A CHANGING OF THE GUARD
The Rotman MBA’s integrative thinking framework is another staple of the program. In every course, students are continuously dissecting situations using integrative methods. Basically, integrative thinking is the opposite of zero-sum, either-or problem-solving where decision-makers choose between a series of mutually-exclusive options. As integrative thinkers, Rotman MBAs pivot to the possibilities, pulling the best out of each option to produce long-term solutions that cover every angle. Many times, this framework is practiced through real world projects serving real world stakeholders who expect actionable solutions.
“Success in business requires us to adapt to constant change, especially in today’s context,” observes Carlos Cardenas Baldwin. “This approach encourages us to apply models that go beyond functional areas commonly seen in organizations, in order to improve our ability to tackle complex problems seen in today’s industry.”
Change is good. It forces institutions to re-assess the premises and priorities that they have taken for granted. At Rotman, this change comes in the form of new leadership. This month, Rotman elevated Susan Christoffersen to dean – a five-year term that begins July 1st. Christoffersen is hardly a newcomer to Rotman. She has spent over a decade at the school, holding administrative roles such as co-director of the TD Managmenet Data and Analytics Lab and vice-dean of the school’s undergraduate and specialized programs. She replaces Tiff Macklem, who served as dean from 2014-2020 and ushered in a greater emphasis on experiential learning and personal development at the school.
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE MBA MANAGING DIRECTOR
What other changes could be in store for Rotman MBA students? Last year, P&Q reached out to Maria Jimena Rivera, managing director of the Full-Time MBA program. From new courses to COVID, this is what is up ahead at Rotman.
P&Q: What are the most exciting new developments at your program?
Rivera: “We are responding to the COVID challenge with innovations in our courses, networking opportunities, and career opportunities.
Courses: Multiple faculty are using COVID-related examples in their curricula. We are developing new modes of course delivery, with multiple combinations of on-line and on-site activities. These respond to the COVID challenges, while at the same time creating powerful ways of teaching that are relevant in all environments
Networks: We are engaging people from across the world in the online forums that are central to our MBA program. The challenges to travel have created the need to reach out more broadly than we historically have done. Recognizing that today’s networking has a greater emphasis on virtual connections, Rotman has supported all students who wish to upgrade their free LinkedIn account to the enhanced Premium Career subscription by covering their associated costs. Rotman students will also receive access to sessions on how to maximize their effectiveness using LinkedIn as more employers rely on AI in conducting their recruiting efforts.
Careers: As the business landscape changes, with some businesses retreating and others expanding, we are reaching out to broad set of employers to help our students develop a wide range of career opportunities. We’ve expanded our team of career services coaching professionals to provide guidance and coaching tailored to the rapidly changing job market.”
P&Q: What are the two most unique or differentiating features of your full-time program? How do they enrich the MBA experience?
Rivera: “We are located in the heart of Canada’s most broad-based commercial city, with ties to world-class financial services, consulting, healthcare, consumer goods, manufacturing, and other enterprises. Students have ongoing opportunities to engage with senior leaders of these organizations. We are connected to the most vital entrepreneurial community and one of the strongest science-based early stage venture communities in the world. This brings programmatic content in our courses and community relationships, such as through the Creative Destruction Lab and other initiatives, that help students gain entrepreneurial skills and experience.”
P&Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your business school?
Rivera: “We have faced the challenges that all business schools face and are treating them as opportunities to seek innovative course content and delivery mechanisms, broad-based engagement with people and communities throughout the world, and new career opportunities.”
P&Q: Integrative thinking is a cornerstone of the Rotman MBA. How would you define integrative thinking to prospective MBAs and what makes it such a profound method for problem-solving?
Rivera: “Integrative Thinking is designed for a world where traditional problem-solving tools are inadequate, the costs of failure are high, and the greatest source of advantage is the ability to act with insight and decisiveness in the face of uncertainty. At Rotman, we teach our students to use explicit models to guide their thinking, so that they can clearly define and systematically structure problems before attempting to solve them. This enables our students to identify the subtle cause-and-effect relationships that often make business challenges intractable.”
10 REASONS TO CONSIDER TORONTO ROTMAN
1) Self-Development Lab: “There are many things that drew me to Rotman – from the diverse and welcoming city of Toronto to the variety of MBA specializations offered – but what sold me was the Self-Development Lab (SDL). The SDL offers a unique opportunity for students to receive constructive feedback about how to present themselves professionally and deepen their understanding about their personal motivations. This program is unique to Rotman, which emphasizes the school’s desire to holistically, not just academically, prepare their students for leadership roles. Most MBA programs offer strong academic courses with amazing professors, but the focus on these “soft” skills is especially appealing to me, as I believe they will help me build a solid foundation for professional and personal success.”
Michaela Eckel (’22)
2) Creative Destruction Lab: “I have a very strong imagination. My dreamy side always helps me dream up some new reality, and my practical, competitive nature helps me find ways to bring that imagination to life. Therefore, the fact that Rotman is the birthplace of Creative Destruction Lab was both thrilling and fitting for me. In addition to participating in activities that CDL offers its fellows – startup founders and investors/advisors/mentors – at its central hub in Toronto, I get to be paired up with one of these startups to provide strategic insights and help develop these deep-tech companies turn their research innovations into (hopefully) massive, scalable ventures.”
Trang Nguyen (’22)
3) Job Opportunities For International Students: “Rotman program offers a 3-year work permit post-graduation. This work permit perk combined with the strength of the Canadian energy industry made it a great choice for me.”
Carlos Cardenas Baldwin (’22)
4) Toronto: “Having a premiere business school located in the heart of downtown Toronto, a major financial hub, further assured my selection. The close ties the school has with leading industries and organizations in Canada allowing us with invaluable networking opportunities.”
Carlos Cardenas Baldwin (’22)
“Canada is very friendly towards immigrants, making adaption much easier. Toronto is one of the most cosmopolite cities in the world, with over half of its population being born outside of Canada. Further, the city has established an excellent reputation in the technology industry, being home to many start-ups, innovation hubs, and venture capital firms. As a result, the number of tech jobs created in Toronto is outpacing other known tech centers, ideal for recent grads like me. Finally, Rotman is consistently ranked as one of the best business schools in Canada. Its location in downtown Toronto makes networking very convenient, and its research focus is genuinely appealing to me, as I believe that access to cutting-edge research gives an advantage to MBAs. Hence, Rotman had everything that I was looking for: rigorous teaching, a great network, and many opportunities after graduation.”
Pablo Naze (’20)
5) Finance: “When it comes down to finance, Rotman’s program really shines. As an Engineer looking to transition into the competitive Private Equity, the two main things I wanted were a really strong academic program in which I could use my analytical strengths, and plenty of opportunities to showcase the value I know I can bring to the field. Rotman’s program stood out to me for its academic strength in financial theory and methods, its long list of finance-focused electives, and its finance networking extracurriculars.”
John Rogic (’22)
6) O-Camp: “O-Camp is an offsite event held during the incoming class reception. I participated in O-Camp both as an incoming student and as a volunteer in my second year. For me, this event reflects Rotman’s efforts in building community and strengthening bonds among students. O-camp’s design is such that students have the opportunity to engage with each other in multiple ways.
One of my favorites games is one in which each student is facing each other, separated by a curtain. Once the curtain falls, the student who guesses their friend’s name first wins. It may sound silly, but this activity is relevant especially in the beginning of the program. These team-building-exercises helps us to bond, develop trust, and get to know our colleagues. In a challenging program such as Rotman, having the support of friends makes a complete difference. O-camp was one of the activities that helped in just that.”
Pablo Naze (’20)
7) Culture Eats: “A few times every year, the Rotman Student Engagement team partners up with the cultural student clubs within the MBA program to put on what we call Culture Eats. Each Culture Eats is a lunch themed around a specific region’s cuisine and includes music, a short presentation, and stories from home. The lunches they provide to the students are always fun, educational, and offer an important break in the middle of a busy day.
Rotman is a large and extremely diverse program. While students do have the chance to get to know classmates inside the classroom, it is also important to bond outside the classroom as well. Rotman takes this very seriously and gives everyone the chance to share a bit about themselves. Culture Eats is just one example of the many ways Rotman is more than just a school, it is a family.”
Jessica Shannon (’20)
8) Intimate Class Size: “I’m a believer in the smaller class sizes. The comparatively smaller class of Rotman provides an opportunity to build stronger relationships with my peers and professors. I’m looking forward to the insights, perspectives, and personalities of every single student in the Rotman MBA Class of 2022.”
John Rogic (’22)
9) CFA Acceptance: “What really sealed the deal for me was how (at the time) they were one of only two top business schools globally that accepted CFA qualification in place of GMATs. I instantly knew this was the right place for me as a Finance professional who is also a CFA charterholder. I was impressed with Rotman pioneering such a logical move in my eyes and it demonstrated leadership and innovation.”
Takura Chinodya (’20)
10) Best of All Worlds: “Rotman has the perfect balance in all the things I was looking for in an MBA program. The class size is large enough to be diverse and provide a deep network, but the sections we are broken into give a sense of family and safety. The courses offered are a mix of quantitative skills with other disciplines such as organizational behavior and business design. Plus, Rotman’s location right in the center of downtown Toronto gives students access to a multitude of companies in a city that is rapidly growing and has the energy a financial center provides. There is something for everyone at Rotman and gave me the ability to discover what direction I wanted to go in post MBA.”
Jessica Shannon (’20)
Check out these profiles of promising Rotman MBA candidates:
|MBA Student||Hometown||Undergrad Alma Mater||Last Employer|
|Ronke Akinsola||Lagos, Nigeria||University of Lagos||Chapel Hill Denham|
|Carlos Cardenas Baldwin||Lima, Peru||University of Texas at Austin||Pluspetrol Corporation/Syn Entertainment|
|Takura Chinodya||Harare, Zimbabwe||University of Cape Town||Goldman Sachs|
|Fabiola Diaz Mier||Veracruz, Mexico||Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey||Danone|
|Michaela Eckel||Sudbury, MA||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Johnson & Johnson – Janssen Pharmaceuticals|
|Zolzaya Erdenebileg||Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia||Kenyon College||Nielsen|
|Zihan Li||Baoding, China||Dartmouth College||New York University|
|Marcelline “Marce” Merry||Midlothian, VA||Vanderbilt University||KPMG Canada|
|Trang Nguyen||Hanoi, Vietnam||Hamilton College||Tipsy Art|
|Sarah Rickaby||Mississauga, Canada||University of Western Ontario||Dillon Consulting Limited|
|John Rogic||Vancouver, Canada||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Lummus Technology|