Our Stories

From Johannesburg to Wall St.

Skydiver Makes Career Leap at Owen

Simon Schoon
Channel Director, Jumo.World

Vanderbilt MBA 2011

Leaving a successful career for school in a new country might seem a huge leap of faith. But Simon Schoon is used to big leaps. In addition to his less adventurous pastimes, cricket and running, Simon has made more than 100 skydives.

After working in fixed income sales for Absa Capital in South Africa, Simon decided to pursue an MBA to expand his skills, network and contacts and “ensure a higher peak in my career down the road.” Having an American wife, whom he met when she was a Peace Corps volunteer, made the transition to the US easier.

So did the atmosphere at Owen, which immediately impressed him not only with a warm welcome but the “sincere willingness to help from everyone I came into contact with. Owen students are competitive,” he says, “but not at the expense of their classmates.”

Owen, says the Johannesburg native, whose mother is Zambian and father is from Zimbabwe, “was a very challenging and rewarding experience. It has given me confidence to perform at the highest level and provided access to world-renowned finance faculty (such as Professor Dewey Daane, who taught a seminar in monetary and fiscal policy) and accomplished alumni.

What he took away from Owen, Simon believes, equipped him to take his next great leap — to an internship and post-graduation job in Finance.