Simon Business School

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The Simon Brand Narrative

In an attempt to better explain who we are and what we do, Simon set out to create a new brand narrative to give the school more exposure and attract FT MBA students. To help navigate the process, we engaged Lipman Hearne, a marketing and branding agency based in Chicago, who led similar exercises with Chicago Booth, Notre Dame and many other elite business schools. Part of the process was extensive market research, including interviews with students, faculty, staff, recruiters, and school leadership over the phone and on campus. That led to possible brand narratives. We then tested those narratives with online focus groups of current first- and second-year Full-Time MBA students as well as international and domestic Full-Time MBA alumni. Here’s what we came up with:

There are many different stories we can tell about Simon.

But to keep our stories consistent, we need a single filter when asking questions, thinking about imagery, and gathering material. To strengthen our brand we’ve distilled the value of a Simon experience to one word: CLARITY.

Our focus on clarity means our programs offer much more than a credential. Our students learn how to see through ambiguity and beyond the short-term. Through the experiences they have with us, they gain insights into forces at work beneath the surface and what it takes to lead in a multicultural setting. They also have a new level of self-awareness. These aren’t just lessons to help them in their next job—they’re tools for life.

Stories of clarity don’t always have to be about epiphanies—although those do happen in our classrooms. Clarity can also be the outcome of a classroom project, or the culmination of a semester’s worth of study. It can be the realization in a workplace moment that an analytical framework learned years ago will illuminate a particular problem.

Clarity can take many forms, as our brand narrative delineates; it can be intellectual, interpersonal, and personal. But it’s important that our audiences always see the theme of clarity in all our communications. Every story should build toward and support this idea.

Brand Narrative for Alumni

Here’s how you can help: tell the Simon story! You graduated from Simon with a new level of clarity: about how analytical frameworks drive success in business; about what it takes to collaborate and manage in the contemporary, global workplace; and about your professional growth and goals. This understanding and confidence have helped you make the right decisions and lead no matter what the business forecast.

Clarity about how analytical frameworks drive business

You are a graduate of a business school with an unabashedly analytical bias. You know how a deep understanding of economics, combined with an intensive quantitative focus, gives you a cohesive, evidence-based approach to decision-making. As a Simon graduate, you have a distinctive professional signature: You can frame problems more effectively, uncover patterns that motivate and drive markets, and use data to persuade and inspire. You know how to see through ambiguity—and see beyond the short-term. You gained more than a toolkit for the next step in your career. You gained powerful tools for life.

Clarity about what it takes to collaborate and lead in the contemporary, global workplace

At Simon, you experienced a community where relationships mattered—and an extraordinary array of perspectives was always close by. You and your classmates pushed one another to listen in new ways and turn differences into a competitive edge.

Clarity about your personal growth and goals.

Your experience at Simon proved how a rigorous business degree program can be eye-opening on many levels—it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reflect, refine, and take risks. You gained more than a credential at Simon. You gained a more profound understanding of what business means in the world, who you could be as a leader, and the impact you could make.


With so many business schools competing for the same students, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. And it’s even harder when the people we’re trying to reach are busy and have little free time. Our messages must be compelling and concise. We should be bold and conversational so there’s no doubt about what we’re saying. Even though our audience is older and likely has some work experience, we should avoid business jargon; it tends to muddy the message rather than clear it up. And clarity, after all, is what Simon is really all about.

Use the new brand messaging as a platform for starting conversations.

The brand narrative is a springboard, not an encyclopedia. You can repurpose this language if it works for you, or you can use it as a starting point. Key takeaways from the brand narrative:

  • the importance of an audience-centric perspective and conversational tone
  • the overall themes that work across programs, with additional specificity for each program
  • the most effective frameworks for attributes, facts, and proof points
  • a storytelling checklist to make sure your story is distinctly Simon

We have more than 15,000 alumni in over 80 countries—which means a Simon connection is never far away. Simon graduates have a distinctive professional signature: they can frame problems more effectively, uncover patterns that motivate and drive markets, and use data to persuade and inspire.


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