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

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rochester mba class of 2023Tomilola Olotu, Rochester Simon MBA Class of 2023

Age: 31
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Knox College, IL & I majored in Economics
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Over 8 years in the Financial Services industry

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I made the decision to attend business school because I wanted to deepen my understanding of business principles, gain new knowledge, explore different passions by pivoting my career and further develop my analytical skills.
I took a step back from my corporate career in 2020 to reevaluate my interests, fully focus on some family-owned businesses and realized that I was in the best space personally and professionally to go back to school.

Why did you choose Rochester Simon? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose Simon because of the people, the STEM MBA option, the extensive career resources, and the support for women in business. The factors I considered when deciding what b-school to attend were a place where I felt the most like myself, a hands-on career team, strong academics, and a diverse class. Simon ticked all these boxes for me, so it was an easy choice for me to make. Zero regrets here!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
My personality is my most valuable contribution to the Class of 2023! I am very intentional about finding the joy in each day and this helps me maintain a heart of gratitude and stay positive through the ups and downs of life, so I am somewhat of a cheerleader for my classmates! I love being able to encourage them and speak positively to them as they go through this journey.

Tell us a fun fact that didn’t get included on your application:
I really enjoy nature and exploring places around me. I have walked the canopy walkway at the Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos, Nigeria four times (the longest canopy walkway in Africa) and the canopy walkway at Kakum National Park, Ghana twice!

Post-MBA career interests:
A career in Marketing, Strategy or General Management either in the CPG, Tech or Financial Services industry

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
This is two-pronged: Connect with prospective schools by attending sessions or admissions events and connect with current students! I cannot over-emphasize how this was a vital part of the process for me, I really got to know the schools I was considering and see which one was the best fit for me.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would begin the application process earlier, I applied during Round 2 and it was very stressful for me because I crammed getting to know schools, taking the GMAT, completing the essays and getting references in a short period of time.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The essays were a tough part for me, it takes me a while to write, and I find it difficult to share what is on my heart in writing. What helped me was getting a head start on the essays, I wrote a lot of drafts and took breaks so I could come back with a clear head and refine the drafts. I also made sure to send my essays to friends, family, and some current MBA students to get feedback and different perspectives.

What is your initial impression of the Rochester Simon students/culture/community? 
That this is an extremely close-knit culture and community, everyone is super friendly, happy to help and looks out for each other.

What is one thing you have learned about Rochester Simon that has surprised you?
How invested people are in your professional and personal well-being. I knew that the Simon community would be supportive, but it surprised me how everyone here – students, professors, staff are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that I am doing well and making progress. I really appreciate it.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
As an international student, it was quite challenging trying to secure a visa date in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, otherwise, everything else worked out well for me.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Being able to balance academic, networking and recruiting activities. 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Building relationships with my classmates.

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.