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Real Humans of Rotman’s MBA Class of 2020

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Rakiya Sambo, Rotman MBA Class of 2020

Rakiya Sambo, Rotman MBA Class of 2020

Age: 30
Hometown: Taraba State, Nigeria
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) University. Business Administration. Emphasis: Accounting

Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):
Nine years. For the first four-and-a-half years of my career, I worked at Deloitte, California, in the Audit division serving both public and private companies in the retail and manufacturing industry.

For the remaining four-and-a-half years of my career, I ran a small family-owned plastics manufacturing company in Kaduna, Nigeria, where we not only recycle plastic bags, but also use recycled material to produce plastic bags.

Why business school? Why now?
When I decided to run our family-owned business over four years ago, I set out to accomplish specific goals. I got to a point where I had achieved these goals and, through deep self-reflection and thorough research, I found that I had a passion for analyzing financial data and using it to solve complex problems.

I concluded that I would like to pursue a career in corporate finance with a multinational organization in the retail or CPG industry. While there are several ways to accomplish this, I truly believe that a quality MBA program with a specialization in financial reporting analysis would be vital in achieving my goal of starting a career in corporate finance.

An MBA would not only provide me with a broader and deeper knowledge of financial reporting and analysis, but also provide me with technical skills and network needed for me to succeed in my new endeavor.

Why Rotman? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
There were several reasons why I wanted to be part of the Rotman MBA program. For the next stage of my career it was important that I took my problem-solving skills to the next level and the curriculum would do that by teaching me new analytical skills and how to combine that with emotional skills.

I also wanted to acquire skills that would help me to be an effective leader and the Rotman MBA program would help me achieve this. Rotman has created programs that places an emphasis on self-development as a leader by helping its students learn how to interact with others in stressful complex situations and still bring a successful outcome.

With the Rotman MBA program being one of the most diverse programs in Canada, I knew that I would be learning from individuals from different cultures and professional backgrounds.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020?
I think my differentiating contribution would be my diverse work experience in both corporate and private companies and on two continents.  I will be able to bring a unique perspective into our class discussions and with teammates, contributing to our class’s learning experience.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
My mother has 18 siblings and my love for cake cannot be quantified.

Post-MBA career interests?
Corporate Finance.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Do your research and make sure that the programs you are applying to are programs you truly want to be part of. Be as authentic as you can in your applications, particularly in the essay sections. I made sure to be as authentic in my applications and it helped the MBA application process a little easier.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
Try to apply early. I didn’t apply early and that caused some stress. Not because the application process at Rotman is stressful, but because I had to balance my personal and work commitments with fulfilling requirements of the application in a tight deadline all due to the fact that I did not applied early.

The earlier you start your application, the more time you have to study for your GMAT and also give your best towards presenting your most authentic self in your applications.

–Part you would have skipped if you could — and what helped you get through it?
I was very anxious during the application process from start to finish. I would have skipped that if I could go back and do it again. I was fortunate to have my family supporting me throughout and they did their best to advise me to not be so anxious and instead focus on my goal of getting into Rotman and have a positive attitude while trying to achieve it.

What is your initial impression of Rotman’s students/culture/community?
My initial impression of the students is that they are all very smart. Every student has something that is unique about them. What impresses me most about the school’s culture is its unrelenting commitment to academic integrity.

It makes sure that its students and faculty understand that we are held accountable for our actions and to think critically about the decisions we make. Rotman also provides support to its students, in case we are ever faced with a dilemma regarding a situation that might compromise our integrity.

One thing you have learned about Rotman that has surprised you?
Rotman really wants its students to succeed and it is evident in programs and events that we as students have access to throughout the program. From learning strategists to career coaches, Rotman has truly created a community designed to help its students succeed during the program and after the program. And everyone, my classmates, second years, faculty, and alumni have made themselves available to provide help if needed.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am anxious about the change of pace. I have been in the private sector for the past four-and-a-half years and it is a different pace from Rotman’s rewarding rigorous MBA program. I am hoping to adjust quickly and thrive in this new environment.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am excited to be challenged and to learn!

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.