2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Adrianna Noble, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Adrianna Noble

University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

“Driven and compassionate, deeply interested in others and committed to sustainability for worldwide change.”

Hometown: Whitby, a suburb outside of Toronto, Canada

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve had a collection of odd jobs growing up; I worked as a “fry queen” in fast food, a garbage girl at a junk removal company, and then at a gold mine in rural Northern Ontario, Canada (yes there were bears)

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Toronto, Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Environmental Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Enwave Energy Corporation, Energy and Optimization Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023?

Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3), New York City

Where will you be working after graduation? I’m building my career with the aim of supporting the Net Zero Energy Transition in a global-oriented role. Ideally, one that utilizes the quantitative aspects of finance learned from my MBA, with the technical side of alternative energy systems learned from my background in chemical engineering and sustainable energy. I’m positioning myself for roles in the infrastructure investments and private equity space, particularly with respect to clean energy and renewables.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership and Extracurriculars:

* Vice President – Sustainability Education, Rotman Net Impact

Supported the planning and execution of various sustainability events such as the annual flagship event and the Rotman Sustainability Conference, which is attended by 100+ students and industry leaders.

* Executive Vice President, Rotman Engineering Student Association

Led the planning and execution of events aimed at supporting peers with engineering backgrounds navigating the transition into business school.

* First-Year Representative, Rotman Engineering Student Association

Elected by peers to act as a liaison between class cohort and club executives to promote club events.

* LINKS Mentorship Program Mentor

Mentored a female undergraduate Rotman commerce student for interview preparation and career advice.

* Co-Founder, Launch Lab Program, UofT the Entrepreneurship Hatchery Startup Incubator Hub

Collaborated on market research and development of a carbon capture air filtration device with a PhD student, and supported by two professors in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

* Graduate Teaching Assistant

Returned to undergraduate faculty as a TA for second-year core chemical engineering courses: Engineering Economic Analysis and Statistics.

* Speaker, Opening Remarks: RBC’s Sustainability Luncheon to industry CEO’s

Selected by senior faculty members to provide opening remarks and land acknowledgement on behalf of Rotman.

* Rotman Hockey MBA Player

Member of the graduate hockey team, assisted with planning tournaments and the annual alumni game and reunion for 30+ alumni.

Honours and Awards:

* Wilfred G. Lewitt Award

Entrance scholarship awarded for academic merit and high level of leadership potential from involvement within the university and community.

* Bradley David Griffiths Memorial Scholarship

Awarded based on background/interest in finance, investment banking, or energy; academic merit; and demonstrated leadership experience. 

* Class of 2003 Trayten Jensen Memorial Award, Rotman School of Management

Awarded based on outstanding contributions to the Rotman and/or wider community. 

* 1st Place Case Competition– Rotman Net Impact x Rotman Energy and Natural Resources Association x Liberty Utilities

Awarded 1st prize of $1000 as a member of the winning team for Liberty Utilities’ Sustainability Goals and Path to Net-Zero by 2050 case competition.

* Honourable Mention, RBC Deal Study Case Competition, Rotman Finance Association

Selected as part of a team chosen to attend a networking session for case competition performance.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of being part of the winning team in the Liberty Utilities Case Competition in conjunction with Rotman’s Net Impact and Energy and Natural Resources Association in my first year. Entering business school, I aimed to deepen my understanding of the role of sustainability in business. I was greatly inspired to join a team of three exceptionally bright and talented female classmates, all with experience in traditionally male-dominated fields, for this case competition. Together, we developed and presented a set of nine Environmental, Social, and Governance performance targets for the Liberty Utilities team, and were awarded first place in the competition. My team members’ strong backgrounds in finance and sustainability, paired with my ability to analyze and present information effectively, made us a successful team.

Winning the case competition, with the support and expertise of my inspiring team members, not only improved my understanding and knowledge but motivated me to join the Net Impact club Executive Team in my second year. Here, I helped organise sustainability-themed events, provide mentorship, and share insights that I have gained with the first-year class. Through my leadership roles, such as my work at the Net Impact club, and with the support of empowering, trailblazing female leaders, I aspire to give back to the opportunities and activities that have instilled in me the confidence to achieve my professional goals, irrespective of my gender, age, or background.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the accomplishments, scale of learning, and adaptability demonstrated during my previous experience at Enwave Energy Corp. I joined the Energy and Optimization team during the early days of the pandemic in May 2020 and was onboarded in a fully remote environment. Transitioning to the team in a fully remote setting, where the team was navigating and adapting to this new environment, was further challenged when the team’s senior leader left at the beginning of my internship.

Despite these hurdles, I quickly embraced a high level of responsibility in my new role and achieved success. I was responsible for overseeing the preparation of quarterly government reports for low-carbon funding programs, ensuring $19 million in funding across four “Net Zero by 2050” low-carbon projects. This required me to lead weekly meetings with external consultants, plant operators, and the construction and engineering teams to ensure that all components of the project were satisfied from financial, technical, and timing perspectives, despite my junior position. Further, performing technical engineering calculations for the district energy plants’ energy efficiency improvement projects was incredibly rewarding as I was able to directly apply my chemical engineering degree. However, it was in this role that I discovered my affinity and passion for the business side of organisations which led me to pursue an MBA. Supporting business case development for a $1.3 million equipment upgrade, negotiating with utilities for a $0.3 million incentive, and conducting financial analyses to secure $1.2 million from incentive programs allowed me to learn more about business operations and realise my dream career pathway. This led me to work at a clean energy consulting firm in New York City for my MBA internship this past summer, where I was able to work in a role that was at the intersection of finance, strategy, and clean energy, which confirmed to me that this was the career pathway that I wanted to pursue.

Why did you choose this business school? From my MBA experience, I wanted the chance to expand my horizons globally. Rotman’s extensive international alumni network and wealth of global learning opportunities, in addition to its position as the premier business school in Canada, solidified my choice. Rotman’s extensive network also includes a unique partnership with the University of Toronto’s Engineering Faculty, which allows engineering students to begin their MBA with more limited professional experience. After working for a year-and-a-half while completing the co-op program with my chemical engineering degree, I was able to apply to the MBA program. After being accepted to Rotman, I was able to immediately begin my MBA studies after I graduated from engineering. This program allowed me to leverage the strength of my engineering education to advantageously make the switch to business earlier.

Rotman offers a wealth of opportunities to students for career growth and global learning, which solidified my decision to attend. The appeal of the school’s diverse class is the ability to connect with classmates hailing from different corners of the world and within the extensive Rotman alumni community worldwide, enhancing the global perspective. Further, I have had the privilege to explore numerous international opportunities available to Rotman students, including an internship in New York City and a study abroad program in Copenhagen, Denmark. In October of my first year, I had the honour of being selected to participate in Rotman’s NYC Career Trek, an exciting opportunity to network with esteemed finance firms and fellow Rotman alumni in New York. Choosing Rotman has not only enabled me to establish a strong network and academic foundation, but has instilled in me the confidence and global perspective to set the stage for an exciting and fulfilling personal career path.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I had the opportunity to be taught by Walid Hejazi in my first year Macroeconomics class, in addition to participating in his facilitation of a Start-up Panel Discussion Session collaborative workshop with a group of visiting students from, ESADE in Barcelona. While his class subject matter could be dry in the hands of another lecturer, Walid is a captivating teacher with engaging presentation skills that allows him to capture your attention as a student– often with added humour. It was his skill of relating the theories of macroeconomics to real life events, all while tying it back to current trends in the economic cycle, that solidified his teaching expertise to me. His advocacy for improving Canada’s ability to innovate, retain talent, and effectively scale up start-ups, demonstrated his passion for and expertise in his subject matter. Further, his support of the global experience programs at Rotman and emphasis on the importance of future business leaders developing cultural intelligence is inspiring as well.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? The elective course I took this earlier year, ‘How Banks Work: Management in a New Technological Age’ taught by Richard Nesbitt was by far my favourite course thus far at Rotman. Richard Nesbitt is a highly regarded banking leader in Canada and a strong supporter of diversity and equity initiatives in finance. He is also the chair of the “The Inclusion Initiative at LSE”, which contributed to the classroom’s motivating and encouraging atmosphere for me. At the end of every session, the course had guests present to our class. These guests were leaders in their respective fields and included a former CEO of one of the big five banks in Canada and the Canadian head of a leading global asset manager. The insights from these current industry leaders contributed to my greater understanding of the financial sector and I was further inspired by their own personal career stories. The course content itself allowed me to improve my contextual understanding of the banking industry, by providing a historical background of our current financial institutions. It also allowed me to further improve my foresight into future trends and the implications of technological advancements like AI and quantum computing for the financial sector– a crucial skill desired in future, successful leaders.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favourite MBA event or tradition would be the Rotman Hockey team season. My previous years as a member of the University of Toronto’s Varsity Blues Women’s Hockey Team instilled in me a strong sense of community and a drive to join the team as one of the youngest players. As one of the few female players, I found myself incredibly welcome, included, and supported by teammates in my professional and personal endeavours. It’s here that I made some of my strongest connections with classmates, exhibiting Rotman’s inclusive culture and ability to build a network that lasts. This sense of community and partnership extends to alumni players who return each year for an annual alumni game and post-game mixer, with last year’s being attended by over 40 players.

In my first year on the team, I helped coordinate the team’s successful participation in the Ivey MBA Hockey Tournament in London, Ontario in my first year. Our team competed against other Canadian business school and alumni teams, securing a runner-up finish. A highlight from my first year was our team winning the Intramural Championships. Our team drew a large crowd of fellow classmates to the game, and our celebration afterwards demonstrated the tight-knit, supportive nature of the graduate student body at Rotman.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? As I was admitted to Rotman directly from my undergraduate engineering program, I was concerned that my more limited professional experience might hold me back. I began business school knowing that I wanted to pursue a role in the sustainability field within CleanTech or energy, but I was also open to opportunities in finance and consulting.

Acknowledging my less extensive professional experience, I threw myself into the program and MBA life, connecting with more experienced colleagues, pursuing opportunities I had not considered before entering the program, and aiming to make a strong contribution to the student community at Rotman. While trying to achieve this, I found it hard to avoid self-doubt and stay focused when there was so much exposure to new possibilities and opportunities. At times, this made it difficult to balance my academics with internship recruitment activities and which field to prioritize for my summer internship. Looking back at my MBA experience, one thing that I would do differently is keep focused on my own path and ambitions from beginning-to-end, as well as have more confidence in myself and my own career goals. I would remind myself that it is important to not compare my journey to others, but to instead trust in my own goals and aspirations. I’ve learned that the MBA is a building block for your career and being flexible and open to new opportunities will always lead you in the right direction.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised by how approachable and supportive my peers and faculty were at Rotman. Despite Rotman being widely recognized for its faculty’s distinguished research, professors still make time to meet with students and have informal conversations after class or in the hallway. In my experience, the faculty were eager to learn about you as an individual and get to know your passions and aspirations. I regularly found myself waving to professors while walking through Rotman’s hallways, as they recognized students they taught in previous semesters and asked for updates on their careers, offering support to students in achieving their professional goals.

This level of respect and interest was true of all levels of faculty, from our professors to our dean. For example, our vice dean holds monthly group lunch meetings over sushi for class members to connect with him, while our dean holds similar group coffee chats to get feedback directly from students. These faculty members are keen to support our Rotman sports teams and regularly attend events like our Student Rendezvous Meetup put on by our Graduate Business Council so that they can get to know the students and foster a community at Rotman.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The MBA classmate that I admire most is Rohit Challa. Rohit is an ambassador for those interested in entrepreneurship and startups at Rotman, helping connect like-minded students with relevant resources through his role as co-president of the Rotman Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Association. He openly advocates and promotes Rotman talent seeking roles and connects them to his growing connections within the startup scene and represented Rotman at Banff’s Global Business Forum. I’ve been able to get to know Rohit better outside of classes through my involvement as a co-founder in a startup at the UofT the Entrepreneurship Hatchery Startup Incubator Hub. His impressive background working at ZS before coming to Rotman to create his own startup is both admirable and inspiring to me. His passion for entrepreneurship can be seen in his dedication to supporting startups out of Rotman’s esteemed Creative Destruction Lab, currently in one for a noble cause that aims to mitigate food waste, as well as his recent experience pitching his own upcoming venture to a potential investor in Singapore. Further, he continues to give back to our student community and supports students in both their academics and extracurricular endeavours. Rohit hosted his own independent tutorials for students to help them with Macroeconomics in his free time, with many attributing their success in the class to his teaching tutorials.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1. I’ve always been driven to make a significant, positive impact on climate change, particularly to improve environmental conditions worldwide and mitigate effects on the most vulnerable populations. One of my goals is to be a board member of a non-profit, think tank, or academic institution focused on climate change mitigation. I am motivated to be a leader at the forefront of advising organisations to address environmental issues worldwide because I firmly believe what benefits the company in the long run will also benefit the world.

2. I aspire to be a mentor to female students in engineering, finance, and other male-dominated industries. My goal is to empower and provide them with the resources and support, drawing from guidance I received from my own strong, female mentors. I hope to use my influence to spearhead initiatives that advocate for increasing the presence of women in these sectors. This could involve collaborating with organisations like Women in Capital Markets (WCM), or volunteering my time at my alma mater as a guest speaker or alumni mentor.

What made Adrianna such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“Adrianna is an ambitious, hard-working innovator who has found success following her passion for cleantech and energy at Rotman. Her curiosity and willingness to learn led her to investigate entrepreneurship and co-found a CleanTech start-up in an incubator before finding her niche at the intersection of finance and energy during her summer internship in New York City. During her time at Rotman, Adrianna has been an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the Rotman community. Her background as a high-level athlete has instilled in her a team first mindset and served her as one of the youngest and only female players of the Rotman Hockey Team. She has taken on leadership roles to contribute to her fellow students’ experience, including mentoring female undergraduate students in Rotman’s LINKS program and returning to her former faculty to serve as a Teaching Assistant for engineering students.”

Amy Richards
Career Coach
Rotman School of Management


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