If you are interested in learning more about the MBA and MS programs at the University of Rochester, Simon School and are located in the NYC metro area, here’s your opportunity! Join alumni, students, and staff for an evening of networking and listen to an interview style program with Simon alumnus, Roland Caputo as he […]
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 pillars of any b-school application are GMAT score, work experience, undergrad GPA and application essays. The first three pillars previously mentioned are static parts that you cannot influence during the application process. For instance, the most you could do is retake the GMAT in an attempt to improve your score, but even that plateaus after a certain number of tries. Your biggest remaining opportunity is the application essays. The good news is that these carry a lot of weight. I went through the application process a couple of years ago and I thought it would be helpful to share the below tips on how to make your essays – and overall application – more competitive.
- Know how to tell a good story in your essays. Align your story with the school’s identity. The Admissions Committee will need to determine if the school is the right fit for you and if it will help you achieve your goals. If your ambition is to become an entrepreneur and the school doesn’t have a historical trend of producing such placements, you may want to position your story carefully or even consider applying to schools that have a stronger entrepreneurship profile.
- Connect with current students and alumni. This is the best way to learn about the school. Ask questions about their school experience, what the culture is like, how the school helped them succeed, etc.
- Attend on-campus and off-campus events. MBA and MS fairs and off-campus and on-campus admission events are great ways of experiencing the b-school firsthand. Besides, these events also get you in front of the admissions staff, which could be a great endorsement to your application. When thousands of applications are submitted electronically, creating a personal impression can go a long way.
- Conduct online research. This includes reading the school’s website and student blogs. (If you are reading this, you are already ahead of the game!) Not everyone gets a chance to connect with current students and alumni so the next best option is internet resources. Apart from the school’s website, you should consider checking out Poets and Quants, The MBA Tour and other b-school forums like PaGaLGuy.
I encourage you to consider these efforts as you develop and finalize a competitive application – at the very least, these efforts will help you reflect on who you are and where you want to be!
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 them, this was an opportunity to meet potential classmates for the first time. Simon offers this valuable opportunity to network with future classmates several months ahead of the first day of classes, all while pursuing an increase in scholarship awards!
The weekend included a case study competition, various panel discussions, networking receptions with alumni, staff and current students, tours of campus and the surrounding communities, among other activities. Scholarship Weekend has engaged prospective students, current students and alumni each year for several years. It has become one of our favorite events; current students look forward to it for months. I was fortunate enough to participate in the event in 2013 as an admitted student and in 2014 and 2015 as a current student.
Students were placed into teams on Friday evening and began working on the case immediately. Teams were given just over 12 hours to deliver their recommendations and presentations started shortly thereafter. Judges for the presentation portion of the event were recent Simon graduates, ranging from the Class of 2007 to 2014. Participants had the opportunity to network with and learn from these successful alumni throughout the weekend, and current students and staff were able to catch up with a few familiar faces.
Once the competition was over, participants were able to relax and enjoy the rest of the scheduled activities, which included a lunch, informal group conversations with the aforementioned alumni and current students, dinner and happy hour. As much as Scholarship Weekend is an opportunity for Simon to learn more about its incoming class, it serves as a platform for those students to learn more about their respective program as well. This has always been my favorite portion of the event because it allows Simon to showcase its programs in a very honest light and to interact in a way that allows incoming students to get a clearer idea of what the next year or two of their lives will look like. Many students have claimed over the years that experiencing Scholarship Weekend is what solidified their decision to enroll.
I have taken time to reflect on this past Scholarship Weekend – especially since it is the last one in which I will participate as a student. I still find it hard to believe how much was accomplished in such a short period of time. From the first scheduled activity Friday afternoon until the last one on Sunday, participants began developing what will undoubtedly be long-lasting relationships with future classmates.
Scholarship Weekend has provided me with experiences that have been both impactful and unforgettable. I have seen three incredibly strong classes of Simon students participate in the event over the last two years, and I can hardly describe those experiences adequately in words. Excitement, challenge, frustration, sleep deprivation, triumph, and emphasis on community are just a few of the themes of one short weekend at Simon. Regardless of what my role has been in Scholarship Weekend, I have enjoyed each of them immensely. I have experienced Scholarship Weekend as an admitted student, current student and one day I look forward to experiencing it as an alumnus!
Lastly, I want to send a huge thanks to everyone involved in Simon’s Scholarship Weekend. The work that goes into planning and executing the event is a huge task that our staff, students, alumni and faculty handle with tremendous success each year.
The rise of “Big Data,” an avalanche of computer-generated information across industries, has created an increasing demand for highly skilled business analysts proficient in quantitative analysis. I am pleased to announce that Simon is revamping its existing MS Program in Business Analytics in response to the ever-growing “Big Data” world. In talking with our corporate recruiters, we received feedback that the ability to extract useful business insight from huge amounts of structured or unstructured data is crucial to the career of our graduates. Our MS Program in Business Analytics aims to provide business students with this training.
In addition to the rigorous classroom instruction grounded in data analysis that we are already known for, Simon has introduced more practical experience both in and out of the classroom:
- Two new boot camp courses will be offered to prepare students in R and SQL technologies.
- Two additional courses are being introduced: Advanced Data Mining and Machine Learning covers advanced analytics techniques such as neural networks and clustering high dimensional data; and in the Consulting Practicum, students will work with corporate clients, assessing the business context, and applying frameworks to suggest that identification of new strategies and technologies are key competencies.
- An optional internship track is also available that will extend the program from 11 to 17 months allowing time for a summer internship for students who enroll with limited professional work experience.
Our goal is to enhance the technical skills we provide with more opportunities for direct engagement with companies that have needs in the business analysis area. These curricular enhancements will begin with the class entering in August 2015. We hope you are as excited about these changes as we are! For more information, visit our website and contact the Admissions office at Admissions@simon.rochester.edu or 1-585-275-3533.
With the holidays coming up, you are probably looking forward to spending time with family and friends and taking a break from your regular routine. You may even be looking forward to the extra time you have to work on your B-school application(s).
A big part of the B-school application that tends to be on the top of every applicant’s mind is the role of the GMAT/GRE and undergrad GPA in the review process. What most students don’t realize is that test scores and transcripts are rarely the deciding factor in an admissions review – they merely help the Admissions Committee gauge your ability to handle the rigor of the MBA or MS program in which you are applying. Plus, Simon’s Admissions Committee will take a holistic approach when reviewing your application.
Simon will accept either the GMAT or GRE – you should choose the exam that you think best reflects your capabilities! If you are not satisfied with your test scores, consider taking the test again as schools will typically take your highest overall score. Keep in mind that we can see all test dates and scores, and when you have cancelled a score (GMAT only). It’s okay to take the exam a few times, but it will be concerning to the Committee if you take it too many times.
Check out this video of Stefanie Attridge, Director of Admissions and Enrollment at Simon, offering advice to applicants who may have a low GMAT or GRE score.
Undergrad Cumulative GPA
The Admissions Committee does not evaluate your GPA merely as a numerical calculation, we also consider the strength of the college or university you attended, the rigor of courses taken, your choice of major/minor, types of classes, and the trend in grades throughout school. On a secondary level, we are also interested in other demands on your time during undergrad such as employment or involvement in campus or community activities.
What should you do if your undergrad performance was below your capabilities, or if you didn’t have much quantitative coursework? Consider taking a statistics, calculus, economics, or financial accounting class at a local community college. This shows the Committee that you are trying to improve your skill set and prepare for B-school. Keep in mind that the Committee may request your final grade from additional coursework taken at other schools.
You cannot change your GPA at this point if you’ve already graduated, so use the Optional Essay to provide an explanation of any gaps in your undergrad coursework or weak performance on your transcript. You don’t want the Admissions Committee to come up with conclusions on their own!
Good luck as you continue to work through your application – we will look forward to receiving it for 2015!