MBA Admissions Q&A: Rotman School of Management

Rotman School on the MBA admissions process

Toronto's Rotman School of Management currently stands as the top business school in Canada, according to the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2014/15, and also falls within the top 20 for North America as a whole for its full-time MBA program.

Here to give us the lowdown on Rotman's admissions process is Leigh Gauthier, the school's director of recruitment and admissions. Gauthier explains the rationale behind its use of video essays and why it might be useful for applicants to see how the admissions process resembles the dating game.    

Leigh Gauthier, Rotman SchoolWhat is a typical ratio of domestic to international students accepted into the program?

We are fortunate to have a ratio of 50% international and 50% domestic students which makes for a very diverse learning experience. Typically, we see students from over 30 different countries attend the program.

What are the most important aspects of the Rotman MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA, and current job position?

At Rotman, we pioneered the video essay component to MBA admissions and many other schools have since followed suit. The video is a great way to let us get to know candidates that we can’t meet in person otherwise. It’s helpful to take their application from a two-dimensional process to a 3D one.

What is a common mistake you see applicants make?

Applicants do not spend enough time on their résumés. They are missing a great way to get more information across to the admissions committee about initiative, impact, and even extracurricular activities, that can make them stand out from the crowd.  

What would like to see applicants do more often?

Follow up after interactions with an indication of interest. After all, it’s like dating. It’s helpful to know how keen you are.

What does the Rotman School of Management application process look like?

We have five [application] rounds each year. If prospective students fully complete their applications by a deadline date they are guaranteed a response within a set timeframe. After a careful review of the file, applicants are invited to an interview. Following the interview, an admissions decision is communicated. There is no separate process for scholarships and those will be awarded at the same time as the offer.

What are some of the tests, official documents, and other hurdles that international students must negotiate?

Essentially, the process is the same for every student, in terms of the application, with the exception of proof of language proficiency - if English is not their first language. We accept both IELTS and TOEFL scores.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

Demonstrate intellectual horsepower in other ways. E.g. success at undergraduate level, success at work, promotions, projects etc.

MBA admissions tips

Essay(s): Remember to answer the question!

Interview: Be yourself and enjoy the interview – it’s a two-way conversation

Letter of recommendation: Make sure they know you well and can speak to your achievements. Someone who is very senior will not impress simply because of their title.

CV/Résumé: Make it accomplishment based! (as opposed to a laundry list of tasks and duties)

School visit: Connect with many different folks if possible. Staff, students, faculty – and always follow up with a 'thank you' note.

Written by Mike Grill

Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for TopMBA.com, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.

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