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Diversity at Rotman

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A commitment to diversity is core to the Rotman experience. Owing to our impressive scale and downtown Toronto location, the School attracts people from a wide range of countries and backgrounds, and our shared aim is to provide a study and working environment that is safe, welcoming, open, inclusive and respectful to all.

Diversity is more than a buzzword at the Rotman School. It’s at the very heart of what makes this Canada’s leading business school. Rotman is located in downtown Toronto, recognized as the world’s most multicultural city by the United Nations (ahead of London and New York City), and is home to an astonishing array of festivals and annual events celebrating diversity in all its colours and varieties.

Taking advantage of its location in Canada’s financial and cultural capital, the School attracts a dazzling array of students, faculty and staff from nearly every country in the world. Half the Full-Time MBA class consists of international students, while 75 per cent of Rotman faculty come from outside Canada, to cite just two examples. Whatever program or event draws you to the Rotman School, you’ll find yourself surrounded by peers who challenge you to think in new ways about business, your career and your life.

"The Rotman School is a diverse and inclusive academic community... that treats all with respect and civility."

—Rotman values statement

A commitment to diversity is core to the Rotman experience. Through Rotman’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office (EDIO), a dedicated ED&I Director, our Community of Practice council, and ongoing events like Culture Eats and Rotman On Inclusion Week, we ensure an environment that is safe, welcoming and respectful to all. 

There is an increasing appreciation for the role of diversity in driving innovation in business and in society. Groups as diverse as the Maytree Foundation, McKinsey and the Financial Times have come out in favour of policies and initiatives that give everyone a chance to succeed, regardless of their differences. The Rotman School is fortunate to be part of the University of Toronto, known as one of Canada's best diversity employers.

At Rotman, much of the work of advocating for diversity is carried out by our students, through student clubs, including a range of cultural clubs, that promote business ties with the global community, and events like Diwali night and Culture Eats. Because it is largely shaped by the students themselves, life at Rotman reflects the incredible energy and variety of the ambitious young professionals who choose the School for their studies. 

The success of female professionals is a key priority of the School. Since 2008, the Initiative for Women in Business has been committed to supporting the female talent pipeline by offering programs for each stage of a woman’s career. The Women in Management Association encourages ties between current students and women in more senior positions in industry. Rotman is also honoured to be one of three school sponsors of the Forte Foundation, a global non-profit organization defined as a “consortium of major corporations and top business schools working together to launch women into significant, fulfilling careers.

One of the more dynamic student groups at the School is Rotman Pride, welcoming any member of the Rotman community who identifies at LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer) or as an ally who wants to join in the conversation. Rotman is the first Canadian business school to formally partner with the U.S.-based LGBT advocacy group Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA). As part of its commitment to the organization’s mandate, Rotman has created two new fellowships for standout LGBT spokespeople and potential leaders.

In a global marketplace, there's a need for managers who can shift easily between geographies and cultures, and identify opportunities wherever they emerge. Helping to bring the world into the classroom, Rotman boasts one of the most international student bodies and faculties of any leading business school.

That level of diversity pays dividends for our students. At Rotman, we believe that a rich and challenging array of viewpoints makes for a superior learning experience. You will be surrounded by peers who will challenge to think about life and business in new and innovative ways.

The academic programs offered by the Rotman School are designed to address the reality of doing business internationally, and the School’s location is a major asset. Toronto is the world’s most multicultural city, with over half the city’s population born outside of the country.

The same proportion – nearly 50 per cent – of the Full-Time MBA class comes from overseas, and an international orientation has been designed to introduce students to the culture and business practices of North America. On the flip side, cultural clubs and events like Culture Eats help to inform the Rotman community about the different practices and ways of doing business in some of the fastest growing economic regions in the world.

Diversity at Rotman: Global perspective. 15,000 plus Rotman School alumni in more than 70 countries. 27 participants in the current class of the Business Edge program are from 16 countries. 46 One-Year Executive and Global Executive MBA alumni work in 46 countries. 73 percent Rotman school international faculty from 27 countries (2015 Financial Times rankings). 55 percent international students in the full-time MBA Class of 2017 from 47 countries.

A range of initiatives allow our students to gain exposure to the global marketplace. Study tours, exchanges and international consulting projects are just some of the global opportunities available to students in the Full-Time, Morning and Evening MBA programs. Increasingly, our students are choosing to work overseas after graduation. Rotman gives its students to more top global firms than any other business school in Canada.

A handful of Rotman programs place the global experience at the core of their offering. The Global Executive MBA, known as “the world’s most international MBA,” allows senior managers to study in some of the world’s most exciting markets. The various offerings of Business Edge at the Intercultural Skills Lab are  some of the non-degree programs that provide managers educated outside of Canada with the tools they need to navigate cultural differences, communicate effectively and advance their careers.

Nearly three quarters of Rotman faculty come from outside of Canada, and much of their research is conducted with professors from other leading business schools, addressing issues such as the shifting balance of the global economy and the explosive growth of the developing world.

Former Dean Tiff Macklem, who once helped steer Canada through the economic crisis of 2008, made the goal of deepening the School’s global impact a cornerstone of his leadership strategy, a goal continued by current dean, Susan Christoffersen. Key to that effort is to leverage the remarkable diversity that can be found amongst the students, faculty and staff, and that is a defining strength of the Rotman community.

Find out more

Intercultural Skills Lab Global Executive MBA International Study Student Clubs 

Today, women make up nearly half the national workforce. They’re more educated, they are more likely to be working multiple jobs – and yet they are still earning less money than men.

In a Global Gender Gap study produced by the World Economic Forum, Canada sits 30th on the list, behind countries like Iceland, Norway, Nicaragua as well as Cuba and the UK. This gender inequity extends to every level of the business world, and it’s a problem that the Rotman School is investing significant resources to help address and resolve. For these reasons, Rotman established the Institute for Gender and the Economy to explore deeply the roots of structural inequality.

“As women leaders, we need to embrace connectivity, and remember: empathy is power.”

Ashley Venturo, Women’s Initiative participant

Over a decade ago, the Rotman School established the Judy Project to support and prepare women who are ascending into executive leadership and C-suite positions. Named in honour of the late Judy Elder, a Microsoft Canada executive, the Judy Project has evolved into a series of programs known collectively as the Initiative for Women in Business. Programs include a two-day leadership program for women, and Back to Work, for women who are returning to the labour market after an extended period of absence.

Diversity at Rotman: Women in business. 50% female senior staff at the Rotman School. 55% female board members at the Rotman School (2015 Financial Times rankings). The Initiative for Women in Business includes: 250 plus total participants in the Judy Project for female executives; and, 1,400 plus total participants to date.

On the degree programs side, the Women in Management Association (WIMA) is a student club that provides a network for women at Rotman to draw on for guidance, skill development and career growth. Rotman is also honoured to be a sponsor school of the Forté Foundation, a global non-profit organization that aims to launch women into significant, fulfilling careers. There are also a number of scholarships designed to help recruit and support promising female professionals.

Have a look at our Forte Fellows across the years:

After earning their degree, Rotman’s female graduates are encouraged to maintain and grow their network through events and speaker series, many of which feature Rotman faculty, and address the particular challenges faced by women in the workforce.

Find out more

Initiative for Women in Business   WIMA   Forté Foundation

Time are changing for professionals who identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay or trans. The questions is whether they are changing fast enough. As many as 50 to 80 per cent of LGBT individuals who are out at business school go back in the closet once they start working, either because they don’t feel comfortable or are worried their careers will be sidelined, especially if they hope to make it to the C-suite.

This is according to Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), a U.S.-based LGBT advocacy group that recently joined with Rotman to create two fellowships for standout LGBT spokespeople and potential leaders. Rotman is the first Canadian business school to formally partner with ROMBA to increase LGBT representation in MBA programs.

“It's our responsibility to help students understand and be comfortable with all the different forms of diversity.”

Sarah Kaplan, Professor of Strategic Management

The new fellowships are just one of the ways that Rotman is making it easier for members of the LGBT community to achieve their full professional potential. The Letters is on-campus club for Rotman’s LGBT students and their friends and allies. Founded in the spring, it boasts a membership of about 70 students, of which more than half are heterosexual.

The Letters receives strong support from faculty members like Sarah Kaplan and Geoffrey Leonardelli, and hosts speaking and networking events that draw from the wider business community.

Diversity at Rotman: True colours. 70 members in the Letters Student Club, both LGBTQ and their allies. Our student clubs include: 6 cultural and regional clubs; 10 social clubs; and, 20 industry clubs.

It’s not just the students themselves, or even the LGBT community, that stands to benefit from this effort, said Sarah Kaplan, a professor of strategic management at Rotman. Studies indicate that companies stand to reap benefits from encouraging diversity within their ranks – everything from greater innovation and creative thinking to increased profitability and stronger client relations.

While The Letters is a relatively new student group, a commitment to sexual diversity runs deep at the University of Toronto. If you notice a rainbow triangle sticker on a door or an office, you have the Positive Space campaign to thank, a now-global program that started at U of T. The university was also home to Toronto’s first gay pride marches, and the oldest gay student organization in Canada. The university runs a packed schedule of events for its queer students, many through its Sexual and Gender Diversity office. These are just a few of the resources and opportunities available to Rotman Students, with more to come.

Times are indeed changing for the better.

Find out more

The Letters at Rotman LGBTOUT The Positive Space Campaign

Sexual & Gender Diversity Office  

We all bring with us diverse perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles, cultures and levels of ability. At Rotman we believe that it is only by engaging the full range of people’s individual selves that we can succeed together as a community.

The power of diversity is unleashed when we respect, value and support differences. To that end, we focus on the needs of every individual to ensure the right conditions are in place for each person to achieve his or her full potential. 

“We embrace diversity by ensuring the inclusion of all.”

—Rotman values statement

Every year, Rotman welcomes students, staff and faculty who require accessibility accommodations. Working in partnership with the U of T accessibility services office, we seek to accommodate all those with temporary and permanent disabilities, including learning and physical disabilities, and health issues. If you have any special accommodation requests or just want to know more, view our accessibility statement or contact us through by email at We welcome your feedback at any time.

Launched in 2016, Access to Success is one of Rotman’s student-led initiatives in the diversity and inclusion space. Its mandate is to provide support and resources to Rotman students with visible or invisible disabilities. In its first year, Access to Success has launched a mentorship program, peer support program, and several other initiatives alongside a regular events schedule. To encourage an environment of active inclusion and spread awareness on accessibility, all students are welcome to join Access to Success without any membership fees.

When it comes to achieving your best, it helps to have a healthy support system in place. The Life Partners Club is for spouses and partners of MBA students, giving them a chance to connect with each other and to take an active part of the Rotman community. Rotman also partners with the Family Care office, run centrally through U of T, to offer a series of programs and workshops that support the needs of students with significant others and children.

Every Rotman program is designed to be demanding, even tough. There are times, however, when the pressure to achieve reaches peak levels, and an intervention in the form of a rebalancing is needed. A certified therapist holds regular hours at the school to provide counsel to Rotman students. And students are encouraged to seek the support of the Conflict Resolution Centre.  

When it comes to relaxing and unwinding, the School is equipped with as many common spaces as it is with study and classrooms. And because Rotman is part of the University of Toronto, which offers unmatched opportunities to rewind and refresh. Some of its attractions include first-class athletic facilities at the Goldring CentreHart House and the Athletic Centre. Membership is free for Rotman students, and all members of the Rotman community are encouraged to make a daily practice to balance mind, body and soul.


Find out more

Accessibility at Rotman Rotman Active Association Family Care Office

U of T Health and Wellness Centre - Accessibility Services 


A shared success

Being Out and a Leader at Work

The panel was hosted by Rotman professor Sarah Kaplan

Investing with a Gender Lens

Part of the Investing Experts Speaker Series at Rotman

Out at Work: D. Richardson and J. Tory

The deputy minister and assistant VP at Manulife discuss sexual diversity

Out at Work: Ed Clark

Ed Clark is former President and CEO, TD Bank Group

Out at Work - K. Fredeen and S. Tatla

Representatives of Deloitte and Manulife on sexual diversity

Video: Student Life, Transform Your Potential

Student life at Rotman is about having fun and accelerating your career.


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Welcoming LGBT students and allies

Anthony Harbour came to the Rotman School from Los Angeles

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Toronto - the World in One City

Toronto, the world's most diverse city, is a great place to gain an international perspective on business

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