Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Hometown: Paris, France
Undergraduate School and Major: McGill University, International Development Studies
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Free The Children – Special Programs and Partnerships Manager, TOGA – Business Operations Manager
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? In my experience, unless you’re making up for significant gaps in knowledge, the GMAT textbooks are incredibly thorough resources. However, it can be really worth your while to work with a tutor for a couple of sessions to better understand how to take the test. A tutor can help you build up a game plan and give you tricks of the trade that can be very helpful in the high-stress moments of the GMAT.
Also, take your time. The last thing you want to have to do when applying to business school is to use a less than ideal GMAT score simply because of a compressed timeline. I took almost a full year from start to finish to pass the GMAT, enabling me to comfortably fit in studying with a full-time job. This also allowed me to re-take the GMAT when I wasn’t satisfied with my first result.
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? It’s so easy when selecting schools to get star-struck and rely on rankings. The most important advice I can give is not to fall into this trap. Choosing a school is an incredibly personal thing; what are pluses for some people may not be for others. Know yourself and be honest about your needs when drawing up a list of target schools.
On a more personal note, an MBA is an incredibly intense and often stressful time in your life. It’s important to have a support system in place to make it through. For me, that meant finding a business school where my partner could follow me, both in terms of immigration and job market.
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 – be able to explain your past, understand your motivations, know your goals. You need to be crystal clear about this before you can project it in a confident, persuasive way to an admissions committee. If you’re not there yet, that’s okay – but you may want to consider postponing your applications for a year or so. When I realized that I wasn’t able to clearly articulate my “story,” that’s what I chose to do. This allowed me to present a much more solid application a year later.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Relevance. Rotman is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking business schools out there, making it incredibly relevant to today’s business environment. Instead of relying on the conventional case studies used in most business schools, it uses a really unique thought process called “Integrative Thinking” that teaches students how leaders think, rather than what leaders have done in the past.
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 that, I also chose Rotman for personal reasons. The amazing connection I made with the people who interviewed me and who were involved in my application process from the start made an enormous difference when I was making my decision.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? 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.
As a career switcher, I also want to graduate with a certain legitimacy in my chosen field. Through the knowledge and experience I’ll build up in my courses and summer internship, I want to graduate from my MBA feeling like I have a solid base to complete my career switch.