Alumni Spotlight: James Russell, MBA ’10


I feel like I didn’t choose Simon, but Simon chose me.  I was contacted by the Admissions Department, who requested an interview.  When I visited Simon, the Dean took me on a tour of the School and allowed me to sit in on a lecture.  The entire experience felt very natural and professional.  The School treated me like family before I had even applied.  This was an incredible feeling, especially for someone coming from another country (Canada).  It felt like ‘home.’


James Russell, Senior Consultant, Healthcare Excellence Institute

When I learned of the academic standing/reputation that Simon had built over the years, it was an easy decision.  I particularly enjoyed the emphasis on analysis and statistics that the school had built into the curriculum.  As an Engineer and self-admitted calculus nerd, I very much appreciated the philosophy that data needs to drive our decision making.  Simon embraced this in every facet of the curriculum, and I believe, continues to produce superior talent at the MBA level because of it.

Simon has offered me the opportunity to dive into an industry that I never expected to join.  I came from the sales side of the automotive industry in Canada, and I am now managing Process Improvement teams on the financial side of the Healthcare Industry (in Phoenix, Arizona no less!).  It has connected me with friends across 5 continents and expanded my professional network 50-fold or more.  The education, experience and network I gained while at Simon has (and will continue to) provide me with opportunities that I could not have gained anywhere else.  I have strengthened my resume, simply by the fact that I can say I attended and excelled at Simon.  Combine this with the work ethic and results-oriented habits that Simon instills in all of its graduates, I can honestly say that Simon has spring-boarded my career further than I thought possible in the 3 years since graduation.

I currently manage a team of Industrial Engineers that work to improve the financial stability of healthcare providers across the United States.  Through dedicated Organizational Redesign, Technology Assessments, Process change and the implementation of a Performance Management System, we help hospitals identify and address the 4-15% of net revenue that is not converted into cash. Leveraging expertise in engineering and statistics, HEI helps organizations implement world-class processes and scalable enterprise technology solutions that result in substantial and sustainable financial benefit to healthcare organizations of all size.

My team delivers Kaizen Events, Executive Leadership Training, management mentoring while providing on-site support for Revenue Cycle Transformations across the United States.

My words of advice for prospective students considering Simon Business School:
If you’ve ever spent time with me, you know I’ll tell you exactly what I’m thinking without sugar coating, so here it is: If you are considering Simon, you should ensure that you are truly ready to take the next step in your career.  Nothing will be given to you.  If you are not willing to work to get to that next step, then Simon might not be the place for you.  Simon is not a place for students that are expecting a “free-ride” to the 6-figure club, and to be honest, we pride ourselves on that fact. 

That being said, if you are willing to work, learn new things and twist your brain, Simon will be the best decision you will ever make.  You will leave Simon with a set of skills that cannot be found elsewhere.  You will leave with a global network of contacts, opportunities, and friends that cannot be duplicated.  Believe me when I tell you, it is a nice feeling to stand in a group of MBA’s from various other “top” schools and be considered the only one in the room that truly understands every facet of the topic, regardless of what it is.  It is even nicer when that room is a board room and the C-Suite is looking to you for answers, while skipping past the Ivy Leaguers, who cannot provide what they are looking for to make decisions.

If you are willing to work at Simon, I promise, Simon will work for you. 

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