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Jamal_Hussain1414

AMA – Rotman Commerce Undergrad graduating with $80K/year job and 3.9 GPA

Hi all! As mentioned in the title, I am currently in my 4th year at the University of Toronto in its undergraduate business program (Rotman Commerce). I will be graduating this coming April with a ~3.9/4.0 GPA (cumulative) and have signed with a fortune 100 company where I will begin full-time work in a corporate business role in September of 2020. I remember frequenting Yconic (pre-uthink era) quite a lot when going through my university applications and deciding where to attend. It was one of the most useful resources I had access to and the help I received from the various individuals on the platform was extremely beneficial. Getting useful input on the importance of grades, extra-curriculars, school comparisons (Ivey, Queens, Schulich, Rotman, etc.), and other tips were some of the reasons I enjoyed my university experience so much. And now I am back! I’d love to give back in any way I can and am happy to answer any and all questions you may have. Ask me anything on your mind and I will try my very best to give a (hopefully) beneficial answer! My experiences are obviously very business-world related but I am happy to tackle any general questions you may have as well. UofT’s business program is quite economics and math-heavy so I can speak to those departments as well if needed. Ask away, folks! J

10 Answers

  1. This is a generic question but what made you choose Rotman over other business schools? Were you certain that Rotman was the right choice or did you still have some doubts? How are you finding your experience at UofT in general, and would you have chosen Rotman still if you were to repeat university?

    Thanks a lot 😀

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    • Great questions and sorry for my late response! We have finals coming up at UofT (like most other schools) and I have just been a little tied down with that.

      I am going to preface this answer by saying that the differences between the top 3-4 business schools in Ontario are not as big as you might think. At least in my case, we were taught in high school to scrutinize every small detail when comparing the likes of Ivey, Queen’s, Rotman and Schulich–and while that may help in some cases, my general experience has been that future success really does come down to the students themselves. The overall resources and quality of education at all of these top business schools are quite similar to the point that there are many stories of success and failure in all. My point is that you can’t really go wrong with any of these choices so if you have multiple offers from these schools, don’t over stress because regardless of what you choose you can still do well!

      That being said, for me, choosing Rotman really came down to the location, program structure, and overall impression I had of UofT. In terms of location, it being in Toronto allowed me to stay close to home while continuing to be able to expand my professional network and run my business. It was a very personal decision so I’m not sure how valuable that aspect of my choice is to you.

      Regarding the program, however, the thing that really impressed me about Rotman was its intense rigour and focus in economics. Because of the way our program is structured, we are required to take multiple economics courses from UofT’s econ department (which is the best in Canada) and having the opportunity to pursue my passion for economics/econometrics while also benefitting from the perks of business school felt like the perfect combination for me. From my conversations with friends at other top business schools, none of their programs are as math/economics intensive as Rotman’s. Now as to whether or not this is a good thing, well–that is the great debate. It is actually a pretty contentious topic on campus as many students feel the program is unnecessarily rigorous with too high of a focus on math and economics. Other business schools such as Ivey and Queen’s have a much lighter focus on economics and even their finance/business courses are a lot more on the “practical” side. They have a higher focus on developing the soft skills of business whereas Rotman really hones in on the theory of business and its mathematical foundations (especially for areas such as finance theory). I guess it really comes down to what you want out of your experience and where you feel you need the most guidance. I’ve always been a very outgoing person who has been very comfortable in business environments so for me the development of soft skills was never a particular need–and because of this, I decided to really focus on developing my theoretical knowledge instead. Others see more value in the soft skills and if you are in that camp, I would definitely advise you to consider another school such as Ivey or Schulich. But if you are someone who wants to go to business school while also developing a strong foundation in economics, statistics/econometrics, and theoretical finance, then definitely consider Rotman!

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  2. Which area of business is your role geared towards? Did you mainly find a job on your own or through your school’s internships?

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    • My area is a combination of consulting and data analytics. Essentially what I’ll be doing is leveraging various tools and techniques in data analytics to help companies make important business decisions. As to how I found the job, it was mainly through my own network that I had developed over my 3 years at Rotman. This isn’t by any means to bash on Rotman’s career centre (it is actually pretty great!), but the role I’ll be starting in is quite statistically intensive so it isn’t your “typical” business school job. A lot of the other full-timers joining are comp-sci, statistics, and math majors.

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  3. Did anyone land MBB consulting or investment banking (Barclays, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, etc.) that you know of?

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  4. Hi! I’m a British Columbian struggling to find confidence in getting accepted into any of Canada’s post-secondary schools (Business/Finance specific) I’m somewhat confident in my grades averaging 96% (100 Pre-cal, 100 Econ, 89 English) but the problem for me is the supplemental portion of the application. As you can see my English grade is lower than my other academics, and I truly lack confidence in producing powerful and original responses to supplemental questions. I worry that I won’t make it into any of the schools I am applying to (Ivey, Rotman, Sauder, Beedie) What do you recommend I do when attacking the supplemental questions? I am also terrified by Sauder’s on the spot question segment.

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    • Hey! First and foremost my biggest advice to you would be to STOP STRESSING! Your grades alone are good enough to get you into any top business program in the country and you need to accept this as fact. Also, a grade of 89 may seem “low” in comparison to 100s in calculus and economics but it is still a great grade and displays strong English skills. Regarding the written supplemental portions, the idea behind them is for the schools to really understand you on a personal level and get further insight into what makes you different from all of the other applicants. This is where you can really separate yourself from just numbers on a report card and show your personality. Don’t be afraid to talk about who you are and why you wish to go into business. It all comes down to that one question – why business/commerce? Why not science or math or statistics? As someone in high school, it may not be easy to come up with a concrete answer as you are still forming your vision for your future (or at least most high schoolers are!), but if you can depict a clear “why” for the admissions office it can go a long way. At the same time, however, don’t be fake! It may be tempting to talk about investment banking or accounting but unless you actually have a passion for them don’t mention them. It is surprisingly easy to read through fake passion on applications.

      Some of the programs may require you to go in for an interview or do one over skype/online. For those, it really comes down to practice and preparation. Make sure you have clear reasons for why you: 1) applied to the university you are interviewing for (and be specific! No generic answers which can be applied to any program – talk specifically about the school and what makes it attractive to you), 2) what you hope to get out of it, 3) your personal and professional goals, and 4) how you can bring value to the school! Quite often students forget the last part and I really wish they didn’t. You have to remember that just as how UofT or IVEY or any other school benefits your by accepting you, you will also be benefitting that entity as you progress through your studies and enter into the professional world. Schools realize this and are impressed by students who can showcase this.

      No need to stress! All the best for apps 🙂

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  5. how is entrepreneurship at Rotman? Does anybody often try to start their own company? Is there enough time?

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  6. You mentioned running your own business in the comments? Can you explain this in more detail, it sounds very interesting!

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