Rotman’s Problem Solving Challenge to Award Unique First Prize – Full MBA Tuition Scholarship!

Check out our Rotman b-school zone!

That’s a lot of prize money and a lot of winners!!

Prospective and incoming Rotman MBA students now have a chance to win a full scholarship to the Rotman MBA program by competing in the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge. The Rotman site calls this unique competition an opportunity to “dive deep into a messy, unstructured problem using [Rotman’s] model-based approach to problem solving.”


Participants will compete in three graded components, guided by Rotman faculty and student mentors.


At the Rotman School


March 28-29, 2014


2014 MBA applicants and admitted students to Rotman are eligible to participate. To claim awards, individuals must be accepted to the 2014 intake of the Rotman Full-Time MBA Program.


For a chance to win one of 7 individual scholarships (ranging from $5,000 to a full scholarship valued at $90,000), or one of 4 group scholarships (ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per team member).

That’s a lot of prize money and a lot of winners!!

See the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge page for details and rules.

For advice on optimizing your Toronto Rotman MBA application, check out the following resources:

• Toronto Rotman School of Management B-School Zone
• Rotman 2013 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips
• 2013 Toronto Rotman MBA Q&A with Niki Da Silva
• MBA Video Essays: A Conversation with Rotman’s Niki da Silva

MBA video essays: how they work & how to ace them!

Discover the Benefits of a Canadian MBA!

Canadian MBA Alliance

Have you thought about applying to a Canadian business school? Did you know that:

• Forbes ranks Canada as the 5th best nation for doing business?
• Canada hosts four of the top ten strongest banks in the world?
• Canada is one of the most welcoming countries to immigrants (thereby contributing to its multicultural richness)?
• In 2010, 1/3 of the top non-US b-schools were in Canada?
• Student visas can immediately be transferred into work visas upon graduation?

Join us on Monday, Feb 3 at 10:00 am PT/ 1:00 PM ET for an interactive virtual panel with admissions members from six top Canadian b-schools. Discover the general benefits of studying in Canada as well as insights into each program, and get answers your most pressing admissions questions.

Save me a spot at the Q&A!

If you haven’t yet considered pursuing an MBA in Canada, maybe you should think again!

FT’s Best Global MBA Programs in 2014

The Financial Times released its 2014 global MBA rankings! Read on for the list, the facts, the analysis, and the sources.

The List:

2014 Rank

3 Year

School Country 
1 1 Harvard Business School USA
2 2 Stanford Graduate
School of Business
3 4 London Business School UK
4 3 U Penn Wharton USA
5 5 Columbia Business
6 6 INSEAD France/Singapore
7 8 IESE Business School Spain
8 8 MIT Sloan USA
9 10 Chicago Booth USA
10 15 Yale School of Management USA
11 12 UC Berkeley Haas USA
12 15 IMD Switzerland
13 11 IE Business School Spain
14 11 Hong Kong UST
Business School
15 15 Northwestern Kellogg USA
16 19 Cambridge Judge UK
17 17 Duke Fuqua USA
18 18 NYU Stern USA
19 19 CEIBS China
20 18 Dartmouth Tuck USA

To truly understand the rankings, much less use them, please see the methodology so you’ll know what’s being ranked. While there are twenty factors considered in the FT rankings, the FT methodology puts the most weight on increase in salary in $US PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) and weighted salary in $US PPP.

Poets and Quants criticizes the FT rankings for absurd results in calculating “Value for Money” as well as for having too many criteria and several criteria that really don’t reflect the quality of education. Others say that it is biased against U.S. programs.

Regardless of the criticism’s validity, the FT ranking is arguably the most cited ranking of global programs because it compares U.S. and international programs in one ranking and seems to do a better job of it than the alternatives. That prominence doesn’t mean these rankings are Gospel. It does mean you have a lot of data in a format where you can easily compare MBA programs from around the world on designated criteria.

The Facts:

Here are some fun facts about FT’s 2014 rankings:

• 7 of the top 10 and 12 of the top 20 programs ranked are US schools.

• Big jumpers this year include Boston University’s business school and Washington Forster, which each jumped 20 spots, to 75th and 58th place, respectively. Another big US jumper this year was USC Marshall which jumped 17 spots to 65th place. UNC Kenan Flagler jumped up 12 slots this year from its 3-year average rank, moving from #45 to #33.

• The biggest losers this year include Dublin’s Smurfit School (dropped 27 spots to 91st place) and Vlerick Business School (fell 16 places to 100th place), as well as the schools which disappeared off the list entirely: U of Iowa’s Tippie School (74th last year), Korea University Business School (86th last year), Incae Business School in Costa Rica (90th last year), Case Western’s Weatherhead School (94th last year), and others.

• Newcomers to the list include: UC Davis (98th), Wake Forest (94th), BYU’s Marriott School (93rd), and ESMT European School of Management and Technology in Germany (89th).

• In terms of geographic representation, the top 20 schools are all in the US, UK, Europe (France, Spain, Switzerland), China, and Singapore, but further down the list, other countries gain their spots: India comes in at 30th place with the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad; SDA Bocconi in 31st place represents Italy; South Korea appears in 45th place with Sungkyunkwan University’s GSB; Canada’s first school on the list is Toronto Rotman at 51st place; Portugal follows with The Lisbon MBA in 52nd place (new to list); South Africa’s U. of Cape Town GSB comes in at 59th place; in the 62nd slot we have Australia’s Australian Graduate School of Management; and Brazil’s Coppead is in 79th place.

•  The city with the highest concentration of schools in the top 100 is (of course) Boston with six top b-schools – Harvard (1), MIT Sloan (8), Hult International Business School (61), BU School of Management (75), Boston College Carroll (82), and Babson Olin (95).

The Analysis:

While it’s fun to look at the changes – who climbed and who sank – for me the real lessons from this ranking are:

1. The top programs move and change very slowly. That lack of drama in these rankings is a better reflection of reality than the gyrations one sees outside the top twenty. Significant change takes time so sharp jumps and dives probably mean nothing. Sustained change in ranking has greater credibility – if you value the same qualities as the FT.

2. The one point made repeatedly in the commentary on this ranking, and it is the same conclusion I draw from both the FT ranking and the Forbes ranking, which both emphasize ROI and increase in salary, is this: The MBA education at top programs provides a solid return on investment for most students. The MBAs surveyed for the FT rankings started their MBA in 2008, just as the Great Recession hit, and graduated in 2010. These MBAs still report on average a 100% increase in salary over what they were making before they started business school.

There are obviously critics of graduate business education, specifically the MBA, and those detractors either believe an MBA isn’t valuable or that the value has declined. I agree with the latter group. However, the questions for today’s applicants are:

1. “Given my current professional background and salary and my anticipated salary after I earn an MBA, do the anticipated financial rewards plus increased job satisfaction justify the investment (both out of pocket and opportunity costs)?” The fact that those entering b-school ten or twenty years ago could anticipate a higher ROI is irrelevant. It is merely a historical curiosity and for you an unfortunate one.

2. “Is the full-time MBA – or whatever flavor you are considering – the optimal way for me to attain my MBA goals?”

FT, to its credit, also has an article on those claiming the MBA is not worth the effort. Sometimes they are right. Each one of you individually needs to examine your circumstances and goals to see if for you the MBA is an expensive waste of time and effort, or if for you it is likely to be worth both. Clearly, most of the people surveyed by Forbes, the Financial Times, and GMAC are in the latter group.

In this video  Della Bradshaw, FT’s Business Education Editor, discusses the results of this year’s FT Global MBA rankings including the finding that MBAs in the class of 2010 are now enjoying salaries double those they were earning before they entered b-school.

The Sources

• FT Global MBA Ranking 2014

•  FT: MBA Ranking 2014: Key & Methodology

•  FT: Big Names Dominate FT MBA Ranking Top Spots

•  P&Q: Winners & Losers in 2014 FT MBA Ranking

•  Accepted: 4 Ways You Should NOT Use the MBA Rankings

•  Accepted: MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know

Learn how to evaluate your profile to determine the best business school for you!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of 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.

MBA Interview Tips Post 5: Video Essays

[NOTE: This post is the fifth in a series; if interested please see the introduction and tip 1, tip 2, tip 3, and tip 4.]

Click here for 6 more tips for answering video MBA essay questions.

Video Essay: Natural Experience or Performance?

Wait, why is a video essay featured in a series on MBA interviews?

Because it works like an interview in its visual presentation of you and it functions like a conversation.

Kellogg, Yale, and Rotman have included required video essays (or “screen tests” as Poets & Quants dubs this element) in their applications.  It’s been an option, rather infrequently used, at NYU Stern for years.

Why adcoms use this method:   

• It allows the adcom to see the applicants respond in almost-real-time to questions.

• It allows the adcom to test applicants’ ability to organize their thoughts and present a response both meaningful and succinct.

• Applicants “shine” in different ways, and an applicant who shines in interpersonal communication and charisma may not make it through to a competitive interview with written essays; now the adcom can spot these applicants.

• Similarly, someone may shine in the conventional written essays, but be inappropriate or unprofessional in presentation, and the adcom can now spot and weed out these applicants early, without expending additional resources on interviews.

Process:  Basically, you click on a link in the application, and you are given a question to answer.  You are being timed, so you can’t halt the process, go away for an hour and plan a careful response. Rather, the application gives you a minute or so to compose your thoughts.  Then you have a short window, usually one to two minutes, to video-record your answer.  You can view your response, but you can’t change it.  Sometimes the application give you a few “tries,” but you can’t re-record an answer if you don’t like what you did the first time.  You can only move on to the next question.  The reason is that the adcoms are trying to avoid a rehearsed, nonspontaneous reply.  The last question is literally your last chance in the video essay – you can’t go back and redo earlier attempts.

Benefits and pitfalls for applicants:

• Benefit: if you present yourself comfortably and are photogenic, the medium plays to these strengths.

• Benefit: the process may take less time than a written essay.

• Benefit: for non-native English speakers, you can demonstrate solid English speaking skills—especially beneficial if you have a low verbal GMAT score and/or borderline TOEFL.

• Benefit: The skills and attributes it highlights differ from and complement those highlighted by written essays, improving the chances for different kinds of applicants to shine in the initial application.

• Pitfall: you have a limited time and can’t second guess your answer; once it’s done it’s done (whereas with a written essay you can revise it up until submission if you have further thoughts for improving it).

• Pitfall: although the adcoms call it a conversation, it actually isn’t very natural or comfortable to talk into a camera with no human response; some people need a lot of practice to overcome a strange sensation with this medium.

• Pitfall: for people who are methodical, the short prep and answer time works against your natural inclination and doesn’t play to your strength.

• Pitfall: you’re at the mercy of well-functioning technology and Internet connections.

While not exactly a pitfall, there’s also the reality that even though adcoms strive for objectivity in evaluating applicants, the video essay creates the potential for them to be subjectively influenced (pro or con) by an applicant’s physical appearance early in the “weeding” process.

How to make this type of interview work for you (this is in addition to all the common sense advice for good MBA interviews):

• Review’s tips for this interview format.

• Practice with a video camera, YouTube, or other formats, speaking to a camera without a person involved.

• Practice coming up with short answers to a range of questions – limit your prep time so it’s similar to the video essay’s, and find a technique that works for you for gathering your thoughts quickly and identifying a key point or message.

• Consider the whole visual picture: not just having hair combed and appropriate attire, but also the background and lighting – all should enhance the presentation.

• The adcoms say they want a spontaneous, natural experience of the applicant, but it may not be natural for you to look at and speak to a non-responsive camera.  It’s the illusion of naturalism; it’s acting, it’s performance, essentially.  To create your best impression, understand and analyze your gestures, cadence, tone – what makes your presentation reflect “you” effectively?  A good actor is deliberately and thoughtfully natural, not mindlessly natural.  You’re actually performing your best self.

MBA Video Essays: A Conversation with Rotman’s Niki da Silva

Cindy Tokumitsu By , co-author of The Finance Professional’s Guide to MBA Admissions Success, and author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her last fifteen years with

MBA Video Essays: A Conversation with Rotman’s Niki da Silva

NikiDaSilvaA new era has dawned in the land of MBA admissions. Fewer essays. Shorter word limits. And mandatory video essays – introduced to the admissions scene by Rotman, Canada’s leading MBA program.

Want to know more about how the video essays came about, how they work, and most importantly – how to ace them?

Listen to the full recording of our very enlightening talk with Niki da Silva, Director of Admissions at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School to find out.

00:01:05 – The background of the video essay and the three types of video questions in the Rotman application.

00:05:59 – What made the trendsetters start the trend?

00:08:20 –What the adcom wants to learn about applicants through the video questions.

00:12:39 – This guy nailed it: Niki’s favorite video essay.

00:14:31 – What not to do when taking your videos.

00:16:23 – Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most beautiful candidate of them all?

00:18:30 – Important advice for candidates: reframe and relax.

00:21:01 – The Rotman approach to MBA education & value system, reflected by the introduction of the video question.

00:23:37 – “Design Thinking.” What exactly is it & how in the world does it apply to finance?

00:29:26 – Tips for applicants to Rotman.

Admissions Straight Talk Subscribe to Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes so you don’t miss any segments! Stay in the admissions know.

*Theme music is courtesy of

Relevant Links:

•  Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions
•  The Rotman MBA Program

Related Episodes

•  Interview with Anne Perigo, UM Master in Entrepreneurship
•  Jeff Reid on Entrepreneurship
•  Dr. Douglas Stayman Shares the Scoop on Cornell Tech NYC


•  Admissions Straight Talk on iTunes
•  Admissions Straight Talk on Stitcher

Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions

Get more MBA video essay tips!

The Kellogg School of Management

Rotman led the charge last year with a video essay question. This year Yale and Kellogg (so far) have decided to try it out. I saw a rumor that INSEAD is also considering the format.

Worried about being literally on stage? Here are my tips if you need to respond to a question in a short 1-2-minute video.

First, realize that these video essays, like the written ones, are attempts to get to know you. Unlike the written word, however, the schools are seeking to see how you present yourself visually and with little time to prepare or polish answers. They are testing articulation and presence in a way that essays can’t and at much less expense than interviews. In that sense, these videos are a pre-interview screening device in addition to a way to learn more about your likes and dislikes, achievements, dreams, goals, and challenges.

And while you may not be able to prepare for a specific question, you definitely can and should prepare.

Learn how video essays came about, how they work, & how to ace them!

You need to practice for the experience of talking to a video camera with no responses from another human being. No body language. No facial expressions. No audience energy. Zero feedback. It’s just a dumb machine. Having created videos for Accepted, I found the experience very unnatural, but I think/hope I’ve gotten better with practice. You can too.

Until the questions become known, practice answering different essay questions in the announced time limit and then view the video. Here are a few sample questions to get you started, but I may update this list as we get more information from the schools:

• What do you do for fun?
• What are your passions, interests, and hobbies?
• If you could travel across the United States in a car with anyone, whom would you choose to travel with and why?
• What would you do on a rainy Sunday afternoon?
• How have you handled a difficult interaction? What did you learn from it?
• Describe a difficult professional decision you had to make.  What were the consequences, and what, if anything, did you learn?

If you are really nervous about the video exercise or about speaking in public, consider joining Toastmasters and forcing yourself to speak publicly. You will improve your “presence” and gain confidence. Both will help you with your video interview, any admissions interview, job interviews, and required public speaking.

So beyond preparing and simply getting comfortable with the format or anticipated questions, when it comes time for the real thing, do the following:

1. Dress neatly. Follow any dress guidelines the school provides. Women, put on make-up and jewelry lightly. If you wonder if your attire is too revealing, it is.  Men, have a hair-cut and shave. Make sure beard or mustache, if you have, are trimmed and neat.

2. It should go without saying, but keep your language clean — no profanity.

3. Think for a few seconds before you reply and then minimize pauses that we tend to fill with “ums” and “uhs.” They don’t contribute to “presence.”

4. If you tend to perspire, put on the air conditioning so the room is cool.

5. Sit up straight and lean a little bit forward.

6. Remember to smile. I put a smiley face next to the camera.

And two final points:

  1. Schools want to accept students who reflect well on them.
  2. You’ll do great!

If you would like help with your video essay, Accepted’s experienced MBA admissions experts, who have been prepping and critiquing MBA applicants for almost twenty years, are more than happy to help you.

Download your free report: TOP MBA PROGRAM ESSAY QUESTIONS: HOW TO ANSWER THEM RIGHT! Detailed question analyses and valuable advice on how to answer the questions so your candidacy shines.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of 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.

My Visit to Toronto Rotman

Newest part of Rotman facilityI 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.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of 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.

Toronto Rotman MBA Interview with Robyn Ross

MBA Candidate: Robyn Ross

MBA Candidate: Robyn Ross

Here’s a talk with Robyn Ross, an MBA candidate at Toronto Rotman with tons of advice on the MBA application process. Thank you Robyn for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us!

This interview is the latest in an blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Accepted: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where did you study as an undergrad? What did you major in?

Robyn: I grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts but my parents are Canadian so I have always spent summers and family vacations up here. I graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York in 2006 with a double major in Psychology and French. Believe it or not, Psychology and French didn’t point me in a clear path so after graduating I took an opportunity to work abroad in Scotland for a year followed by a few months of traveling before landing back in Boston to work for a business services start-up company.

Accepted: Which other programs were you considering other than Toronto Rotman? What tipped the scales to favor Rotman?

Robyn: While exploring MBA opportunities, I was focused on finding a program within a city that I could see myself living and working in afterwards. One of the important takeaways of an MBA is the network and the relationships that you build throughout it. I wanted to make sure that I could take advantage of that after completing the program. This narrowed my search down to Boston and Toronto. While Boston has very strong schools, I was eager for a change and saw Toronto as an opportunity to experience a bigger, more diverse city. As I researched programs, spoke with admissions offices and current students all schools talked about the fact that they create business leaders. What stood out about Rotman is that they were one of the few schools that told me how they do this. Through their top-ranked faculty and focus on Integrative Thinking, I felt as though I had a really solid grasp of how the program would help me grow as a professional.

Accepted: What is your favorite thing about studying in Toronto? Least favorite?

Robyn: My favorite aspect about studying in Toronto is the diversity of opportunities both on and off campus. The size of the city and reputation of the school attracts an incredible range of speakers on campus with my personal favorites including Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely, IDEO’s Tim Brown and the New York Times’ columnist David Brooks. Outside of school, every weekend provides something new. Toronto is made up of many small neighborhoods, each with small shops, restaurants and bars to explore.

My least favorite aspect of studying in Toronto is the high cost of living. While there are a lot of benefits to being located in downtown Toronto, they come with a price. Rent is on par with Boston and other cities that I have lived in; however, the costs of other everyday necessities like food, public transportation, cell phones, and clothing are higher. The transition back to a student budget was a challenge in itself and the high cost of downtown living makes it a bit trickier.

Accepted: Can you recommend a cozy coffee shop or library – a good spot to hang out with friends and/or study?

Robyn: My favorite place to escape campus for a coffee with friends is L’espresso by Mercurio, a café around the corner from Rotman. Their lattes and biscotti are the perfect pick-me-up after a morning of classes.

Accepted: What was the internship application process like? What role did Rotman play in helping you secure your summer internship at Bain & Company?

Robyn: The internship application process is intense. I started the program without a hard-set idea of what I wanted to do afterwards. Throughout the fall, as I networked with people both on and off campus, I narrowed my search to management consulting. While I have had a lot of experience on both sides of the typical “behavioral” interview, the consulting case interview was entirely new to me. I would never have been as successful had it not been for the Rotman Management Consulting Association and second year students that organized weekly workshops, resume review sessions, and mock interviews throughout the fall and early winter. My classmates were also incredibly collaborative, and we spent hours each week giving each other mock interviews and providing feedback.

Each of the firms came on campus through Rotman’s Career Center in January with interviews starting immediately afterwards. Throughout the interview process I was most surprised by how hands-on each of the firms were. After interviews, whether successful or not, each firm provided very constructive feedback that helped me grow and improve throughout the recruiting process. Overall, it was a combination of my peers, Rotman, and the consulting firms that helped me succeed in landing my internship.

Accepted: What are the MBA Games? What has your experience with the games been like so far?

Robyn: The MBA Games is a three day event where every MBA program within Canada sends a team of students to compete in sports, academics, and school spirit. It is an incredibly fun weekend with over 700 students. Last year the games were in chilly Edmonton, Alberta. My days were filled playing ultimate Frisbee and inner-tube water polo while nights were spent at cowboy bars. This year we’re much closer to home in Hamilton, Ontario. I’ll be suiting up for a Strategy Case Competition and then trying to channel my inner-Canadian with a day of floor-hockey. Overall, it’s a great weekend to meet students from other programs and build close-knit relationships with the 40 Rotman students that are chosen to attend.

Accepted: What was the most challenging aspect of the MBA admissions process for you and how did you overcome it?

Robyn: The hardest part of the MBA admissions process for me was the personal statements. When I applied, Rotman required (1) 500 word personal statement and (3) 250 word essays. Trying to express everything I wanted to convey in so few words was incredibly challenging. I relied on friends and family to give me honest feedback. The example I remember most clearly was when I sent my father my essay on an example of failure, having spent 2 days coming up with a good example and trying to squeeze it into 250 words. He came back and told me that I had missed the mark and recommended that I start over. As hard as it was to hear, he was absolutely right, and in retrospect it helped me recognize the importance of having people around you who provide you with honest feedback and help you to grow and improve.

For one-on-one guidance on the Rotman application, please see our Toronto Rotman Business School packages. For specific advice on how to create the best application for Rotman, please see Toronto Rotman 2013 Essay Questions, Deadlines, and Tips written by president, Linda Abraham. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

Toronto Rotman MBA Admissions Committee Interview Available Online

Toronto Rotman

“We want to see…personality.”

Thank you to Niki da Silva, Director of Recruitment and Admissions, and Leigh Gauthier, Director of the Career Center at Rotman, for joining us for our first ever Toronto Rotman Q&A! The chat offered MBA applicants an excellent window into the Rotman admissions process – see the below excerpt for more on that.

Linda Abraham:  Can you speak a minute about the video question, what to expect? I’m sure that’s one of the more innovative aspects of the application process.

Niki da Silva: Yes, absolutely. It’s certainly something that we were getting lots of question on. We really looked pretty carefully at what our process had been in the past, and historically had four relatively lengthy essays, and really felt as the MBA landscape has changed, and of course the Internet and chat rooms, and all of that has existed and created this culture or feeling that there was a right answer to those questions, or there was a marking guide. We wanted to do something that would be beneficial for us as an admissions committee in actually cutting through and cutting to the core of what makes candidates different and distinct and allow them an opportunity to speak to that in a pseudo-live way.

So there’s no pressure to research and rewrite and edit. And certainly, we still do have two essays, but wanted to give a new medium, create a new medium for candidates to really present who they are, what they’re all about. We want to see their personality. We want to see their passions and their interests, and how they answer what really are first-date type questions. We’re asking people to reflect on how their colleagues might describe them, or someone who really inspires them, and to do so in a way that is, essentially, live.

The expectation is, as part of the admissions process, the third essay question is this video response where candidates create a profile, log on, can go through as many times as they want, sample questions that are not recorded, so they get comfortable with the technology. They get comfortable with their responses. You [calm] any nerves, you quell any fears that you have about the technology.

And we did feel that so many of our candidates – and we do Skype video interviews for anyone that we can’t see face-to-face – that our candidate pool, they’re comfortable with the technology, so we provided a platform to talk to us. So you log in, you get to practice as many times as you want, and then you get two questions. One is a question that goes to everybody, and then the second question is chosen from a random bank of at least 20 questions.

And I think, in terms of what to expect, it’s just an opportunity, and I would encourage candidates to take it as an opportunity to be comfortable in your own skin and show us who you are, and feel that you’ll have an opportunity to actually differentiate yourself as a candidate and be admitted based on your unique story.

Linda Abraham: And when you say that candidates can practice, they just practice using the technology, they don’t really practice their responses? Or they can also practice their responses to the questions?

Niki da Silva: Yes, that’s a good point to clarify. They get a sample question so they can practice that particular sample question multiple times as they get comfortable. It doesn’t count; it’s not recorded, but it is an accurate reflection of how the video pops up, they get the question, their screen starts counting down in terms of 45 seconds, and 30 seconds left, and then their webcam starts recording, and then they get to also see, there’s a timed count down for when their response should be completed by.

Every candidate I know who has submitted the video essays so far has done at least one or two rounds of the sample question, just to get comfortable with it and figure out how it all works, and ensure that their webcam is positioned as they want it, and the volume and everything is all working. So we really wanted to ensure that we included that, to alleviate any anxiety. And we really wanted to pilot it this year, and position it as a pilot and see what we would learn from it.

So far it’s been fascinating. It’s been really telling that the content in some of those answers actually does give you a different perspective that you didn’t yet see in the application. So far it’s been a successful pilot, I would say.

You can also learn more about the Rotman admissions process and its design approach by viewing the Toronto Rotman MBA transcript or listening to the audio file. Visit our Toronto Rotman B-School Zone for more information on this top Canadian MBA program.

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Toronto Rotman 2013 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips

Rotman MBA

“One of the leading business schools in Canada.”

The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business is one of the leading business schools in Canada. Known for its design approach to MBA education and strong emphasis on problem solving, Rotman’s program is growing in size and renown.

Essays Questions:

1. What is your post-MBA career goal and why do you think this career would be a good match? How will the Rotman MBA help you to achieve your goal? (Please limit your answer to 500 words.)

This is a classic, straight-forward MBA goals question, with a little twist. What do you want to do with your MBA (what do you want to do after your MBA?) and why is Rotman the best school to help you achieve your goal (the right route)?

Define your goal in terms of the function you want to perform and the industry you want to work in. You may also want to specify geographic location, if it’s an important part of your goal. You don’t have to specific the company you want to work for, but you can say you want to work for companies like X.

The twist in this question is that Rotman wants to know how you chose this goal. What appeals to you about this path? How do you know it’s right for you?

Finally, how will the Rotman’s program and approach to business education help you achieve your goals? Focus on the distinctive aspects of Rotman in your response.

A possible structure for your essay: Start your response with an anecdote about an achievement that illustrates your goal’s appeal to you. Then provide the reasons this event or experience is important to you, describe your goal and then detail how Rotman will help you attain it.

For more ideas on responding to this and other MBA goals question, please see MBA Goals: A-Z

2. Tell us about a time when you had to overcome an obstacle and describe the outcome.  (Please limit your answer to 250 words.)

This is a fairly short essay and a straight-forward one at that. I recommend an obstacle that you have overcome and that you handled well.  Discuss the situation you faced, the challenges it presented, and how you responded.  Finally what was the result? What did you learn from the experience.  If possible, be anecdotal in telling the story and avoid cliches when analyzing what you learned.

3. Video essay: The Rotman School is introducing a new video essay component as a pilot project in our admissions process this year. You will be asked two questions, both questions are designed to be answered without any advanced preparation and will allow us to get to know you, your personality, interests, passions, and talents much better than we could in a written essay. Click the following link to start the video essay (this will only take a few minutes to complete):

This is totally new and quite innovative. To prepare, you need to practice for the experience of talking to a video camera with no feedback from another human being. Having created videos for Accepted, I found the experience very unnatural.  

Until the questions become known, practice answering “What do you do for fun? What are your passions, interests, and hobbies?” This is an example given in the BW article about the Rotman interview. Time your responses and train yourself to answer in no more than 90 seconds.

4. Optional Essay: Is there anything that you think the Admissions Committee should know which you feel has not been covered by the rest of the application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, do not feel obligated to answer this question.

Use this essay to provide context for information that doesn’t present your abilities accurately.   For example, if you worked significant hour during college and your GPA took a hit, that’s something to share with the Admissions Committee. Or if you were sick the semester that your GPA was only a 2.0, but you averaged a 3.5 the rest of college, that information is important for the Admissions Committee to know. For more suggestions, please see The Optional Question: To Be or not To Be.


Please be aware that admission to Rotman is highly competitive and the class may become full before the final application deadline date. Therefore, while the final deadline date in the annual application cycle is June 1, it is highly recommended that applicants submit their completed applications as early as possible within the application cycle for the best chance of being admitted.

Deadline Admission decision by
Round 1: October 9, 2012
Round 2: January 7, 2013
Round 3: March 4, 2013*
Round 4: April 29, 2013
Round 5: June 1, 2013**
December 14, 2012
March 8, 2013
May 10, 2013
June 14, 2013
June 30, 2013

*Round 4 is the final deadline for international applicants, but we strongly encourage you to apply by Round 3 to ensure adequate processing time for study permits and loans.

**Round 5 is the final deadline for domestic applicants.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of 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. ~ Helping You Write Your Best