Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Rohit Challa, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Rohit Challa

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

“A passionate problem solver who is aiming to create impact as a social entrepreneur”

Hometown: Vijayawada, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love everything about bicycles. I especially love taking them apart. I have done multiple 100-km rides, and am aiming to complete the Toronto-Niagara ride next summer

Undergraduate School and Major: Mechanical Engineer, Indian Institute of Technology, BHU, Varanasi, India

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Consultant, ZS Associates

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 the ability to step outside one’s own perspective while understanding and solving a problem. It is the art of approaching a question from different dimensions. At Rotman, I learned this process practically by working with a diverse academic team and listening to diverse perspectives and ideas during classroom discussions. Many courses are interwoven in such a way that we got to witness how to approach similar problems from a strategy, marketing, finance, and even statistics perspectives. This all-round development has transformed the problem-solver in me to focus more on understanding the problem before jumping into a “solutioning” mindset

What has been your favorite part of Toronto so far? Why? I am amazed by the cultural diversity of the city, which made blending in very easy. The city’s startup ecosystem and the opportunity to interact with amazing founders and C-suite executives during Rotman and external events have been my favorite parts so far about Toronto.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Toronto Rotman’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Along with my admission to Rotman, I got a fellowship with the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a fast-growing tech startup accelerator. While the main fellowship kicks off in my second year, I have already started part-timing with the CDL. As an aspiring entrepreneur, CDL (and the fellowship) is the biggest reason why I decided to join Rotman.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Toronto Rotman? Being part of the Rotman Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club (REVCA) has been the most amazing experience for me so far at Rotman. The club brings together a group of amazing people who are passionate about startups and VCs. The second-year executives are fantastic mentors. As a first-year representative of the club, I get first-hand exposure to the workings of the club.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a Healthcare Consultant, I supported brand leads of pharmaceutical companies in the global launches of Cancer treatments. I got the opportunity to lead teams located in India and Argentina and partnered with clients located in the USA and Europe. I was recognized with the “Client Relation Champion” award. In 2021, I helped set up a ZS internal venture that focused on utilizing data to deliver high quality business insights to clients.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? I started two part-time jobs at two different accelerators at the University of Toronto, which are helping me work closely with start-ups, grow my network, and get better at time management. MBA programs are infamous for being hectic, however, Rotman has proactively reduced our course loads. It feels incredible to be able to carve out time to learn outside of the classroom without fear of negatively impacting my grades.

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far? My best memory at Rotman is coming across some amazing people who are headed down the entrepreneurship path similar to me. Together, we are trying to create a community of Rotman Founders with the aim of motivating and helping each other. I hope this community snowballs into something big over the next decade.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Toronto Rotman’s MBA program? While applying for the MBA, I remember feeling anxious about whether I will get through as I had a low undergrad GPA. I wrote to Rotman with my concerns, and they assured me that if other aspects of my profile stand out, one negative should not be a concern. One piece of advice I will give is to be proud of your strengths and make sure you convey them in your application. Also, be genuine and curious.


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