Category: Admission Tips

Aspiring Portfolio Manager Sharpens Skills with an MS in Finance

While working at Goldman Sachs after completing her undergraduate degree, senior managers at the firm encouraged Jenny Gao ’17 MS in Finance to pursue a specialized master’s to open doors to more opportunities. When it came to making a decision about where to pursue her degree, she chose Simon because she was impressed with the School’s academic environment and employment outcomes.

Jenny nurtured a close relationship with the Career Management Center right away, and quickly realized that the connections fostered by that office pay big dividends to the students. Companies are frequently in touch with CMC to inquire about hiring Simon students, and those same companies are often willing to come to Rochester to conduct interviews, making it convenient for busy students.

She landed a position as a treasury intern with Conduent in New Jersey, one of the companies that came to Simon for an interview day. Jenny looks forward to building expertise in corporate finance, as well as where that expertise will lead her in the future.


One year can change a career. Get started at Simon.

As you work on your application, we encourage you to attend our upcoming webinar:

MS in Finance Information Session – Monday, October 9 at 12 p.m. EDT

In this session you will:

  • Learn about the MS in Finance program structure, course offerings, and career outcomes
  • Hear from current Finance students
  • Receive an introduction to the Career Management Center
  • Meet Jerry Warner, faculty advisor for the program
  • Receive an application fee waiver ($150 value) if you attend the live session

We hope to review your application soon, and look forward to speaking with you on Oct. 9!

Four Reasons to Apply by October 15

As our Round 1 deadline approaches, we wanted to share a few reasons to “hit submit” on your application to one of Simon’s full-time programs — the MBA program or one of our four MS programs — by October 15:

  • Guaranteed scholarship support. For those requesting scholarship consideration, you will receive at least a $5,000 scholarship if you are admitted in Round 1. There is also potential for up to a full-tuition scholarship for top candidates.
  • Best chance for admission. All openings for the full-time MBA and MS programs are available, and our Admissions team is eager to begin making offers to qualified applicants. Past years indicate that Round 1 applicants are more likely to receive admission than in any other round.
  • More time to decide. All Round 1 applicants are offered an admissions decision no later than December 15 – many even sooner! And with an enrollment response deadline in early 2018, you’ll have a longer decision window than applicants in subsequent rounds. This will also allow for more time to finalize personal plans before business school.
  • Your application fee is waived if you apply by October 15. Simply check the fee waiver box within the payment screen and your waiver will be activated.

At Simon, you’ll gain a new level of clarity about how analytical frameworks drive business; about what it takes to collaborate and manage in the contemporary, global workplace; and about your professional growth and goals. Get started today – submit your application. We look forward to reviewing it during Round 1!

Looking for more information? View our “Round 1- Application Tips” webinar recording for guidance on the application process and advice about how to construct your most competitive application.

The Application Process Part 2: Work Experience, Recommendations, and Essays

The following blog post was written by Rebekah Lewin ’02 MBA, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid

Blog -- Steps to A Simon AdmissionWhen the Admissions Committee reviews your application, a significant component is the review of your personal and professional potential for an MBA or MS degree. This includes evaluation of your communication skills, demonstrated teamwork and leadership, co-curricular or community engagement, and future career plans. There are a variety of ways that we assess these characteristics, and I will discuss how a few areas of the application can impact your chances for admission.

Work Experience:

The Admissions Committee will consider both the quality and quantity of your prior and current work experience in relation to your future career goals and the degree you are targeting.

For MS candidates, we are expecting to see relevant internships or a short period of full-time work experience after your undergraduate degree. For example, if you are pursuing the MS Accountancy degree, we would expect you to have one or more internships in corporate or public accounting.

For MBA candidates, we are seeking several years of full-time work experience with demonstrated accomplishments and transferrable skills that will add value to your future post-MBA employer. Your experience does not need to be the same as your future career goals, but you will need to provide context for your motivation to change careers and share information on how an MBA will help you to achieve this goal.

During the application review, the Admissions Committee will assess your résumé, recommendations, and essays to rate the quality and amount of prior work experience and how relevant it is to your future goals. Your résumé provides an overview of what you have done and how well you did it – think of it as a combination of your job description and your performance evaluation. Your essays and recommendations can add a bit of detail with one or more examples that validate and substantiate your work experience to date. You will also want to address why you are pursuing the MBA or MS degree at this particular stage of your career.

Leadership, Teamwork, and Communication Skills:

Keep in mind that the Admissions Committee will also be trying to assess your “soft” skills during the application review. The essays, résumé, and recommendation letters all provide an opportunity for you to shine in these areas. Leadership and teamwork can be demonstrated in both work and non-work situations, and you will want to have several examples that you can share.

Make sure to carefully proofread your essays and keep within required word limits. You will want to answer the question(s) in a way that puts you in the best possible light, while also being yourself.

Simon Fit:

One of the other significant things that the Admissions Committee will be looking for in the essays, and possibly even the recommendations, is assessing “fit” for Simon. The “fit” factor is a culture and career fit – assessing how we think you will be involved as a student, how your career goals fit with the types of opportunities that are typically available post-MBA or post-MS, and balancing a desire to find candidates with characteristics that make you stand out from other candidates, while also expecting some similar qualities of drive, motivation, and commitment to personal and professional advancement.

If you are invited to interview (after submitting your application), then many of these skills and capabilities will be evaluated. The interview is a great opportunity for you to showcase additional examples of how you can contribute in these areas both during the MBA or MS program and with your employer after business school.


This is an important opportunity for someone familiar with your work contributions to validate your potential to the Admissions Committee. Recommenders are often supervisors, but we also receive letters from clients, vendors, colleagues, or someone an applicant worked closely with on a project. We do prefer a professional recommendation over an academic one, but we understand this isn’t always possible.

Make sure you are giving your recommenders enough time to write a positive and detailed recommendation letter. I suggest that you schedule a meeting with each recommender ahead of time to share your goals for B-school, why you are applying to Simon, how our program fits with your career interests, and the deadlines for getting materials submitted. Hopefully, if you thoughtfully approach the process, your recommenders will have adequate context to help your application shine.

In the meantime, I encourage you to begin or continue working on your application. We look forward to reviewing it soon!

Interested in more advice? Tune in to our “Round 1 Application Tips” webinar Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 12 p.m EDT.

The Application Process Part 1: Your Academic Profile

The following blog post was written by Rebekah Lewin ’02 MBA, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid. 

For many studBlog -- Steps to A Simon Admissionents, undergraduate performance and standardized testing will be a significant point of stress in the application process. The Admissions Committee will review your grades and test scores, but keep in mind that there are many other factors to consider as well. Here’s some additional information about those two potentially worrisome sections of the application that we hope will put your mind at ease:

Your academic record:

Grades are a historical part of your application – you cannot change your performance, so this is a data point in the overall assessment that might not even be fully reflective of your current potential.  If you are pleased with your performance and your grades include a variety of quantitative or business courses, that’s great. If not, here are some things you might consider:

  • More recent non-degree coursework in math or business areas can strengthen your academic profile (both lower grades or an absence of undergraduate courses in content that is relevant to your future MBA plans). Consider one or more courses in statistics, algebra, or financial accounting and aim for grades of “B” or higher.
  • If you already earned a master’s degree, the Admissions Committee will take your graduate level coursework into consideration when reviewing your application.
  • A strong score on the GMAT or GRE (especially on the quantitative section) can offset average or below average undergraduate performance.

Your standardized test scores:

The GMAT/GRE is used to compare academic potential across candidates and provides some prediction on performance in the core classes of the MBA program. It is one of the only aspects of the application that is standardized across candidates and the Admissions Committee will consider both your absolute performance (scores/percentiles) as well as your relative performance compared to other applicants.

If you are not confident with your GMAT or GRE score, consider the following:

  • Review the class profile for your desired program, especially the middle 80% range of the GRE and GMAT, when assessing your relative performance.
  • If you decide to take the exam more than once, the Admissions Committee will count your highest score.
  • Strong performance on the GMAT or GRE can help offset a weaker academic record.
  • A strong test score will not by itself get you admitted, nor will a weak test score by itself get you rejected.
  • An important part of standardized test success is preparing with adequate lead time – develop a study plan and map out when and how much you will prepare and how that timing fits with application deadlines.
  • The Admissions Committee looks at all components of the GRE or GMAT – including the writing portion and integrated reasoning.

Once the Admissions Committee concludes that you are academically qualified to be successful in the MBA or an MS program, they will then focus on many of the other areas of the application that will help to differentiate you from other candidates – level and type of prior work experience, recommendations, career goals, and fit for the program.  Many of those areas are within your control as you present your candidacy to the Admissions Committee.

Stay tuned for a future blog post with tips on how to put your best foot forward with work experience, recommendation letters, and essays. In the meantime, I encourage you to begin or continue working on your application. We look forward to reviewing it soon!

Interested in more application tips? Tune in to our “Preparing to Apply and Common Application Mistakes to Avoid” webinar tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 30. at 12 p.m EDT.