Category: Posts by Rebekah

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.

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.

Applying in the March application round? Here are some tips and pointers.

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

If you are reading this blog, you are probably contemplating 2017 entry for the Rochester Simon MBA or MS program. As you plan for B-school, you are likely to encounter conversations about the pros and cons of applying for the March application round. Although we have already extended a number of offers for our enrolling cohorts, there are still spaces available for each program. If you think now is the right time, we encourage your interest and application, as we are excited to find the best candidates from each application round for our programs.

Important considerations for the March application deadline:

  • Have your application materials ready to submit on or before the deadline. You don’t want to have your application delayed from a review due to a recommendation not being submitted on time or not having your transcripts ready to submit.
  • Make sure you are comfortable with your profile – this includes a quick assessment of the middle 80% profile for candidates admitted to your target program. If you fall within these ranges, for most of the criteria, then there is a stronger likelihood that you arSimone a potential fit.
  • Be ready to share why you did not apply earlier in the application cycle. The Admissions Committee realizes that you may have waited to put your “best foot forward” or may have had circumstances that have changed recently that caused you to reconsider the timing for B-school.
  • Save up vacation time so that you are ready to take time off to visit campus if you are offered an admission interview on campus – this is a great way to stand out to the Admissions Committee and show your commitment to Simon.
  • If admitted, you will have less time to contemplate an offer – generally 2-3 weeks after admission, you will be asked to confirm your seat and pay an enrollment deposit.

What about international applicants?

  • There are still spots for both US and international candidates. However, the timelines to secure a visa and the associated paperwork take extra time, so you should expect even shorter timelines to pay your deposit and prove financial support for your studies.

Is financial aid still available?

  • Merit scholarship is available across all rounds but may be more competitive – especially going into the May application round.
  • The International Student Loan Program (no co-signer required) for the Full-time MBA program also has some funding available for spring applicants. It’s important to apply as soon as possible to maximize your opportunity for consideration.
  • Federal student loans and other educational loans for domestic students are also available to finance your studies, as most financial aid packages are finalized around June each year.

There are still a few weeks left to put together your application for our March 15 deadline to the full-Time MBA or MS program. Good luck as you put the finishing touches on your application, and we will look forward to reviewing it as we enroll our cohort. Good luck! As always we are happy to answer any questions that arise. Contact us at: or +1-585-275-3533.