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Rotman Problem Solving Challenge

Designed for prospective and incoming Full-Time MBA candidates, the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is the first of its kind – a unique opportunity for future Rotman MBA students to dive deep into a messy, unstructured problem using our model-based approach to problem solving.

Event Details

Pre-MBA Event

Date: March 27 - 28, 2015 | 09:00 AM - 09:00 PM
Speaker(s): Rotman faculty and student mentors will guide you through the challenge
Venue: Rotman School of Management
105 St. George St.
Location: Toronto
Cost: Free
Register Now

Click the headings below for Problem Solving Challenge details:


We invite you to experience Rotman’s unique problem solving approach through a live decision making challenge! Designed for prospective and incoming Full-Time MBA candidates, the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is the first of its kind – a unique opportunity for future Rotman MBA students to dive deep into a messy, unstructured problem using our model-based approach to problem solving. Rotman faculty and student mentors will guide participants through the three graded components to the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge, held at the Rotman School on March 27th and 28th. 

As a future MBA student, the Challenge will give you an opportunity to: 

  • Experience Rotman’s approach to developing high value decision makers
  • Build your pre-MBA skillset in problem solving, communications and presentations 
  • Connect with other prospective MBA students
  • Compete to win a number of scholarship awards

Competing participants will be asked to frame, analyze and offer a recommendation for how to best solve the presented problem. For more information see the Competition Question & Details section below.

Scholarship Awards

The top individuals with the highest cumulative scores will receive the following:

  • First place wins a full tuition scholarship valued at $90,000
  • Second place wins a $60,000 scholarship
  • Third place wins a $40,000 scholarship
  • Fourth place wins a $30,000 scholarship
  • Fifth place wins a $20,000 scholarship
  • Top individual presentation wins a $10,000 scholarship 
  • Top individual written submission wins a $5,000 scholarship 

The top groups with the highest group scores will receive the following: 

  • First place group wins a $5,000 scholarship per team member 
  • Second place group wins a $3,000 scholarship per team member 
  • Third place group wins a $2,000 scholarship per team member
  • Fourth place group wins a $1,000 scholarship per team member

Problem Solving Challenge Weekend

Problem Solving Challenge will run from March 27-28. 

Since this is a pre-MBA event, it will include resources designed to ensure incoming students from all academic and professional backgrounds have the support needed to tackle the Challenge. Resources will include:

  • Industry background information pertaining to the Challenge question you will be asked to solve.
  • An in-depth briefing as part of the Challenge weekend kick-off
  • Guided sessions in small groups to help you formulate your solution to the Challenge question
  • One-on-one coaching sessions with student mentors
  • Constructive feedback on your submission by the judging panel
  • Debrief with Rotman faculty

Competition Question & Details

Competition Components

Rotman faculty and student mentors will guide participants through the three graded components of the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge: 

1. Written essay submission (see First Round Requirements below for full details!)
2. Presentation on your above essay submission
3. Team presentation relating to the topic question 

First Round Requirements – Individual Written Submission

The first round requirement consists of an individual written submission. Details for this submission are as follows: 

“There is indeed a wearable future ahead, one that can dramatically alter the landscape of society and business as we know it.“  
- PwC, October 2014

“The consumer wearables market is still in its infancy today, but will see "hockey stick" growth over the next five years as the market explodes.” 
- International Data Corp. Canada, June 2014

Wearable electronics is poised to grow from a $14 billion market in 2014 to $70 billion in 2024. It is expected that the entertainment, health, fitness, retail, and technology sectors will drive the majority of this growth. Relatively little attention is being given to the potential opportunities created by wearable technology in the education sector.

How could wearable technology change education? Are there opportunities to create value with wearables in the education space?  

You will be required to submit a 1000-word essay answering the above, due February 6, 2015 at 11:59am (noon) Eastern Time

The submission deadline has now passed. Good luck to everyone participating in the 2015 Rotman Problem Solving Challenge!

Second Round Requirements – Individual Presentation

The top 100 written submissions will be invited to present via video skype to a judging panel. Further instructions for this round will be provided to those invited.  

Final Round Team Presentation & Reception

The final round of the Challenge will take place during the Problem Solving Challenge weekend of March 27-28. Participants invited to this stage will be put in groups of approximately 5 students as newly formed “executive teams” and present their findings as teams to a judging panel. Four teams will then advance to the final round where they will present to senior Rotman representatives and industry experts. Upon completion of this round, winners will then be announced. Further details on the final round will be communicated to the selected participants.


In order to be eligible to claim awards, individuals must be accepted to the 2015 intake of the Rotman Full-Time MBA Program. All scholarship prize amounts will be deducted from tuition invoices upon commencement of the Program. For top individual overall prizes (first through fifth place), only incremental funding amounts will be extended if the winning candidate already has a scholarship offer (i.e. If the second place winner previously received a $30,000 admissions award, Rotman would extend an additional $30,000 to total the second place prize figure of $60,000).

  • Candidates interested in participating who have not yet submitted applications to Rotman are required to verify their eligibility by providing a résumé and a GMAT score (if applicable) in addition to their written submission. 
  • The Top Team Presentation prize will be awarded to all team members. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Help! I don’t know where to begin! Got any tips on how to write my submission?

We’ll be hosting (FREE) learning labs to help guide you with your first round submission. The learning labs will be offered on the following dates and times via live interactive webinars (note that the content in each learning lab will be identical though largely driven by your questions so no need to attend multiple of the sessions):

January 28, 2015 8-9am (Eastern Time)
January 29, 2015 6-7pm (Eastern Time)
February 2, 2015 12-1pm (Eastern Time)

You can attend any of the learning labs by clicking here

Is this event for prospective or incoming students?
Both! If you've already been admitted to the Full-Time MBA program, this is a great way to meet your future classmates and professors while getting an early start on building your MBA-level skill set. 

If you're still working on your MBA application or if you're weighing offers from multiple business schools, this is a perfect way to get an in-depth feel for the Rotman community, facilities, and education style.

If I am an incoming student but am not a finalist for the individual awards can I still participate? 
Definitely. If you were admitted to the 2015 intake of the Rotman Full-Time MBA Program, you can still compete in the team-based component of the Challenge.

Is there a required or recommended format for the written submission?
Your written submission should be uploaded in a word or pdf document. There are no specifications regarding layout of your submission. We are more concerned with the content.

For my written submission, will graphs, charts, and footnotes count towards the word limit?
Your word count will not be impacted should you elect to use graphs, charts, and footnotes, however, over-using them can cause your essay to become less impactful and harder to read.

Do I have to travel to Toronto in order to compete?
Yes. You must be physically present at Rotman Problem Solving Challenge on March 27th and 28th in order to take part in the final competition. 

Since the live presentation component is a key part of the evaluation process, we are unable to consider you for an award if you cannot give your presentation in person. 

When you start planning your journey, please remember to ensure that you meet the visa requirements to enter Canada. 

Can Rotman reimburse me for my travel expenses?

While participants are responsible for the full cost of travelling to and from Toronto as well as accommodation and any other expenses incurred while staying in the city, we do have a special hotel rate exclusive to Problem Solving Challenge Participants!

Details are as follows:
Hotel: Intercontinental Hotel (220 Bloor St West - just steps away from Rotman!)
Rate: $189 per night + 13% HST and 2.66% Destination Fees

How to make your reservation:
Call 1-800-267-0010 or 416-324-5890 or email

Mention that you will be attending the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge, use block code PX9 or click here to receive this special rate!

I require an invitation letter in order to obtain a visa to visit Rotman. Will this be provided?
Yes, send an email to as soon as you have confirmed that you will be coming to Rotman, along with the requirements for the letter, and we will prepare it for you.

Should I register if I have already received an admissions offer with a scholarship?
Definitely. For example, if you had a $10,000 award and won first place overall, you would be awarded the balance of $80,000. Regardless of your current scholarship, you would also still be eligible for the full amount for both the top individual written/interview awards and all group awards in addition to your existing funding. But more than anything else, this is a fantastic opportunity to experience Rotman before the program begins, interact with faculty, staff and, most importantly, future classmates! 

The Rotman School Problem Solving Challenge

Your opportunity to discover the Rotman School

Win a ScholarshipFirst prize covers full tuition

Rotman Full-Time MBA students laughing

Meet Your ClassmatesMake friends before your MBA

Rotman Full-Time MBA students chatting