Category: Student Blogs

Three Most-Asked Questions about Simon’s MS in Business Analytics Program

The following blog post was written by Jen Park, MS in Business Analytics Class of 2018

Choosing a graduate program is as hard a decision as choosing the right b-school. Thus, I want to address the three most-asked questions I receive as an MS in Business Analytics student at Simon.

  1. Do you need programming background? No! In fact, I didn’t have programming experience before coming to Simon. However, as you might have guessed from our admission process, which does not require you to take computer science or tech-related classes, our program is designed to train students from “ground zero” to professional level by the time of graduation. During our first term, we took classes on R programming, stats, economics, and marketing. Once we became more familiar with programming, we were ready to tackle the next introductory classes on business analytics. Essentially, our classes build upon each other, and in winter and spring, we will work on a project with professors and companies to apply the skills we acquired in classes to real-world business situations.
  2. Do you nJen Parkeed an undergraduate degree in business? Some prospective students worry that they are unqualified to apply because they do not have an undergraduate business major, such as economics or marketing. Rest assured that you do not need a business major in order to apply. My classmates come from various academic backgrounds, including physics, biology, mathematics, and engineering. And, similar to my previous answer, there are introductory business classes in the program to help all students get on the same page. The most important thing is not where you are coming from, but your passion for data analytics!
  3. What do you like about your business analytics classes? First off, Simon has always been big on data, even before it became a trend – Simon professors are very knowledgeable and experienced working in this area. Secondly, I like how we are learning the most important skills to become a data analyst: R, Python, SQL, and Tableau. They are not only interesting subjects to learn, but also the most wanted skills in the industry. Lastly, taking business classes is advantageous. Since Simon is a business school, we have the advantage of taking both data analytics classes and business classes! The majority of my classmates will be looking for full-time work after graduation so understanding the business landscape is another crucial asset.

If you’re considering applying to Simon’s MS in Business Analytics program, I hope you found this blog post helpful! Please feel free to contact the Admission Office or a Simon Admissions Ambassador if you have questions.

Taking Risks and Reaping Rewards

The following blog post was written by Koji Takagi, MBA Class of 2019

I recently took a big risk. I left my comfortable job. I left a familiar place. Most difficult of all, I moved 6 hours and 36 minutes away (by plane) from my wife. I did these things so I could further develop myself by earning an MBA at Simon. Several times a week, I mutter to myself: “why in the world did I do this? My life was so comfortable.” True, my life was comfortable, but that does not mean that I was living up to my potential.

To remind myself that this risk was worthwhile, I want to take some time to number several of the rewards that have resulted from taking this risk:

Koji1) I gained a network of brilliant, kind individuals. I haven’t met someone yet who would not be willing to help me. I have a classmate who took the time to teach me some calculus just because he wanted to help. I have a classmate who, hopefully, will become a business partner someday. I have also met a number of alumni who have taken the time to get to know me and have shared their experiences. These interactions have helped me realize that what I am doing will help me get to where I want to go.

2) I am learning so much. Simon wants everyone to be aware of its reputation: a program that is unabashedly analytical. I can vouch for this 100 percent. Every class takes an analytical approach to learning, which is shoring up my skills in this area. Simon also has world-class faculty. Lectures are engaging, even subjects that I am indifferent to, like accounting.

3) I am having new experiences. I did a ropes course and I went zip lining during Orientation, two things that I would never have done before. By the way, I probably won’t do either again. But, I am happy I tried. I went to New York City for networking events and Philadelphia for a networking conference. So much happens during an MBA.

This list could easily go on for a while, but I think you get the idea. Sometimes it is good to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk. A wild ride and some unexpected rewards are likely waiting for you.

​Cheers.

Five Tips from a B-School Student for Navigating the Admissions Process

The following blog post was written by Lucas Nudelman, MS in Marketing Analytics Class of 2018

Even though I have nearly half of my MS program under my belt (which is hard to believe!), I can easily remember the application process. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect, here’s my best advice for prospective students applying for fall 2018 entry: lucas_nudelman

1.) Visit every target school (within your budget). For some interviews, I was allowed to utilize Skype, and for others, I was required to visit campus. At first I saw this as an inconvenience, but it truly did help me make my decision. It’s a great chance to evaluate if you can see yourself on campus, at that business school, and in that city for the next 1-2 years.

2.) GMAT/GRE scores aren’t everything. This works both ways, which is to say that amazing scores cannot save an otherwise weak applicant, just like an otherwise qualified applicant should not be discouraged by scores falling outside the ‘typical’ applicant range for any given school. If you have a dream school, pursue it.

 3.) Apply ASAP. Often, the early deadlines are your best chance of admission to any B-school and they are also likely your best chance for scholarships or other financial support.

4.) Do your research. It is so important to know what you are getting yourself into, and please keep in mind that rankings alone are not a good indicator of your personal best fit. Does the school place well in your target cities/industries/companies? How much does the school invest in career-building and networking opportunities? Is the curriculum geared toward your career interests? These questions are important to consider when narrowing your target schools.

5.) Reach out! Make an effort to speak with professors, current students, career services, etc. before making a decision. Not only will this help you make the right choice, but it will also show the admissions staff how interested and serious you are about pursuing your advanced degree.

Here’s a bonus tip: Be yourself. Whether it’s a Skype conversation or a campus visit, let your personality shine through. Admissions staff do not only look at your resume, essays, transcripts and scores–they look at who you are as a person! Do you have an engaging personality? Would you add a new perspective to your classes and the school? I remember having a 10-minute conversation with an admissions officer at a recruiting weekend about my passion for preparing meals solely in a toaster oven. To this day, I believe that personal connection is one of the factors that helped get me to Simon.

I wish you the best of luck in your search and hope to see you in Rochester for a visit to Simon! Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you might have!

The Staircase: Summer Internship Reflections with Alyssa Rinck, MBA Class of 2018

The following blog post was written by Alyssa Rinck, MBA Class of 2018 and former summer associate at Cognizant

Nail the GMAT. Get accepted to a top school. Land your dream internship. Convert that internship into a job offer.

If you’re interested in business school, it’s likely these things are on your radar. They were on mine too when I started my business school journey. These things remain important. There are a lot of resources out there to guide you through this process, and I am certainly not here to tell you what to do. But I am here to give you a piece of advice: how to survive when you have the high expectation to achieve all of these things. Business school is stressful, but if you take a deep breath and take things one step at a time, you will thrive.

While you will be defined by the big decisions you make during your journey, you will be remembered by the combination of small choices you made along the way. Small steps in the right direction lead to great opportunity. People notice the little things.

When I started searching for a summer internship, I was focused on the big picture. I had just been accepted to Simon. Shortly after, I signed on with Cognizant Consulting as a summer associate in their retail practice. For a moment, I felt a huge sense of relief but then was immediately overwhelmed with a rush of anxiety. I landed the internship but getting the job offer seemed like a big feat.

Cognizant is a technology-driven consulting firm, and I was assigned to support an engagement with a top fortune retailer’s innovation lab in Silicon Valley. I knew very little about technology. On top of feeling the pressure to network with executives and showcase my work ethic, I had a lot to learn quickly about the tech world. Instead of taking the mindset that I was at a disadvantage, I took this as a great learning opportunity. I headed in to my first day on the job motivated to make the best of the experience.

When I arrived that day, I met my supervisor. He was a data scientist by trade and consultant by twist of fate. He told me I would be working on a project building machine learning solutions. These solutions would allow our client to add more third party products to their website (in order to compete with Amazon). I had spent several years before business school working for Macys.com/Macy’s Inc. so I was confident in my retail knowledge, but I had no idea where to start with machine learning.

After the meeting, I was stressed. What if I couldn’t add value to the engagement? I was not an expert on the subject by any means. I consciously reminded myself to have confidence, to move forward. I spent my evenings on YouTube researching. I woke up to get into the office early, so I could build a rapport with the main client point of contact. Soon I could speak the language of the software engineers on our floor. Eventually, I felt comfortable asking our client contact for help because we had a standing meeting to grab tea every morning, right after he got settled. By the time I was midway through my internship I had hit a groove.

I used this to accelerate my learning even further. I kept putting myself in positions where I was the least knowledgeable in the room. My perception of consultants before I began my internship was far different than it was at the end. At first, I thought consultants had to know everything and were paid for that expertise. I soon realized that consultants are valued for their ability to continuously ask the right questions and gather the right information.

When it came time to deliver my final recommendation based on the work I had done throughout the course of the summer, I was confident. I knew almost every stakeholder in the room. I was not shy to ask them for help building my final deck. I had their buy in, what could I be worried about? In full disclosure, I was very nervous, but I knew what I had to say was supported by months of hard work. I left that final meeting with several pats on the back and some smiles from the client.

alyssa_rinckThe morning following my final day as a Cognizant summer associate, I packed up for a long awaited trip to Peru. I had plenty of time for personal reflection throughout the trip, but I reached a moment of clarity on a hike along the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. About two thirds of the way through the hike, we reached what felt like the billionth stone staircase. Each set of stairs built by the Incas seemed steeper and longer than the last. My legs were already burning–there was no way I was making it to see the end. I wanted so badly for the guide to leave me right then and there to lay down and rest with the llamas. Somehow I found motivation to take on those stairs, and it was so worth it. This staircase was quite literally a metaphor for my summer with Cognizant.

When it all seems overwhelming, remember to take that deep breath. Take that one small step toward your goal. In the end, those small steps add up to something really incredible.

I came back from Peru with an offer from Cognizant, the aptitude to build my own machine learning models, and the newfound confidence to take on the world.