Category: Posts by Rebekah

Advice From the Assistant Dean: How to Get Admitted in Round 3

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

Every year at this time, the emails and phone calls to the Admissions Office start rolling in from prospective students. They usually begin something like this:

“I know I am late in the application cycle, but I am really interested in Simon. Is it too late to apply and still be offered admission?”

Let me use this post to offer some perspective and reassurance. We have had a Round 3 deadline for years, and it is an important round for us to finalize our incoming Full-Time MBA and MS cohorts. Each year we admit great Round 3 candidates, and this year will be no different. We still have spots available and are eager to see top candidates apply so that we can offer admission and finalize our class. There are also still merit-based scholarships available to competitive candidates.

So here is what I would suggest if you are applying by March 15:

  • Make sure you have done your homework and can answer the question, “Why Simon?” Be sure to offer a compelling case for your interest in our MBA or MS program. Just as importantly, help us understand what value you will add and contribute during your studies here. “Fit” is really important and should not be underestimated in your application materials.
  • Get organized with your supporting materials – transcripts, recommendation, etc. – to ensure that everything can be submitted in a timely manner. While you can submit your application online without having other materials submitted, the longer we have to wait for these supporting materials, the later we will begin the review of your application.
  • Full-time MBA candidates should register for Experience Simon Weekend on March 23-24. If you attend, you have the option to schedule your admissions interview. This is the only option for a candidate-initiated interview during our application process and is a great chance for 1:1 face time with one of our staff or alumni interviewers. We offer travel support and hotel accommodations to attendees who visit from out of town.
  • You don’t have to have a perfect application profile to be admitted, but you do need the self-awareness to understand your strengths and weaknesses and to articulate them for the Admissions Committee. The optional essay can be a way to provide an explanation if you had a low semester of grades during college or a gap in your résumé.

So take the next step in pursuing your career dreams and apply to Simon by March 15.  We look forward to reviewing your application and getting to know you during the process!

As always, if you have questions about Simon, the application process, or our programs, feel free to reach out to our Admissions Office: admissions@simon.rochester.edu or 1-585-275-3533.

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.

Recommendations:

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.

Simon Students Attend Annual Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Orientation Program

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

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Atlanta, GA with Dean Ainslie and staff from the admissions, career management, and advancement offices. Our visit to Atlanta coincided with the 51st annual Orientation Program hosted by The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. As a board of trustee for The Consortium, I was excited to see the organization in action as they work to support the advancement of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans in business management roles.

CGSM_OP2017When we arrived Friday afternoon, I spent time with Julie Sadwick and Kelly Umansky greeting our 15 incoming MBA students and providing them with some Simon swag to wear during the conference. Later that evening, we hosted a private dinner for our students, alumni, staff, and guests at White Oak. Following engaging dinner conversation, we were honored to have Kathy Waller, Simon MBA and Consortium alumna and CFO of Coca-Cola, provide welcoming remarks and advice to our students. We then heard from Jim Doyle Jr., a successful entrepreneur and generous Simon donor and scholarship supporter who provided additional words of advice and encouragement to our students. Alumni and current students who attended the dinner provided lots of networking opportunities with work experience at companies such as 3M, Accenture, Bank of America, Booz Allen, Kimberly Clark, Merrill Lynch, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, and more.

CGSM_Classof2019Saturday morning marked the official kick-off to the conference, and after an engaging session with over 475 students from all 18 member B-schools, we moved into our School-hosted meetings. After our incoming MBA students were taught the School cheer “UR Simon,” we moved into an interactive session of practicing interview questions and introductions, designed to help students as they navigate the career fair and networking opportunities with more than 50 corporate partners. Later that morning, we had our School photo taken – one with just the students and another with all of the staff, alumni, and Simon contacts who were on site.

I left Saturday afternoon to return to Rochester, but the conference continued through Tuesday for our incoming students. Even though I was only there a short time, it was an amazing experience. I left with a sense of pride in our students, alumni, and staff – we have an amazing and talented group of individuals who are deeply committed to supporting each other, and I am honored to be a part of the Simon family.