These Colombians chose Rotman for their MBA: Find out why

There are many reasons why students choose Rotman for their MBA. In this post, we’d like to focus on our dynamic group of Colombians in the Class of 2018. Here’s what they’re saying:

“I think Rotman really sets itself apart with its integrated approach to teaching and its concentration on design thinking. Plus, half the students are international students, and the program is located in a mega-diverse city with lots of opportunities to network and experience cultural diversity. All of this makes for a very compelling and interesting program.” ~ Andres Afanador

“Debido que mi objetivo post-MBA es Mercados Capitales, escogí Rotman porque estoy seguro que es la mejor escuela de negocios que me puede preparar y guiar en este proceso, como también su gran reputación con todas las instituciones financieras en Canadá. A sí mismo, Rotman está localizada en el centro de Toronto, una de las mejores ciudades para vivir en el mundo, ofreciendo diversidad cultural, restaurantes, vida nocturna, y el tercer centro financiero de Norte América.” ~ Alejandro Fuentes Tapias

“One of Rotman’s main objectives is to have women comprise 40% of the student body by the year 2020. In addition to attracting more women to the MBA, the Rotman has created an atmosphere that allows us to take advantage of available opportunities and be more ambitious in our career objectives. It has opened a Men’s Business Chapter within the Women’s Business Club to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and to develop strategies for increasing work equality.”~ Juliana Luque

“Escogí el MBA de Rotman por su fuerte enfoque en finanzas y gerencia, los programas de autodesarrollo y la estrecha relación con las empresas más prestigiosas del país. Estas características ofrecen una oportunidad integrada para crecer profesional y personalmente. Rotman está situado en la ciudad más multicultural y diversa del mundo y al mismo tiempo el lugar más incluyente en el que he estado. Lo que proporciona un escenario internacional perfecto donde el poder de unir conocimiento de todo el mundo y diferentes formas de pensar permiten desarrollar una visión empresarial global.” ~ Jorge Pyco

Get to know the calibre of the Class of 2018 Colombians by checking out their profiles below:

Alejandro Fuentes Tapias

Montserrat Zarama Gonzalez

Daniel Rubiano Meza

Juliana Luque Cala

Juan Enciso Bahamon

Daniel Otero

Felipe Torres Vanin

Silene Patricia Gomez Angulo

Andres Afanador

Jorge Pyco

 Let us know if you see yourself in the Class of 2019 and request a pre-application meeting to find out more!

Tips to “unlock” the admissions essay

JamieEach year, we post a few tips to “unlock” the admissions essay. Many of you have reached about this year’s essay and asked for advice on how to approach our new question. So, here it is …

Essay Question: When you reflect 10 years from now, how will you measure your MBA experience? (500 words)

Completing the MBA is a big decision. At this stage in the application process, you should be thinking about how your dream school and MBA Program fits within the larger picture of your life. This year’s essay question is about your values – how are you going to measure your MBA? Broadening the scope of the question to consider your perspective 10 years from now is important because it prompts a meaningful reflection where you will dive deep, beyond your immediate professional goals. So, in many ways, this is actually an evolution of last year’s essay where we asked applicants to state your professional goals and how you plan to achieve them. Our hope with this essay question is that you will not only be able to share a thoughtful response with us but, you will also develop a greater understanding of yourself in the process. And, of course, you already know this but there is no right or wrong answer. We’d rather see a thoughtful response that is authentic.

We look forward to reading your essay.

Class of 2019 application is live

What’s changed? Our essay question – this year we are asking you to reflect back 10 years after completing your MBA and share with us how you will measure your MBA experience at that point in time. We also increased the word limit from 250 to 500. Our hope in extending the word limit is that you will have even more freedom to express yourself in an authentic way. Tips to "unlock" the admissions essay coming soon …

What’s new? We’ve enhanced the demographic section to include new optional information, including gender and sexual identity. For all of these new optional demographic questions on the admissions application, providing responses will be voluntary, optional, and will not impact admission decisions. Providing the LGBTQ+ community with the option to self-identify supports the University’s priorities of creating an inclusive and welcoming campus environment and this was an important area for improvement. We’ve also included opportunities to share your relationship to Toronto,  and if you are applying with your life partner/spouse.

The rest is carried forward from last year. What we are looking for has not changed. Intellectual horsepower, experience and impact, communications and presence, and what we call ‘spike’ factor. The video response is still a trademark of the Rotman application and last year’s application innovation – the timed written response – was an effective assessment tool that we are excited to continue with.

Although we had an incredible summer in Toronto and the weather continues to be kind to us, our team has already been out traveling the globe spreading the word about Rotman. Be sure to check out our events page to see when we are visiting a region near you.

Class of 2018 – Profile

They’re herJamiee! The class of 2018 is officially 4 days into orientation at Rotman and the energy at 105 St. George is incredible.

More of a ‘deep dive’ on this class profile in coming weeks. Here are just a couple of highlights:


This is the most internationally diverse cohort to date. 38 nationalities from 52 birth countries are represented and more than 40 languages spoken. Together, this class has a wonderful opportunity to learn from one another and develop a global mindset – even more so when you consider the collective penchant for travel that this group shares!

We are also exceptionally proud to welcome 118 women into the program, this is the highest number of incoming women in any Rotman class to date. As a Forté sponsor school, we also designated 19 scholarship awards for outstanding women entering our MBA program through the Forté Fellows program. The narrative here – we are attracting more top women talent to our MBA program (29% in the class of 2015, 32% in the class of 2016, 32% in the class of 2017 and now 34% in the class of 2018). This positive trajectory is a sign of real progress. Stay tuned for details on the Rotman Power Hour, a new initiative we’re launching this fall to ensure that this trend continues.

Finally, at Rotman, we screen for something that we call ‘Spike Factor’. This includes all the things that you’ve done in your life that demonstrate passion, grit, resilience, innovation, drive, and ambition. So, while the age, years of work experience, GMAT and GPA all remain about the same in the class profile year-over-year, there are so many amazing stories behind the numbers. A sample of ‘Spike Factors’ from this year’s class includes a ranch owner who managed over 5,700 acres, a Professional Poker Player who competed in the World Series of Poker and on the World Poker Tour, a 4-time world champion in equestrian, a serial entrepreneur who founded not one but two successful mining/prospecting companies in Brazil, a policy advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada, a professional golfer, and published authors!

This class is poised to achieve remarkable things.

– Jamie

Hi, I’m Jamie Young.

I am the new DJamieirector of Recruitment & Admissions for the Full-Time MBA Program at the Rotman School of Management, at the University of Toronto – and I couldn’t be happier to be here. In fact, I chose to move across Canada to be here. One of the biggest reasons why I decided to join Rotman was because of its reputation as one of the most innovative b-schools in the MBA space and I am thrilled to use my first blog post not only to introduce myself but also to share a Program innovation that has just been confirmed.

Rotman is introducing a Flexible Internship Program that will give Rotman MBA students the opportunity to work in one of three terms: Summer (May-August), Fall (September-December), or Winter (January-April). Traditionally internships have only been available in the summer term. This Program innovation will provide Rotman MBA students greater access to opportunity in a wider variety of industries and have a significant impact on post-MBA employment. The Flexible Internship Program builds on the experiential learning component of the internship – a core part of the Rotman experience – and integrates this with three critical pillars of our program: Rotman’s intensive focus on self-development, our globally recognized faculty, and one of the largest Career Centres in North America with a dedicated team of career coaches assigned to individual students. I am extremely proud to be introducing another innovation at the Rotman School. The Flexible Internship Program is a game-changer!

I look forward to sharing many more updates with you and am very excited to work together on your MBA Journey!

Happy Holidays!

Niki da SilvaHard to believe that it’s already the middle of December!  I guess it’s true when they say time flies when you are having fun.  I’ve been having a lot of fun and have actually moved into a new role at Rotman as Managing Director for the Full-Time MBA Program and enjoying diving in to run the business of the Program – a great new professional opportunity for me.  Admittedly, it has been a busy few months and I haven’t been as active as I hoped on our blog, but am excited to introduce our new Director of Admissions who will be taking over in the new year – stay tuned!

I’m already very excited about the caliber and diversity of the Rotman class of 2018 based on early applications, and very much looking forward to seeing applications in the new year.  As you know, our Round 2 deadline is January 11th – just around the corner! If you do have any questions about your application I encourage you to reach out now – the University will be closed for the holidays from December 23-January 4. We are back for one week before the deadline so will most definitely have plenty of time to assist then, but wanted to ensure we shared our holidays hours well in advance.

On behalf of the Rotman Admissions team – we hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season! Looking for to 2016 – an exciting year of new beginnings 🙂

Building the Perfect MBA Class

Leigh Gauthier, Assistant Director, Recruitment & AdmissionsThey’re here! It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago I joined the Rotman Full-Time MBA Recruitment and Admissions Team to support the team in recruiting the Class of 2017. As a transplant from the Career Centre I was quite sure that I would be able to hit the ground running and help the team bring in the best and most capable class that would attract the top employers. (and I believe we did, but more on that later!)

But, what I quickly learned is that there’s more to building the perfect MBA class than meets the eye. When making offers of admission, not only are we looking at candidates at an individual level (see more on what we look for here) but also at a macro level. How are we actually building the cohort to provide a world-class experience to all who come? While I was quite confident on the individual part having had the privilege of insider information from some of the world’s top employers, I learned that the sum is greater than its parts.

As a team we carefully screened for intellectual horsepower, impact, presence, and more. Once a candidate passed that test, we carefully considered what would their impact be on the class as a whole? Did we have the right mix? What were we missing from a diversity perspective, a talent perspective, and spikiness perspective? How would we carefully choose individuals to make up a community that works; something that both we and they will be proud of for years to come?

The Class of 2017 can be classified in a myriad of ways:

  • Class Size = 351
  • Average Age = 27
  • Average Experience = 4 years
  • Female = 32% (111 in total) Male = 68%
  • Domestic /International = approximately 50/50 split from 34 different countries
  • GMAT = 680 (Median), 663 (Mean)

But what I am most proud of is some of their impressive accomplishments, in many cases beyond the work realm that the statistics don’t quite capture. Each student was chosen based on their experiences which will bring a unique perspective into the classroom and demonstrate resilience, perseverance, and creativity. Characteristics that many of our top recruiters demand.  For example, we have students who are a:

  • Published author
  • Varsity athlete – soccer, badminton, football, hockey, Frisbee, swimming
  • Pro poker player
  • International sailing champion
  • Singer or music producer
  • Band member who toured Latin America and the US
  • Black belt in judo, karate, jujitsu, taekwondo and karate
  • Patent holder
  • 1/2 and full marathoner as well as triathlete and former Ironman competitor
  • Surgeon or MD

And I could go on. The cohort is in their first week of class and what I hear in the halls most consistently is where did you find such an impressive bunch?

The beautiful part about Recruitment and Admissions is that when one year is complete, we get to go out and do it all over again. Next year’s perfect class will be different from this years’ because each student who is admitted will bring something equally distinctive. The next class will take on its own persona and I can’t wait to see who’s out there. In fact, I enjoyed the Recruitment & Admissions experience so much (thank you Class of 2017) I’ll be staying on as an Assistant Director this year.

I look forward to meeting you on the road in our pursuit for the perfect Class of 2018!

Rotman’s 2016 Intake – Application is Open!

Niki da SilvaWe are officially live with all components of the 2016 application for Rotman’s full-time MBA Program!  Our team is already out travelling the world to meet prospective applicants for our next class (Fall 2016 intake) and with the Round 1 deadline next month so it seemed like the right time to share some background on what you can expect from the Rotman application this year.  We have five official deadline dates as follows:

  • Round 1: October 19, 2015 (Decision by December 18, 2015)
  • Round 2: January 11, 2016 (Decision by February 26, 2016)
  • Round 3: February 29, 2016 (Decision by April 15, 2016)
  • Round 4: April 18, 2016 (Decision by May 20, 2016)
  • Round 5: May 30, 2106 (Decision by June 24, 2016)

We are excited to introduce an innovation in our process this year with a timed written response question alongside our two video questions.  We identified a need to find a tool to better assess the regular business-communication skills and ‘voice’ of our applicants.  We find a great deal of value in essays – which are reflective writing pieces, and also in the GMAT AWA – a component that showcases a candidate’s ability to dissect and discuss a topic.  These tools reflect some of the communication skills required for success in our Program, and in the business world broadly but we were missing an opportunity to see the more casual and real-time style our students use most frequently to write emails communicating with team members, professors, etc. and a style that they will carry forward in their careers.  There is no “right” answer to this component – our team is simply interested in better understanding this element of our applicant’s communication abilities.

So after sharing this rationale what is most pressing of course is how it actually works!  After completing their video questions, our candidates will receive one written response question (delivered via our video provider – Kira Talent).  The question will begin by providing some context to help explain why it is relevant for a Rotman student, and our applicants will have a total of 10 minutes to read and reply to the question.  This is not videotaped but is delivered ‘live’ with one opportunity to write/edit/submit.  Here’s an example of the type of question we are asking (obviously not one from our actual bank :))

  • Often prospective MBA candidates build strong relationships, primarily online, with the admissions office.  We encourage candidates to follow-up with the admissions team members they meet representing Rotman around the world.
    • Craft an email to the Rotman representative that you met at a recent MBA Fair reiterating your interest in the School and desire to stay connected.

As you can see – these are situational questions and there is no word limit.  As an applicant it will be your call to edit to the length that seems most appropriate.  We wanted to showcase the types of situations students encounter and prompt for the communication that would suit these interactions while being realistic about the amount of time a student would spend drafting something like this (again-a 10 minute maximum).

We are excited about this new component of the process and proud to be introducing an innovation to admissions this year.  We will be monitoring the results and feedback to see if this provides the added value we hope!

The admissions process is important as it is an opportunity to showcase your skills, background, goals and talents and we hope our applicants feel that this new component provides one more opportunity to display all of that.

Good luck and have fun!


Writing the GMAT? We’re here to help!


IMG_9456In preparation for tomorrow’s Math Refresher Workshop at Rotman, we sat down with Sergey Kouk, Senior Trainer at Admit Master GMAT Prep and shared some frequently asked questions from test-takers.

Here’s what the expert had to say:

Q) I don’t have a quant background. How should I approach the GMAT?

A) GMAT is one of the hardest tests you’ll ever write. It’s also one of the most frequently misunderstood. Many candidates believe that if they don’t already have strong Math skills, they can’t do well on the GMAT and will have to settle for a low Quant score on the test.
It’s true that test takers, who are naturally strong in Math, tend to do better on the Quant section. However, I’ve seen many engineers or mathematicians who don’t do well on the GMAT, and many candidates with Arts backgrounds who do extremely well. I like to joke with my students that GMAT is not the “Grueling Math Aptitude Test”, but rather a “General Management Admission Test”. Simply learning Math rules and formulas could improve your score, but that is not what the GMAT is all about and it would not be enough to reach high scores on the test.

I’ve recently worked with a musician who was able to improve his Quant score from the 30th percentile to over the 90th percentile, thus raising his overall score from 580 to 760, by focusing almost entirely on advanced decision-making strategies that make the most difference on the test. Coincidentally these skills are the same that successful senior managers use day to day: thinking outside the box, recognizing trends, making confident decisions, leveraging what you know, and managing time.

If you don’t have a quant background, you could still do very well on the test. By focusing on the right strategies and methodologies, you too could ace the test, just like that musician. But first you have to learn all of the Math theory. Many test takers are afraid of this, but remember that most of the theory is high school or earlier. So, if you learned it back then, you can learn it again. Some of you may say, “well, I don’t like geometry, so I’ll just skip it”. Bad idea! Geometry can be 4-6 questions on the math section – that’s 4-6 questions you should be getting right! Again, the material is from high school and the only reason you are intimidated is because it was so long ago.

Most importantly, the theory is finite, which means that there is an end in sight. It may seem daunting at first, but with time and effort, you can learn every section that is tested. No one said the GMAT would be easy – it’s work. So learn the theory 100% before diving into tips, tricks, shortcuts and methodologies, and you could be well on your way to 700+ scores!

Q) What is actually being tested on the GMAT?

A) Many beginner test takers believe that since there are 2 major sections on the test – Quantitative and Verbal, the GMAT tests basic Math and English skills. However, this is not exactly what the test is designed for. As you already know, by now, the GMAT is a Management test. Therefore, it is designed to evaluate skills that good managers should demonstrate: analytical, critical thinking, decision making, and time management skills.

Here is what the Official Guide for GMAT is saying about the Math section that many students fret about:

The GMAT exam only requires basic quantitative analysis skills. You should review the math skills (algebra, geometry, basic arithmetic), but the required skill is very low. The difficulty of the GMAT Quantitative questions stems from the logic and analysis used to solve the problems and not the underlying math skills.

When studying for the GMAT, make sure to get the basic Math theory out of the way, and then focus on developing the management skills actually being tested on the GMAT. Do careful research about GMAT preparation programs and make sure the resources you use focus on training you, and not just on covering the course content.

Most importantly, the GMAT evaluates your ability to learn and study for an unfamiliar test. One of the first things I tell my students in class is that everyone could get a 700 score on the test. They need not be mathematicians or PhDs to ace the GMAT. They just need to have an open mind, study “smart”, and trust the system: thousands of students before them mastered the test, and they could certainly do so too!

Q) What is the format of the test and how can I best approach it?

A) The GMAT consists of 4 sections:

  1. Analytical Writing Assessment, also known as the “essay” (30 minutes)
  2. Integrated Reasoning, a section that combines Math and Verbal question types into 12 mini-cases (30 minutes)
  3. Quantitative, also known as the “Math” section, that includes 2 types of multiple-choice questions: Problem Solving (that’s all about finding the right answer out of 5 possible ones in the shortest time) and Data Sufficiency (that evaluates candidate’s ability to understand whether information given is sufficient to answer the question, but does not require finding the actual answer). The Math section includes 37 questions in total and lasts for 75 minutes.
  4. Verbal section that includes 3 types of multiple-choice questions: Sentence Correction (that’s all about working with Sentences), Critical Reasoning (working with Arguments) and Reading Comprehension (working with longer Passages). The Verbal section contains 41 questions and also lasts for 75 minutes. Verbal section is the last on the test, has more questions, and requires higher mind concentration to select the best answer. This is one of the reasons why statistically it’s a lot harder to achieve very high scores on the Verbal section.

The only 2 sections that contribute to the total score on the GMAT (the score that ranges from 200 to 800) are Quantitative and Verbal. And while business schools will receive scores for all 4 sections, it is the total score that makes the most difference on the application. For this reason, candidates should focus first on studying for the Quant and Verbal sections.

The AWA (essay) is the easiest section and could certainly be mastered with a little bit of practice. The Integrated Reasoning section tests skills from both Math and Verbal sections with new question formats, so candidates who develop good test taking skills on the main two sections should do well on the IR section with some practice to get familiar with the unique IR question formats.

Luckily, all 4 sections on the test evaluate those same management skills that we’ve discussed earlier: thinking outside the box, recognizing trends, making confident decisions, leveraging what you know, and managing time. Good GMAT preparation programs will go beyond basic theory or simple tricks, and will train students to develop these higher order thinking skills that will not only help them do well on the test, but will make them better MBA students and ultimately more successful senior managers.

Q) How does the GMAT scoring work?

A) Upon taking the GMAT, you will receive 10 scores in total:

  1. AWA score on a scale of 0 to 6 with increments of 0.5
  2. IR score on a scale of 1 to 8 with increments of 1
  3. Quantitative score on a scale of 0 to 60 with increments of 1, with scores below 6 or above 51 extremely rare
  4. Verbal score on a scale of 0 to 60 with increments of 1, with scores below 9 or above 44 extremely rare
  5. Total score on a scale of 200 to 800 based on your performance on Quant and Verbal sections only

In addition to the 5 “absolute” scores described above, you will receive 5 “relative” or “percentile” scores that measure your performance against other candidates who have taken the test in the last 3 years.

The Quantitative and Verbal sections use a complex Computer-Adaptive Test (CAT) algorithm. Rather than adding or subtracting points for each right or wrong question, the GMAT adjusts difficulty of subsequent questions based on your answers to earlier questions. When you answer the easier questions correctly, you get a chance to work on harder questions, making it possible to earn a higher score.

Ultimately the GMAT is trying to “guess” your level on each of these 2 sections by presenting you with easier or harder questions and evaluating your performance on each of the questions. For this reason, no one question will be that important; it is your overall performance that will count. We teach our students time management strategies unique for the GMAT and provide practice tests that include special “pacer” features that help develop good time management techniques. When studying for the GMAT, make sure not only to learn how to answer questions correctly, but also how to do so within a limited time.

Q) Is the GMAT easier than the GRE?

A) Since more and more business schools now begin to accept GRE scores for admission to MBA programs, candidates now have an option to take either the GMAT or the GRE. While these tests are significantly different, it would not be fair to say that one test is easier than the other. While the GMAT and the GRE attempt to test similar skills, there are some notable differences:

  1. The GRE consists of 7 sections: 2 essays, 2 Quantitative, 2 Verbal, and 1 unidentified unscored/research section.
  2. The GMAT adapts question difficulty after each question, while the GRE adapts after each section.
  3. The GRE Verbal section includes 3 question types: Test Completion, Sentence Equivalence, and Reading Comprehension. As you already know, by now, the GMAT Verbal section includes 3 different question types: Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. The GRE Verbal section involves a lot of vocabulary recall while the GMAT Verbal requires a bit more reasoning. Consider your strengths when making your decision about which exam to take: if you don’t like words, the GRE verbal will be tough for you.
  4. While the GRE and the GMAT Math sections are based on the same high school curriculum, the GMAT math questions require more sophisticated reasoning skills than do GRE math questions. For this reason, many students who learn Math theory, but not the advanced GMAT reasoning skills, might find the GRE math easier. Be careful, though – don’t think that you can avoid studying math by opting for the GRE. The GRE math still requires a sophisticated sense of numbers and an ability to solve problems.
  5. Both the GMAT and the GRE are significantly different from other exams you’ve taken – regardless of which exam you decide to take, you’ll need to spend time developing the right set of skills and practicing your test taking strategies.

Remember that the GRE was designed as an entrance test for a variety of Graduate Programs, while the GMAT is an admissions test specifically designed for MBA programs. If you’re still exploring your career options and are considering either MBA, or Master’s programs in other disciplines, the GRE may be a better choice. However, if you’d like to develop higher order thinking skills that are critical for becoming successful senior managers, studying for the GMAT may yield better long-term benefits, as long as you follow a study program that focuses on developing these important management skills and not just on teaching you the basic theory or the simple tricks.

Sergey Kouk is a Senior Trainer for Admit Master, a Canadian test preparation and admission consulting company. Having scored 750 on the GMAT on the first attempt and obtained his MBA degree in 2004, Sergey now leads a team of elite trainers, who develop advanced test taking strategies and train hundreds of candidates each year to ace the GMAT and gain admission to their dream business schools.

Sergey will be co-hosting and leading a series of GMAT seminars at the Rotman School of Management, including the Math Refresher Class on August 19th, 2015. Check out our Admission Events page to register!

Great to be back!

After a fantastic year away – it is so great to be back at Rotman! In some ways it seems like no time has passed at all, but in others I certainly feel like I’ve been away forever.  I’m very excited to be back in the Admissions world and to dive into recruiting for 2016.  I’ve truly missed the energy of this place – our wonderful students, inspiring faculty and my amazing team of colleagues here at the School.

The building was full of excited international students this morning as my first day returning from maternity leave luckily fell on our first day of international student orientation.  It has been a real pleasure to jump back into the admissions team and meet the bright, talented, and accomplished students that will comprise the Rotman class of 2017!  The Recruitment and Admissions team has done an outstanding job putting together a diverse, accomplished and truly impressive group and I look forward to getting to know the class over the next few weeks as International Orientation, Pre-Program and Orientation events – continuing tonight at our first official reception event for the incoming class. Admittedly it feels a little bizarre to be back in my role as Director of Admissions knowing little about the individuals starting at Rotman this fall but it is going to be so much fun learning about each student joining the Rotman community.

We will be introducing the application for our 2016 intake shortly – stay tuned for key dates and details!