Meet Toronto Rotman’s MBA Class Of 2020

Rodrigo Zubian Mercado Vallejo

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

“Change agent looking to make a positive impact doing what I love, in innovative ways.”

Hometown: Monterrey, Nuevo Leon

Fun Fact About Yourself: I don’t know anything about sports, but I like to attend sporting events only for the social interaction 

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor in Financial Management, Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Business Consultant at Auric Consulting

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of the latest accomplishments I have had was my work at Specialty’s. It was a company bought by one client from the consulting firm where I worked. One of the partners was offered the CEO position since the company was in a turnaround situation due to bad management from the prior executives.

The new CEO invited me to work for at least one year, where I coordinated different departments to generate a strategic plan for next 5 years. I secured a $60 Million USD fund from the parent company and worked on the implementation of a new operating system for the stores that on the pilot with the same labor reduced 39% the store openings and 41% the customer complains. Also, at the end of the year, I was offered a full-time position with the company to work as a strategic planning associate.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why?They have been approachable, humble and extremely successful individuals. I have been astonished about the background and experience of my classmates, but still, they talk and listen to people with a simplicity and humility that amaze me.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The culture and values of the Rotman School of Management were the key factors that made my decision clear. That’s because I see them reflected in my professional and personal life too. I truly believe that the real importance of an MBA is not only on the academic level, but the people that belong to the program and how they reflect their values (staff, current students and graduated alumni).

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Everything about Rotman DesignWorks, the Business Design Club and the Business Design Major as well as the Creative Destruction Lab!

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Pursuing the MBA program now makes that most sense for me for two main reasons. First, it will complement the knowledge that I have gained and will allow for my development in new areas where I want to improve. Second, I am at a point in my life where I am able to strike the right balance between the personal and professional aspects of my life, and I have the full support of my family.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? The MBA program is a unique opportunity to leave your comfort zone into a place where the challenges from my peers and the program itself will help me to further develop professionally and personally. I believe that without the investment in an MBA program, I would not be able to develop I the same way, so the MBA will allow me to generate more value in future roles and allow me to enjoy the benefits for the rest of my life.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None. Rotman was the only full-time school where I was willing to invest time and money.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? To start my MBA quest, I used the Financial Times Ranking as a guide. I knew that all the schools on that list have a top academic level and that being in the first place of the ranking didn’t mean that the program was the best for me.  So I started reviewing the schools looking for a list of attributes that for me seemed like they would generate the best experience:

  • Personal match with culture and values (The way of doing things)
  • Approach to solving problems (Traditional thinking vs innovation)
  • Majors or specialization in strategic planning
  • Diverse and inclusive environment
  • Location of the program

I filtered programs by using their online information and talked with current, past and incoming students to understand the type of culture that I could expect in those programs. In the end, I decided to apply to Rotman, but it was during the interview process that I knew I made the right decision. The admission committee was a truly interested not only in the intellectual capability and professional achievement, but also on the human side where the values of Rotman would be reflected and the culture constructed.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I started working in a consulting firm one year before my graduation. At the time, I didn’t know the extent of the impact to my personal and professional life. This enriching consulting experience has given me the opportunity to work with different companies, industries, countries – and with people from different backgrounds (and even with different teams on every new project). This has helped me to realize the importance of diversity. Now, I truly value a work environment that provides for different points of view or ways of approaching problems, where people will challenge your opinion in a respectful and empathic way.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? Given my interest in strategic planning, I’m looking for a role in a company that impacts the lifestyle and well-being of the society where I can add value by leading and participating in the strategic projects and planning-cycle of the company. I’d also like to learn more about what customers really need and leverage my experience in the different business functions to generate a value proposition that fits those needs.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I would like to keep doing what I love. Be a recognized professional in strategic planning in a leading company that impacts the lifestyle and well-being of the society.