Author Archive

From the South to Simon

 By Austin Greenwalt

Are you nervous about coming to Simon from a different part of the country, or even world?  Having grown up and lived in the South for my entire life, I expected quite a deal of culture shock when moving to Rochester.  Upon moving here, I realized that there are definitely differences between the two, but I’ve grown to truly enjoy Rochester.

I have always been a big sports enthusiast- both watching and playing.  Until recently, I thought that participating in outdoor sports was off-limits during the winter because of the snowfall.  Apparently, I just never thought of sports meant for the snow, such as cross country skiing.  Simon’s Winter Sports Club not only educates on outdoor sports for the winter, but also provides an active group of people to enjoy the outdoors with.  In addition, the University of Rochester has a state of the art indoor recreation center featuring full size tennis courts, an indoor soccer/lacrosse field, an indoor swimming pool, and other indoor recreation facilities.  If you’re more of a spectator, watching the Red Wings or Rochester Americans are some great ways to spend a weekend night.  I was glad to learn that snowfall wouldn’t inhibit my love for sports.   

Another pressing issue that concerned me was leaving some of my favorite restaurants and food styles behind.  After just living here for a couple weeks, I was amazed by the selection of food in Rochester- from the international cuisines to restaurants with wings that rival the best in the world.  Rochester definitely gives enough variety to satisfy just about any palette.  After dinner the city also offers a great selection of nightlife venues.  Murphy’s Law is a favorite place to grab a beer, or right across the street from Murphy’s are some great clubs if you’re more into dancing.  Trust me when I say that Rochester’s wining and dining options should suit any personality. 

The move to upstate New York was intimidating at first, but after a few days of settling in, I found that Rochester is a friendly city that makes it easy for a smooth transition.  I came with many expectations (even some negative ones), but I’ve found Rochester to be a very enjoyable experience.

What Does it Mean to Be a Simon Partner?

By Caitlin DeClercq

After more than a year as a Simon Partner—the wife of a Simon student—I now have a much better appreciation for how the size and culture of the Simon School has not only shaped my husband’s experiences, but mine as well. 

One of the things that drew my husband to the Simon school was its size: a relatively smaller class size meant better access to faculty, more personal engagement with his peers and team members, and therefore a deeper and more meaningful learning experience.   Indeed, he credits the small class size of Simon with having great benefit to his educational experience and personal growth over the last year and a half. 

What’s surprising to me is how beneficial the relatively small size of Simon has been for me as well. 

Just last week, while giving a tour of Simon to a prospective student (and his wife), I was surprised to see so many familiar faces in the building: students I’ve met through Simon school events, fellow members of the UNCorked student club I’m a part of, and professional staff I’ve worked with to organize the Simon Partners Club.  Though I’m not a student at Simon, I feel like part of the Simon community.  Having moved to Rochester from California—so far away from family and friends—I am particularly grateful for the opportunities I have had to engage with Simon students, partners, and professional staff. 

But it’s not just the class size of Simon that has enabled me to become part of the community: it’s also the collaborative and inclusive culture of the school.  For example, partners are invited to many events in the Simon community, such as lectures and social activities, and are also allowed to join any club at Simon.  Love to dance?  Great!  You can join the Simon Dance Club!  Want to learn more about wine?  Fabulous!  Join the UNCorked club!  There are clubs for a variety of sports and academic interests as well, so there is truly something for everyone at Simon. 

What I enjoy the most about leading the Simon Partners Club the chance it gives me to play a role in connecting incoming and current partners with other members of the Simon community who share their interests. 

Due to the number of ways I have been able to be part of the Simon community, the Simon school will always be more than just my husband’s MBA school.  It will also be the place in which I was able to befriend other partners, learn more about wine, and make Rochester a true home for a couple of years. 

Caitlin DeClercq is the president of the Simon Partners Group, a social club designed for and operated by the spouses, families, and significant others of Simon Students.  She is also a graduate student in the Health Professions Education Program at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education.  Caitlin can be reached via email at


More “Early Leaders Case Competition” Excitement!

By: Steve MacLean

The Simon School is currently accepting applications for the 2010 Early Leaders Case Competition, which will take place on November 12th and 13th.  This two-day event is open to undergraduate students who are interested in applying their problem-solving skills to provide a solution to a business case study.  Participants will be assigned to teams and will have less than 24 hours to prepare a presentation with their recommendations to a panel of judges.  The Simon School will provide meals, as well as accommodations for those traveling from outside of the Rochester area.  In addition, there are cash prizes for the top-placing teams.

Even more enticing than the opportunity to win a cash prize is the experience that participants will gain from this event.  I had the pleasure of participating in the 2008 competition, during my Junior year.  This was the first time that I participated in a case competition and the event turned out to be one of the most valuable experiences that I had during my undergraduate years.

Being assigned to a diverse team, working under rigid time constraints, and presenting in front of a panel of business leaders and professors are the main reasons that this experience was so valuable.  The assigned teams and tight deadline will challenge an individual’s ability to work effectively with a group of new acquaintances.  Presenting in front of experienced professionals will test one’s public speaking skills and ability to defend his or her recommendations.  The competition gives students the opportunity to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply the knowledge in a real world situation.

My team proved to have worked well together, as we were one of the top-placing teams.  There were several key takeaways in addition to the prize money that I received. The event enabled me to: reflect on my style of working with others amid tight deadlines, preview the diverse teams that I may encounter in graduate school or a future job, and gain relevant stories to share during future interviews for internships and graduate school.

Speaking of graduate school, the event gave me the opportunity to meet several Simon School students and to learn about the MBA Program.  Based on my experience at the Early Leaders Case Competition and what I learned about the school’s MBA Program, I determined that Simon would be an excellent fit for my graduate studies.  I joined the Full-Time MBA Program in January 2010 and am truly enjoying my time and studies at Simon. I am currently helping in the Admission’s office to ensure this upcoming ELCC event is as excellent as past ones.

Please visit the Early Leaders Case Competition webpage for more information about the event and the application process. Feel free to contact me as well with further questions at

Persistence, a Strike of Luck (2 Actually), and My Dream Internship

By Hitesh Nathani
M.B.A Candidate, Class of 2011

Everyone knows well enough that networking and active participation in clubs help in interviews. If you have ever wondered how exactly does it help, read my story…

The end of the second quarter is considered by many as the most hectic time at the Simon School – with seemingly infinite assignments and projects suddenly becoming due in the final two weeks. It was right then when I got my first interview call from Rio Tinto. While I had been networking for literally every company that I had applied to, for some reason, I had not networked with anybody from Rio Tinto. A quick search through the alumni database gave me two names – the CFO and a financial associate, who had joined just recently. I decided to speak to the latter, even though she was in a totally different department. I was applying for the position of a Business Improvement Consultant, whereas she was in Corporate Finance.

Because her profile was so dissimilar from mine, the conversation was mainly about general topics like work culture. She explained to me a culture of safety sharing that was followed at every meeting and was taken very seriously at Rio Tinto.

On the interview day, the interviewer mentioned that before he began the interview, he would like to tell me about their safety sharing culture. When I mentioned that I actually already knew about it, he was awed, because none of this is mentioned on the internet. The interview started on a positive note, and everything went uphill from there.

I received the second round interview call in less than 24 hours – this time with the CFO himself. He is an alumnus of the Class of 1991 and didn’t know about the club mentioned in my résumé (for which I am the President) – Simon United (which was formed just a few years ago). Understandably, his first question was – ‘What is this Simon United?’ to which the shortened version of my response was somewhat like ‘Simon United is a cultural club at the Simon School that holds one of the biggest quarterly events at Simon – Broaden Your Horizons (BYH).” During our first quarter, along with my friends, I was given the opportunity to represent my home country, India, in front of an audience of over 150 people. I also did a dance performance. I think diversity is the heart of the Simon School, and was thus motivated to lead the club’. I had prepared all sorts of behavioral questions but not this one. This was spontaneous but passionate. Looking retrospectively, it showed that I embrace diversity (similar to the Rio Tinto culture), it showed that I can communicate in front of a large audience, and it showed my leadership skills. I think the CFO got all his answers from this one example. He had made up his mind – the rest of the interview was just to confirm it. I did go to Denver this summer to pursue my internship, and am raring to go.

The above is just one of the many advantages of networking and participating in extra-curricular’s. I have learned many more lessons through networking that I will probably share with you in my future blogs!