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Rotman Problem Solving Challenge

The Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is the first of its kind – a unique opportunity to experience Rotman's approach to problem solving through a live decision-making challenge. Designed for incoming admitted students to the Full-Time MBA program, our world-class faculty will guide you throughout the course of the competition for a chance to win over $300,000 in scholarship awards.

Event Details

Pre-MBA Event

Date: May 13 - 14, 2016 | 09:00 AM - 05:00 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
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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 incoming admitted 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. Our world-class faculty will guide participants for a chance to win $300,000 in scholarship awards at the Rotman School on May 13th and 14th. 

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 individual with the highest cumulative score (written submission required to qualify) will receive:
  • First place wins a full tuition scholarship valued at $100,000 (1 winner)   

The top six individual presenters will receive: 

  • $10,000 scholarship award per individual (6 winners)  

The top three teams with the highest cumulative scores will receive: 

  • First place team wins $15,000 per team member
  • Second place team wins $10,000 per team member
  • Third place team wins $5,000 per team member

Additionally, the highest scored written submission will receive: 

  • $10,000 scholarship award (1 winner)

Problem Solving Challenge Weekend

Problem Solving Challenge will run from May 13-14. 

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 Question

Autonomous vehicles are no longer science fiction. Self-driving cars navigate roads in California, Florida, Nevada, and Michigan. Identify a market opportunity that arises due to the likely growing use of autonomous vehicles over the next 15 years. Should an existing firm take advantage of this opportunity, or does it require a new start-up firm? How big (scale and scope) is the opportunity? What are the core challenges faced by a firm in delivering the market opportunities identified?

Note: The following are suggested additional research resources:

Written Submission Instructions

Written submissions should be no longer than 1,000 words. The way you structure your written submission is completely up to you. We are more interested in the quality of your thinking and your approach to the problem than how well you conform to a standard format.

Submit your written submission here by no later than April 29 at 12pm NOON:


In order to be eligible to claim awards, individuals must be accepted to the 2016 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, only incremental funding amounts will be extended if the winning candidate already has a scholarship offer (i.e. If you previously received a $30,000 admissions award, Rotman would extend an additional $70,000 to your total tuition fee).

  • Candidates interested in participating who have not yet submitted applications to Rotman are required to receive an admission offer prior to registering for the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge. 
  • The written submission is optional to participate as part of a team, but required to qualify for the individual prizes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this event for prospective or incoming students?
The Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is for incoming admitted students to the Full-Time MBA program. It's 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, we encourage you to submit your application to Rotman before our Round 3 deadline on February 29, 2016 in order to receive an offer in time to register. The Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is the perfect way to get an in-depth feel for the Rotman community, facilities, and education style.

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 May 13th and 14th 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?

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.

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 awards and all team 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

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