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These MBA ‘21 grads share how they transformed their careers by moving into new fields

November 26, 2021

Nikki Wang (MBA ‘21) was ready for a career switch when she began her Full-Time MBA at the Rotman School in 2019.

After two years working as a transportation engineer in Washington state, she felt a drive to expand her business skills and prepare for more career opportunities.


 Nikki Wang (MBA ‘21) 

“I didn’t have a clear picture of what I wanted to do,” says Wang, reflecting on her early days at Rotman. “I just knew I wanted to do something different and challenge myself with opportunities to grow my skills.”

Her strategy was to explore her interests freely — including healthcare, banking, retail and technology — and work with her career coach at Rotman to plan her next move.

“I knew I had the analytical and technical acumen, but how could I combine them with my new business skills to find the right role for me? That’s what my career coach helped me with the most — identifying my transferrable skills to maximize the value of my experience,” says Wang.

Today, Wang is a product owner at Scotiabank’s payments modernization program — a return offer from an internship during her first year at Rotman.

She now oversees a team of business analysts who are advancing the efficiency and security of payment systems, like real-time payments at a store terminal and wire transfers.

“The role stands between business and technology, which is exactly where I wanted to land," she says.

An unexpected gift from her MBA, she adds, has been the opportunity to learn the art of negotiating.

“I’m so glad I took two courses on negotiations. I didn’t know just how much negotiating I would be doing every day in my new role, so that’s something in my toolbox that’s extremely useful at work.”

A passion for healthcare

For Julian Torres Cabra (MBA ‘21), Rotman helped him to discover his place in the world of healthcare.

In Torres Cabra’s previous roles in engineering operations, he enjoyed working on process improvement initiatives to help those around him make a stronger impact in their roles.

At the same time, he volunteered for years at SickKids Hospital and Camp Oochigeas, a Muskoka-based summer camp for children undergoing cancer treatment.

“Being part of somebody’s healthcare journey and improving their outcomes was what really energized me,” says Torres Cabra, who also gained insight into the healthcare sector through his partner, a resident physician.


Julian Torres Cabra (MBA ‘21)

“I wanted to feel that there was purpose in my career — to have a positive impact on those around me, even more so than at my previous job.”

That's why in 2019, Torres Cabra decided to pursue an MBA to blend his skills with his passion for healthcare.

He was quick to get involved at Rotman, connecting with leaders at the Sandra Rotman Centre for Health Sector Strategy, pursuing leadership positions with the Healthcare Management Association and taking courses through the Health Sector Management major.

“We’re at the centre of Canadian healthcare in Toronto, and Rotman is in the middle of it. Being able to leverage its location, alumni network and the faculty who are involved in research, development and innovation in healthcare — it’s a huge strength,” he says.

Torres Cabra completed an internship during his MBA at NeXus Consulting Group, an in-house consulting firm at Rotman that focuses on not-for-profit organizations. A helpful connection during his Health Systems Consulting course led to a four-month contract at Michael Garron Hospital during his final year, where he was a project manager for the implementation of the hospital’s new e-referral platform.

During his final semester, Torres Cabra’s career coach flagged to him a managerial role with Thrive Health, a Vancouver-based digital health startup specializing in COVID-19 solutions for organizations and schools. He landed the job.

“It’s been exciting and dynamic, something that I very much look for in any role that I have,” says Torres Cabra, who is now completing his term at Thrive Health to gear up for his next adventure.

In December, Torres Cabra will join Deloitte as a management consultant focusing on healthcare — his dream job at this point in his career.

“The network available for students interested in healthcare is amazingly supportive and large,” he says.

A robust career services team

Wang and Cabra are part of a record-breaking MBA class. 

Of 295 MBA ‘21 graduates, 96 per cent have landed a full-time position within three months of graduating, according to Maria Jimena Rivera, managing director of the Full-Time MBA program.

“We’re strategically set up for our students to succeed. We approach them with their unique career stages and goals at the centre — and the marketplace is ready for them,” Rivera says, noting that Rotman has recently centralized its Career Services model to best support students and employers from all nine graduate programs.

The School is also receiving unprecedented interest in MBA graduates from employers in Toronto and beyond, and Career Services is constantly evolving to get ahead of new trends.

“The MBA job market is booming and we are seeing tremendous growth in emerging markets,” says Lyla Korhani, director of Career Services.

“There's also more opportunity for global reach with virtual work here to stay — eliminating borders and creating limitless opportunities for global talent.”

To meet this need, Career Services hired a new team member this year to source opportunities for students, specifically in New York.

In 2022, the team will expand their global team to focus on the West Coast (San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Vancouver), with plans to move into Asia and Europe in the coming years.

“This is probably the best time to do an MBA,” says Korhani. “COVID created a lot of disruption, and many organizations have the opportunity to rebuild their business model, which means they need strong and strategic leaders who are innovative and can think outside the box.”

“Rotman graduates are ready for the challenge.”

Written by Jessie Park | More Student Stories »

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