Rachel Simon

  • Major: Business Administration
  • Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Landing a job as a business analyst at Deloitte in Chicago doesn’t happen without some heavy lifting, and nobody can deny Rachel Simon ‘19 put in the work. Even the most determined person sometimes needs a spotter, however, which in Simon’s case came in the form of a group of Furman alumni and their New York City-based Furman Metropolitan Fellowship.

“When I got the Metropolitan Fellowship, that was the key, integral thing in helping me. The FMF guys had lots of connections to a lot of different people and a lot of great companies,” Simon says. “I got tons of exposure while I was there, and I think that face-to-face really helped me get to a point where when I asked for referrals from employees they were willing to do it because they had met me in person.”

The Furman Metropolitan Fellowship is a grant program established by a group of alumni in 2015 to create a bridge between Furman students and New York City internship connections and community, and being selected put Simon in position to leverage a business administration degree she had only begun to pursue a few months before.

Simon made the difficult decision to abandon a psychology major halfway through her junior year, though the decision was made easier thanks to support from Associate Professor Erin Hahn in psychology and James C. Self Professor of Business Administration Suzy Summers. Their counsel turned the idea of blasting through Furman’s business administration degree requirements in only three semesters from impossible to merely daunting.

“I said ‘I wish I could do an organization management track,’ … and they were both really helpful in making me see I could combine them both even if the system wasn’t set up that way,” Simon says. “They also said I could do it in three semesters, even if it doesn’t seem like it.”

Simon once thought she’d be a therapist or teacher, but through trial-and-error she realized her interest lies in problem solving. That led her to the emerging field of industrial organizational psychology, and at Deloitte she’ll be combining her business and psychology skills in the human capital consulting practice.

“The world of industrial organizational psychology is really growing … and it’s all about rethinking the idea of if the human mind is the most powerful thing that we have, our most powerful asset, how do we position people within the workplace so that they can work as effectively as possible?” Simon says.

Another thing she’s hoping to combine is the social awareness she gained at Furman with a corporate world not exactly known for its social awareness. Simon thinks the two can co-exist, and in fact should.

“I think the biggest thing that has been tough for me in terms of pursuing a route in business is I feel sometimes there can be this perception that you can’t work in a job like that without sacrificing some of your values,” Simon says. “Are you being greedy? Do you still want to give back? … Somebody has to bring this flipped set of values, others before yourself, to the business world. We can’t just expect it to happen and criticize them and put them at an arm’s length and create not-for-profits all the time.”