International students thinking about joining an MBA in Canada have several queries related to Canadian MBA costs, MBA scholarships, difference between MBA in Canada vs MBA in USA, job opportunities in Canadian cities like Toronto.
Earlier we published advice from the Rotman School of Management Admissions Committee.
In this post, we switch perspectives. We invited Rotman MBA student, Anand Inbasekaran, to shed some light on topics related to an MBA in Canada.
MBA Crystal Ball: Can you list the five top things you loved about Rotman?
Anand: Here’s what I love about Rotman.
a. Rotman culture – upper years and Alumni have such a strong culture of helping students. They are big part of the Rotman experience
b. Integrative thinking– Every course is interrelated to each other and every prof refers to learning from other course during lectures. You get to see the bigger picture
c. Model based decision making – Rotman believes that the next generation of leaders would be making decisions based on data. It’s the foundation in our MBA and all students are taught how to derive data insights to arrive at business decisions
d. Business design – A design thinking approach to problem solving. This is a completely different approach to solving a business problem and Rotman excels at this. There are just 2 schools which focus on business design ( Rotman and Stanford)
e. SDL lab – These are awesome professors (Scott & Maja) who helped me shape my presentation skills, leadership personality and how I approach life.
MBA Crystal Ball: What kind of internships and job opportunities can one expect in and around Toronto?
Anand: As you already know, Rotman is known for finance. The brand name opens doors at most financial institutions in Toronto and there are lots of alumni in Bay street.
Top consulting firms also recruit at Rotman. Rotman also has strong ties in the healthcare industry and hence there are jobs in this industry as well. Few largest CPG companies also regularly recruit at Rotman.
There are some niche roles in design focused companies which recruit at Rotman. Some of my friends are working in startups as well for their summer internship
Outside Toronto, there are major energy companies that recruit to work at Calgary. There is a sizable number of alumni in Calgary. Very few leave Canada after MBA
MBA Crystal Ball: Considering the intense pace of the MBA program, would you recommend any pre-MBA reading? Which books or websites work the best?
Anand: Yes. If you are looking to work in finance industry and don’t have relevant experience, finishing CFA level 1 before joining MBA really helps [related post: CFA vs MBA]. For the future consultants, read about case prep.
Read ‘HBR guide to persuasive presentations’ which will help you with presentation skills.
Read ‘Never eat alone’ which is a fantastic book on networking. This book, I would suggest, is a must read for future bay street professionals. Bay Street revolves around networks, and hence students need to network a lot to get into financial institutions.
Read through career forum in gmatclub.com which talks about MBA careers. Rotman pre-MBA program will get you ready for the academics side
MBA Crystal Ball: Can you give the approximate range of financial aid Indian students may be able to receive through fellowships, teaching and research assistantship? How easy or difficult is it to tap into such opportunities?
Anand: Indian students can get almost half the tuition fees through student loans (no co-signer needed) from BMO or RBC which Rotman has ties with. Rotman also pays the first 2 years of interest on this loan when we are still studying.
Students receive entrance scholarship ranging from $5,000 to almost half the tuition fees. Also if you win the Rotman Problem solving challenge, you win the entire tuition fees. There are scholarships at the end of year one.
Some of them are need based, leadership based, serving Rotman community and also merit based. They range around 5K to 10K.
If you have performed well in a course, you can apply to be Rotman scholar when you are in 2 year. As a Rotman scholar you have to help first years in that particular course (more like a tution). A scholar gets around $2,000 – $5,000 for a course.
There are few opportunities where you can also enroll as TA for other departments like engineering within University of Toronto. All these opportunities are fairly competitive and a basic criteria is always good grades.
MBA Crystal Ball: What were the problems you faced during the first few days after you arrived? How did you tackle them? What could you have done better if you had known about it?
Anand: Actually, I didn’t face any problems when I came here. We built a strong community even before arriving at Rotman. We had an official facebook group, whatsapp group where upper years were also contributing.
Any doubts or questions were answered then and there. Everyone shared their VISA experiences, housing hunting experiences and their to-do list which was really helpful. I blended in very quickly
MBA Crystal Ball: How has the Rotman MBA experience in Canada helped you move towards your entrepreneurial goal?
Anand: Apart from learning the essentials a successful manager needs in running a company through MBA courses, I utilised number of opportunities available through clubs and also around the campus. REVCA club has played a huge part in my journey.
Right from club kickoff event where hottest startups pitched to us their ideas at one of the top startup accelerators in Toronto, I utilised opportunites in events like Startup Hackathon, Venture capital competition, Networking events with entrepreneurs and New venture competition.
Participating in all these competitions was like a testing ground for my business ideas. The judges of these competitions were top VCs, startup accelerators and renowned entrepreneurs.
Through Startup Advisory service run by REVCA club, I had a consulting engagement with a wearable tech startup helping them on marketing strategy. Just in these 9 months in Toronto, through Rotman I have made good friendship with VCs, and top entrepreneurs.
We have an entrepreneur-in-residence at Rotman who was so helpful guiding us when my team came up with business ideas. Just not Rotman, the University of Toronto (UofT) has a good startup community.
I am now a mentoring an early stage startup at The Hatchery- a startup incubator at UofT. I also met a fantastic entrepreneur at c3inspire conference held at Rotman and now I am advisory board member of his early stage venture.
The startup community here is vibrant and everyone encourages entrepreneurship. UofT has 3 different programs where startups can apply for mentoring and seed funding
There is one another life changing experience that awaits me next year from the Creative Destruction Lab elective where we MBA students get to work with emerging high potential startups and help them make critical business decisions.
Some of last year cohort of startups are Myo(wearble gesture controlled wristband), Nymi( secured wearable device), VoteCompass etc. It’s an experiential learning course that is unique and available only at Rotman.
I am currently brainstorming on few business ideas. When I am ready, I know whom to reach out for help, fund my venture and help me grow it big.
MBA Crystal Ball: Describe three ‘Eureka’ moments you experienced anytime during your MBA either within the class or outside?
Anand: My first Eureka moment was when I pitched my idea at Hackathon infront of VCs and people appreciated it.
Second Eureka moment was when I our team won the Venture capital competition.
My third eureka moment was when my team won the capstone project where we used data analytics to solve a real business problem of a big company.
MBA Crystal Ball: What are the key differences between MBA in Canada vs MBA in USA?
Anand: I haven’t studied at US and hence can’t compare MBA in Canada vs MBA in USA effectively, but from what I have heard from my friends in U.S., studying is almost the same in Rotman. The teaching methodology differs from school to school. Many of the Rotman professors are from US who have been teaching in MIT, Harvard etc.
Rotman follows almost similar style of methodology, as in more practical approach to learning. I have heard that other Canadian schools “coach” students but that is not followed in US or Rotman.
As an Indian, this style of education is way different from what I experienced during UG in India but for an MBA, I feel that this is more practical and effective.
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