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What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: Rotman School of Management Q&A

What Does the Future Hold for MBA Candidates?: Rotman School of Management Q&A main image

After a difficult year, the MBA job market is finally bouncing back.

But what does the future hold for MBA candidates and business schools?

TopMBA caught up with Lyla Korhani, Director of Career Services at Rotman School of Management, to find out.

How has the job market changed this year from last year?

We have seen the effects of COVID-19 as it relates to new grad opportunities, mainly in the financial services and banking sectors as these markets were hit hard. At the same time, we are seeing growth in other industries such as technology and healthcare. Our team jumped on the new opportunities early and was able to pivot and build relationships in these markets, which resulted in an increase in job opportunities posted on our job board compared to last year.

What is the recruitment process like at Rotman? Would you say it’s difficult to earn a place on the MBA program?

Admissions to Rotman’s MBA program is competitive. We offer acceptance to the program through several admissions rounds. We encourage applicants to apply as early as possible to ensure the best chance for acceptance and scholarship awards.

Applications are not considered complete until all required elements are received: undergraduate degree, GMAT/GRE score, resume, professional references, essay and video interview, and English language proficiency. All candidates who are admitted to the program are interviewed by one of our admissions team members, on an invitation basis only.

Students are considered for entrance awards at the time of admission and receive a scholarship decision at when they receive an admission offer. We at Rotman award over $5 million in scholarships each year to its entering class.

Why should students choose to study an MBA at Rotman?

Rotman has a world class reputationas part of the University of Toronto, which is the top university in Canada and a global center of research and academic excellence. Additionally, we are located in downtown Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America and the second largest financial center in North America.

We are also an innovation and entrepreneurship hub, with Toronto often ranked as one of the world’s best start-up ecosystems. The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, known as Tech North, is fast growing into the largest concentration of artificial intelligence, machine learning, fintech, and quantum computing start-ups in the world.

Students come here to gain the knowledge, agility and confidence demanded by a world that keeps accelerating. Learning at Rotman goes deeper into a rigorous, model-based, problem-solving approach that shapes effective decision makers. It also goes deeper into personal development, with programs designed to help students fulfill their potential as a leader, entrepreneur or agent of change. 

From gender inequality in the workplace to the cost of tax havens, Rotman researchers push the boundaries of inquiry. Our faculty includes scholars and teachers who've earned acclaim for their interdisciplinary insights grounded in management expertise, as well as seasoned professionals who tap into their real-world experience to guide students.

We also stimulate broader conversations in pressing issues in business and society through events, conferences and a wide range of publications, including our award-winning Rotman Management magazine. Supported by our highly regarded research institutes, centers and labs, we engage regularly with a large and influential community of stakeholders.

What do you look for in Rotman candidates?

We look for a combination of skillsets including intellectual horsepower, which includes reviewing degrees, transcripts, GPA, test scores, awards, scholarships, and professional certifications. Essentially, we are assessing if a candidate is intellectually nimble and curious.

We consider experience and impact as an important way to measure the candidates impact on the organizations they’ve worked at to assess if they demonstrate leadership and/or community involvement.

We also assess their communication and presence, and how they express themselves and present themselves. We evaluate this through video essays, admission interviews and written essays. Finally, we look at their spike factor, where we assess what the candidate has attempted or accomplished outside of work or academics which is another indicator of future success. We look for resiliency and grit as well as unique accomplishments.

What special resources does Rotman have for business school students when it comes to careers? How do you prepare them for life after graduation?

We have a Career Consulting team with a hands-on approach through our one-on-one coaching model.

Students are assigned a career coach once they start their program, who remains their coach until after they graduate. This allows students to build a trusting relationship with someone who supports their career journey throughout the program, until they land their first job after graduation.

Additionally, we offer career workshops (now offered online as career webinars) which students have access to at any time. Also, we have an industry engagement team that builds relationships with industry to secure job opportunities and present networking opportunities with professionals. We pivoted our services to address the challenges and opportunities that are arising due to COVID-19.

  • We offer a ‘high touch’ model where we deliver a personalized career consulting model. Students have access to an assigned Career Consultant from day one
  • We have a dedicated employer engagement teamwith a mandate to deepen relationships with existing industries (e.g., banking, consulting, consumer goods) and strengthen their outreach to rapidly growing industries as a result of COVID-19 (e.g., technology, healthcare, start-ups)
  • We continuously promote the strength of our Rotman talent pool through the launch of innovative campaigns (e.g., including to use of social media such as LinkedIn)

How successful are Rotman MBA graduates at landing a job after graduation? What is the success rate? And what are some of the notable companies?

Traditionally we’ve had a 90 percent employment rate six months after graduation. This year we hope to meet the same target. Given the circumstances of a slower job market, we are doing very well and are hopeful we will reach our target by December. We work with top Tier 1 companies in banking, financial services, consulting, consumer packaged goods and retail. We have strengthened our relationships with technology firms (i.e. Amazon, Microsoft etc). We also have a range of start-ups and entrepreneurial endeavors we encourage our students to undertake.

Recent GMAC figures show that MBA recruitment and salaries might boost again in 2021. How confident are you in the value of the MBA in the current job market? Do you expect to see more positive trends in the upcoming months?

We are very confident that the value of the MBA is relevant in the current job market. Organizations need to hire talent that have strategic thinking, problem solving, communication skills, and the ability to be flexible and adaptable to change. They also need to have the skills to navigate an online work environment.

Business schools prepare students to solve a variety of real-world problems, both individually and as a team. Moreover, MBAs learn the latest skills and trends across industry to help them bring real value to an organization looking for more creative ways of working, which is especially important as all organizations navigate the impact of coronavirus. We expect to see positive trends in hiring across emerging industries such as tech, e-commerce and healthcare.

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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