2019 MBAs To Watch: Andrew Seepersad, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Andrew Seepersad

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

“I’m a servant leader who’s driven to help people realize their best selves.”

Hometown: Siparia, Trinidad and Tobago

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve not seen any of the Star Wars or Lord of the Rings movies

Undergraduate School and Degree: The University of the West Indies, B.Sc. Management Studies (First Class Honours)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? BP plc

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Rotman DesignWorks

Where will you be working after graduation? To be determined, but in Strategic Design.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President, Rotman Graduate Business Council
  • Class Academic Representative
  • Executive, The Letters (GLBTQ+ affinity group)
  • Mentor, LINKS (mentorship program for undergraduate females)
  • Mentor, Junior Achievement

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being voted in as the Graduate Business Council President. I was deeply moved by the support extended, and the confidence placed in me, by my peers.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Founding a not-for-profit theatre company (Proscenium Theatre Company), which I successfully managed alongside my “daytime” career in finance. Within three years, Proscenium had firmly established itself as an innovative and leading theatre company in Trinidad. Artists and actors were eager to work with us. Our patrons were confident in the quality of our work. Most importantly, we were making a social impact; our productions not only sparked rich conversation about social issues, but we provided financial support to a number of social impact organizations.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Angèle Beausoleil – she helped unlock my passion for Strategic Design/Business Design and inspired me to pursue a career in the field.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Creativity for Business Innovation, which demonstrated how businesses can effectively use creative approaches to solve complex business problems.

Why did you choose this business school? It was the program’s strong research focus and thought leadership, along with the fact that the MBA program expanded beyond “traditional” business subjects to include Self-Development and Business Design.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? You have a superpower. Figure out what it is because that’s your “spike factor” – the capabilities and lived experiences which make you uniquely you. Don’t play it safe in your application. Confidently and unapologetically declare, “THIS IS ME!”

What is the biggest myth about your school? That it’s primarily a finance and consulting MBA. While these remain at the core of the program, there is certainly the opportunity to explore many different career paths – from Business Design to Behavioural Economics, Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and Sustainability

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Just how demanding it would be, emotionally and physically.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? I’m going to be a real MBA here and use an acronym – the transformation has been EPIC. Through the study of Business Design, I’ve grown more (E)mpathetic. The practices I’ve learned through the Self Development Lab have helped me become more (P)ositive. The learning environment nurtures entrepreneurship and creativity and this has pushed me to be more (I)nnovative. Finally, I’ve been challenged to be more (C)ourageous – to push my thinking and be unafraid to boldly step beyond my boundaries.

The journey itself has also been fun and, well, epic.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? My friend Bianca Brooks. She is one of the most impressive humans I’ve ever met. She’s extremely bright. She’s compassionate.  She’s passionate. She’s courageous. She’s a survivor. I’ve learned a lot from her.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My husband. He’s always been extremely supportive of my ambitions. When I began feeling stuck in my previous career, he challenged me to reconsider what I wanted out of life. Once I decided I wanted to switch career paths, he encouraged me to consider doing an MBA. `

What is your favorite movie about business? Moneyball. It showed the value of making data-driven decisions.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? If I never have to solve another ridiculous Monty Hall problem again, life would be awesome.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a full-time theatre producer/director.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I’d say my education has well been worth its price tag. If I factor in the unique, outside of the classroom experiences I’ve had at Rotman, then it’s been worth far more.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Go on an African Safari and perform on a Canadian stage.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who can be trusted to get things done.

Hobbies? Going to the theatre, reading, Netflix-ing, and sleeping.

What made Andrew such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Andrew has leveraged his intersectionality as an international student, person of colour and someone who is out and proud to help promote a more inclusive Rotman. He has helped us create opportunities to better support life partners, advocated for more resources to support marginalized communities and has earned the admiration of his peers as our Graduate Business Council President.  Andrew has built trust among the administration, so much so that many of our resources for events and programs are now pooled together to amplify our impact. Andrew’s previous experience as a Theatre Director, Wine Shop Owner and Executive within the Petroleum Industry has served our community well. During several highly stressful events where other student leaders had failed to fulfill their obligations, Andrew quickly jumped into solutions mode. Rather than blame others, he silently got to work to unlock bottlenecks and mobilize our community. He is a great example of someone who believes in service-based leadership. While he is perfectly comfortable being on centre stage, he knows when to support his team from behind and allows others to have a platform to shine. Behind every success there is often a lot of less glamorous work, since assuming the GBC President role, Andrew has devoted much of his time towards this type of important work which includes thankless tasks such as helping to reform the GBC constitution, making amendments to the complaints resolution process to ensure transparency and procedural fairness. He also leads a re-organization of the GBC Executive and streamlined roles to place a stronger emphasis on community building and inclusion, Andrew has been an incredible asset to the Rotman community, he will be dearly missed but he’s already hard at work building an alumni advisory for the GBC.”

Neel Joshi
Director of Student & International Experience

Are you a friend of Andrew? Leave a note to congratulate him.