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Tom Kelly 730 x 400

Tom Kelly

Executive MBA, Class of 2010

Optimax Systems, Inc.

OptimaxTom Kelly spent 25 years at a large, Rochester-based accounting firm before joining Optimax Systems, Inc., in 2001. In his prior position, he served clients in non-profit, retail, and manufacturing industries and was the company’s IT leader.

In his current position as CFO, Kelly deals with customers and vendors rather than clients. “Seeing a manufacturing company from within has been enlightening,” he adds. “Observing the challenges of an innovative company like Optimax, seeing its successes and failures, and helping management position itself as a leader in optics has made my time here tremendously rewarding.”

Kelly was encouraged by Optimax management to return to school to earn his MBA. “The focus on finance in the Simon program proved very beneficial,” notes Kelly, “and the international aspect was an eye-opener.” Kelly was part of the Executive MBA Program at Simon, where he says his analytical and team skills improved. He also notes that by taking advantage of the class trip to China, he developed a broader understanding of that country’s impact on the U.S. economy.

He started the MBA program in the fall of 2008 when the financial crisis was deepening. On his first day of classes, Professor Cliff Smith visited to speak about business and personal ethics. “He told us that after attending Simon, we would never read a newspaper or listen to a news show the same way,” says Kelly. “Those of us who have been through the program came away with a better understanding of what’s really happening behind the scenes and how to question what the media puts out to the public.” Kelly also valued courses taught by Simon Professors Greg Bauer, Gregg Jarrell, Harry Groenvelt, and Ron Schmidt.

“I can’t say enough about how well we were supported at Simon,” says Kelly. “From coordinating day-to-day transitions to planning trips abroad, the Simon staff bent over backwards to help us and made things run smoothly.” Kelly developed strong friendships with his classmates, and even though they’re dispersed across the country, he still meets them socially a few times a year. “Our team is still awesome!”

Tom Kelly Kelly

"I built relationships there that I'll have the rest of my life. And now, some of our key business offerings at ITX—like Technology Strategic Planning—have parts and processes that come directly from classes I took at Simon."

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