How does it feel to be valedictorian?
I feel very honoured and humbled to be the valedictorian of the Rotman FT MBA class of 2023. When I think about our cohort and my experience, it feels like I existed in an ideal microcosm of our world – one that is inclusive, accommodating, and fosters the true spirit of camaraderie. The diverse nationalities and multicultural ethnicities represented in the cohort makes me feel like I have traveled far and wide in 2 years without visas and border checks.
To have been chosen to represent the class at the closing of this eventful and impactful journey is indeed a high honor that I would never forget in my life.
Why do you think your classmates chose you for this honor?
The news that I was chosen to be class valedictorian elicited a lot of warm responses from my classmates. Their endearing words show how my classmates see the best in others; I have seen how classmates became close friends, family, and mentors even with the short 2 years we have spent together.
For many of my classmates, choosing me as valedictorian means that I represent the Rotman MBA spirit – courage, perseverance, and service. These attributes are not unique to me because when I think of the people I have met in this program, I see the same strengths in them.
Indeed, there is no greater honor than knowing that I made an impact on the lives of others and that my life was likewise impacted throughout this journey.
How has the program changed you?
I have always believed that one must live life intentionally if one must achieve success. Now my understanding of being intentional has changed; living intentionally means giving of myself to people and things that are important to my values. More importantly, impacting the life of others and not just myself or my goals.
The community at Rotman and the support I observed my classmates provide each other has shown me that the key to living an intentional, successful, and happy life is in the impact you make on others.
In our class group chats, I never saw someone ask for help on any matter and not have many classmates raise up their hands to help. Indeed, the entire experience has set a foundation for the type of leader I want to become.
Describe a highlight of the program.
Seeing the faces of my classmates in-person and without masks for the first time! As a class which navigated the COVID-19 pandemic masking and distancing restrictions for in-person learning, it was a joy to see faces whose voices I had listened to for months. I felt like I could finally connect with my classmates without the barrier of masks or virtual settings.
What makes my classmates / graduating year special?
The Rotman FT MBA class of 2023 represents the most courageous and relentless group I know. Navigating the MBA experience amid many changes tells me that my classmates are future leaders who can be relied upon to tackle tough business challenges.
From joining virtual classes within and outside Canada due to travel restrictions, to transitioning from virtual to in-person learning while learning how to network with strangers, I can say my classmates are a tough bunch.
To expect a certain MBA experience, only to have a different yet fulfilling experience, in one of the most challenging times in history: this is the new face of courage.
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