The following blog post was written by Sarah Spoto, 2017 MBA candidate and Simon Leadership Fellow What do you think of when you hear the word “entrepreneur”? A young man in a hoodie hunched over a computer, perhaps? A graying–but young at heart–millionaire venture capitalist, maybe? Whatever you envision, I bet you didn’t picture three […]
Meet Jordon Jones, director of strategic planning/FP&A at Hertz Corporation and a 2011 graduate of the MBA program.
Tell me a little about you and your career since you left Simon.
After graduating from Simon, I spent two years in Hertz’s MBA finance development program, with rotations in the fleet planning group and corporate treasury department, and I also worked on an acquisition integration project. After the rotational program, I was a manager in the company’s investor relations group, working with investors in helping them understand how to model our business. I currently work in the company’s corporate financial planning and analysis group as the director of the long range planning team. Our job is to take both internal and external data and from that, estimate how the company is going to perform over the next 5 – 7 years.
How did you know Simon was right for you?
Small class size was important to me. I wanted to be somewhere that would allow for involvement in extracurricular activities. I think Simon at its core is very entrepreneurial and proactive in that regard. I also wanted a school that was focused on finance, and I wanted to study somewhere in the Northeast. I also felt like Simon was interested in me, and that was extremely meaningful. I was accepted to other schools but ultimately didn’t gel with them as much as Simon. Really, I wasn’t convinced that they were interested in me as a student. Throughout the application process, I felt that the people and the administration at Simon really wanted me here, and that made a big difference. I’ve heard many other students say this same thing, so the sentiment isn’t unique.
Who impacted you the most while you were at Simon and why?
The faculty here are excellent. They are not only interested in teaching what they teach, but also in making sure you learn. I felt like they had a vested interest in making sure the students really learned the material, and that made a big difference in the classroom. I also think that the environment at Simon from a student/peer standpoint is extremely collaborative. It was encouraging to come here and not feel like I had to shield my notes or compete with students over a grade. Everybody seemed to work well together. So I’d say faculty and my peers had the biggest impact on me.
Fill in the blank: While you are in Rochester, you absolutely have to ____________.
Eat Sticky Lips, visit the state parks (Stony Brook and Letchworth are personal favorites), attend the Lilac Festival, and definitely experience a garbage plate at least once.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy sports – you name it, I’ll play it. I really like to run and exercise. I like to read. More than anything, I like to spend time with my wife and kids. I have three young kids so finding time with them is a priority.
Do you remember where you were when you received your Simon acceptance? How did it feel?
I was sitting at my desk at work, and due to the timing of when I applied, I received a phone call simultaneously offering acceptance and the opportunity to be a Simon Leadership Fellow. I was pumped to say the least. I had actually decided to go to another business school and the day I was going to call Simon and say “no thank you,” they called and gave me the formal acceptance and fellowship offer. We had put money down at the other school, we had bought tickets to fly out to find a place to live, but all that changed when I was accepted to Simon.
What would you say was your most memorable Simon experience?
During the first quarter I was having trouble understanding a basic principle in Professor Brickley’s economics class, and it seemed like everyone else understood but me. I went to his office to talk to him about it, and he very patiently explained how I was thinking about it incorrectly and helped reframe my perspective. Just the idea of him taking time to explain this really simple principle—he wasn’t judging me, he wasn’t making me feel like an idiot—he was just trying to help me understand it. That was memorable for me. Professor Wasley’s Financial Statement Analysis final exam was very memorable. Professor Jarrell’s Cases in Finance class was one of my favorites. Graduation was obviously memorable as well because you see all of your classmates enjoying this shared sense of accomplishment and success. We had achieved this goal and were prepared for our next step in our professional lives.
What is your advice for prospective students? Or what was the best piece of advice you received?
For admitted students, just enjoy the experience. You work for the rest of your life so enjoy taking time out to focus on learning, building relationships with your classmates, and networking—and yes, all three are extremely important. Remember that b-school is all about balance and also that corporate recruiters are looking for well-rounded candidates. I have yet to hear a hiring manager say, “We’re really looking for a smart person who doesn’t know how to build relationships.” I can’t underscore that point enough, so don’t neglect the relationship aspect of b-school. For prospective students, focus on finding the school that fits you well. It’s a really qualitative thing to say, so it’s difficult to give concrete examples, but pay attention to how your gut feels as you interact with schools. Some will click with you more than others. Also, have confidence in the admissions process. It’s a two-way street–you’re interviewing the school as they are interviewing you–and the end result will be that you find a school where you have a mutual connection.
July marks a very busy and exciting time for the Admissions Office. Not only are we looking forward to seeing our new students at orientation in a few weeks, but travel season is about to get underway!
Our admissions officers are going to be all over the globe this fall, so if you were hoping to connect with us out on the road we wanted to provide the July schedule, as well as a preview of the upcoming larger international trips. Review our full travel schedule here.
July Travel Schedule:
Thursday, July 14: Seattle, WA — Marriott Seattle Waterfront, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 16: San Francisco, CA – Fairmont San Francisco, 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 17: Los Angeles, CA – LA Hotel Downtown, 12:00-5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 19: Houston, TX – JW Marriott Houston, 6:00-9:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 21: New York, NY – Westin New York at Times Square, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 21: Atlanta, GA – Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 6:00-9:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 23: New York, NY – New York Hilton Midtown, 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Monday, July 25: Chicago, IL – DoubleTree by Hilton Magnificent Mile, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 27: Boston, MA – Sheraton Boston Hotel, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 28: Washington, D.C. – Washington Marriott at Metro Center 5:00-9:30 p.m.
Extended International Travel:
Aug. 6-13: South America (Sao Paulo, Brazil; Lima, Peru; Bogota, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico)
Sept. 3-10: Asia (Shanghai, China; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Beijing, China)
Sept. 19-24: India (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai)
Oct. 22-29: South America (Mexico City, Mexico; Bogota, Colombia; Lima, Peru; Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Use #SimonTravel on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with our travels and to share pictures from events!
The following blog post was written by Sarah Spoto, 2017 MBA candidate and Simon Leadership Fellow
What do you think of when you hear the word “entrepreneur”?
A young man in a hoodie hunched over a computer, perhaps? A graying–but young at heart–millionaire venture capitalist, maybe?
Whatever you envision, I bet you didn’t picture three young women from Simon Business School trying to end food deserts in upstate New York. We’re not your average entrepreneurs; we’re social entrepreneurs.
Trying to solve social problems through business is tough. Launching a start up is difficult even if profit is your main motivator, but when you add in a mission for social impact, the challenge becomes that much trickier. This is compounded with skepticism from many sides: those who believe that companies have no business trying to do more than increase shareholder return and those who are hesitant to trust for-profit businesses to handle today’s most pressing issues.
Fahria Omar, Kat Cook, and myself launched Oasis Foods as part of Professor Michael Wohl’s Urban Entrepreneurship class. For the class, we were given this daunting task: end food deserts in Rochester, New York. Soon we had an idea for a frozen pre-prepared meal company that served its healthy products straight to consumers via vending machines. We want to give people access to healthy food where there are very few choices besides convenience stores and fast food. After six weeks of work that extended far beyond spreadsheets and formulas (think: cold calls, food pantry tours, and chats with City representatives), we presented our final project.
The course might have concluded, but it was only the beginning for Oasis Foods. We applied for our first business plan competition. And failed. So we tried again. And again. We eventually got the break we were looking for: a chance to present at the Finger Lakes Regional Contest of the New York Business Plan Competition in Geneseo. There have only been a few other times in my life when I was as nervous as I felt while we were waiting for our results from that competition.
Ultimately, the hard work paid off, and we made it to the final round of the New York Business Plan Competition in Syracuse. That was a whole new ball game. We worked feverishly to prepare, including one marathon 12-hour meeting, which took place after I had literally run a half marathon that morning. We couldn’t pull off those long nights if our team wasn’t a good fit. Fahria is creative, innovative, and the best relationship manager of the group. Kat is all about the operations and logistics, not to mention keeping us all sane with her humor. Launching a start-up is like no other experience. You can’t accomplish it simply by going to class. You need to step out into the world and solve a problem that really matters.
When Oasis Foods was announced as the winner of the Social Entrepreneurship category in Syracuse, I knew that it was only the first happy step in a long road filled with challenges, failures, and wrong turns. But I also knew we were committed, focused, and bold enough to try to make a positive impact through social entrepreneurship. I know our team won’t stop until we’ve done just that.
Learn more about Oasis Foods and experiential learning at Simon in WHAM 1180’s Eyes on the Future podcast from June 25, 2016, featuring Prof. Michael Wohl, Associate Dean David Tilson, Kat Cook, and Fahria Omar.
Three recent Simon graduates are among Poets & Quants’ Class of 2016 MBAs to Watch. Megan DaGraca (M&T Bank), Mohammad Shaikh (BCG), and Gregory Sheldon (City of Rochester Research Fellow) are included on the list. Classmate Mikayla Hart (Accenture) appeared on an earlier list.
As a student, DaGraca was a Forté Fellow and actively involved in the Simon Marketing Association and the Graduate Business Council. During his time at Simon, Shaikh pursued his passion for social entrepreneurship by founding Nia Nest, a food subscription service powered by mobile savings. Shaikh’s teammate, Sheldon, is also passionate about social entrepreneurship. His ultimate goal is to start a business that helps alleviate poverty, either by expanding access to learning opportunities or providing affordable, nutritious food for families in urban areas.
We are so proud of all the members of the Simon Class of 2016!