A lot can change in a year — that’s the unanimous message from recent graduates of the One-Year Executive MBA program at the Rotman School.
After completing the fast-tracked MBA program tailored to senior and executive professionals, Sushma Narisetty, Christophe Bernard and Scarlett Zhang say the experience gave them new leadership tools and insights to deepen their impact at work.
In the third story of this three-part series, Scarlett Zhang shares how she made a career switch from banking to the world of startups through the Creative Destruction Lab.
Read Sushma Narisetty and Christophe Bernard’s stories next.
Scarlett Zhang (Executive MBA ’21), Director, Legal and Governance, Redeemeum
With her background in accounting, Scarlett Zhang spent 12 years working in audit and risk management — first in consulting, then in financial services. In her previous role at TD, Zhang was a senior manager leading a team of risk specialists that oversee various compliance programs.
And while she thrived in her roles at the bank, there was something else tugging at her interest: the world of technology.
“I wanted to step outside of my current path — my comfort zone — and have a taste of something different,” says Zhang, who was recognized as one of Poets & Quant’s Best & Brightest Executive MBAs of 2021. “I also wanted to feel more empowered to take that next step in my career as a leader at the executive level.”
That’s what led her to pursue the Executive MBA program at the Rotman School in 2019. “What really attracted me was the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) program, and the opportunity to work with co-founders in technology as an EMBA student,” she says.
Every year, students from across the Rotman School work closely with early-stage tech startups accepted into the CDL program. Through the CDL Introductory and Advanced courses, students gain hands-on entrepreneurial experience developing financial models, evaluating potential markets and fine-tuning strategies for scaling.
The range of skills I learned during the program have all helped me to transition to a startup environment — strategy, marketing, international business, leadership, finance — and how to see everything an entrepreneurial mindset, looking at the big picture.”
—Scarlett Zhang, Executive MBA ’21
Zhang worked closely with Boson Protocol, a Singapore-based startup that enables the tokenization, transfer and trade of any physical thing as a non-fungible token (NFT). They raised $25.8M in April 2021 during the time Zhang worked with them in the CDL course.
Shortly after, she was offered a role at Redeemeum Labs, the development company building Boson Protocol, as their head of risk and compliance. In April 2022, she was promoted to director, legal and governance, working closely with the company’s legal advisors around the globe.
“The best part is that I’m constantly being challenged in an area I’m really interested in,” says Zhang. Although she didn’t consider herself an expert in blockchain, she says her experience at Rotman and CDL gave her the confidence to approach new problems and environments.
“The range of skills I learned during the program have all helped me to transition to a startup environment — strategy, marketing, international business, leadership, finance — and how to see everything with an entrepreneurial mindset, looking at the big picture.”
Her advice for incoming learners?
“Be clear on the intention behind going into the EMBA program, and really leverage the resources in class and the Rotman network to achieve those goals,” Zhang says.
Written by Jessie Park | More Student Stories »