Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Zolzaya Erdenebileg, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Zolzaya Erdenebileg

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

A nomadic nerd obsessed with AI ethics, intersections between business and society, and Adventure Time.”

Hometown: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia by way of the United States.

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m currently learning how to create a WeChat Mini Program that will be able to connect live music lovers with local artists and music venues in Shanghai.

Undergraduate School and Major: Kenyon College, Economics & International Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nielsen, Client Business Partner

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? When I first began the MBA program search, I was quickly overwhelmed by the huge amount of choice of schools. There are so many impressive programs with amazing offerings out there. However, for me, it was more about finding a personal fit – a place where I could really see myself connecting with the school and the community.

Specifically, I was looking for a school that placed diversity & inclusion at the heart of their ethos, promoted enthusiastic optimism about business’ potential to do good, and envisioned an innovative and collaborative society. Nowhere else did I find these qualities to be so perfectly fulfilled than at Rotman.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? So many! But I’m definitely hyped for the Creative Destruction Lab Fellowship, a Rotman-created seed-stage program that immerses Rotman students with early stage tech businesses. The CDL’s goal of finding market innovations to solve societal problems resonates deeply with me and my own personal mission. Additionally, as someone that prefers to learn by doing, the CDL is going to be an invaluable part of my MBA education, and I believe it will be a key part of my future trajectory in tech and entrepreneurship.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I’m most proud of the work I’ve been able to do in diversity and inclusion in China, both with Ladies Who Tech and Nielsen.

As a volunteer with Ladies Who Tech, I have been part of moments of “barrier destruction”, where the imaginary boundaries of social conditioning fall apart and girls and women are encouraged to see themselves as not just tech participants, but also tech leaders. Additionally, I am part of the Inclusion Impact Team at Nielsen China, where we have been instrumental in pushing D&I further in China and localizing it for the market.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? For the next stage of my career, I want to focus on what I believe to be one of the most critical questions of our time – how will AI impact our society and what can we do to make sure that application of this new technology does not harm already marginalized groups within our communities? The reason why I chose to pursue an MBA is because I believe the most effective solutions will come from the business sector, and this is where, given my background and my goals, I can make the biggest impact.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford and Harvard.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? For Rotman, this has to be: “What is your spike factor?”

It is a much more loaded question than you would expect because it is simultaneously asking you to describe something about your character or experiences that demonstrates individuality – beyond normal accolades – as well as asking you to assess your fit with the school and the community based on that factor. It’s one of the questions I loved about Rotman because it shows just how much the admissions team is trying to understand the person behind the scores and grades.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? My main priorities for determining fit were program culture (focus on collaboration rather than competitiveness), innovation (involvement with the start-ups communities and investment in new tech), diversity & inclusion (both in the curriculum and the people), and outcome (return-on-investment after graduation).

As part of my research, I spoke with many people, including alum, current students, and the admissions officers. Of course, the website, admissions webinars, and the jobs reports were extremely helpful. Further, I maintained a spreadsheet where I kept track of the feedback and my personal notes. After broadening my knowledge, my intuitions were already leaning towards Rotman. After my Rotman interview, I felt sure about my decision.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I don’t have a single defining moment that prepared me for business school, but the lessons I have learned throughout my career have all compounded into a few rules of the road:

  1. Nobody knows everything, but one person can accomplish a lot.
  2. There is joy in creation.
  3. We live in a society.

Many people assume that the MBA path is one that only leads to consulting, finance, and banking. For some, this is certainly the case, but it can also be a highly creative and impactful time – to see what else one is capable of, and I’m excited for that journey.

What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer and why is that so important? The qualities that I am seeking in an MBA program are similar to the ones I want in an MBA employer. I want the company to have a culture and mission that is based on diversity & inclusion and social impact, and is at the forefront.



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