Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Marcelline Merry, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Marcelline “Marce” Merry

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

“My spirit animal is a squirrel – energetic, quick-moving, and constantly snacking.”

Hometown: Midlothian, Virginia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I learn song lyrics very easily, and have an encyclopedia of song lyrics from music of all genres stored in my head. This makes karaoke my favourite activity of all time!

Undergraduate School and Major: Vanderbilt University (Major: Economics), Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management (Masters of Accountancy)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: KPMG Canada – US Corporate Tax Specialist

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Self Development Lab at Rotman really impressed me and attracted me to the school. During my admissions process, I had the privilege of attending the Women in Management Association’s Conference at Rotman, which including a Self Development Lab session with Maja Djikic. She challenged us to explore why we wanted what we wanted. Why do we want an MBA? Why do we want to pursue the careers we’re considering pursuing? This conversation made me realize how essential it is for me to pause and invest in introspection to question why I am drawn to the things I am drawn to, and what motivates me. I am confident that more time working with the Self Development Lab will allow me to clarify why I want to pursue certain objectives, which will ultimately make achieving them more rewarding.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am excited to get involved with the Creative Destruction Lab. The majority of my work experience has been at a large professional service firm, mostly serving large clients. This summer I have had the privilege of working with a fitness start-up in the states, which has been my first exposure to the unique challenges and opportunities that young companies face. This experience has piqued my interest, and the Creative Destruction Lab provides me with the opportunity to further explore it.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment so far is receiving a promotion at KPMG Toronto. I was anxious to begin the job in Corporate Tax in Toronto because it was very different than my previous job and I had little technical tax background. However, I was able to compensate for my limited technical knowledge with a persistent curiosity and a focus on critical thinking. I performed at a high level and received a promotion to Corporate Tax Specialist within 6 months of joining as a Staff Accountant.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My personal life led me to move to Toronto, and I quickly fell in love with the city. At the same time, I was not feeling completely fulfilled by my job at the time. I decided that pursuing an MBA at Rotman provided me with an opportunity for a career shift through establishing a professional network, and allowed me to grow roots in the city that I love so much by building my personal network.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None – I was determined to stay in downtown Toronto.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? In my admissions interview, I was asked about a time I had failed. It was a difficult question that I did not have an answer to because I typically tried to avoid thinking about and discussing my failures, particularly in an evaluative setting. Previously, I have considered failure and success as mutually exclusive. In reality, failure is a necessary component of growth and self-improvement. One thing I am hopeful to gain from my MBA is more comfort with taking risks, failing, and learning from it.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I took advantage of the opportunities Rotman presented for prospective students to get a feel for the program. After visiting a class, attending the Women in Management Association’s Conference, and meeting numerous students during both experiences, I was confident that I could see myself fitting into the Rotman community seamlessly.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was when I began studying for the third level of the CFA last spring. I had just moved to a new country and started a new job, and had been dreading beginning to study. However, when I finally decided to start, I realized how much I enjoyed it. Learning the new material and studying it felt more like a hobby than a chore. I had never considered myself a person who loved school. At this moment I discovered that I truly love to learn. This gave me the clarity to chart my path towards to further education – both at Rotman and in my career to come.

What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer and why is that so important? Given my love of learning, it is most important to me that my future employer fosters my curiosity. Professionally, I have been at my happiest when it feels that my superiors encourage my understanding of the broader context of the work, rather than just focusing on completing all necessary tasks.


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