Meet The Toronto Rotman MBA Class of 2017

Shivani Patel

Shivani Patel

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Hometown (City and State): Blantyre, Malawi

Undergraduate School and Major: McGill University, BSc. Psychology

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

HR Intern – Orange (Warsaw, Poland)

Project Manager, Strategy and Business Development – Sanoma Media Russia & CEE (Warsaw, Poland)

Strategy and Business Development Manager – Sanoma Media Russia & CEE (Warsaw, Poland)

Strategy and Business Development Manager – Sanoma Digital (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? There are two parts to studying for either the GMAT or the GRE: Learning the content, and drilling practice problems. There is no supplement for simply putting your head down and doing the work for either part. Look at the studying process as a bit of fun. It makes it easier to dedicate yourself to it!

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Your school choice should be personal and factors considered should be weighted differently depending on your background, where you are in your life, and what you want to achieve both during and post-MBA. It was not until I clearly defined these items that I was able to finalize a list of target schools that fit me best. I would also highly recommend a rigorous thinking process with actively solicited input before deciding on a short-list of target schools. My target school selection process entailed many conversations with mentors, peers, alumni, admissions officers, and admissions consultants, giving me thorough insight into the ways to choose a school and which schools may be a best fit for me.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Know yourself and know your audience.

The essays and interviews forced me to think deeply about the choices that I had made to date equally as much as the choices I would make in future. So my first recommendation would be to know your path well in order to be able to communicate coherently and genuinely to the admissions committees. This is applicable to your recommenders as well. Choose people who know both your past trajectory and future potential.

Each school has its own personality and priorities, which can be discovered with some research connecting with alumni and scouring blogs. So my second recommendation would be to find out what each school is really looking for and to tailor your applications accordingly for fit.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was looking for a world-class education combined with a thorough self-development program in a commercial city center where I would have broad opportunities to network. Rotman was one of few programs that allowed me to have all three.

My assumption was that I would receive a world-class education at any of the top business programs, but Rotman’s self-development program clearly set them apart and, like Rotman, I believe in the value of early leadership development. Furthermore, I connected strongly with ex-Dean Roger Martin’s consideration of how top business leaders approach problem solving, which has resulted in the embedding of integrative thinking and design thinking training throughout the Rotman MBA.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? My three primary goals during the MBA are to enhance my financial acumen, to develop a stronger sense of myself as a leader, and to gain entrepreneurial experience. I would ultimately like to achieve all three before I graduate.