Showcase Your Spike Factor for Rotman Essays

This year Rotman is all about Spike Factor, asking you to upload 1-3 of your “spikiest” pictures and select 1,000 words to explain why you chose these pictures. After visiting Rotman in June as part of the Association of International Graduate Admissions Counselors (AIGAC) Conference, I could feel the excitement and positive momentum of this program firsthand. From the juxtaposition of old and new buildings woven seamlessly together to create the best of tradition and innovation, to the entrepreneurial opportunities being provided by the Creative Destruction Lab and the transformative experiences offered to students through the Self Development Lab, Rotman is a school steeped in spike factor!

This year’s essay should be fun to answer, providing you with a creative way to show Rotman what makes you a unique and valuable addition to their community.

Rotman provides this introduction to consider the essays:

The Full-Time MBA Program at the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management attracts top talent from an incredibly diverse range of professional and academic backgrounds around the world so we don’t really have a typical candidate. In admissions, we look for intellectual horsepower, experience, and impact, communication, and presence.

Beyond that, 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.

Essay*
Please upload 1-3 of your ‘spikiest’ pictures to the supplemental items section of your application here and use the space below to tell us why you have chosen these particular images to illustrate your ‘spike factor’. (up to 1000 words)
Note: Your photos must be uploaded as a single PDF.

Stratus Tips for answering this question:

• Think about your key strengths and accomplishments and select photos that show this in an engaging way. “Spike factor” allows you to highlight your resilience, grit and determination in setting and reaching ambitious goals.
• You might also think of this like “the Tokyo test”—something I have heard recruiters mention. Is this person interesting enough that I’d be happy sitting next to them on a flight to Tokyo? Make sure you share something interesting—and this can expand beyond work to interesting hobbies, sports accomplishments, businesses that you have started, charities you’ve founded or supported etc.
• Consider organizing your answer around a few key themes with photos that support each one.
• Organically weave your career goals around the picture(s) you upload—ideally one of those photos may help inform what you’d like to do after Rotman.
• Think not just about what you can get from Rotman but also how you will be able to bring value to the Rotman community through the photos and explanations you share.
• It may help to use a CAR (Challenge/Action/Result) model as you provide support for the examples you share.
• Presence and communication are valued by Rotman in the admissions process as it is stated right in the introduction; be sure to upload a visually appealing and well written submission. Edit, proofread and pay attention to detail.

Reflection Question*
List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. (3 to 5 words)

Stratus Tips for answering this question:

• This year is all about Spike Factor so try to find some creative adjectives when describing your attributes.
• Keep your key themes in mind in this question as well and provide attributes that show a full range of your strengths as opposed to focusing solely on one area only.

Rotman’s blog provides further details about how to approach these essays. Kudos to Rotman for innovating in asking a question that looks fun to answer. Keep in mind Rotman has a holistic application process which also includes a video interview portion and a written prompt which you will submit as part of your complete application.

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