The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » Real Humans of MBA Class of 2020 » Real Humans of Rotman’s MBA Class of 2020 » Page 2

Real Humans of Rotman’s MBA Class of 2020

Image for Real Humans of Rotman’s MBA Class of 2020
Sonakshi Bhattacharya, Rotman MBA Class of 2020

Sonakshi Bhattacharya, Rotman MBA Class of 2020

Age: 28
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: N.M College, Bachelor of Management Studies. Majored in Marketing.

Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry)
I worked for over seven years in the ad tech and digital monetization space for North American markets. I joined a tech start up in 2011 with less than 10 people in the team. My work involved tech sales, business development, heading revenue optimization for key accounts, and managing learning and development.

Why business school? Why now?
Though I was fortunate to have learned so much during my stint at work, I had no formal training in the business roles I undertook. About five years into my job, we witnessed a change in the digital advertising landscape, leading to an acquisition for $1 billion USD by a firm in China.

Through this time, I reflected and realized the gaps in my knowledge in terms of leadership and understanding market fluctuations in a time of flux in the business. I felt that a formal business degree would be the best accelerated learning path, as well as a life reset button, before I entered my next career stint.

Why Rotman? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was looking for a school that had a major in business design, had a culture that promoted empathy, and was located in a potential tech hub. I was also aware that I needed to build a professional network from scratch and explored schools that had a supportive career center with a strong network. Rotman was my top program choice by virtue of fitting each requirement.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020?
I personally feel it is the perspective I bring by working in a start up from inception, as well as my industry background. I felt that I was able to leverage my previous learning and add value to my classmates who are toying with the idea of entrepreneurship, or a career switch in technology.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I was a part-time musician for over a year. Before I moved from India, my band and I recorded our songs with an artist management company. It was the best farewell from Bombay I could have hoped for! Hopefully, I’ll pursue music on the side, post-school.

Post-MBA career interests?
In the short term, I aspire to move back into the technology industry in a project management role. In the long term, I plan to move into change management for technology start ups.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I would speak to students in the first year, second year and an alum of a school. I realized perspectives of the same school are very different across students from different years. Through my application process, I realized I had more clarity on what to expect in each year of school, and for life after. This process helped me narrow in on the school that would be the best culture fit.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would focus on building a well-rounded profile from the start, rather than solely optimize for the GMAT. In complete transparency, I took the exam more than once. After my first attempt, I realized that I needed to have a balanced profile and the GMAT, though important, was not the sole determinant of my success at school.

I re-prioritized how I want to present myself and focused time equally on my professional growth and the GMAT in tandem—focusing on a good enough score, rather than a great score.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The GMAT! As challenging as I found the exam, I do understand that it is a good metric to test intellectual horsepower, and essential for the application process. I took up classes on weekends along with my job. The set schedule helped bring a sense of discipline and regular practice that is essential for doing well on the GMAT.

What is your initial impression of Rotman’s students/culture/community? 
The school, the professors and the student council work very hard to create a psychologically safe environment to promote a sense of culture and community. The first month of the orientation program encouraged us to be authentic and empathetic—an aspect I found unique to Rotman.

Your classmates and team members could be ex-nurses, script writers, investment bankers, marketers, and even teachers from all over the world. In addition to clubs and social events, the school has class courses and one-on-one sessions to help you feel a sense of belonging. In addition to culture and community, the school has fantastic personal career coaches and mentors to help you build a professional network in the country.

One thing you have learned about Rotman that has surprised you?
We have a lot of Drake fans! One of the things I loved most about Rotman is that it does not try to mould you into someone else. It helps you self-reflect on your strengths and helps you build your own unique brand.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Exam stress! It’s been almost 8 years since I’ve sat in a class room.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
The opportunity to work closely with companies and solve actual problems through the program. In the first month of school, we worked with McKinsey and the city of Toronto to build a plan for constructing homes for the community—something I wouldn’t have had a chance to do had I not been in business school.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.