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How does Rotman prepare MBA grads to become global and inclusive leaders?

May 30, 2023

Professor Beatrix Dart is a strong believer that the Rotman MBA experience goes beyond simply gaining job-ready skills through classes and internships — it’s prime time for students to gain global perspectives to work with diverse teams with an inclusive approach.

Professor Beatrix Dart

Professor Beatrix Dart

“We’re privileged in Toronto to have such a wonderful and diverse community,” says Dart, academic director of experiential and global learning at the Rotman School of Management. “Living and working in such a diverse population, being able to showcase your leadership skills globally is a true advantage.”

From international exchanges and global consulting projects to programs specifically catered to global leadership, there’s certainly no shortage of opportunities for MBA students to engage with the business world beyond Toronto.

Here are some noteworthy ways students can gain a global experience during their Rotman MBA.


For starters, students in the Full-Time MBA program have long had the option to go on an International Exchange Program. Rotman partners with 28 schools across seven continents, including the University of Cape Town, Seoul National University, Melbourne Business School, New York University, Copenhagen Business School and more.

In 2022, Rotman joined the Partnership in International Management (PIM) Network, a global community of highly ranked business schools where only several schools in a country are selected.

“Being part of the PIM network makes it even easier to create more international exchange opportunities in years to come,” says Dart.

Not interested in spending an entire semester abroad? Through select courses, some students travel to cities around the world for an intensive learning experience lasting one to two weeks. In January, students in the Global Practicum: Entrepreneurship & Innovation led by instructor Hussam Ayyad and course coodinator Freeda Khan went to Silicon Valley to delve into the world of startups, visiting several company headquarters and connecting with early-stage investors and Rotman alumni. That same month, students went to Singapore to experience real-world innovations in business design, led by assistant professor Angèle Beausoleil. And in May, Dart took a group of Rotman students to ESADE Business School in Barcelona to dig deeper into social impact investing.

“The greatest gift we can give to our students is the ability to be a truly inclusive leader down the road — to make a social impact globally through their work.”

—Beatrix Dart, Academic Director, Experiential and Global Learning

“The experiences from each of these trips directly matches with that they learn in class,” says Dart. “It’s a way Rotman connects course work with experiential learning outside of the classroom — and country.” Another program that embodies “learning by doing” is the Global Manager Initiative led by professors Bernardo Blum and Walid Hejazi. First, students take International Business in the World Economy as a foundation course before delving into an independent study project and receiving on-the-ground training at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. As part of their projects, students have the opportunity to shadow senior executives on trade missions in different parts of the world.

There are also newer courses at Rotman which tackle global issues head on. Take Management Consulting in an Uncertain World, led by Rotman alumna Jennifer Lee (Executive MBA ’06), currently a managing partner at Deloitte focusing on global consumer and retail clients. In this course, global chief economists from Deloitte directly coach students working on projects with real-world consumer organizations — as if they were on the job at a global consulting firm.

And one can’t talk about global leadership at Rotman without mentioning the school’s two specialized MBA programs specifically designed to give leaders a global advantage. Across the Rotman-SDA Bocconi Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) and Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences (GEMBA-HLS) programs, learners travel to Toronto, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Milan and beyond to gain international insights. These programs are designed to build practical and leadership skills to do business across continents.

MBA students can also get involved with the Creative Destruction Lab, which was founded at the Rotman School in 2012 and has since expanded to 19 streams in 12 locations across the globe. Through the CDL Introductory course, students learn a framework for developing an entrepreneurial strategy. In addition, as part of the CDL Advanced course, students gain hands-on entrepreneurial experience developing financial models, evaluating potential markets and fine-tuning strategies for scaling. Every year, CDL Advanced students from across the Rotman School work closely with early-stage tech startups accepted into the CDL program.

“I think the greatest gift we can give to our students is the ability to be a truly inclusive leader down the road — to make a social impact globally through their work,” says Dart.

Written by Jessie Park

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