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Student Spotlight: Allen Bediako, 2017 MBA Candidate

Allen Bediako is a 2017 MBA candidate and Simon Leadership Fellow studying marketing and competitive and organizational strategy.

Tell me a little about what you were doing before you came to business school. I worked for a consulting firm in two different divisions. The first involved a Congressional Task Force on military health. We conducted focus groups to collect survey data, both qualitative and quantitative, about how service members and their families were interacting with the military health system. Based on those discussions, we made recommendations for improvements to Congress. The second project involved the implementation of health and social programming with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We provided consulting, business development, and technical assistance to clients working within the family- and self-sufficiency field.

Allen Bediako is a 2017 MBA candidate and Simon Leadership Fellow.

Allen Bediako is a 2017 MBA candidate and Simon Leadership Fellow studying marketing and competitive and organizational strategy.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? I had a great manager who allowed me to be in stretch roles, and in those roles I became interested in brand management. Even though my projects were more focused on implementation, I was intrigued by how people thought about the projects based on how they were presented. I realized the only way I could make a long-term career out of this interest was to pursue an MBA. I knew that qualitative information can help you understand what’s happening in a situation but that the quantitative information is often what is needed to convince a group to coalesce around a plan and move forward.

Why Simon? I had a friend who went to Simon and he introduced me to the school. He just loved it. He told me to visit, and when I got here I realized why he loved it so much. There’s a great atmosphere at Simon. It doesn’t feel cutthroat among students here; instead, the community celebrates one another’s success. When I visited other places, I could tell that the experience was not as collaborative—you could just sense it when you spoke to the students. At Simon, the students I spoke to were both responsive and straightforward. I wanted to know the great things about business school but also wanted to be prepared for the challenging aspects, and talking to the students helped me to prepare for my life as an MBA candidate. At Simon, I was able to get a good sense of who people were, and they struck me as people I wanted to spend time around—you spend a great deal of your time with your MBA classmates, so this is important! I could see myself in the students I talked to, and therefore I could see myself at Simon. Beyond the community aspect, I really wanted an economics and quantitative-focused institution, and there was no mistaking Simon’s reputation in that area.

What is life like as a student? I am a first-year Graduate Business Council representative, which gives me insight into student influence at the school. I work in the Admissions Office as an admissions ambassador and event ambassador. I’ve really enjoyed these roles because current students helped me assess my fit at Simon, and I’m glad to now be a part of that process for others. I also volunteer as an assistant coach with the University of Rochester Men’s Basketball Team. This has been a fun opportunity for me to connect with the larger University outside of Simon and to also connect with the greater Rochester community in meeting players and coaches from other local schools.

What advice do you have for prospective students? Don’t underestimate the importance of fit when you’re choosing your MBA program. You’ll spend two years of your life as an MBA student, so while you want to study at a place that will give you a quality education, don’t lose sight of finding a place that will also provide an experience that is personally fulfilling. I would suggest visiting as many schools as you can. You can’t learn everything you need to know about them from a website. Be open minded to new opportunities and don’t be afraid to take a risk. The MBA program will challenge you, but you will find a way to succeed and when you do, you’ll be better positioned to meet future challenges with confidence.

If you have questions for Allen, feel free to contact him.

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