MBA grad on pursuing her interests, landing her dream job
Carolina Cheung (MBA ’16) is a woman of many interests.
In addition to designing her own jewellery line, Cheung has developed an online presence as a fashion, beauty and lifestyle influencer and maintained a strong interest in marketing and business design.
“My way of approaching problems has definitely become more strategic. The Rotman MBA gives you the tools to analyze issues in a systematic way. It makes you stand out.”
-Carolina Cheung (MBA ’16), Presidential Management Associate, Estée Lauder Companies
Today, as an associate with Estée Lauder Companies’ presidential management associate program, Cheung has managed to put her varied skills and experience to good use. Through the company’s two-year rotational program, Cheung will work in various business areas of the organization — and potentially, in various global offices — with the aim of strengthening its branding and social media initiatives.
The role is a perfect fit for Cheung, who recognizes that the knowledge and connections she acquired at Rotman have contributed to her success today.
Coming to Rotman
While researching schools, Cheung was looking for an MBA program that would align with her broad range of interests.
“I was drawn to Rotman’s strong, all-around business program and focus on design thinking,” explains Cheung. “I knew the school could help me integrate my creativity with management best practices.”
In addition to providing Cheung with a strong foundation in accounting, finance and statistics, many of her classes at Rotman gave her access to people and opportunities that she would not have been exposed to, otherwise.
Notably, through her Design Tour class (which gives students the chance to tour different firms in New York and learn, first hand, how organizations are incorporating design concepts into their business strategies), Cheung got her first, in-depth look at Estée Lauder Companies’ operations.
“In hindsight, this course was one of the factors that helped me land my current role,” says Cheung, who knew, early on, that the presidential management associate role would be her target after she graduated.
“Going on the tour, being able to speak to the business innovation team at Estée Lauder and doing my final report on the company was the best interview preparation.”
Staying connected and networking has been another key contributor to Cheung’s success. While at Rotman, she surrounded herself with mentors and new connections who shared her interests in fashion, lifestyle and social media.
“I believe that if you build relationships and show people your skills, capabilities, passion and interests—opportunities will come up,” says Cheung.
In fact, Cheung’s interest and expertise in social media caught the attention of one of her connections, a marketing manager with Benefits Cosmetics. In the summer between her first year of the MBA program, Cheung completed an internship with the company, working on various social media initiatives.
Cheung also took advantage of the Rotman School’s network to help her with her post-graduation plans. When applying for Estée Lauder’s program, she reached out to Karthik Kolagani (MBA’15), a Rotman grad who had successfully applied for the program the year before.
“Speaking to Karthik and learning about the program through the Rotman network was so helpful in my interview preparation,” says Cheung “The other part was luck — I had the social media skills and relevant experience, through my summer internship, that they were looking for.”
Today, after a year with Estée Lauder Companies’ Toronto office, Cheung has worked on a social media strategy aimed at raising the company’s online presence in Canada. Next, she’ll be developing and supporting the marketing and social media campaign underlying a new store launch.
“My way of approaching problems has definitely become more strategic. The Rotman MBA gives you the tools to analyze issues in a systematic way. It makes you stand out,” explains Cheung.