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Rotman launches Business Readiness Certificate to help new grads succeed in the workforce

May 4, 2022

When Stephanie Hodnett completed her bachelor's degree in English literature, getting on the path to a meaningful career took years of trial and error.

She recalls being unsure of which direction to take, and even completed a master’s degree to help guide her next step. Learning best practices in the world of work — from how to negotiate job offers and promotions, to understanding how a company’s strategy and finances impact her daily work — also took years of experience to crystallize.

“I wished there was a shortcut where I could get a flavour for different paths to take after my undergraduate degree and learn how to be valuable in any workplace I join,” says Hodnett, the executive director for executive programs at the Rotman School of Management.

Now, new graduates from across the University of Toronto and beyond can take part in a certificate program to accelerate their success and expand their career options.

The Rotman Business Readiness Certificate, which launched in Spring 2022, is designed for recent graduates and early-career professionals with a non-business background.

The certificate is earned by completing three six-week courses offered by Rotman Executive Programs. In the hybrid path, participants will complete the courses MBA Essentials (online), Financial Acumen (online) and Negotiations (in-person), which is a course best delivered live.

In the fully virtual path, learners will choose an online elective in place of Negotiations. Available electives include Cybersecurity, Digital Transformation, Women in Leadership, Business Analytics, Business Design Thinking, Digital Marketing and more.

OSAP Funding for Rotman ELP

Stephanie Hodnett,
Executive Director of Executive Programs at Rotman

Each course comes with a certificate of completion at the end, and once all three courses are completed, participants will receive their Business Readiness Certificate.

“It’s a great opportunity for new graduates to gain tangible proof of their understanding of the latest business insights, all while demonstrating a commitment to continued learning,” says Hodnett.

A competitive advantage

The cornerstone of the Rotman Business Readiness Certificate is an executive program called MBA Essentials.

Designed to be a bridge to business, participants learn the tools to analyze macroeconomic trends, evaluate financial performance and investment opportunities, drive organizational change, use marketing strategies for growth and develop a diversity and inclusion action plan.

“Understanding essential business principles will give participants a competitive advantage in a constantly changing workforce,” says Hodnett.

“Entering the job market, you might have great critical thinking and analytical skills, but you may lack knowledge on the practical concerns of a business environment. This is a way to get up to speed on that in six weeks.”

Modules are taught by Rotman faculty members Walid Hejazi, associate professor of economic analysis and policy; Scott Liao, professor of accounting; Simon Ashbourne, founder and partner at The Marketplace Capabilities Group and Sonia Kang, Canada Research Chair in Identity, Diversity and Inclusion and an associate professor of organizational behaviour and human resource management.

Since the online version of MBA Essentials launched in September 2021, more than 580 participants from around the world have completed the course to diversify their skillset.

Negotiations, which is offered in-person as part of the hybrid path to the Business Readiness Certificate, is also one of Rotman’s most popular executive programs.

“This course can be extremely helpful as you start out in your career,” says Hodnett.

“You learn how to ask good questions, advocate for yourself and understand the opposite person’s point of view — that can be your manager, your client or a vendor, for example."

OSAP funding for micro-credentials

The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) now offers funding for micro-credentials, including dozens of Rotman Executive Programs.

Recent graduates pursuing their Business Readiness Certificate may be eligible for up to $5,000 in financial support for each course, depending on their income.

Visit the Rotman Business Readiness Certificate website for answers to frequently asked questions about the program or contact