2015 Best MBAs: Amy Bi

Amy Bi-Rotman-PoetsAndQuants

Amy Bi


University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

Drive…Commitment…Perseverance. These may be terms to some, but they are the secret behind Amy Bi’s success. Despite the odds, Amy networked and researched her way into a marketing internship with Nike – one of only two students to land this coveted post. Come summer, she will be starting work at her dream job at Nike in an elite global marketing rotation program. And she will leave behind an enviable legacy. Elected valedictorian of the Class of 2015, Bi also served as the president of the school’s marketing association and a school ambassador, along with winning the school’s marketing case competition in 2014.

Age: 29

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Undergraduate School: University of Western Ontario

Undergraduate Degree: Honors Sociology and Philosophy

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Honeywell, Asia Pacific Channel Marketing Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Nike, Global Brand Planning (Portland, Oregon)

Where will you be working after graduation? Nike, Marketing Development Program (Elite global marketing rotational program designed to mentor and develop brand leaders at Nike)

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized my dream was to work in the sports industry and needed a strong path to get my foot in the door.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…likely still working in the technology sector. While there are many reasons I loved my former job and colleagues, it wasn’t my true passion.”

What are your long-term professional goals? To continue working in the field and industry I love. To have a job where I can bring my whole self to work and to never stop being creative.

Favorite Courses: The Opposable Mind (with Roger Martin), Sales Management (with BCG Managing Partner James Tucker), and Entrepreneurship

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? I came into Rotman with a dream to work for Nike. I built strong relationships and was relentless in my pursuit despite not coming from a traditional school [where] they recruit. As I was preparing for recruiting season, I spoke to anyone from Nike who I can get connected with — in the US, Europe, and even Asia. I wanted to learn and absorb all the knowledge I could possibly get. My passion and dedication paid off when I was one of two Marketing MBA Interns hired out of several hundred applicants, and the only Canadian intern in Nike’s entire Summer Internship Program.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My family – namely my parents and my grandparents. My parents for being my #1 supporters my entire life and constantly encouraging me to pursue what makes me happy. My dad always says, “Everyday when you wake up, you have a choice to be happy or sad. Why not choose to be happy?” Secondly, [I want to thank] my grandparents who, despite both having passed, are a constant source of inspiration for me. They were both educators in China and leading pioneers in bringing American literature into the Chinese post-secondary system.  My grandfather helped establish the first seven vocational schools in our province of Shandong, because he believed that education came in different forms and that every young person should have the opportunity to learn what they love. In 1982, he was the first Dean of a Chinese university to ever earn an Honorary Degree from Harvard. I have my grandparents’ photo hanging in my house and every time I am faced with an important life decision, I will always ask myself “What would they want me to do, and would they be proud of me?”

Why did you choose this business school? I really admired former Dean Roger Martin and truly believe he built a business school that is one of a kind. Rotman is a global leader in the areas of integrative thinking and business design. It boasts a perspective and form of teaching at the MBA level that is unlike any other business school I was considering. I appreciated its aim to incorporate integrative thinking into business strategy and the empathic, user-centric approach we take in business design to tackle the world’s toughest challenges.

What did you enjoy most about business school? My peers, hands down. I have never been around such a diverse of a group of individuals who I am now honored and proud to call my lifelong friends.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? My most memorable moment was when I revealed I was the creator behind my blog, Rotvegas. I had overheard many classmates talk about the blog throughout our time. But when I finally revealed it was me, I received emails from classmates thanking me for the laughs and telling me that the blog had gotten them through some really stressful and tough times during our program. That was a huge honor.

Fun fact about yourself: My dream as a teenager was to be an MTV VJ.

Favorite book: Fugitive Pieces, by Anne Michaels.

Favorite movie: Spellbound (Documentary about the US National Spelling Bee)

Favorite musical performer: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Favorite television show: The West Wing

Favorite vacation spot: El Nido, Phillipines

What are your hobbies? Running, golf, tennis, art, crosswords, keeping up with spelling bees

Twitter Handle: @plainandreal

What made Amy such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“When I reviewed Amy’s application, I was very impressed with her candidacy and decided to invite her for an admissions interview. We had a Skype interview and apart from her excellent work experience in Asia; her dedication, professionalism and high energy set her candidacy apart; she was a great fit for Rotman. She came into the program as a career switcher; she was well aware of the challenges ahead of her and she was ready to take on the challenge-she did her research. Career switchers are not uncommon in our program as this is a two-year program with an internship. However, when we meet with such candidates, we as the Admissions Committee would like to see certain skills and character traits in a candidate to prove that they can achieve their goal. Amy did a fantastic job of displaying the qualities we were looking for. She was very focused and articulate. I was very confident in her technical and soft skills.

[Since then], Amy has been an extraordinary member of our community. She brought her enthusiasm into whatever task she carried out throughout the program. She put in the extra effort to land a summer internship at Nike, she used all the resources at her disposals at Rotman and she added her own as well. She was very creative with her approach. As the President of the Rotman Marketing Association, she played an instrumental role in expanding the club and improving its services. She is always up for a challenge; although she’s coming from a non-quantitative background, she took up the challenge and in her second year, she chose a very quantitative elective in finance. When I asked her how she decided to take the course, she said she wanted to better prepare herself for the next challenge in her career.”

– Claire Gumus, assistant director of recruitment and admissions

Best of 2015

The Story: Class of 2015: The World’s Best & Brightest MBAs

The Complete List: The 50 Most Exceptional MBAs of 2015


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