Professionally, the Class of 2017 averages 4.1 years of experience, though you’ll find first-years with as many as 17 years in the work force. 32% of the class is women. That’s higher than the 26% in the 2016 Ivey class or the 30% in the typical McGill class. 53% of the class also hails from outside Canada, with 34 different countries represented. Not surprisingly, the highest percentage of students comes from the financial services sector at 24.9%. They were followed by consulting (9.4%), technology (9.4%), healthcare, biotech and pharmaceuticals (7.7%), professional services (5.7%), consumer goods (5.1%), energy (5.1%), manufacturing (4.6%), and government (4.3%).
Despite ranking as the top MBA program in Canada according to Canadian Business, Rotman is anything but mainstream. Along with integrative thinking, the school heavily promotes design thinking, an inside-out process that requires students to build as they understand. Placing user experience at the center, students are continually researching, testing , and refining what they know and do. Not only does Rotman train students how to think, but also how to act to help them land jobs and progress quickly in environments that are often rife with politics and unwritten rules. Most notably, the school offers self-development labs (SDLs), where students learn by practicing in a safe environment – not by making costly mistakes after they graduate. After being accepted at Rotman, each first-year is assigned a coach, with whom they work throughout the two-year program. What’s more, they complete custom-tailored exercises that run the gamut from developing self-awareness and charisma to giving presentations and writing for business.
And developing these soft skills were essential to students like Aton before graduation. “Personal development is another reason I chose Rotman. I knew that one of my goals coming out of my MBA would be to have built up a set of soft skills – things like networking and presentation skills – that would allow me to move forward with confidence in the business world. Rotman has one of the most far-reaching and intense personal development initiatives of any business school and offers dedicated resources tailored to building up those skills in its students.”
Beyond its trailblazing approach to problem-solving and intensive support for students, Rotman can boast one other advantage: Toronto itself. Located just north of the financial and entertainment districts, Rotman was recently ranked as “The Best City To Live In The World” by The Economist in 2014. Cosmopolitan and safe, the city boasts something for everyone from anywhere. “The city of Toronto is amazing,” writes Diego Emilio Sanchez, an engineer-turned-consultant from Venezuela. “[It is] big enough to always have something to enjoy and small enough to no get overwhelmed. Add to that a great welcoming, happy and diverse community and you have one of the best places to be in the world.”
The city also ranks among the largest financial centers in the world. And it serves as the headquarters for Fortune 500 firms like Manulife Financial, Weston, and the Royal Bank of Canada. And that means plenty of opportunities for building networks, earning internships, and landing jobs after graduation. “I felt there was no better place to study business in Canada than Toronto,” claims Phil McDonald, an Ottawa native who plans to bolster his health care expertise through the school’s Centre for Health Care Strategy. “The city is home to many of the largest global organizations, which translates to unmatched exposure and access for Rotman students.”
Graduation may be a long ways away, but the Rotman Class of 2017 seemingly knows exactly what it wants to do with its time. Aton, for one, is looking to build self-knowledge and leadership skills. “I chose to do an MBA to challenge myself. As an introvert, a lot of the soft skills necessary to be successful in business don’t come naturally to me. My hope is that, through Rotman’s personal development resources and with feedback from my classmates and in my courses, I will have pushed myself to overcome some of my own limits and built up the soft skills I need to move forward with confidence.”
Alexdia González Vera, who most recently worked for the Mexican Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, also plans to step out of her comfort zone. “I want to widen my financial knowledge, improve my leadership and communication skills, and get an integral education by learning from other fields and subjects I haven´t studied before (i.e. strategy, marketing and sustainability) given my technical background. In that way I can become a better leader with a clear perspective of every important aspect in an organization.”
For McDonald, the next two years are all about preparing for an uncertain future. “I want to be prepared to handle the unexpected. Let me explain: Industries move fast and technology even faster. Before I graduate, I hope to have refined the way I solve problems and developed the tools to approach ambiguity that will not only help me in my first job out of business school but also 10 to 20 years down the road.”
To read profiles of incoming Rotman students – along with their advice on tackling GMAT, applications, and interviews – click on the student links below.