Class of 2021 Spotlight: Brandon Suber and Zeyu Yuan

Next up in our Class of 2021 Spotlight series are Brandon Suber and Zeyu Yuan, MS graduates in the Class of 2021:

Brandon Suber ’21 (MS in Finance)

Where are you headed over the summer?
This summer I will be moving to New York City to begin working as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company in their risk practice. Before moving, I hope to travel down to Mexico to scuba dive on Paradise Reef!

What was your favorite class and why?
My favorite class at Simon was Professional Communications with Professor Estad. I personally believe learning how to communicate in a business setting is the most important thing you can do to prepare for your career. This class fostered a comfortable and inclusive environment for everyone to grow as speakers. By having the opportunity to give and receive live presentation feedback, I felt more connected to my fellow students and invested in their success at Simon and beyond.

If you could use three words to describe your MS experience, what would they be?
Community, quantitative, and teamwork.

What have you learned that will help you most in your career?
In the past year, I learned a lot about how to quantify a company’s downside risk based on its underlying exposures. Getting into the mindset of dividing risk into its component factors will help me to faster identify and address the root cause of problems that my clients face throughout my career.

What is your favorite Simon memory?
In the week before graduation, Simon did a great job setting up socially distanced events for soon-to-be grads. My favorite memory was getting together and having fun with my friends that week. We went to an outdoor dance, played games at a picnic, and got to see so much more of what the Rochester area has to offer.

What advice do you have for prospective Simon students?
Network early and often! Do not be afraid to reach out to alumni on LinkedIn at the start of your program. This is the best way to learn about what you are interested in and the different opportunities available to Simon graduates. Once you know the industry you want to work in, getting a referral is the name of the game. Be sure to connect with the Benet Center for tips on how to get one!


Zeyu Yuan ’21 (MS in Business Analytics)

Where are you headed over the summer?
I will join Guidewire Software as a cyber data science intern this summer.

What was your favorite class and why?
My favorite course was GBA424 Analytics Design & Application because it allowed us to immerse ourselves in a sea of analytics projects tackling real-world problems, and it provided us with exceptional practical experience that we can proudly showcase to others/potential employers.

If you could use three words to describe your MS experience, what would they be?
Intensive, supportive, and transformative.

What have you learned that will help you most in your career?
What I believe will help me most in my future career is the analytics mindset that I developed throughout the program—knowing how to break problems into analytical tasks and generate business insights from data.

What is your favorite Simon memory?
I am honored and grateful to be a member of the Master’s Advisory Council, which gave me the opportunity to be a voice for my classmates by sharing their questions and improvements they would love to see, as well as to organize a series of networking events reinforcing the connections between current MS students and our alumni.

What advice do you have for prospective Simon students?
Stay motivated and manage your time at Simon wisely.

Class of 2021 Spotlight: Kitenge Ngongo and Jenna Callan

In the coming weeks, we will be highlighting a few members of our graduating class so prospective students can “meet” them and get a sense of where some of our recent graduates are heading.

We wish the very best of luck to all our graduates—the newest members of our alumni network. Don’t forget to keep in touch with your Simon family!

Kitenge Ngongo ’21S (MBA)

Where are you headed after graduation?  
Thermo Fisher Scientific in the General Leadership Development Program (GM track). I will be rotating through three functions in the next two years to gain exposure to the company and have an impact as I look to transition into a general manager role.

What was your favorite class and why?
Business Modeling with Professor Ravi Mantena. I loved being challenged and stretched with relevant business problems for seven weeks while collaborating with teammates. The challenges we faced as a team were invaluable.

If you could use a few words to describe your MBA experience, what would they be?
Relentless and rewarding.

What have you learned that will help you most in your new role?
Data analytics, particularly as it relates to making decisions using data.

What is your favorite Simon memory?
My favorite Simon memory is the house we built in Dutchtown with Habitat for Humanity as a part of Orientation week. It was awesome to partake in such a gratifying endeavor and build connections with new classmates at the same time.

What advice do you have for prospective Simon students?
Cast aside the “not having income for two years” worry. I personally used it as an excuse for way too long. The investment in yourself is 100% worth the sacrifice! And it goes very quickly! Also, visit campus—it will enlighten you so much as to whether Simon is the right fit for you.


Jenna Callan ’21S (MBA)

Where are you headed after graduation?
I am headed to Cognizant as a senior consultant in the Retail, Consumer Goods, Travel, and Hospitality Group.

What was your favorite class and why?
This is a ridiculously hard question because I could list almost every class I took—but Advanced Marketing Strategy with Mitch Lovett and Neal Burns not only pushed me to solve ambiguous problems quickly and creatively, but it also was a ton of fun! Also, anything Ravi Mantena or Jeanine Miklos-Thal teach are musts, simply because of their teaching style and personalities.

If you could use three words to describe your MBA experience, what would they be?
Community, challenging, and rewarding.

What have you learned that will help you most in your new role?
Simon gave me an entirely new way to look at problems. I am more analytical in my approach, more creative in my solutions, and more understanding of those around me—including the differing work styles and backgrounds we each bring to the table.

What is your favorite Simon memory?
The Forté Conference and Fall Ball 2019 are tied in my mind, but getting to hug my fellow vaccinated classmates for the first time in over a year during Grad Week was quite incredible!

What advice do you have for admitted Simon students?
Have faith in yourself. You were admitted for a reason and you are more than capable of achieving great things here! Remember your “why” for business school and let that guide you.

Simon Students Make a Positive Impact in the Rochester Community

Social impact is a key part of our Simon culture. Students pursue campus leadership opportunities to make a difference not only in our business school community but also in Rochester, the city we call home. 

To celebrate Earth Day this year, Simon students volunteered at several local organizations, sprucing up community gardens and even building a tiny library where local residents can pick up something new to read and leave books they would like to share with others. 

But our commitment to social impact goes way beyond Earth Day. During the 2020–2021 academic year, the Graduate Business Council and Net Impact created the Simon Impact Initiative, which culminated with a Net Impact award ceremony. To be eligible to win, Simon clubs were posed the following challenges:

  1. Have an impact—both with the club’s voice and its budget.
  2. Document the impact consistency throughout the year.
  3. Communicate that impact effectively in a way that demonstrates value to the club’s stakeholders.

After submitting both a metrics report and white paper to three committees consisting of faculty, alumni, and staff, Simon Volunteers won the social club category, Simon Black Student Alliance won the DEI club category, and the Simon School Venture Fund won the professional club category. Each winning club received additional budget to be used for impact-focused programming next year. We are so proud of our student leaders’ hard work and dedication to making a difference.

Here’s a look at the Simon Impact Initiative by the numbers:

  • 132 impact events held
  • 740 hours volunteered
  • 4,015 people engaged
  • $66,764 donated to or invested in community initiatives

Learn more about the Simon Impact Initiative in this video created by Andrew Datu ’21S (MBA):

If you’re looking to take the first step toward your future career while having a lasting impact on your business school and local community, you belong at Simon.

We are still accepting MBA applications for 2021 entry on a space-available basis and prospective students interested in our full-time MS programs—Accountancy, Business Analytics, Finance, and Marketing Analytics—can apply through June 15 to begin their studies this year. Better yet: our $90 application fee is waived for all 2021 applicants!

Contact admissions@simon.rochester.edu to discuss your candidacy.

Andrea Bell is Ready to Take on New Challenges with MBA Specializing in Consulting

The following article was written by Jen Roach, director of internal communications at the University of Rochester, and originally appeared in the UR Newscenter.

Andrea Bell is driven by her desire to solve problems and have a positive impact on people’s lives. After years of working for the federal government, Bell, who holds a master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, wanted to transition to a career in consulting. “And I knew I needed to go to business school to do that,” she says.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Bell.

Bell, who is from Baldwin, New York, graduates this spring from the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester with a STEM MBA in consulting, focused on strategy, with a minor in marketing.

She describes her Simon experience as “challenging yet rewarding.” In addition to her work in the classroom, Bell was involved with Simon’s student-led clubs and organizations, leading initiatives around career development, mental health and wellness, and racial equity.

Actively involved in Simon’s Graduate Business Council, she was elected to serve as the vice president of the Benet Career Management Center and Alumni Relations. For Black History Month, she helped moderate a virtual discussion with James Fripp, chief equity and inclusion officer with Yum! Brands, for a candid conversation with students and staff about his professional experiences in the field today. Additionally, she formed and helped lead with classmates a Racial Equity Task Force, which focused on advocating for systemic change and informed the equity, diversity, and inclusion action plan and forthcoming strategic plan for Simon.

Bell was also a coach for a team of first-year MBA students and served as a mentor for a Rochester undergraduate student through the Forté program.

“The opportunities I have had are because of the support I have received along my professional journey,” she says, noting that her goal was to serve as a resource for students as they navigated the hybrid school environment.

Additionally, during her first year in business school Bell served as project manager for Simon Vision Consulting and was a member of the board for Simon’s Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Board, a nonprofit that works to ensure equal representation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans in management careers in the US business community. Bell is also a Forté Fellow and an MBA Professional Development Program Fellow through Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a national nonprofit that aims to build a leadership pipeline from underrepresented communities.

This fall, Bell will begin a senior consultant position at Kalypso, an innovation consulting firm.

In the future, Bell hopes to empower people to achieve their career goals by opening her own career counseling practice with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion issues that are encountered by marginalized populations in work environments. She says she would also like to apply the knowledge she has learned about corporate governance by serving on a corporate board.

“Attending business school has allowed me to develop a foundational business acumen, expand my leadership experiences, and hopefully leave a legacy that ties in with the motto of the University of Rochester: Meliora,” Bell says.