Meet The Toronto Rotman MBA Class of 2017

Juan Li

Juan Li

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Hometown: Beijing, China

Undergraduate School and Major: Central University of Finance and Economics, Taxation

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Employer: Donghai Futures Co., LTD   Title: Branch Finance Manager

Employer: The Bank of New York Mellon Beijing Branch   Title: Trade Specialist & Chairman of China Community Partnership Committee

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE?

My advice for applicants who are preparing for GMAT:

  1. Stick to the Offical Guide, analyze each question carefully, and work to get a feeling for the logic of GMAT. After a while, even when you are not sure about the answer, you’ll still have a feeling about which is the correct answer.
  2. Don’t use practice materials from too many different sources as some of them don’t follow the GMAC’s test principle.
  3. Getting a high score in the GMAT does not only need high IQ but also EQ. Build up your EQ in your life and try to use GMAT logic to solve the problems. When someone asks you something, try to explain it thoroughly with proper lines of reasoning. Never assume that the person knows the stories or reasons behind the answer. Sooner or later, your GMAT muscle will grow strong.
  4. Don’t time your practice in the beginning. Do it slowly instead. In the last 2 or 3 weeks before the exam, you should start to time it and work to ensure you get used to how long each answer should be.

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? I listed many schools based on reputation, location, program quality, etc. In the end, I only sent my application to one school. I wanted to focus my attention and energy on getting into the school I liked the best and I was confident enough to put all my eggs in one basket. During my school selection process, I listed the top 5 business schools in Canada. Then I started to research each of their programs, locations, and post graduate job opportunities. Tuition is important too, but I didn’t focus on it as I wanted to invest my precious time and energy into the best program that could really help me advance. I spent a lot of time looking at their websites and talking to their current students and alumni. I even flew to Canada to see their campus and buildings in person. In addition, I also went to many MBA fairs in Beijing to approach their admission staff to ask questions and learn more about the schools. After all the research, I ranked the schools I selected and made a strategy for applying to them, which was to put all my energy in applying for the school ranked first. The strategy may vary from person-to-person, but at least you need to make sure you have enough knowledge about the schools you are applying to.

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? When you apply to schools, don’t do it in a rush. Think carefully about what you want to achieve from the program. The thinking part plays an important role in the applying process as it can help you get to know yourself better and get you to think of things you’ve never thought about. For writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommendations, you can get a lot of tips from websites. But my advice is to be yourself. Everyone has their own strengths and they shine in different ways. Know your advantages and make them stand out in your application.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? There were many factors which led me to choose Rotman’s full-time MBA. I’ll list three main reasons here. The first one is location. Rotman has the best location compared to other schools. As my post graduate goal is to work in finance. Considering the network I’m going to need to build, downtown Toronto is definitely the perfect place for me. The second reason is Rotman’s reputation. As Canada’s no. 1 business school, Rotman is well-recognized by all the big firms in Canada, even in North America. Who doesn’t want to have a degree which is from a world famous school? The third reason is Rotman’s innovative programs, extensive connections, and dedicated faculty. Beside all these reasons, I feel like I’m in love with this school after months of getting to know everything about it. In the end, all my other reasons ended up being not that important as I already knew this was the right school for me.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I would like to achieve an extensive network, life-long friendships, and a powerful toolkit before I graduate. One of the main differences between MBA and other programs is that MBA focuses more on building connections in the industry. I really hope that by the time I finish my program, I’m able to use the network I have to advance my career. As a new immigrant to Canada, I left my past life in China and came to this new environment to start my new life. Friends are important in my life, so making some life-long friendships would make me very happy and make everything worthwhile. I also expect to sharpen my skills while studying at Rotman. I know my shortcomings and I know that I still have a lot to learn and to improve. With the help from Rotman’s well-designed courses and my connections, I’m sure that I will be able to achieve everything I need to make my dreams come true.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.