thorough research and groundwork. We know the key […]

    Mar 12, 2015 | 0 comments | View Post

  • Scholarship Weekend Reflections

    Scholarship Weekend Reflections

    The following blog post was written by Albert Chatigny, 2015 MBA Candidate. A week ago today, top admitted MBA and MS students from all over the world made their way to Rochester, NY for Scholarship Weekend. Some trickled in early to explore the city while others arrived Friday afternoon for the evening kickoff. For most of […]

    Feb 27, 2015 | 0 comments | View Post

Net Impact: Sustainability Through Business

The following blog post was written by Mikayla Hart, 2016 MBA Candidate

Business does not happen in a vacuum. Advancements in technology over the last century have connected people across the globe in unprecedented ways. They have also shined a spotlight on the varying conditions of our diverse planet.

Simon Net Impact was established to keep us cognizant of these social and environmental dynamics influencing markets, communities, socioeconomic thought, and global trends. Regardless of one’s functional area of work or study, an individual will always benefit from being more connected to the challenges others face, and understanding how those challenges affect our global community. Therefore, it’s no mystery as to why 98% of the top 50 MBA programs have a Net Impact chapter.

Simon Net Impact students during the D.C. Trek last spring.

Simon Net Impact students posed for a photo during the D.C. Trek last spring.

When I first arrived at Simon, I was initially disappointed to find a dormant chapter of Net Impact, but quickly realized it was an opportunity to restart the chapter with a clear and focused vision. We set up Simon Net Impact to be especially relevant to our MBA journey. All of our activities revolve around three aims: building one’s skills, building one’s network, and building a better planet.

Our chapter’s efforts during our first year won us a nationally recognized gold status, held by only 30% of chapters in a community of more than 80,000 student and professional leaders. We brought in speakers on human-centered design and corporate social responsibility; we partnered with local organizations like Conscious Capitalism; we took 25 students to Washington, D.C., where we arranged visits with the World Bank, Accenture, and the International Finance Corporation, among others; we sourced projects; we landed people jobs!

We’ve just begun our second year, and the first-year students on our board are already accelerating Net Impact to greater heights. In addition to D.C., they’re looking at treks to New York and Boston. And with the creation of several new board positions focused around community and chapter relations, new partnerships are already being fostered. People that connect around a cause want to help each other succeed–it’s the best network you could have. When we’re all studying intense material and looking for jobs, tunnel vision becomes the norm. Simon Net Impact is there to lift your head to the horizon and remind you that business never happens in a vacuum.

I’m concerned about my GMAT/GRE score or my GPA. What should I do?

The following blog post was written by Stefanie Attridge, Director of Admissions and Enrollment at Simon.

As application deadlines quickly approach, standardized test scores and GPAs are often a source of stress for those considering B-school. We’ve answered some frequently asked questions with the hopes of informing your decision making and setting your mind at ease.

What if my test scores aren’t “good enough” for the school(s) I want to apply to?
Most students use the GMAT or GRE averages to ascertain how they measure up. A much better gauge is to look at the middle 80% range of GMAT and GRE scores posted on the class profile. This will show you the scores at the 10th percentile and 90th percentile for enrolling students, and will provide a more accurate range of admitted students’ scores for you to use in your consideration.

I want to retake the GMAT or GRE. Is that a bad idea? 
You are welcome to take the test more than once to improve your scores. You know yourself best and if you are confident you can improve, retaking is a good decision because schools will typically accept your highest score. Here are a couple things to bear in mind before you retake:

Scantron multiple choice answer sheet

Your test scores are just one factor in your application portfolio.

  • Admissions committees will consider your GMAT/GRE score along with your undergraduate GPA. If your GPA falls into the higher end of the school’s specified range, that may compensate for lower test scores. More on GPA in a minute.
  • What was your verbal/quant split compared to the school’s suggested range? Most schools understand that you may be stronger on one of the two dimensions, but at the same time they hope for reasonably good performance on both sections. A retake may allow you to focus attention on the area where you performed lower, while maintaining your initial performance in the section where you are naturally strong.
  • Only consider a retake if you have enough time to sufficiently prepare. There’s nothing worse than retaking the exam and posting a lower score because…
  • …the schools you are applying to will be able to see all your test dates and scores. It’s okay to take the exam a few times, but understand that it might be concerning to the committee if you take it too many times.

How much does my GPA affect my candidacy?
At Simon, our Admissions Committee considers many factors while reviewing the academic portion of your application. We look at cumulative undergraduate GPA, the strength of the college or university you attended, the rigor of courses you took, your choice of major/minor, your class selection and the trend of grades throughout your program. We are also interested in other demands on your time during college, such as employment or involvement in campus/community activities.

What if my GPA wasn’t strong?
Remember, the application review is multi-faceted. That said, here are a few things to consider:

  • Take a look at the other components of your candidacy, such as the amount and type of prior work experience and your leadership and team experience.
  • Assess the rigor of your course load. If you challenged yourself academically, chances are that the Admissions Committee will take that into consideration.
  • Obviously you cannot change your GPA after you’ve graduated, so if you’re concerned, use the optional essay to provide an explanation of weak performance on your transcript or of any gaps in your undergraduate coursework. We like to avoid assumptions during the review process, so we would much rather hear any clarification about your academic performance directly from you.
  • Keep in mind that students with high test scores or GPAs have been denied and students with lower test scores or GPAs have been admitted as there are many other factors we consider in our review.
  • Remember, you can balance out a lower GPA with a stronger GMAT/GRE score.

Are there other things I can do to improve my candidacy?
Definitely! If your performance in college didn’t demonstrate your potential or if you did not have much quantitative coursework, consider taking a statistics, calculus, economics, or financial accounting class. Submitting this information to the Admissions Committee will indicate that you are serious about business school and are committed to improving your skill set. Keep in mind that the Admissions Committee may request your grades from any additional coursework you’ve taken (Simon does), so it’s not just the act of enrolling in the class, your performance matters, too.

If you’re interested in more application tips, check out this video or watch one of our webinars.

Good luck as you continue to work through your application – we look forward to receiving it for 2016!

Get to Know Simon Vision Consultants

The following blog post was written by Albert Chatigny, MBA 2015. Albert is now working as a senior business operations analyst at Home Depot.

The Simon Business School experience is characterized by a myriad of opportunities, including access to top-tier faculty, exposure to trends and shifts in a variety of industries, and various clubs that allow students to develop a customized approach to personal and professional growth. When our first classes started two years ago, I had a minimal amount of project management experience and aimed to address that deficiency immediately. The advisors in our Career Management Center suggested I look into the Simon Vision Consultants (otherwise referred to as Vision) as a potential avenue for improving my profile, so I decided to look into the club.

Albert Chatigny, MBA 2015

Albert Chatigny, MBA 2015

Vision provides a few different ways students can gain additional real-world experience while at Simon. The primary mission of the club is to connect local businesses and entrepreneurs with talented Simon students who can help them understand and address business problems. A Simon student project manager meets with a client each quarter to brainstorm a rough project plan, then recruits a team of three to five Simon classmates to work on the project to completion (usually a two month process). Our students have provided high-value deliverables in marketing research, pricing policies, social media initiatives, sales strategies, and company valuations.

One aspect of Vision that students find very refreshing is that they serve as the majority of the organization’s guidance. The student leadership team is free to implement new policies in order to foster higher levels of client satisfaction and student engagement each year. This year, we partnered with Simon’s Net Impact club, which opened opportunities to work with more socially-focused businesses and to engage a more diverse set of students. The partnership helped with an initiative to double the number of projects Vision took on compared to the previous academic year.

My experience with Vision has been incredibly valuable and eye-opening. As a past project manager, I was able to work with a team that took a deep look into the problems that a not-for-profit business faced, and to explore well thought-out strategies for addressing those issues. As former president of the organization, I had to recruit the right students to help take the club to the next level. Along the way, I was able to improve my communication, time management, delegation, networking, conflict management, and business development skills far beyond what I had initially hoped. Vision gave me the platform I needed to effectively supplement my MBA training, and ultimately, become a more marketable asset, which is exactly what I needed to accomplish while at Simon.

Fall Fun in Rochester

The following blog post was written by Isaac Goodling, 2016 MBA Candidate

If you know someone from Upstate New York, there is a good chance that you have heard them refer to the pleasure of having “all four seasons.” While this is admittedly a bit clichéd, it does not make it any less true – particularly when the fall season hits Rochester. Marked by crisp, cool nights and warm, sunny days, fall combines the natural beauty of the leaves changing with an unparalleled array of fun activities in the area. Here are just a few activities you might want to check out this fall season:

River Campus, University of Rochester

River Campus, University of Rochester

  • If this is your first year in the Northeast, the Fall Sky Rides at Bristol Mountain is a must-see. The Comet Express chairlift offers a 20-minute ride to the summit of Bristol Mountain, where you can take in outstanding views of Bristol Hills and fall foliage.
  • Rochester is known as the “Festival City,” and festival season continues through October with the Chestnut Festival at Goose Watch Winery (October 17). The free event includes food and drinks, live music and lawn games.
  • Upstate New York is well known for growing apples, and the Rochester region is no exception. There are many local options to pick your own produce: G and S Orchards offers apples, pumpkins and strawberries in the fall, while Stokoe Farms offers a truly unique Western New York experience with their Buffalo Bills corn maze!
  • If you prefer your apples in liquid form, check out the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken, New York. Featuring live music every Friday night, the Cider House carries an array of ciders (hard and otherwise) from five breweries in the Finger Lakes, as well as food prepared exclusively from locally-sourced ingredients.

As a student it can be easy to get caught up in the “Simon bubble” of schoolwork and job searching, but it is important to get out and explore all that the area has to offer. Enjoy the fall season!