Paying it Forward: Ben Simoff (MBA ’19)

Ben Simoff (MBA ’19), a technology product manager at BNY Mellon, enjoys sponsoring experiential projects for the Tech Solutions course at NYU Stern
Ben Simoff (MBA ’19)

Ben Simoff (MBA ’19), an engineer by training, is a product manager for new digital wealth management offerings at BNY Mellon, including financial product development, marketing materials, and the public website. Because of his own Tech Solutions experience while at Stern, he has sponsored experiential learning projects for MBA students on behalf of the bank. He finds the contact with students rewarding in multiple ways—and has even hired two Tech MBA grads!


What are you responsible for at BNY Mellon?

I’m responsible for building and maintaining digital products for BNY Mellon’s Wealth Management business. The products that I work on are both internally-facing for our operations teams, as well as externally facing for our clients.


Why did you get involved in Stern experiential course Tech Solutions and become a project sponsor?

The primary reason I choose to sponsor projects is because I had a fantastic Tech Solutions experience and I want to “pay it forward” and help curate great experiences for current students. I also really enjoy working with motivated and intellectually curious students, and the time I spend with them helps me view my own work through a new lens. Lastly, the students are learning about the newest trends in tech and business, and I use the project as an opportunity to hear from the students about what’s happening.


What types of projects have the students worked on?

We’ve had a wide variety of projects as part of our Tech Solutions partnership. Our projects have included adding new modules onto an existing external-facing digital product, incorporating AI-powered functionality into our wealth manager toolbox, and optimizing internal reporting functions.


What impact have the projects had on the company?

The projects have helped kickstart items that have been sitting on our roadmap and given us foundational work to build on as we expand our digital product offerings. The students bring new ideas and understanding of cutting-edge technologies to projects that are still in their infancy. Students have also helped uncover findings during the discovery phase of product development that have led to entirely new spin-off projects.


What has been the greatest benefit/key learning experience for students?

The students have an opportunity to see how the software delivery lifecycle works in a large financial institution, and how to problem-solve within this framework. Students also get great experience learning how to use rapidly changing technology in a highly regulated industry. As the foundation of the financial system, we can’t “move fast and break things” like some other tech companies aspire to do, but we still want to incorporate new technologies and best practices into our tech stack.


What has been the most rewarding part for you when working with students?

I love being able to give students the kind of fulfilling learning experiences that I had when I was at Stern. I also enjoy the energy and enthusiasm that students bring to the projects, and that they can help me break out of a fixed mindset that I can sometimes develop in my day to day. Giving opportunities to students to expand their (and my) networks has been very rewarding, and I’m proud to say we’ve hired two Tech MBA grads so far because of the projects that I’ve sponsored.



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