My Simon Story!

My first introduction to the Simon School came as I was exploring part-time MBA programs while at my first job after graduating from Georgia Tech.  I was the Logistics Engineer for a division of Carrier Corporations (United Technologies) in Syracuse, NY (about 80 miles east of Rochester).  I enjoyed engineering, but wanted to gain a better grasp of business concepts especially in finance and accounting.  My boss raved about how amazing the Simon School was and encouraged me to focus my attention on joining the top part-time program in upstate New York.  As a non-matriculant, I commuted to Rochester in the evenings and took four courses.  These core courses were intensive and far more challenging than I had initially imagined.  After my fourth class, I decided to leave my position at Carrier and used much of what I had learned from those first courses at Simon to launch me into a consulting career at BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting).  BearingPoint moved me to Mountain View, California to serve large Commercial Banks and Credit Card Companies on the west coast.  I realized throughout my years at BearingPoint how valuable those courses had been. 

Several years later, I decided to return to business school to get an MBA.  I applied to the top-schools in the country and was accepted to two schools in the top-15, but felt that Simon really had the best to offer. I liked the fact that it was the smallest school in the top-25 and that students receive so much personalized attention.  I had visited so many schools that felt pretentious and Simon just felt genuine.  I entered the full-time MBA program in the Fall of 2007 and have loved every minute of it.  I like the fact that you get to know everyone in the MBA program, which creates a very tight community at Simon and a strong network upon graduation.  At Simon, we live by our school motto (“Meliora” – which means “ever better”) so we are constantly looking at ways to improve ourselves, our school and our community.  With this common objective, many people take on important leadership roles to initiate the change and everyone participates in a variety of clubs.  In my first year, I was elected as a first-year MBA representative on the Graduate Business Council (GBC), which is the student government at the Simon School.  The first two quarters are very, very challenging.  It is well known throughout the business school community that Simon’s MBA program is one of the most academically intensive.  This makes it a struggle to balance your career search and social life/family, but it can be done!  Networking takes a lot of your time, but Simon alumni are very friendly.  I believe this is because of the small class size, which creates an alumni network that has higher quality.  Through my networking and informational interviews, I initially believed I wanted to go into asset management.  I secured a great  summer internship at MetLife Investments in Morristown, NJ (just outside NYC).  MetLife Investments is a top-25 Money Management firm in the world and manages approximately $350B in its general accounts.  My internship was in Portfolio Management and it was a great experience, but after my internship I was still not convinced that asset management was the correct field for me. 

In my second year, I was honored to serve as President of the GBC which was a great opportunity to make Simon even better.  I got to see first-hand how privileged we all are to be associated with such a fine institution.  Each year the current and former GBC presidents represent the Simon School at a global conference which convenes the student leaders of the top-50 business schools in the world.  This year, we went to Taipei, Taiwan and were able to develop “best practices” across the business school community.  At Simon, we are fortunate to have the most dedicated faculty and staff.  The Dean is readily accessible and is passionate about the success of each student, which is unheard of at any top-tier business school.  We also have a strong community.  We have great cultural organizations (National Black, Latin American Student Organization, Jewish Association of MBA’s, Simon Association of Women MBA’s, Pacific Basin Forum, Simon United, etc.), sports clubs (Soccer, Tennis and Golf), professional clubs (Consulting/Operations/Technology, Financial Management, Marketing, Health Sciences, Entrepreneurship, etc) and tons of others (Simon Volunteers, UNcorked, Net Impact, etc.).  This makes for a very busy social calendar with excellent programming that develops our professional skills, our career search, and allows us to have a great time.  In addition to all the fun, our second year is also very academically intensive as you dive into your chosen concentration(s).  My concentrations were in Finance, Competitive and Organizational Strategy and Entrepreneurship.  Just as it is a struggle to balance everything in the first year, the second year was even more intensive due to the career search, especially given the economic situation.  I interviewed for a wide variety of companies throughout the winter and decided to return to consulting.  I just finished my coursework and will graduate on June 14th.  In July, I will be joining Booz Allen Hamilton’s Economic and Business Analysis (EBA) group and will be moving to their headquarters in the Washington DC area.  I am really thankful for my awesome experience at Simon and look forward to being an active alumnus.


Charles “Dusty” Riddle

President – Graduate Business Council

Simon Leadership Fellow & 2009 MBA Candidate

Simon Graduate School of Business

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