The Simon School of Business Administration hosted an “Undergraduate Preview Day” on Friday that included a faculty panel to give students a taste of life at Simon. The faculty members went over the various opportunities for students and explained why they think Simon is superior to other business schools.

“We’re hoping to be able to educate undergraduate students to their options for graduate school. Also about what they would need to do to prepare a competitive application and what they would need to do? for merit-based scholarship consideration,” Director of Admissions Rebekah Lewin said.

Associate Director of Admissions Tonya Harvey initiated the panel discussion. She asked the participants to go around the room and introduce themselves. Students ranged from sophomores to Take Five Scholars and came from a variety of schools in the area. Some majored in typical fields such as economics and finance, but others majored in history, communications and psychology. One of the features of Simon is that students do not need to have a background in business to obtain an M.B.A. Harvey introduced Dean of Simon Graduate School of Business Administration Mark Zupan, who explained how Simon has changed its way of thinking about prospective students.

He and others have realized that character and drive to succeed are more significant than experience, and they are, in fact, the key to acceptance into Simon.

He also said that although most business schools are hardwired to look for older students who have had approximately six years of experience, Simon acknowledges that younger students have the potential to be very beneficial to the school.

“People are more open to learning new frameworks and we’re framework-oriented when they’re younger,” Zupan said.

Zupan mentioned the Early Leaders Program, which had 44 students in the class of 2010.

“The Early Leaders Program was designed to attract promising M.B.A. and M.S. applicants earlier – individuals who are zero to three years out of college,” Harvey said. “The traditional timetable has been to work for four to five years before starting the M.B.A.”

Faculty Director of Graduate Programs and associate professor of Computers and Information Systems Rajiv Dewan spoke next about the school and some of the reasons why students should choose Simon over other business schools.

“Ultimately, what matters when you come to a school is what you learn,” Dewan said.

He explained that the faculty begins from ground zero and uses a framework entitled F.A.C.T., which stands for Frame, Analyze and Communicate. They figure out what the problem is, decide which theories can be used to resolve the quandaries and finally relate it to business and implement the solutions.

Dewan also spoke about faculty research. “We clearly have the most influential faculty,” Dewan said. “In addition, the field of accounting has totally changed because of what Simon faculty has done. We are the cutting edge of many of these things.”

Executive Lecturer in Business Administration and E-Commerce Barry Gilbert spoke in regard to the Simon students.

“I’m constantly impressed, and I walk away saying how clever they are,” he said.

He believes that when it comes time to solve problems in creative ways, Simon School graduates are more likely to be useful.

Dewan interjected more information about the way in which the school is run.

“The school is very interdisciplinary,” Dewan said. “It really reflects how we as a faculty view business.”

Associate Professor of Operations and Management Greg Dobson explained that, due to the wide array of backgrounds of the students, he uses different techniques in teaching the material.

For example, Dobson uses novels, runs simulations and introduces Web-based games to pique the interest of all students.

He said that the school is very innovative and the administration allows him the freedom to run the course however he wants, so he has the freedom to make it applicable and engaging to all of the students.

“The event was a success,” Harvey said. “I have heard back from a few of the participants saying that they were ‘thoroughly impressed with the event and the Simon school.'”

Handis is a member of the class of 2009.

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