I had an exciting trip in early June. I visited HEC, Wharton, and the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, among other destinations. My husband and I even grabbed a few days’ vacation at Niagara Falls, which were spectacular and which I had never seen before.
However, I suspect you’re less interested in Niagara than in my impressions of Rotman. And I want to share a few impressions after meeting with Niki da Silva, Director, Recruitment and Admissions for the Full-Time MBA at the Rotman School. She generously gave me quite a bit of time, along with a tour of Rotman’s sparkling new home.
The overwhelming impression I came away with is one of growth and dynamism. Niki explained to me that the outgoing dean at Rotman, Roger Martin, established a vision of growth for the school. He first insisted on creating the facilities — both in terms of physical infrastructure and faculty — that would support a larger program. Since expanding the faculty and building a gorgeous new building, which happens to envelop a building from the 1700s, Rotman is now growing its full-time MBA class. A few years ago, its typical class was in the mid-200’s. This fall it is enrolling a class in the low 300’s, and it hopes to grow its class to around 400, thus moving the program into the mid-size mainstream of MBA programs.
This growth is attracting more recruiters. It simply makes more sense for companies to come to campus when they are more likely to get new hires. Nikki proudly told me that Nike had recently become a core recruiter at Rotman.
In our wide-ranging discussion about the school and admissions, Nikki also expressed a willingness — actually a preference — to look at applications with less dependence on the GMAT. She told me about a system being developed at Rotman to systematize application evaluation in a way that would reduce reliance on the GMAT or GRE — without lowering admissions standards. It is no surprise that about a week after my visit, Rotman announced that it is waiving the GMAT for applicants who have completed all three levels of the CFA.
Much like Rotman was ahead of the curve with its focus on a design approach to problem solving, I think it will be ahead of the curve again in attempting to reduce dependence on aptitude tests, be it the GMAT or the GRE. Over the years, I have certainly met my share of fantastic, talented, capable applicants who for some inexplicable reason are GMAT-challenged. The question will become, given the shrinking of the MBA application, what will admissions offices use to decide who gets in and who doesn’t. Videos? Greater focus on applicant work history and community service? My guess is the latter, but stay tuned.
We also discussed the video essay portion of Rotman’s MBA application, which it plans to have again on this year’s application. Niki indicated there will be improvements to the platform, which was new last year.
I enjoyed our conversation although we covered a lot more than I can include here. Consider Rotman, if you are interested in a program that teaches the rigorous fundamentals of business while providing an integrative framework for organizational management and problem solving and a dynamic environment — all in prosperous, employment-visa-friendly Canada.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.