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Real Humans of MBA Students: Rochester Simon MBA Class of 2023

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rochester mba class of 2023Kip Mountjoy, Rochester Simon MBA Class of 2023

Age: 32
Hometown: Danville, KY
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Business Administration, Eastern Kentucky University
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Non-Profit Management/Higher Education (5 years), Fundraising Consulting (4 years)

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
In April 2020, along with millions of other Americans, I was furloughed. Fortunately, I was able to secure another job, but the time in between allowed me to reflect on where I wanted to be and how I could get there. The best course of action for me and my family was business school.

Why did you choose Rochester Simon? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I knew something was special about Simon after my first call with admissions. As I did more research, aside from rankings, I learned how Simon differentiated themselves. Simon offers a STEM MBA, the first do so. Simon is also unabashedly analytical, and diverse. These three factors propelled Simon to the top of my list. As I have seen the business world evolve, I knew these elements and perspectives would help me personally and professionally.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
I bring a desire to learn and experience. I am here to learn, growing my business acumen, through academics and the Simon network. I am coming from a less traditional business background, one that focused on leveraging relationships to accomplish projects, these experiences are different than my classmates and we are all learning from one another. The classroom provides a great opportunity to discuss various perspectives and different solutions to business problems.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I talk about my dog more than you care to know.

Post-MBA career interests:
Pursuing a career in marketing with an emphasis in strategy.

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I attended all the opportunities, got to know several people, and leveraged my network to get advice and perspective.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would have visited campus, that would have saved me some time in applying to other schools.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
If possible, I would have skipped the GRE/GMAT. Not only did the idea of taking the assessment make me nervous, but preparing to take it in an online format due to COVID-19 was a new experience for me. When I reflect on the countless hours studying and preparing, I know having a support network of friends and family kept me focused and goal orientated. This network also included the admissions team at Simon, who kept me motivated and working towards the goal of taking the test to apply in the first round.

What is your initial impression of the Rochester Simon students/culture/community?
It is truly a family atmosphere. You will be held accountable, pushed, and celebrated. I have spoken with several alumni, all more than willing to help because they received help and want to pay it forward.  

What is one thing you have learned about Rochester Simon that has surprised you?
We have grit; We work incredibly hard and push each other to be our best. We don’t rely solely on Simon and name recognition to achieve our success; we work for it.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Not really, the university has adjusted well and did a great job of building community. Admissions provided us various opportunities to come together to meet, it was wonderful during orientation to finally meet in-person, it was as if we had known each other forever.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
The academics and time management. There is so much I want to learn and join, but there are so few hours in the day.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Simon has put me in a position to learn about various industries and job functions, which have really expanded my opportunities and career growth. I am positioned to apply and accept employment from companies that were never on my radar before.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.