Toronto Rotman MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines [2019 – 2020]

By - Aug 19, 06:00 AM Comments [0]

The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management 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 continues to grow in renown.

This year’s essay question reflects Rotman’s “creative methodology.” The adcom will get a snapshot of your goals through the application form; this essay is the place to demonstrate the self-knowledge and personal insight that characterize maturity and simultaneously conveys your fit with the values and culture of the program.

Toronto Rotman 2019-2020 MBA application

Rotman MBA essay question

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, volunteer activities, 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 1000 words)

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

“Spike factor.” Those words say a lot. You should make this essay, and the points it contains, not just interesting – it should also bring a grin to the reader’s face or make them nod and think “Yes!.” They should feel a tingle of enjoyment on reading it.

“Explain.” This word on the other hand can mislead you into lengthy abstractions. Make any explanation short and sweet. You do have to explicitly explain your “spike factor” because the question directs you to. But you don’t have to do it at the start of the essay, and you don’t have to do it at length. Better to start of the essay with an anecdote to engage the reader.

Once you decide on the spike factor that you want to present, find 1-3 illustrative anecdotes from outside of work and from work (but definitely not all or only work) that illustrate it – if more than one, make sure they show different contexts. And do be strategic about which anecdotes you use; what are some desirable “zoom-in” moments or experiences from your (ideally relatively recent) life that would enhance your application in relevant ways? Use this essay to fill in the mosaic of who you are.

As for that spike factor – you don’t need some exotic point that no other person would ever think of or possess. Rather, dig into your own experience and personality and find a point that shows what makes you tick. You will then make that point distinctive, vivid, and memorable through your examples and stories.

Rotman MBA reflection question

List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. (5 words)

Use these scant words to both reinforce your main application/essay message(s) and add a little something extra and new – but something that doesn’t contradict those other messages.

Rotman MBA required video interview

Your assessment has 3 questions. Assessments always vary and can contain both video and written questions. Video questions typically take 1-2 minutes to complete, and written questions typically take 5-10 minutes to complete.

Without knowing what the questions are, it’s best to approach the video interviewwith 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. 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 about your authorship of the other written portions of the application. If you are worried about these elements – 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.)

For expert guidance with your Toronto Rotman MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to top MBA programs and look forward to helping you too!

Toronto Rotman 2019-2020 MBA application deadlines

Early Round: Application deadline August 5, 2019; Decisions released September 3, 2019

Round 1: Application deadline October 1, 2019; Decisions released December 14, 2019

Round 2: Application deadline January 7, 2020; Decisions released March 8, 2020

Round 3: Application deadline March 4, 2020; Decisions released May 3, 2020

Round 4: Application deadline April 29, 2020; Decisions released May 31, 2020

***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***

How to Answer Your MBA Essay Questions
Cindy Tokumitsu, admissions expert

Cindy Tokumitsu has advised hundreds of successful applicants, helping them gain acceptance to top MBA and EMBA programs in her 20 years with Accepted. She would love to help you too. Want Cindy to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!

Related Resources:

• Why MBA?, a guide to acing the MBA goals essay question
• Toronto Rotman MBA: The Spike Factor, a podcast episode
• How to Practice for a Video Interview or Essay

This article originally appeared on

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