Alumni and Students Interact Via #SimonGlobal

The following blog post was written by Kelly Valente ’19S (MBA)

#SimonGlobal is a speaker series that connects Simon Business School alumni with current students to provide career insights and strategy. Prospective business students will also benefit from this insight, so I’ve provided a summary of the conversations with three of our recent speakers:

  • Kevin Elguer Viana ’17S (MBA), Management Associate, Thomson Reuters
  • Cesar Garcia Brena ’04S (MBA), Principal, Arthur D. Little
  • Rahul Gupta ’17S (MBA), Senior Pricing Analyst, Thermo Fisher Scientific

The Power of “Soft Skills”

All three speakers emphasized the importance of “soft skills” in their daily careers after leaving Simon. Cesar encouraged students not to underestimate the power of soft skills and went on to emphasize the importance of negotiations, leadership, and influencing abilities.

“At the end of the day, attitude and energy are what will set you apart,” he said.

Kevin noted that behavioral interviews can actually be more important than case interviews because if you lack a technical skill, you can be taught. Behavioral interviews target qualities that are more intangible and allow employers to answer the question: “Do I want to sit next to you for eight hours a day?”

Rahul Gupta '17S (MBA)

Rahul Gupta ’17S (MBA)

Rahul agreed, and he added that soft skills “have gotten me where I am in the first six months.” He believes three attributes in particular set him apart:

-People skills. The exposure to different functions in Simon’s MBA program enabled him to communicate effectively with people in different roles.
-Presentations. Rahul raved about the Market Research class at Simon, which taught him to create concise and informative presentations.
-Prioritization. He noted the time management skills he built at Simon are helpful to him every day on the job.

Job Search Best Practices

During business school, most students will engage with alumni at some point. The three speakers shared their advice for current students now that they have alumni perspective on the interactions. Cesar emphasized the importance of finding a relevant connection to an alum and expressing it during your initial interaction. Take the time to read about their background and interests to see if there is a commonality you can build off.

Rahul shared best practices, such as drafting emails at night but only sending them out during working hours and thinking of the job search in bite size pieces, allocating dedicated 15- and 30-minute windows to the process. Finally, he noted you need to be prepared to answer the question: “Give me five reasons I should hire you over x-y-z and pay you 50% more than them.” If you can make a confident case for yourself, you will be better prepared to communicate your value to employers.

Kevin Elguer '17S (MBA)

Kevin Elguer Viana ’17S (MBA)

Kevin emphasized the importance of company fit. He discouraged applying to all the firms in your area of interest and advised taking the time to find companies that have a culture that resonates with you. Kevin found research in the Simon library to be extremely helpful in this process. In an interview, be sure to understand the question being asked and answer it directly. He gave an example: “If I’m asking you why you like cereal, don’t tell me that you like waffles.” Know your answers to what he calls the “why questions” by heart: Why your school? Why this company? Why this role?

Advice for International Students

Each speaker also shared some specialized advice for international students, after reflecting on their own experiences. Rahul emphasized the importance of understanding your target position first and your path to get there second. He realized that if you can’t start out in your “dream job,” it’s okay to start somewhere else and work toward your eventual goal. What matters most is finding a place where you feel you can thrive, as he has at Thermo Fisher.

Cesar Garcia Brena '04S (MBA)

Cesar Garcia Brena ’04S (MBA)

Cesar encouraged students not to narrow their search to only US-based firms. In fact, his own firm is currently hiring for positions in Texas and Mexico. Additionally, he advised if English is not your first language or strength, work to polish it because it’s the first thing employers notice. Fortunately, the University of Rochester offers a language partners program to help international students further refine their English language skills. Additionally, Kevin recommended that everyone take moments of pause during an interview, but he noted if you have a heavy accent, speaking slowly will be key.

“It’s the journey that teaches you.”

That’s how Rahul summarized his insights from his time at Simon and how the lessons he learned here have benefited him. His final advice was to take advantage of the time in business school to discover what you’re good at and strengthen your weak points—you have all the resources you need to be successful.

If you’re interested in viewing the full videos for each speaker, including industry specific advice, they are accessible on our YouTube channel.

Learn Why 82% of MS Students Choose Our Internship Track

At Simon, all four of our MS programs – accountancy, business analytics, finance, and marketing analytics – offer two programs of study: a 10-month track and a 17-month internship track.  This year, 82% of MS students chose the internship track. Listen to what past students have said about their internship track experience:


With a Simon MS, you have the flexibility to choose the course of study that best suits your situation. If you’re trying to decide between the two tracks, here are a few additional things to consider:

  • Internships are not required. The Career Management Center will supplement your networking efforts by posting internship opportunities you can apply for. If you do not end up completing an internship, you may use the summer to study for the CPA or CFA exam, network for your full-time job search, or build programming skills for specialty certifications.
  • The internship track gives you options. Whether it’s gaining experience in a new field prior to the full-time job search or building your professional network, the 17-month track builds flexibility into your program.
  • Regardless of the track you choose, the curriculum is the same. The only difference is timing. On the internship track, you will delay one of your classes until the second fall term. This class is offered remotely, but in order to complete the program you must return to Rochester for your last three hours of lecture and final exam at the end of the fall term.

Whether you take the 10-month track or the 17-month track, the path toward your future career begins at Simon. Apply now — we are still accepting applications for Fall 2018 entry! Applications are reviewed as they are received and scholarship support is always available.

If you have questions about the MS program tracks or any aspect of the application, please reach out to the Admissions Office

Get a Global Perspective at Simon

Scenes from the Ojiya Balloon Festival, just a short train ride from GSIM – Minamiuonuma, the partner university.

Scenes from the Ojiya Balloon Festival, just a short train ride from the partner university.

We believe a rigorous MBA program can and should be eye-opening on many levels. At Simon, you will be encouraged to explore and focus as never before – to gain a more profound understanding of what business means in the world, the leader you can be, and the impact you can make.

Part of expanding your understanding of the global business marketplace is to see it up close. To help you do that, in the winter term of the second year of the MBA program you may study abroad in the following locations:

  • Finland: Aalto – Helsinki
  • Germany: WHU – Düsseldorf
  • Japan: GSIM – Minamiuonuma
  • Mexico: IPADE – Mexico City

Prior to pursuing an international exchange program, you will develop strategic academic objectives and a required job search plan to help you maximize your experience on a personal and professional level. You will also have the opportunity to network in a new culture and make lasting connections as you embark on your career.

Aileen Hayman ’17S (MBA) made a point to travel nearly every weekend during her time abroad.

Aileen Hayman ’17S (MBA) traveled nearly every weekend during her time abroad.

Several students from the MBA Class of 2018 are just returning from their time abroad in Germany, and one of our 2017 MBA graduates, Aileen Hayman, business excellence consultant at Nationwide Insurance, reflected on her time in Japan last winter:

“My three months abroad broadened my perspective, enriched my MBA education, and expanded the skill set that I apply in my career today. With so few MBA programs offering international exchange opportunities, Simon Business School leverages it to create a well-rounded and truly valuable curriculum.”

Get a global perspective at Simon. Apply now – we are still accepting applications for Fall 2018 entry, and applications are reviewed as they are received. Scholarship support is always available, but apply as soon as possible to maximize your chances of securing an admission offer and a scholarship award.

Simon Ranked Among Best MBAs for Women

We are pleaWomen MBA1sed to share the following very exciting news: The Financial Times has ranked Simon Business School No. 13 in the United States and No. 21 in the world in a ranking of the top 50 MBAs for women. The Financial Times combined several data points including salary information, pay gap, and institution reported data. Simon ranks No. 1 in the US for women closing the pay gap versus their male counterparts with a 148% salary increase from pre-MBA to post-MBA careers.

Attracting students to Simon has always been a priority. Through the Forté Foundation and Simon Women in Business, we’ve developed crucial scholarships, symposiums, and networking groups that help women flourish in business.

These rankings are a positive reflection of Simon’s students, alumni, faculty, and staff. We seeIWDk to continue our momentum by recruiting top students to our programs and providing a premier graduate school experience. Our ultimate goal is the success of all our graduates, and this goal is at the heart of everything we do.

These rankings were released just ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8). Simon marked the occasion by encouraging students, faculty, and staff to wear purple and to attend a Forté Foundation webinar: “Is it Just Me? Recognizing and Overcoming Unconscious Bias at Work.” We had a great turnout and came together as a community to learn about how we can all continually strive toward an equitable work force.