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Category: Admission Tips

Test Drive Your MS or MBA with a Non-Matriculated Start

Wondering if a Simon Business School MBA or MS is right for you? Find out with our non-matriculated start option!

If you need more time to complete your application (or just want to try out classes before applying), we offer a non-matriculated option to take up to two classes in our Executive MBAProfessional MBAOnline MS in Business Analytics for Managers, or MS in Medical Management programs before submitting your application. Non-matriculated students need a “B” average in Simon classes (along with meeting other application requirements) to be admitted.

Why a Non-Matriculated Start?

  • Discover firsthand if one of our part-time programs—all designed specifically for working professionals—is the right fit for you.
  • Ease yourself into b-school and complete two courses toward your MBA or MS degree before formally applying to your program of choice.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to academic excellence in graduate education to the Admissions Committee, and increase your likelihood for admission.
  • Earn eligibility to waive the GMAT/GRE requirement for admission to Simon’s Professional MBA and Online MS in Business Analytics for Managers program.

You can learn more about our non-matriculated start options for our part-time programs designed for working professionals by reviewing this recording of our recent event, Test Drive Your MS or MBA. In addition, schedule a chat with an Admissions counselor to confirm your eligibility and discuss next steps to begin classes.

Contact us by August 18 so that we can “save” a spot for you in our upcoming Fall Orientation sessions! We will share information on how to secure an application fee waiver (up to $150 value) and key upcoming dates to guide you through the application process.

We hope you’ll decide to accelerate your career and start classes with us later this month!

A Sneak Peek at 2023 Application Requirements—Essays and More!

With just about two weeks until Simon Business School’s full-time application for Fall 2023 entry launches, we wanted to provide you with some additional information so you have everything you’ll need to apply well before our first deadline (October 15).

First, if you didn’t attend live, view this recording of our recent webinar, “Getting Ready to Apply to Simon: Five Things to Work on Now,” to review application requirements and receive advice directly from members of Simon’s Admissions Committee.

Here’s some additional information to help you get started:

You’ll need the following to complete Simon’s online application:

  • Transcripts (undergraduate as well as any graduate transcripts)
  • GMAT, GRE, or Executive Assessment* (EA is for MBA only)
  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test* (international applicants only)
  • Résumé
  • Essays
  • Optional: Video Essay
  • Two References
  • $90 Application Fee*
  • Optional: InitialView (MS Only)

*Waiver available.

Our application has two mandatory essays. When you are preparing your responses, make sure you fully answer the question, stay within the word count (250–500 words), and run your responses by a friend or family member before submitting—if they can guess what the prompt was, chances are you did a great job addressing it! The essays for 2023 entry are as follows:

Essay One:

  • Describe your short-term and long-term post-graduation goals.
  • Given the fluctuation of economic and industry hiring trends, identify a back-up plan should your short-term goal not be immediately attainable.
  • How does your past education and experience support your career objectives?
  • Lastly, what aspects of your intended Simon Business School program make it a good choice for your graduate study?

Essay Two:

Simon’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has been long-standing and demonstrated by our diverse student profile. An essential part of our mission is to foster diversity of thought throughout our wide breadth of curricular and co-curricular activities in order to help develop students into global business leaders. In recognition of this, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Simon as the No. 2 most diverse MBA program among its top-50 business schools. As a Simon student, how will you contribute to Simon’s pledge to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access?


  • We require a business formatted résumé (not a CV) and recommend it be no longer than two pages.
  • Focus on quantifying your accomplishments and be sure to keep the formatting clean and easy to read.


  • Reach out to two people who can affirm your professional strengths to ask them if they would be comfortable providing a reference for you to speak on your post-business school goals and motivation. We do not accept recommendation letters, however the Admissions Committee may contact your references during the application review process for additional perspective.
  • We recommend choosing professional references if at all possible—this can include an internship supervisor if you have limited work experience.

We wish you all the best as you prepare for business school! Please reach out to us if you have any questions!

Q&A with Rebekah Lewin, Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions and Programs

The following post is a Q&A with Rebekah Lewin titled Admissions Director Q&A: Rebekah Lewin of the University of Rochester, Simon Business School, that was originally conducted by Lauren Wakal from Clear Admit for its Admissions Director Q&A series. Read it here.

Rebekah Lewin, Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions and Programs at the University of Rochester, Simon Business School, has over 20 years of undergraduate and graduate admissions and program management experience, primarily at the University of Rochester. In her current role, she oversees strategy related to recruitment, admissions, financial aid, career management and student experience aspects for all MBA and MS programs. Rebekah is involved in several board and advisory roles, including serving on the Board of Trustees for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and the Forté School Advisory Council. Rebekah holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Roberts Wesleyan College and an MBA from Simon.

Read on for her insights into the Simon MBA application, program and more.

Clear Admit: What is the one aspect of your program that you wish applicants knew more about?
Rebekah Lewin: We have one of the most diverse MBA programs in the US—in terms of our racial and ethnic diversity (more than 30% of incoming domestic students), gender diversity (more than 40% women) and international diversity (around 40% of our students originate from outside the US). This brings a rich diversity of backgrounds and perspectives to team dynamics, classroom conversations, and co-curricular activities. Beyond the diversity of the class, there is also an increased and intentional focus on inclusion and belonging through the types of training, engagement, and support that we offer to our students. This serves as preparation for our MBA graduates to lead, manage, and influence EDI initiatives in their post-MBA companies.

CA: Walk us through the life of a Simon MBA application in your office from an operational standpoint. What happens between the time an applicant clicks “submit” and the time the committee offers a final decision?
RL: The application review process includes a team that processes each application to confirm that all required items in the application are fully submitted. Then the application is passed to the Admissions Committee for review. After the first review, interview invitations are extended.  Candidates based in the US are typically invited to campus to interview and candidates outside the US are either interviewed via Zoom or in person (depending on our recruitment travel schedule and/or COVID restrictions). For those candidates interviewed, the application then goes back to the Admissions Committee for another review. Final decisions are communicated no later than the decision notification date for the application round.

CA: How does your team approach the essay portion of the Simon MBA application specifically? What are you looking for as you read an essay? Are there common mistakes that applicants should try to avoid? What is one key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write?
RL: The essay is our first opportunity to truly get to know a candidate. We are looking for applicants to answer the essay question(s), while allowing their personality and unique background to help them stand out among others who might have similar academic or work backgrounds. We want the essay to aid in telling the story—why B-school and why Simon/Rochester? And how do the candidate’s personal and professional goals align with what we offer?

In terms of common mistakes or advice I would offer the following: try to find the balance between thoughtfully answering the question without overthinking how to answer or what you think the school wants you to say. We truly want the essays to be a reflection of you—there are not right or wrong answers. If you are thoughtful in your decision to pursue graduate business school, that should be reflected in each aspect of your application, including your admissions essays.

CA: Could you tell us about your interview process? Approximately how many applicants do you interview? Who conducts the interview (students, admissions officers, alumni) and what is the nature of the interview (resume-based, behavioral)?
RL: The Admissions interview is an invitation-only opportunity to connect with an Admissions staff member or a Simon alum. The only exceptions to our invitation-only policy are our signature on-campus events in the fall, when we allow prospective student attendees to have an interview while they are on campus, regardless of whether or not they have completed the full application.

The interview is résumé based, and typically includes a combination of “fit” and behavioral questions. Our interviewers will not have reviewed the other application materials prior to the interview.  We consider the interview to be a two-way assessment. Although we will ask the majority of the questions, we try to reserve time at the end for the candidate to ask us at least one or two questions (depending on time) to better get to know the School and our program.

CA: What is your testing policy? Do you offer exam waivers? Why or why not?
RL: While the Admissions Committee values the GMAT or GRE to assess academic readiness for a rigorous graduate program, we offer exam waiver options depending on a student’s academic profile and professional background, or other unique circumstances that might help to demonstrate capability to successfully handle the academic rigor of a challenging MBA program.

For a candidate who does not submit a GRE or GMAT, we typically put a heavier emphasis on the undergraduate academic record, as well as any graduate or non-degree coursework—particularly business or quantitative classes and the grades the student earned. We also consider certifications and other credentials, such as the CPA or CFA, that might signal academic capability.

CA: Tell us briefly about two popular courses at the University of Rochester Simon Business School.
RL: There are many classes that routinely earn high accolades from our students, but two courses that are very popular include Advanced Marketing Strategy (an elective that many Marketing and non-Marketing students take) and our core Business Communications course.

Advanced Marketing Strategy is a semester-long simulation that extends concepts related to strategic marketing decisions about R&D, production, pricing, product, advertising, and channels.  Students also learn frameworks related to negotiations and crisis management, while more deeply exploring their individual strengths and weaknesses as they learn to work effectively within a team environment.

The Business Communications is a core course sequence that routinely is rated one of the most valuable classes in the MBA program.  The two-course sequence emphasizes Professional Communication: Keys to Persuasion in Business Relationships and Interpersonal Persuasion: Influence in Dynamic Interaction.  The course reinforces practice that shapes students into exceptional communicators both for their internship and the workplace post-MBA.

CA: As we learn to live with COVID-19, campuses have opened up and students are back. What about prospective students? Will they have the opportunity to visit campus? Will University of Rochester Simon admissions interviews be conducted virtually?
RL: During the 2021-22 academic year, we hosted our Diversity and Women’s Conferences in person with prospective students in attendance. For 2022-23, we expect to again offer these conferences to prospective students, along with our Experience Simon Weekend events and individual campus visits. Admissions interviews will be conducted both virtually and in person, depending on location and availability. We strongly encourage participation in an on-campus event, as this is an excellent way to meet current students and alumni, and to also engage with other prospective students more fully.

CA: Is there anything else you’d like to highlight about the University of Rochester Simon MBA program or admissions process?
RL: The Admissions Committee encourages you to “Check Your Eligibility!” This process allows a candidate to share information prior to applying—include their résumé and test scores (if they’ve taken a standardized test)—and get feedback from the Admissions Committee on what/how to best prepare for the application process.

In addition, please connect with us! During the academic year current students love engaging with prospective students, and in the meantime, you can check out upcoming virtual events, request information, explore the Simon Admissions Blog, and more. As always, our team is available to assist with any questions you have—don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

It’s Not Too Late to Begin Your Studies in 2022!

Good news: while our final deadline has passed, we are accepting applications to our full-time MBA and MS programs on a space-available basis—meaning it’s still possible for you to begin business school this summer! To simplify the process, your $90 application fee is waived.

Every year promising candidates apply after May 1, are admitted, and go on to find success in our programs. One such example is soon-to-be graduate, Andrew Black ’22S (MBA). We asked Andrew about his experience applying after the final deadline, what his transition to business school was like, advice for those considering applying now, and more.

Andrew Black ’22S (MBA)

What made you want to apply to business school? Why did you choose to apply after May 1?
I knew that at some point in my career, an MBA degree from a top business school was going to be imperative for taking on greater professional leadership roles. Because of that, I wanted to be proactive in terms of obtaining my MBA degree early in my career.

In 2020, I was planning on applying to MBA programs during the fall (for 2021 intake), but during the pandemic some key target schools shifted deadlines and encouraged candidates to apply. This made my decision to apply very easy, as I realized that the worst outcome that would come from my late application would be that I receive valuable feedback on my candidacy for my original 2021 targeted timeline. The risk was really low, and I wanted to explore all of my options.

What factors weighed in to choosing Simon?
Distilling it down to one factor, I would say the intercommunity support. Relationships are important at Simon. When I was making my business school decision, it became apparent from conversations with alumni and current students just how much everyone in the Simon student body supports one another, particularly through the career search process. Now, having gone through the MBA program, my belief that intercommunity support is a pillar of the Simon experience has only been reaffirmed.

How was your transition to b-school on a relatively tight timeline?
My transition was a relatively smooth one. While there were some onboarding tasks to complete, the transition from professional work to Simon was more about getting mentally prepared than completing any one task. Onboarding was streamlined, and I devoted a small portion of every day toward getting myself ready for Simon (i.e., résumé reviews, logistics, career research), which made the process feel very manageable.

What resources helped you prepare for your MBA after applying later in the admissions process?
The Benet Career Management Center was the most valuable resource post-admittance. I met with my career advisor (Steve Simpson) after accepting my admission offer, and Steve helped lay the groundwork for what the next 3–6 months would look like. This level-setting conversation with Steve continued throughout the summer and was highly impactful in making sure I was ready to hit the ground running for recruitment that took place at the end of August.

What has been your favorite part of your MBA experience?
I would say being a Benet Career Peer (BCP). Last year I worked very closely with two BCPs: Toby Motyka and Gabi Pacheco. In November of 2020, my first internship offer came from Verizon, and my second came a week later from Microsoft. Toby Motyka and Gabi Pacheco interned and now work at Verizon and Microsoft, respectively. The correlation between Toby’s and Gabi’s backgrounds to my offers was no accident. I was in the fortuitous position to decide between two exceptional companies because Toby and Gabi invested themselves in my career progression.

At Simon we call this “pay it forward.” It’s an axiom that permeates the school—one I try to uphold. This year as a BCP, I learned a lot about myself through coaching, mentoring, and providing career guidance as Toby and Gabi did for me. The process has been incredibly rewarding. It is extremely gratifying to see others realize their full potential, and I am lucky to play a small part in that.

What’s next after graduation?
I will be moving to Seattle later this summer to begin as a product marketing manager at Microsoft, where I will be working in Cloud Marketing.

What advice do you have for prospective MBA students wondering if they should apply this time of year?
A simple cost-benefit analysis reveals that the risk of applying now is limited. I distinctly remember wondering if I was making the right decision by applying late, but I soon realized that there was no application outcome that would equate to failure. Best case, I get into a top-tier business school and then have a difficult decision to make (whether to move up my timeline by a year and pursue my MBA sooner than expected); worst case, I receive a rejection, but in the process I’ll learn what I should work on for the following application cycle.

If you are on the fence about applying, consider my thought process above. There is significant value in exploring all options, and taking risks is essential to success.

Learn more about Andrew, who was just named one of Poets&Quants’ Best and Brightest MBAs of 2022!

If you are an international student and you do not currently have a student visa, please note that there are time sensitivities surrounding the visa process. We encourage you to work through the application with urgency. If you have questions or would like to discuss your individual candidacy or next steps, reach out to us at admissions@simon.rochester.edu.