Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Kristy McGregor-Bales, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Kristen (Kristy) McGregor-Bales

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

“An energetic and collaborative leader, I enjoy helping people and organizations evolve from world class to world best.”

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have donated blood over 20 times. If you’ve never donated before, I highly recommend it. It’s easy, relatively painless and you get a snack at the end!

Undergraduate School and Major: Dalhousie University, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Swimming Canada, Manager High Performance Programs

Integrative thinking is one of the cornerstones of the Rotman MBA experience. What does integrative thinking mean to you and how have you been able to apply it thus far? Integrative thinking is a real-world problem-solving approach that brings out the best in everyone to create something special. By considering the big picture, teams integrate conflicting ideas to produce new and improved solutions. The diversity of students who attend Rotman bring amazing, and differing perspectives to the forefront. By being open minded, and using integrative thinking, I have been exposed to incredible ideas and built creative solutions.

What has been your favorite part of Toronto so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? I am beyond excited to live in Toronto. I have fallen in love with the city. In spite of being Canada’s largest city, Toronto still has a charming small town feel to it. Toronto is an active, vibrant, and diverse city, with lots of professional and personal opportunities. I have been going on a coffee tour of the city, trying not to repeat a café whenever I have a coffee chat.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the Rotman MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Self Development Lab and subsequent Leadership Development Lab were key features which helped confirm my decision to attend Rotman. I have learned so much about myself through the Self Development Lab including how to add polish to my communication skills, leadership qualities, and presentation skills. I am very excited to apply for LDL in my second year and continue my leadership journey.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Rotman? I have loved the variety of activities and clubs Rotman offers. With so many options, you can try something new almost every week. One week you may be doing a case competition, then the next falling in love with a company you had never considered before at an info session. I played intramural soccer with a great group of Rotman students, learned so much from all the club events, and have been really engaged with the Rotman mentorship program – both being a mentor through LINKS and being a mentee. The common thread throughout all the activities is the opportunity to meet amazing people and have some fun away from the books.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career so far is wearing the maple leaf on my chest as Team Manager at the Youth Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, and the World Junior Championships. It is extremely rewarding to support athletes to be the best they can be, watch them excel, and then observe how Team Canada success inspires Canadians from coast to coast-to-coast. It was an honour to have been a part of the High Performance Team at Swimming Canada and to have played a role in the success of Team Canada.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: Successfully pivoting from the workforce to student life while overcoming feelings of imposter syndrome is my biggest accomplishment so far. After several years away from university, it was an initial shock to the system to relocate cities and hit the books again. I am very proud of shifting my mindset from initial feelings of “Wow my classmates are so smart, I don’t belong here” to embracing this incredible environment and now experiencing feelings of “Wow my classmates are so smart, I want to learn everything I can from them, and also share my unique experiences”. I have really embraced being pushed out of my comfort zone. I have met so many wonderful people and learned a lot so far, and I am honestly loving every minute.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Rotman MBA program? It’s a thorough process – so carve out lots of time for self-reflection and to dig into what makes you unique. Focus on your spike factor. Good grades and intellectual horsepower are table stakes, but your spike factor will help to differentiate you from other applicants and make you shine. Your spike factor will illustrate how unique you are and the value that you will bring to the Rotman community. So, get out in the community, make an impact, and use your passion to make a difference.


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