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        Meet The Team: Sheldon Dookeran, Rotman School of Management

        Sheldon Dookeran, Rotman School of Management's Assistant Director of the Full Time MBA, explains what you can expect from the schools' MBA programs.

        Rotman School of Management may produce top business leaders like other schools, but it is unique in its teaching methods, interview process and careers services, says Sheldon Dookeran, the schools Assistant Director of the Full Time MBA.

        He serves on the admissions committee and works closely with candidates to assist them through the application process – as well as finding the most talented professionals world-wide for Rotman.

        The Toronto-based school has one of the best MBA ranking programs in Canada and is considered the country’s number-one program by the Financial Times, and is in the top-100 world-wide. Graduates see an 85 per cent salary increase, 76 per cent of which are employed within three months of graduation.

        But it is not just corporate high-flyers that flock to Rotman. Toronto is something of a hub for high-tech entrepreneurs, says Sheldon. And the schools’ incubator, the Creative Destruction Lab, allows entrepreneurial students to get into start-ups, and provides support for those launching their own ventures.

        And there is a growing trend of MBA students staying in the region after graduation. Canada’s more relaxed visa laws allow international graduates to secure work more easily – but even those from other regions of Canada tend to stay in Toronto, Sheldon says.

        There is no ideal candidate for their full-time MBA, but he sheds some light on what can help you land a spot on their top-ranking degree program – and perhaps even start a new life in Canada.

        What does an ideal MBA candidate look like?

        We don’t really have a typical candidate and that’s one of the reasons why we’re able to enroll a really diverse group of people. We have the ability to take chances on different types of individuals who show potential because we have a large class of about 350 students, whereas schools with smaller programs have to be more specific with their candidate selection.

        The bottom line is that we look for interesting people. We describe it as the ‘spike factor’; we want to see something in a candidate that makes them spike and jump off the graph in some interesting way. We’ve got lots of entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, and even an Olympic athlete in the program.

        How is Rotman’s interview process different to other schools?

        Rotman was the first school to introduce a video component last year, and now other schools have followed suit. The video is impromptu; a candidate signs-in online, gets a video briefing from our program director and they're given a question. After 60 seconds their webcam begins to record for 90 seconds, or until the candidate stops it, and they have to deliver their response.

        They are given two questions and through this we get a sense of their ability to communicate, think on their feet and we also get a glimpse of their personality.

        What do candidates need to know about Rotman?

        They should have a good sense of the culture. But the bottom line is that candidates should know that it’s not a traditional school. There are a lot of examples of how Rotman does things differently, but the biggest one is that it takes an innovative approach to education – one that no other school takes.

        We teach philosophies such as Integrative Thinking and design-thinking.  Rotman also invests in our students’ personal growth from within with an initiative called the Self Development Lab. Those are just three examples of Rotman's innovative and non-traditional approach to business education.

        Do you have any tips for impressing the admissions team?

        I wouldn’t wait to try to impress the committee. Candidates can start to impress the admissions team before they even submit an application. And they can do that by engaging with the school, through interactions with current students or alumni, or members of the admissions office. We offer many opportunities to interact with us in-person or online.     

        The best advice is to really engage with the community as much as possible and as early as possible. The more interactions the admissions team has, the better we’ll know them and we will have a better idea as to whether they will fit in.

        Is there a trend of international MBAs staying in Canada, because of more relaxed visa laws?

        It’s definitely a trend. Most international students and maybe even Canadians attend Rotman because they’re interested in working and living in Toronto.

        It’s a good strategy for perspective students to choose to do their MBA in the city where they see themselves living in for the next five to seven years. The city you chose to do your MBA in is where you will build the strongest network.

        The Canadian government guarantees international students a three year work permit to graduates of a two-year program such as Rotman’s. Many international students receive their Permanent Residency status in Canada before their work permit expires, and they start a new life in Canada.

        Is Toronto a good place for entrepreneurial MBAs?

        It is – and especially for tech start-ups. Toronto is a hot-bed for high tech businesses and is a place where it’s easy to get things done, to do business and to launch a start-up. We also have an incubator in the program, the Creative Destruction Lab, a place where students can get involved in start-ups and get help with launching them. There is a lot of opportunity here.

        What’s the career services department like?

        This is another example of how the school is not traditional; most schools are set-up with career centers and have career advisors who do two things: help students find careers and help to bring in new employment for the school. They’re roles are two-fold.

        Rotman has a different model; we now have two separate teams that work alongside our MBA clubs. We have a team of dedicated career coaches who are trained experts, and they help students build their strategies and help them with interviews, resumes and everything in that respect.

        And we also have a second team of dedicated industry advisors, and they come from industry – people from banking, real-estate, consulting and so on. They have a really good understanding of their industry and have strong relationships with firms, so they’ve got a good understanding of what’s required, and what the current trends are. And they sell our students to employers.