Rotman Essay 1

Our admitted students stand out by doing interesting things with their personal and professional lives — something we describe as the ‘spike factor’; what are the things that you have done in your life that demonstrate Passion/ Grit/ Resilience/ Innovation/ Drive/ Ambition and more? This can cross all or any aspects of life outside of work – hobbies, volunteerism, awards, entrepreneurial ventures, sports and the arts. We believe that exposure to a rich diversity of viewpoints makes for a superior learning experience, and pride ourselves on building a diverse class of exceptional individuals who will go on to make the School proud as professionals and alumni.

Explain your spike factor (something unique about yourself) that you believe will contribute to the Rotman community and is aligned with Rotman values. (up to 500 words)*  

Optional – Please upload 1-3 of your ‘spikiest’ pictures to the supplemental items section of your application here. Note: Your photos must be uploaded as a single PDF.

“Spike factor” refers to your key point of differentiation. What defines you, w hat sets you apart from the other candidates? Your career accomplishments are not something the school needs to know in this essay. They are interested in learning about your life outside of work. The three main elements that that can be included in this essay are as follows: 

  1. You talk about your personal life rather than your professional life.
  2. You emphasize your variety and how it sets you apart from your contemporaries.
  3. You provide evidence that the value(s) you are promoting (passion, grit, resilience, creativity, drive, ambition—or one that is similar/would fit with this group) are aligned with what you are showcasing.

To get started, list your top achievements and then relate them to one or more of the highlighted values. Alternately, you may think about each value and identify an accomplishment that way.

When writing these accomplishments, you may think about structuring your storyline using the STAR method:

  • Situation – Set the stage or identify the situation and opportunity for improvement.
  • Task – Identify the task or project that you set out to perform.
  • Action – Describe the actions you took to complete the project.
  • Result – Summarize the (hopefully positive) outcome.

One much choose the stories wisely; for example, what significant “zoom-in” events or situations from your life (at least one reasonably recent) might improve your application in pertinent ways?  Use this essay to fill in the mosaic of who you are.

In this essay, Rotman is continuing to place a lot of emphasis on how your past relates to the school’s beliefs. To ensure you have a good knowledge of what motivates the Rotman community, we advise you to look over Rotman’s values as well. The range of Rotman’s classes and the variety of teaching modalities used in the MBA program is one of its defining characteristics (from lecture to lab to experiential learning, Rotman truly offers it all).

This means that each student not only needs to be able to successfully navigate the MBA’s structure, they must also contribute to their classmates’ learning both inside the classroom and in the Rotman community at large. Rotman’s strikes at the core of this ideal, giving candidates the chance to explore their values. More importantly, it gives you the chance to show how you can add value to Rotman’s diverse student body in a way no one else can. 

While it is not mandatory, we highly recommend that you provide “spike” images along with your essay. Generally speaking, you should seize any chance to enhance or broaden the admissions committee’s perception of and familiarity with you. You don’t only want to publish visually pleasing photos; you also want them to support and further your main points.

Consider the mnemonic technique in which one creates a mental image to help them more readily remember certain facts and numbers. If selected wisely, your spike photos will help create a deeper and longer-lasting impression with the admissions reader by giving them corroborating nonverbal information and a kind of visual “anchor” to associate your profile with.

Rotman Video Interview (2 questions) with a timed written response component (10 minutes in length)

Simply put, the purpose of this application “essay” is to demonstrate your ability to think and express yourself on the moment, both vocally and in writing. Candidates can take time to consider their options, prepare and compose their potential submissions, ask others for input and/or feedback, revise or practice, and even start over from the beginning and try a completely different approach or use completely new content for typical application essays (including video ones). Rotman’s video essay and textual accompaniment exclude all of this, leaving you with nowhere to hide. They want your true, genuine impulses and nature. The admissions committee is essentially betting that “what you see is what you (really) receive.”

However, we urge you not to interpret this as anything negative or frightening. As a potential Rotman MBA student, you surely have a lot to give, so use this as a chance to show the admissions committee what that looks like in action—how you will perform in the classroom, at job interviews, and as a member of the school’s larger community. We cannot emphasize this enough: there is no “correct” solution, like with other MBA application essay questions. You either fit in with a program or you don’t, and you don’t want to have to pretend to be someone you’re not for two years, so just be yourself. Answer the questions honestly, using your normal tone, voice, and vocabulary. Be confident, relaxed, and true to yourself. The content of your responses will not count as much as your presentation and authenticity.

We encourage that you begin working on reducing your usage of filler words and phrases (e.g., “um,” “uh,” “like,” and “you know”) as soon as possible so that you are less likely to rely on or default to them when the time comes for your real video session. This will help you in the classroom and in interviews in the future, so you should start retraining yourself now.

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