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Christina Linda Chan

Valedictorian, Morning MBA '23
“One of the most important lessons at Rotman is the power of relationships.”

How does it feel to be valedictorian?

I feel a sense of accomplishment. For me, the purpose of an MBA education is to strengthen attributes associated with leadership. Public speaking is one of the most important skills of a leader. If you met me in 2019, you’d know that I’m typically the silent one in group presentations. Now, I have the opportunity to deliver a speech to the graduating class. Dream big and you’ll get there.HTML

Why do you think your classmates chose you for this honour?

I think it’s because I invested the time to get to know as many people as possible. One of the most important lessons at Rotman is the power of relationships. Being in the right environment exposed me to like-minded people with the same ambitious drive.

To establish relationships in a short amount of time – I opted to graduate 8 months early, I participated in as many events and case competitions as possible. I’ve become infamous for being everywhere all the time to the point where my classmates often ask me, “When do you sleep?” and I reply with “After I graduate.”

How has the program changed you?

In so many ways. One thing that I noted from the start is Rotman’s slogan, “Here’s where it changes.” I’m not quite sure what the “it” is, but something has definitely changed. Somehow, I took the plunge during the pandemic to do the MEMBA and emerged on the other side as a different person.

Before Rotman, I was an architect. Now, I’m the owner of a music rehearsal space with Juno award-winning clients. Before Rotman, I was very shy and quiet. Most people wouldn’t have known the sound of my voice. Now, I seek out opportunities for public speaking.

Describe a highlight of the program.

For me, there are two main highlights to the program: case competitions and experiential learning electives. Case competitions were a great way to meet people with the same interests but who are not necessarily in your cohort. My first case competition on Innovation Banking was with a team comprised of full-time MBAs and students from the MFin and MFRM programs. The intensity of case competitions allows you to immerse yourself in a subject to figure out if this could be a potential career path. Also, the pace was reminiscent of how architects work, which was right up my alley.

The Global Practicum in Barcelona was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The class spent a weekend in Toronto learning about the social impact investing in Canada. Then, we explored Barcelona and learned from professors and mentors at Esade Business School about Spain.

My team produced a final presentation complete with a movie clip, comparing the social impact scene in the two countries. Filming at Esade was a lot of fun!

What makes my classmates / graduating year special?

What makes this graduating class special is the willingness to take risks. Starting the MBA during the global pandemic definitely takes some strength in character. And now, graduating when the economy is not in the best shape will be another test for my classmates.

I hope that the confidence and relationships that we have built at Rotman will guide us through this transition over rough waters into a future of smooth sailing.

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