Rotman MBA Essays 2017
For the 2016-17 MBA admissions cycle, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto (Canada’s highest ranked program per the Financial Times full-time MBA ranking) unveiled a new essay. This essay replaced Rotman’s long-standing essay on career goals, and provided an unconventional prompt for applicants. This article provides an analysis of the Rotman MBA essays 2017 and some advice on how to tackle them.
Rotman MBA Essays 2017 – An Analysis
The essay prompt itself is fairly straightforward:
When you reflect 10 years from now, how will you measure your MBA experience? (500 words maximum)
While this essay prompt may seem significantly removed from Rotman’s previous essay that focused on career goals, it is really an extension of that essay. As Rotman itself says, it wants applicants to focus on the larger picture, including but not limited to why they are applying for an MBA, and how Rotman fits with their plans.
However, that is only a part of what your response must be. Your essay clearly needs to go beyond your goals and touch upon why you are applying to Rotman. You need to also discuss your values and larger objectives.
Why do you even wish to pursue an MBA? What is the larger objective (beyond getting a job or perhaps changing your industry/function) that you wish to pursue it for? Which aspects of the Rotman MBA experience most appeal to you as you make this move? Importantly, what is the impact you hope to make?
While clarity with one’s objectives is important, so is a sense of gauging the future. 10 years from now, the world would have changed. You will not remember your MBA program by every course you took, every grade you received, or every recruiter that visited campus.
Instead, you will pride yourself on the long-term capabilities that the program gave you, and how those capabilities helped you accomplish specific goals (personal or professional) that go well beyond holding a designation or filling a role.
In many ways, this is a great topic provided to you with a blank canvas. You are not restricted to only talk about your immediate post-MBA goals (as you may have been in Rotman’s previous essay in this position in earlier years), and you get a chance to really show the school what you are aspiring for.
Rotman itself mentions that it expects this essay to be a journey of self-discovery, and it is exactly right.
Finally, a word of caution/realism here. Many applicants/clients who have worked with us brought in a feeling that somehow they need to convince Rotman that they will use the MBA to do social good or to change the world.
Please note that this is not an expectation that Rotman has, and nowhere does the school say so either. Be true to yourself and to what you really wish to do.
For example, if you wish to be a consultant, talk about your future in consulting and advisory. Do not branch out to saying that 5 years post-MBA, you will found an NGO (if that was originally not a passion aligned to your profile to begin with. Similarly, if you are an investment professional, there is absolutely no pressure on you to somehow say that you will get into impact investing post-Rotman!
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Rotman’s Second MBA Essay – Short, but Relevant
The second part of the Rotman MBA essays 2017 remains the same:
List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. Limit response to 50 characters.
While this seems short and sweet, it should not be done without due deliberation. Do not make the mistake of simply listing the top 5 positive adjectives that come to mind, assuming that this short response is a formality!
Awareness, both of your past and your near future, is important here. Incongruence with the rest of your profile (as depicted by you in your resume, essays, and your recommenders in their letters of recommendation) can certainly raise eyebrows.
The 5 words in this response need to be thoughtful, and they need to add to you and your profile!
Rotman MBA Essays 2017 – Video Questions!
Video questions (live responses to short topics recorded by Rotman) are an important part of the Rotman MBA admissions process, and have run successfully for 3 years now.
However, they still continue to make applicants very nervous. Somehow, the whole experience of a live response being recorded tends to freak people out.
The nervousness can perhaps be mitigated by considering that there is really nothing new that the video responses are asking. The questions are not meant to be deep queries that would require a lot of introspection or research, but simply topics meant to explore your thinking, experiences, and reasoning a bit more.
You will be using the same skill set during your Rotman MBA interview later, and there is no making it to Rotman or to any other top MBA program without polishing up your response and communication skills.