Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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How the Executive MBA helped this grad tell his story better

October 22, 2019

Photo of Elango NatarajanFor Elango Natarajan (EMBA ’18), the hardest part of the Executive MBA program was mastering the art of speaking slowly.

“It sounds like a simple thing, but it felt impossible,” he says. “It’s my nature to discuss ideas as they come to me.”

The catch is that Natarajan thinks exceptionally fast on his feet. Trained as an engineer and having spent years as a senior consultant leading complex digital projects, Natarajan excels at processing technical information and developing well thought-out solutions rapidly. It didn’t occur to him that others might not be able keep up with him.

“There was a turning point in my MBA program where I realized that if I’m taking the time to analyze things so thoroughly, I needed to take the time to help people understand what I was doing. It starts with slowing down and communicating clearly.”

In this way, the One-Year Executive MBA program at Rotman helped him tell his story better. By mastering communication techniques, as well as developing a new, structured way of thinking and building a network, he was able to land his dream job as a senior consultant in digital integration at Deloitte.

Elevating his game

When Natarajan arrived at the Rotman School, he had already built a strong career in consulting, having worked across Asia and North America on technical consulting projects in progressively senior roles.

Part of his job was keeping an eye on emerging technologies, and he started to recognize a pattern.

“The success of a new technology isn’t necessarily based on the strength of the idea. Those who brought their ideas to market often had someone on the team with a business school education,” he says.

“The Executive MBA program was about elevating my game.”

He entered the Rotman program determined to advance in his career. Among his major goals, he hoped to land a consulting role with a leading firm.

“Right away, I had an endgame in mind, and my months at Rotman were devoted to picking up the right pieces, or building blocks, so that I could get there.”


“The Executive MBA program was about elevating my game.”

—Elango Natarajan, EMBA ’18


One important building block was developing a structured way of thinking through problems. Through his MBA courses and as a CDL student during the tail end of his program, he gained invaluable hands-on experience tackling messy business problems.

“Eventually, I started to see how different business areas came together, from figuring out if I was focusing on the right priorities to determining the right market to target,” he says.

He also credits his classmates and the network he developed at Rotman as an important element of his success. On numerous occasions, classmates offered their expertise and connections.

“We weren’t just classmates, we were friends,” he explains “The most common questions I was asked were ‘what do you need?’ and ‘how can we help you?’”

Telling his story better

Most importantly, he devoted a lot of time to refining his communications skills so that he was better able to convey important messages. He studied the ways his classmates — who are executives and senior managers at top companies — explained complex ideas and delivered difficult news.

With help from his career coach, Rocca Morra Hodge, he completely retooled his presenting style. Together, they went through common interview questions. As well, he rehearsed potential presentations he might have to deliver at interviews. At every stage, Hodge gave him honest feedback on his performance: she pushed him to slow down when speaking and to emphasize key points.

“It was a lot of work. I was taking notes at every meeting and working on these suggestions on my own time. Then, I would return for more feedback,” he explains. “I realized that if I wanted to make a drastic change in my life — to get my dream job — I needed to take drastically different measures.”

What will you achieve in one year with the Rotman Executive MBA?


The efforts would soon pay off. A contact in his network eventually set up an initial meeting for him at Deloitte, which led to several rounds of interviews. At each step, he demonstrated his knowledge and his knack for attacking problems by explaining his approach and thinking.

Soon after meeting with a partner at the organization, he was accepted a job offer for a senior consultant position.

Today, he’s working across different sectors and industries, advising organizations on how to incorporate new technologies into their practice. This work often puts him on the road and immersed in complex situations, where he thrives.

It’s fitting that Natarajan’s story — which he got remarkably better at telling — has a happy ending.


Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »


About
Elango Natarajan

Class year

 

Executive MBA ’18


Industry

Consulting


Current position

Senior Consultant, Digital Integration
Deloitte
Toronto, ON


Previous employment

Various roles (including Senior Consultant and Consultant)
Capgemini
North America, Asia


Previous education

Bachelor of Technology, Industrial Bio Technology
Anna University
Tamil Nadu, India


One-Year
Executive
MBA
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