The biggest MBA in Canada, with 295 students per cohort, takes place in the buzzing downtown of multicultural Toronto, one of the world’s fintech hubs and North America’s biggest banking center after New York. The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto has about a 50-50 split between Canadians and foreign students, many of whom are looking for a passport to a job in Canada. Students in the 16-month course overlap with both the previous and the next cohort, meaning that they get the chance to connect with over 1,000 MBA candidates.
Rotman has a reputation for research, and the academic rigor spills over into the “labs” where students get cutting-edge instruction. For example, there are Finance, Management Data and Analytics, Self-Development, and Leadership Development labs. Rotman’s Creative Destruction Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing venture projects. Since it launched in 2012, CDL ventures started by MBA students collaborating with entrepreneurs have created $1 billion in equity value. Pretty appealing to wannabe entrepreneurs.
Rotman’s academic chops also mean it isn’t afraid of delving into tricky territory. For example, Behavioral Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR) investigates biases, and its insights help students design better products, services, and programs. In 2018 BEAR and CDL teamed up for a product challenge, looking at products building on behavioral insights.
Then there is the Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE), which studies gender inequality in business and gives students a deep-dive into interpersonal and political opportunities and challenges around enhancing gender equality. GATE looks for business, career, and investment opportunities based on its findings.
Rotman’s full-time MBA includes a four-month internship, and students can take 12 of 100-plus electives. They also can also go on an exchange to one of 24 partner universities in 17 countries and take study tours to China, India, Latin America, or the Middle East. Taken all together, Rotman grads say it all adds up to a truly transformational experience.
Sarah Badun, MBA 2019:
After my undergraduate degree in business, I worked in a bank, but I wanted to change career path. Rotman’s two-year course appealed to me because it gave me more time explore the direction I wanted to take. The MBA was academically very rigorous. The classes were great — the professors would teach us the most cutting-edge research which hadn’t even been published yet. I knew that I wanted to stay in Toronto after I graduated, and the school helped me to build connections with all the companies that I needed to find the right job. Rotman was great at helping me understand what I’m capable of, and what I can deliver in the workforce.
Brian Golden, vice dean of professional programs:
The school’s program has always been analytically rigorous, and a few years ago we decided to enhance it by adding in more innovation, experiential and interpersonal dimensions. The biggest change in student demand has been around self-development, helping people develop the core ideas they learn into actionable work by engaging effectively with colleagues. In the Self-Development Lab, students take modules on the impact of emotion, engaging with others, and advanced communication skills. Increasingly, students work closely with coaches to turn the mirror on themselves. This can be intense and emotional, but it has a long-lasting impact on students beyond their time here.