Category: Student Spotlight

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.

Simon MBA Follows His Principles as a Leader Who Benefits Society

The following article was written by Peter Iglinski, media relations specialist at the University of Rochester, and originally appeared in the UR Newscenter.

When looking for a business school, Keenan Heyward was certain of one thing; he wanted a big institution with a lot of people. That was until he paid a visit to the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester.

“When I came for my campus visit, I met a tight-knit community where the staff knows everybody,” says Heyward. “I realized this was actually what I wanted.”

Photo courtesy of Keenan Heyward.

Two years after starting on his MBA, as he prepares to receive his during commencement ceremonies in May, Heyward can say that the reality of Simon lived up to his expectations.

“I’m coming out of Simon much more confident in academic areas where I felt good and in academic areas where I needed work,” says Heyward. “But most importantly, I learned how to lead.”

The course that had the greatest influence on Heyward was advanced marketing strategies, taught by Mitchell Lovett, who recently became Simon’s senior associate dean of education and innovation. Working in groups of six, the students competed against each other while running simulated companies, with real-life challenges and crises thrown their way throughout the course. Heyward says the experience taught him to use his entire skill set.

And Heyward will get to put those skills to work immediately as senior specialist on Merck Pharmaceuticals’ global vaccine strategy team. In that role, Heyward will help Merck identify and develop solutions to some of the illnesses that will affect the world in the coming five or 10 years.

His new job will give Heyward the opportunity to fulfill one of his principles. “I came to business school with the belief that I would find a position that allowed me to get up in the morning and, in some small way, benefit society.”

Heyward didn’t simply learn about leadership in his classes at Simon; he learned about it in his many activities at Rochester, which included being vice president of events for the Black Student Alliance at Simon and chief operating officer for the Simon School Venture Fund, as well as doing volunteer work in the community, where he taught sixth grade students about entrepreneurship—all of which put additional demands on his time.

“One of the things I learned at Simon is how to be efficient and disciplined,” says Heyward. “If you hire an MBA, you expect that person to be the next leader of your company. It’s important that leaders understand how to effectively apply their talents.”

Heyward already knows what he’ll miss most when he leaves Rochester with his MBA in hand—it will be the family he developed at Simon. “There’s no doubt that my classmates will be lifelong friends. When looking around a room—even a Zoom room—I think these are some of the most incredible individuals I’ve ever met. This is a once-in-a-lifetime group of people to be around.”

Simon Students Work with Consortium Counterparts on ‘MBA Students Care’ Campaign

Three Simon MBAs recently joined together with peers in other MBA programs to take action following recent horrific and tragic racial injustices. Brittany Floyd ’22 (MBA), Ahmyah Smith ’22 (MBA), and Cagney Spears ’21 (MBA), members of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, are working with students at other Consortium member schools on MBA Students Care: A June Fundraiser for Color of Change.

Cagney Spears '21 (MBA)

Cagney Spears ’21 (MBA)

Cagney is a Consortium liaison for Simon, and she recalled around a month ago, a peer liaison at Michigan Ross asked if any other students were interested in starting an initiative to take action. Cagney was one of the first students on the planning committee, which eventually chose Color of Change as the organization that would receive proceeds from the fundraiser.

Cagney explained the team picked Color of Change because it organizes efforts that are moving the needle for Black and Brown communities. She also noted that the planning committee liked the organization’s dedication to education—once you donate to Color of Change, you’re automatically added to its mailing list to build knowledge on a range of social justice causes.

Cagney was impressed by the incoming MBA students, who were extremely enthusiastic to help at the very start of their Simon experience. Brittany commented that “because of the time and the climate, it’s hard not to be involved if you’re aware.”

In 1968, Simon was the fourth school to join The Consortium, an organization committed to enhancing the diversity and inclusion of global business education and leadership by addressing the significant underrepresentation of Black, Native, and Latin Americans. Simon’s incoming MBA Class of 2022 has 33 students who are Consortium members—the largest cohort in school history.

Ahmyah Smith '22 (MBA)

Ahmyah Smith ’22 (MBA)

Having worked for nonprofits from a DEI lens, diversity was central for Ahmyah when considering MBA programs. She was looking for a place that not only encouraged students to be their authentic selves but that embraced each student’s uniqueness. “I appreciate Simon living it and not doing lip service,” she said.

Brittany felt that being involved in the fundraiser for Color of Change helped her really get acquainted with the culture at Simon. “I am so grateful to be in the Simon community. A friend told me that it’s collaborative and people watch out for you, and it’s true. Everyone is so open and willing to help. Although I was told about the culture here, having this crash course helped me realize it’s true, and it’s not something they just say to get you here,” she said with a laugh.

Similarly, the Simon students had nothing but positive things to say about working with their Consortium counterparts from other schools. The Consortium network is known for being tight knit, especially with members sharing the transformative OP conference before beginning their MBA programs. Even though this year’s OP was conducted virtually, the Class of 2022 is still closely connected. “We’ve all built bonds that will last past this moment,” Brittany said.

After the campaign launched June 3, many of the organizers stayed busy promoting it on social media and reaching out to contacts to spread the word, while several team members kept the group in the loop as the numbers rose. “We saw $1,500 and thought, ‘Oh that’s great—we’ll definitely get to $20,000 by the end of the month,’” Cagney said with a smile.

Little did they know it would only take roughly 18 hours for the campaign to reach its initial goal. The team reevaluated the next day and made the decision to set a new goal of $100,000.

Brittany Floyd '22 (MBA)

Brittany Floyd ’22 (MBA)

“It was an incredible, thrilling experience to watch us surpass the goal and also the commitment to do more and go higher,” Brittany said. “We have a dedication to the cause and it’s completely in line with why we are all in The Consortium.”

All three students noted that while the financial contributions are important, awareness and education is an equally significant goal of the campaign. Cagney emphasized that being an ally isn’t always about donating but can also include signing petitions and calling elected officials to demand justice. The team hopes the effort not only educates their networks but mobilizes them to create change.

The campaign currently sits north of $65,000—more than three times what the group initially hoped to donate to Color of Change (support the cause here). There are plans to leave the fundraiser open for a full month, and after they close it out on July 3, the team will take some time to rest and reevaluate what comes next. “We want to strategize how we keep the momentum going,” Ahmyah said.

With many Class of 2021 students embarking on their summer internships soon and classes resuming for everyone not long after that, Cagney noted there will be a great deal of brainstorming to come up with ideas that build on this effort that won’t be too taxing. “The past month has been exhausting—not only being a Black person in America, but on top of that, doing crowd-sourced non-profit work, which is something I’ve never experienced,” Cagney said.

The team plans to focus on this important diversity, equity, and inclusion work “back home” at Simon as well, with the full support and partnership of school leadership, including Dean Sevin Yeltekin. Cagney noted it was particularly meaningful to hear Dean Yeltekin say that the burden to solve systemic problems doesn’t fall on Black people. “It’s our job to provide feedback, but it’s not our job to fix it,” Cagney said.

“We are all thinking about it in the long term,” Brittany said. “We are committed to the long-term goal of making our world more equitable for people of color.”

Wallace Gundy, Benjamin Moskoff named to Poets & Quants’ 2020 List of Best & Brightest MBAs

Congratulations to Wallace Gundy and Benjamin Moskoff, who were named to Poets & Quants’ list of Best & Brightest MBAs in the Class of 2020! After graduation, Wallace is headed to Amazon in the Retail Leadership Development Program, and Benjamin will join Credit Suisse as an investment banking associate on the Consumer & Retail team.  

Here are excerpts from their longer bios:

Wallace Gundy '20 (MBA) will be working in Amazon's Retail Leadership Development Program after graduation.

Wallace Gundy ’20 (MBA) will be working in Amazon’s Retail Leadership Development Program after graduation.

Why did you choose this business school? Size was the deciding factor. I wanted access to professors and staff, a tightly knit class, experiential learning options, and opportunities for leadership. These are the learning avenues that I value and found at Simon. In a class of just over one hundred students, everyone knows everyone. Together, we built a vital, dynamic, talented business school network with worldwide representation. I have received a distinctive education at Simon where all of my needs and graduate school goals have been met ten-fold.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be three dimensional in your application. Let your personality shine through in your essays. The Simon admissions team has mastered the craft of assembling a dynamic class. We are not defined by GMAT scores alone. Simon students have a remarkable breadth and depth of personal and professional experiences, backgrounds, and interests. Convey who you are and how you will leave this school stronger than you found it. We are Simon strong!

 

Benjamin Moskoff '20 (MBA) will join Credit Suisse as an investment banking analyst on the Consumer & Retail team after graduation.

Benjamin Moskoff ’20 (MBA) will join Credit Suisse as an investment banking analyst on the Consumer & Retail team after graduation.

Why did you choose this business school? Simon has a phenomenal student culture and community. Daily life at the school is an integrative experience where students are intimately involved in the program and activities. Throughout my journey prior to joining Simon, I experienced the admissions staff, current students, and alumni to be warm and welcoming. This made me feel confident throughout the process and gave me the platform to be myself and bring my strengths and experiences to the table.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Know that you bring value to the program through your experiences. There will be plenty of students who come along with you who have such amazing stories and résumés. It can be easy to fall into the trap of not feeling good enough or, on the other hand, an overwhelming competitive urge. I advise students to be their genuine selves and reveal their strengths while being honest about their dreams and goals in life. Ultimately, when choosing a business school, there should be a mutual fit that will create an environment for you to thrive.