The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management is one of the best B-schools in Canada. Under Dean Roger Martin, the school carved out a reputation as one of the most innovative players in management education in the world. That has happened largely due to the confluence of three big decisions.

1) A focus on “integrative thinking” which is a core theme throughout the MBA curriculum. It’s the ability to assess and balance conflicting ideas, business models or strategies. As a partner at the consulting firm Monitor, Martin identified a pattern of problem-solving among his business clients that can be learned and developed.  Rather than looking at what leaders did, he looked at how leaders thought.
2) Teaching “business design,” using commonly deployed design principles to jumpstart innovation in business settings. These are elective courses but are among the more creative offerings in any business school.
3) Intense personal development. Though nongraded and voluntary, a student participating in all the labs can get up to 60 hours of personal development work.

Several business schools assign MBA students coaches to help them with career planning decisions, but Rotman may well have the most far-reaching personal development initiative of any full-time MBA program in the world.


Financial times
The Economist
Poets & Quants



Round 1: 16 October 2017

Round 2: 08 January 2018

Round 3: 26 February 2018

Round 4: 16 April 2018

Round 5: 21 May 2018

Decision 1: 15 December 2017

Decision 2: 02 March 2018

Decision 3: 20 April 2018

Decision 4: 25 May 2018

Decision 5: 22 June 2018


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 has grown in renown.

This year’s essay questions will enable you to show that you have the self-knowledge and personal insight to make the most of the Rotman MBA and will benefit from and contribute within its “creative methodology.”

Essay 1 – 

When you reflect 10 years from now, how will you measure your MBA experience? (500 words maximum)

This is a goals question – a goals question with a big twist. The way it is worded requires you to indicate the impacts you want your MBA experience to have over a decade. Impacts (concrete and non-concrete) are what you can “measure.” And the impacts you hope for in turn illuminate your perspective and your values. While you can and should discuss a vision for your career that includes some desired impacts (and how you’ll measure success), you also can and probably should discuss some impacts for you as a human being and for your life.

I suggest sketching out ideas and outlining them before writing this essay. With only 500 words, you’ll have to be selective about the points you want to make; these preliminary steps will allow you to see how it’s coming together before you spend time drafting.

Essay 2 –

Reflection Question: List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you.

With these scant words, you should both reinforce your main application and essay message(s) and, also, add a little something extra and new – but that doesn’t contradict those other points. So, if your main message revolves around excellent soft skills and persuasion, look for another complementary point, e.g., risk-taker, that may not be emphasized but that is still reflective of you – and that will also be consistent with your profile and application even if not the most prominent point.

Video Essay –

Required video interview (2 questions) with a new timed written response component (10 minutes in length).

Without knowing what the questions are, your best approach is to approach the video interview with both your own application and the Rotman program fresh in your mind. This will help you to simultaneously avoid both (a) being redundant and (b) being contradictory or inconsistent. This written response is new this year. I suggest viewing and approaching it as a continuation of the dialogue. It presents special challenges, particularly for non-native English speakers and writers who may typically take more time to polish their writing in English. While it’s natural for a follow-up piece like this essay to be less polished and thought through than essays on which you reasonably spend much more time, it also shouldn’t sound like a different person or present such a gap in English writing fluency that it raises doubts in the adcom. If you are worried about these things – practice. Give yourself sample topics and a 5-10 minute response window. Use tough questions, to make the actual one (hopefully) seem easier! (NOTE: The Rotman website gives an example – not an actual sample – question).




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