Are you planning to apply for the Rotman MBA program in 2024? Read this comprehensive guide breaking down the Rotman MBA application essays, filled with analysis, insights, and expert tips to boost your chances of success.


If you aspire to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto offers an exceptional opportunity. However, getting accepted into this prestigious program is highly competitive, and one of the crucial aspects of the application process is writing compelling essays. In this article, we will delve into the Rotman MBA application essays for the year 2024, analyzing what the admissions committee seeks and providing valuable insights to help you craft outstanding essays that reflect your uniqueness and potential

The Rotman School of Management in downtown Toronto, Canada, is widely regarded as the country’s premier business school. It is affiliated with the prestigious University of Toronto and has a distinguished faculty that ranks among the top 20 in the world for business research, making it the largest in Canada. Students at Rotman benefit from a varied and supportive atmosphere, which is backed up by a robust network of leaders, mentors, and instructors.

The Full-time MBA Program at Rotman is the largest in Canada and has been ranked as the #1 business school in the country by Financial Times. Located in Toronto, a bustling and multicultural city known for its fintech and banking sectors, the Rotman MBA is a rigorous 20-month program, which includes 16 months of academic study and an option for a 4-month paid internship.

The MBA program has a significant global presence, with over 17,000 alumni spread across 90 countries. International students interested in pursuing the two-year MBA program will find the tuition to be $103,001 (CAD $131,120). Moreover, Rotman offers various generous scholarships based on merit for outstanding international candidates, such as the Joseph L. Rotman Scholarship, Rotman Family Healthcare Scholarship, Business Design Initiative (BDI) Scholarship, 30% Club Full-Time MBA Scholarship, and Rotman African and Caribbean Business Club (RACBC) Scholarship.

The Significance of Rotman MBA Application Essays
The Significance of Rotman MBA Application Essays

The Significance of Rotman MBA Application Essays

When applying to the Rotman MBA program, your academic qualifications and work experience are essential, but the application essays are your chance to showcase your personality, goals, and motivations. The admissions committee uses these essays to gain deeper insights into your aspirations and determine if you are the right fit for their program.

Breaking Down the Rotman MBA Application Essays

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.

The very first tip, would be checking the value system of any school, for Rotman:

Rotman is distinguished by its class diversity and its use of various educational methods within the MBA program, encompassing lectures, labs, and experiential learning. More on the insides or Rotman later in this blog so you can understand the curriculum better. As a result, every student not only needs to adeptly navigate the MBA’s structure but also actively contribute to their classmates’ education both within the classroom and the broader Rotman community. This aspect aligns with Rotman’s fundamental vision, offering applicants the opportunity to explore their own values. More importantly, it allows candidates to demonstrate how they can uniquely enrich Rotman’s diverse student body by bringing their distinctive contributions.

The objective of this essay is to present to Rotman who you are as an individual and what sets you apart. While you have the option to focus on any of the characteristics mentioned in the question, it is not mandatory. To begin, reflect on your personal and professional journey to pinpoint the crucial moments that have shaped your life. Examine the bell curve of your career and mark the points that have brought you to your current position. It centres around the concept of the “spike factor,” which refers to a person’s primary differentiator, making them stand out or special. 

The essay encourages candidates to discuss accomplishments and experiences outside of work that showcase qualities like passion, perseverance, innovation, and diversity-related perspectives. It emphasizes that whatever is highlighted in the essay should align with Rotman’s core values of respect, diversity, excellence, and integrity. The essay, not only should you detail these experiences, but also elaborate on how they have influenced your personal growth and life decisions. Make a bell curve of your career path and analyse the “spike points” and describe the profound impact these moments have had on shaping your character and molding the path you’ve chosen to take

Previously, the essay had a word limit of 1,000 words and optional “spike” photos. However, the updated version now requires candidates to upload these pictures. As there are fewer words available, it’s essential to make use of supporting photos to reinforce the main message of the essay. The images should be chosen thoughtfully to create a lasting impression with the admissions committee and provide nonverbal information to associate with the candidate’s profile

Required Video Interview: Required video interview (2 questions) with a timed written response component (10 minutes in length)

In essence, the purpose of this “essay” application is to showcase your ability to think and express yourself spontaneously, both verbally and in writing. Candidates have no luxury of time to prepare extensively, seek feedback, or revise their responses, as is common with typical application essays, including video ones. Rotman’s approach for the video essay and written accompaniment is designed to reveal your true, unfiltered self. The admissions committee wants to see the real you, believing that “what you see is what you (really) receive.”

Although this may sound intimidating, there’s no need to view it negatively. As a prospective Rotman MBA student, you have valuable qualities to offer. Use this opportunity to demonstrate how you would engage in the classroom, excel in job interviews, and contribute to the school’s community. There is no definitive right answer to this question, unlike other MBA application prompts. The goal is to find the right fit for the program, and it’s essential not to pretend to be someone you’re not during your two years at Rotman. So, be genuine and answer the questions honestly, using your natural tone, voice, and vocabulary. Confidence, authenticity, and being true to yourself matter more than the specific content of your responses.

However, we recommend working on reducing filler words and phrases (such as “um,” “uh,” “like,” and “you know”) as early as possible. By doing so, you’ll be less likely to rely on them during the actual video session. This practice will benefit you not only in this application but also in your future classroom experiences and interviews. So, start retraining yourself now to enhance your communication skills.

What should your video essay show?

Your Passion and Goals

Your essays should reflect your passion for your chosen field and your clear career goals. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate how your experiences have shaped your aspirations and how an MBA from Rotman will play a pivotal role in achieving them.

Highlighting Your Leadership Skills

Leadership qualities are highly valued at Rotman. Demonstrate your leadership skills through past experiences, team collaborations, and how you intend to make a positive impact on your peers and the business world as a whole.

Emphasizing Cultural Fit

Rotman prides itself on its diverse and inclusive community. Showcase your cultural awareness, adaptability, and how you plan to contribute positively to the collaborative and supportive environment at Rotman.

Addressing Weaknesses and Failures

Everyone faces setbacks in their professional journey. Be honest and transparent about your weaknesses and failures, but focus on how you learned from these experiences and how they have made you a stronger individual.

Demonstrating Research About the Program

To stand out, demonstrate that you have thoroughly researched the Rotman MBA program. Mention specific courses, faculty members, or extracurricular activities that excite you and align with your interests.

Structuring Your Essays Effectively

Organize your essays with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Maintain a logical flow and ensure that your ideas are cohesive and well-structured.

Utilizing Concrete Examples

Avoid vague statements and use concrete examples to support your arguments. Quantify your achievements and provide specific instances to back up your claims.

Showcasing Cross-Cultural Experiences

Rotman values applicants with exposure to diverse cultures and environments. Highlight any international experiences or projects that have broadened your worldview and enhanced your global perspective.

Displaying Emotional Intelligence

Effective leadership involves emotional intelligence. Demonstrate your ability to empathize, understand others’ perspectives, and handle difficult situations with maturity.

Addressing Industry Trends and Challenges

Display your industry knowledge by discussing current trends and challenges. Offer insights into how your skillset will be instrumental in addressing these issues.

Collaborative Spirit and Teamwork

Highlight instances where you’ve worked collaboratively as part of a team and achieved remarkable outcomes. Showcase your ability to work harmoniously with others to achieve shared objectives.

Balancing Confidence and Humility

Exhibit confidence in your abilities without appearing arrogant. Combine self-assuredness with humility to show that you are open to learning and growing.

Avoiding Clichés and Jargon

Steer clear of overused phrases and business jargon. Be authentic in your writing, allowing your true voice to shine through.

The Power of Storytelling

Craft narratives that captivate the reader and provide a deeper understanding of your motivations and aspirations. Storytelling can make your essays memorable and engaging.

The essence of storytelling in MBA essays
The essence of storytelling in MBA essays

Course Curriculum Summary: for a more compelling application by S4G exclusively.

The rigorous Full-Time Rotman MBA program consists of 16 months of academic study and a 4-month paid internship opportunity. The program starts with a core curriculum in the first year that connects Rotman’s special problem-solving and creative technique with the basic business disciplines while letting you concentrate on building certain skill sets through more than 90 optional courses.

First Year: Foundations

The first year of the program, which begins in September, is organized into four core terms that are focused on developing your MBA toolbox in the key functional areas of business and designed to introduce and reinforce a special approach to problem-solving and decision-making. You have the option to use three optional courses in the final term, starting in March, to develop your area of interest and your internship preparation.

  • Self-Development Lab (SDL)

Through a series of intense one-on-one coaching sessions and small group seminars, the Self-Development Lab (SDL) has been thoughtfully created to provide you with highly individualized feedback on your behavioral performance, communication style, and overall presence. You will receive advice from professionals, including qualified psychologists, playwrights, and former management consultants, on how to cultivate your interpersonal and self-awareness abilities, which are essential for being a productive collaborative problem-solver.

  • Internship Options

The Flexible Internship Program* offers three internship periods after your first year: May-August, September-December, and January-April.

Rotman Flexible Internship Program
Rotman Flexible Internship Program

Second Year: Choosing a Direction

Choice is the focus of Rotman’s second year. You can choose from one of 15 MBA majors to focus on, or you can tailor your MBA education by selecting from among more than 100 optional courses. In order to earn useful executive experience, give back to the Rotman community, and expand your network to include MBA students in the incoming class, you will also have the chance to take on a leadership role in one of Rotman’s student-run industry clubs or the Graduate Business Council.

  • Ethics

Businesses must navigate a complicated landscape of ethical, legal, and governance-related concerns. This course focuses on the role that managers have in identifying these problems and finding effective and efficient solutions. An organization established on sound principles serves as a standard by which all stakeholder interests are judged, and ethical behavior starts with management. This course will explore ethical decision-making and its relationship to the fundamentals of good governance through an “active” case study.

  • The Joe Weider Foundation Leadership Development Lab (LDL) 

A cutting-edge program called the Joe Weider Foundation Leadership Development Lab (LDL) assists qualifying Rotman students in their second year in developing personally and professionally across a range of leadership-related aspects. The LDL will improve your command of self-management, communication, and interpersonal skills by examining the implicit mental models required to intentionally reframe beliefs and change behavioral patterns in order to more effectively produce desired results. It is based on the sciences of psychology and neurology. 

Rotman Deadlines

Here are the deadlines for the 2023-2024 season. 

Rotman Application Deadlines
Rotman Application Deadlines

Application Details 

Application requirements – Following are the MBA application requirements:

  • GMAT/GRE score
  • Academic transcripts
  • Two professional references
  • Essay + reflection question + Video interview with timed response
  • TOEFL/IELTS if applicable (Not required if you’ve graduated from an English-language university)
  • Interview (By invitation only)

Application Fees – $195 (CAD)

Focused MBA students working together at Rotman
Focused MBA students working together at Rotman


Securing a spot in the Rotman MBA program is a highly rewarding accomplishment that can open doors to exciting career opportunities and personal growth. The application essays are your chance to stand out from other candidates and communicate your unique value. Remember to present a compelling narrative, align with Rotman’s values, and demonstrate your potential to become an exceptional business leader.

Ensure that your essays are well-structured, error-free, and a true reflection of your aspirations and accomplishments. Seek feedback from others to gain valuable perspectives, and above all, be authentic in your writing.

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of breaking down the Rotman MBA application essays, you can confidently begin crafting your responses. Best of luck on your journey towards becoming a part of the esteemed Rotman community!


  1. What is the Rotman MBA application deadline for 2024? Rotman’s application deadline for the 2024 intake typically falls in the late summer or early fall of the previous year. Be sure to check the official Rotman website for the exact date.
  2. Can I apply to multiple MBA programs simultaneously, including Rotman? Yes, you can apply to multiple MBA programs at different universities, including Rotman. However, ensure that you tailor your essays to each school’s unique requirements and values.
  3. Are interviews part of the Rotman MBA application process? Yes, after reviewing the application essays, the Rotman admissions committee may invite selected candidates for an interview. The interview is an opportunity for applicants to further showcase their personality, communication skills, and fit for the program.
  4. What qualities does Rotman look for in applicants? Rotman seeks candidates who demonstrate strong leadership potential, critical thinking abilities, adaptability, and a passion for contributing to a diverse and collaborative community. Moreover, they value candidates with a commitment to ethical business practices and a desire to make a positive impact on the world.
  5. Does Rotman prefer applicants from specific professional backgrounds? Rotman does not have specific preferences for professional backgrounds. Instead, they value diversity and appreciate applicants from various industries and experiences, as it enriches the classroom discussions and learning experiences.

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