Meet Toronto Rotman’s MBA Class Of 2020

Ximena Bravo

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

Positive, smiley and determined woman. Passionate traveler, dancer and seeker of new experiences.”

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun Fact About Yourself: I had one month of vacations before coming to Rotman, so I decided to took up tennis after 15 years of haven’t played at all. I was a disaster in the courts, but I couldn’t have enjoyed it more! I loved it!

Undergraduate School and Major: Universidad ESAN, Industrial and Commercial Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

BP / Castrol del Perú – Brand Activation Coordinator

Nestlé Perú – Consumer Marketing Manager

Nestle Perú – Marketing Specialist

Nestlé Perú – Sales Executive

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Convincing consumers to believe that a packaged product is 100% natural instead of artificial is a big challenge. This happened with a beverage brand called Ecco, so I worked to relaunch it with a different approach so consumers can adopt new ideas about it.

Thanks to the new image, new communication idea and new ways of preparation, Ecco was one of the few brands selected for the Innovation Day of Nestlé, competing against all brands from the Americas, and was presented in Switzerland in front of many Country Managers and Marketing Directors.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? They are very sharing. Everyone is willing to help you and tell their own experiences so you can have a better base line in terms of studies or the new city.

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? When I was doing some research about top MBA schools, there was a phrase at Rotman that caught my attention immediately: Culture of reciprocity. I think that there is much more than coming to classes. This is about networking, sharing experiences about ourselves, and paying attention to the experience of others. Also, helping other people from my point of view and receiving advice from others with different backgrounds result in growth as a professional and as a person in both sides. I believe that this integrates people, communities, companies, states and more, in order to improve how we think and accelerate the way we solve problems. I think this is what the world needs urgently.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I would love to be part of Negotiation Club and Business Design Club. Also, I am looking forward to do some trekking in the beautiful trails that the city has to offer.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? There was a point in my career in which I realized that I was in a comfortable position. I had a good job and had achieved many of the goals I had some years ago. So I started to plan about the future and studying for an MBA was the perfect choice in order to improve my career and personal experience. The fact of going to a new country, meeting new people, and start learning new things really made me excited.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Part of the research I did was calculating the expected income graduates receive after the program. Also, I spoke to some acquaintances who had already finished a MBA.  In both cases, I could see that the return on the investment was what I was looking for.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I also applied to McGill.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? First of all, I prioritized language. I wanted to be in an English or French speaking country. Although I love my mother tongue (Spanish), I wanted to challenge myself a little bit more.

Then I prioritized schools that were present in top MBA rankings. Of course, Rotman appeared in those lists. After that, I was looking for a school in a city that had good internship opportunities without having to move, that offered an open space for women and that embraced multiculturalism.

Finally, I looked at the websites or blogs of many schools and asked for opinions of different people including family, friends, peers and professionals who were in my field. This was a key to better understanding the culture of each school and helped me decide if I could fit in the program.

I knew that Rotman would fit in my career goals, because it has overseas prestige, is actively looking for more women to be in the program and embraces diversity.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When you are a teenager, your greatest desire is to be free, be able to go out with your friends and make your own decisions. However, you are not fully aware of what is going on in the world that surrounds you. When I was 16, my parents started to be more careful about where I went, with who and what I was going to do. After some time, they told my sister and I that our family was receiving threats and that we could be kidnapped. Suddenly, everything changed. We could not go out to public places; we had to move to a much smaller place (that no-one knew about); and during summer vacations we went to another country for more than a month. Fortunately, the situation ended. We were fine but the experience changed my perspective of life.

Because of this event, I learnt that bad things can happen any time to anyone. I was more aware of things that a regular teen did not care about, especially if you are a woman in my country. You do not choose to be threatened, get some illness, or be in a natural disaster. But you can choose to work and be prepared if these situations arrive. You have to stay positive and see that there are worse things in the world and you should be grateful for what you have in the moment.

All of this has taught me to be always getting better, to look for new opportunities that will benefit yourself and your beloved ones, and to be independent. Also, I learnt that it is important to stay positive in bad situations and to smile to life every day.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I have been in Toronto three times and I can say that it is one of the greatest cities in the world. I would be grateful if after my graduation I can stay to work in a multinational company. I am passionate about building brands, so I plan to stay in Marketing or Strategic areas that are related.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself in a senior position in Marketing or Strategy in a multinational company where I can have an active role in adapting teams, visions and strategies towards new trends. I also see a better version of myself with the soft skills learned at Rotman and with the network I plan to build.