Rotman Problem Solving Challenge

The Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is an exclusive opportunity to experience Rotman's approach to problem solving through a live decision-making challenge.

Meet our world-class faculty, who will guide you throughout the course of the competition for a chance to win over $300,000 in scholarship awards.

Note: If you are not able to attend the challenge in person, there is no need to RSVP. The link to submit your written component can be found below under 'Challenge'.

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Designed for incoming Full-Time MBA candidates, the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is a unique opportunity for future Rotman MBA students to dive deep into a messy, unstructured problem using our model-based approach to problem solving.

Competing participants will be asked to frame, analyze, and present their recommended solutions at the Rotman School on May 12th and 13th.

As a future MBA student, the Challenge will give you an opportunity to:

  • Experience Rotman’s approach to developing high value decision makers
  • Build your pre-MBA skillset in problem solving, communications and presentations
  • Connect with other prospective MBA students
  • Compete to win a number of scholarship awards

You can also optionally choose to explore Toronto with recent alumni and your future classmates after the competition on Sunday, May 14.

Daphne Hemily,
MBA Candidate 2018, RPSC Top Individual Winner

Realizing that it’s all about problem solving and bringing ideas together to make a recommendation has shaped how I've approached the program.

I never thought I’d be solving a problem on a subject I hadn’t thought about before. It opened up consulting for me at McKinsey. The highlight was definitely our team’s energy. We hadn’t met each other before and came from such different perspectives. We bonded and gave each other high fives when we moved on to the final round.

Massimo Bozzo,
MBA Candidate 2017

RSPC provided me with a great opportunity to familiarize myself with Rotman.

The weekend gave me a taste of the type of work I was to expect during my MBA, while challenging me to think with an innovative mindset which is typical of case competitions and class assignments. As well, the Challenge was my first interaction with my future classmates in a professional setting and was a great way to meet new people.


Gendered effects of the "gig economy"

Round One: Written submission

Using data from the 2016 Global Independent Work Survey, McKinsey says the independent workforce is projected to grow from 68 million to 129 million in the US alone. And a study by Randstad US, an HR service and staffing firm, finds that 70% of workers and 68% of employers believe that a majority of the workforce will be employed in an agile capacity by 2025. Within this so-called ‘gig economy’ women are on track to be the majority of the workers. According to a recent study from Harvard University, "[from] 2005 to 2015, the percentage of women who were employed in an alternative work arrangement more than doubled, rising from 8.3 percent to 17.0 percent… women are now more likely than men to be employed in an alternative work arrangement."

The ‘gig economy’ can empower many men and women to continue accumulating wealth while achieving work/life balance, but will it have unintended economic consequences? Will these unintended consequences create new gender-based challenges and/or opportunities in the economy?

Your written submissions should be no longer than 1,000 words. The way you structure your written submission is completely up to you. We are more interested in the quality of your thinking and your approach to the problem than how well you conform to a standard format.

The written submission is optional to participate as part of a team, but required to qualify for the individual awards, including the ≈$100,000 grand prize scholarship award.

Please submit your written component as a Word or PDF document no later than Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 12pm noon Eastern Time.

Round Two: Team Presentations

What services or products can be created to provide some job-security and enable career development & longevity for gig economy workers?

All admitted students to the 2017 intake of the Rotman Full-Time MBA Program are eligible for the team presentations round of the Problem Solving Challenge Weekend.

The team presentation challenge will be announced the morning of Friday, May 12th at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto.

Remember, you must be physically present at Problem Solving Challenge Weekend on May 12-13, 2017 in order to take part in this round.

If you currently live outside of Canada, please ensure that you meet the visa requirements to enter the country. If as part of your visa requirements, you require an invitation letter from Rotman, please email us at and we can provide an invitation letter for you.


The top individual with the highest cumulative score wins a full tuition scholarship valued at ≈$100,000. In total, over $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded to the winning participants.

Individual Awards

  • First place overall wins a full tuition scholarship valued at ≈$100,000 (1 winner)
  • Highest scored written submission wins $10,000 (1 winner)
  • Top six individual presenters wins $10,000 (6 winners)

Group Awards

The top three teams with the highest cumulative scores will receive:

  • First place team wins $15,000 per team member
  • Second place team wins $10,000 per team member
  • Third place team wins $5,000 per team member


In order to be eligible to claim awards, individuals must be admitted to the Rotman Full-Time MBA Class of 2019. All scholarship award amounts will be deducted from tuition invoices upon commencement of the Program. For the top individual overall award, only incremental funding amounts will be extended if the winning candidate already has a scholarship offer (i.e. If you previously received a $30,000 admissions award, Rotman would extend an additional $70,000 to your total tuition fee).

Candidates interested in participating who have not yet submitted applications to Rotman are required to receive an admission offer prior to registering for the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge.

The written submission is optional to participate as part of a team, but required to qualify for the individual awards, including the ≈$100,000 grand prize scholarship award.


Problem Solving Challenge Weekend

Problem Solving Challenge will run from May 12-13, 2017 at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto.

Since this is a pre-MBA event, it will include resources designed to ensure incoming students from all academic and professional backgrounds have the support needed to tackle the Challenge.

Resources will include:

  • Industry background information pertaining to the Challenge question you will be asked to solve
  • An in-depth briefing as part of the Challenge weekend kick-off
  • Guided sessions in small groups to help you formulate your solution to the Challenge question
  • Team coaching sessions with student mentors
  • Constructive feedback on your submission by the judging panel
  • Debrief with Rotman faculty

Optionally, on Sunday, May 14, you are invited to join recent alumni and your fellow future classmates in exploring Toronto over brunch and activities downtown.


DAY ONEFriday, May 12, 2017

8:45amArrival and registration
9:15am – 10:30amWelcome Breakfast and Kickoff Presentation
Faculty members will welcome you to Rotman and introduce the team presentation component of the competition.
10:30am – 5:00pm Team presentation preparation
Work with your team on a presentation that advances the problem solving process.
12:00pm – 1:00pm Prep session with student coach
30 minutes per team. A student coach will visit your study room.
1:00pm – 2:00pm Prep session with student coach
Grab ‘n’ go lunch available for pick-up. Make sure to visit the registration table to sign up for Sunday’s social events
5:00pm Submit team presentation
Upload your presentation to the USB key provided and drop it off NO LATER than 5:00 PM
5:00pm – 6:30pm Networking reception
Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with fellow competitors, students, faculty and staff

DAY TWOSaturday, May 13, 2017

8:00am – 9:00amBreakfast
Reconnect with your team for breakfast and an overview of the day
9:00am – 12:00pmTeam presentations
Teams will present to a panel of industry representatives.
20 min. + 10 min for Q&A.

When you're not presenting, you can:

  • Take a tour of the Rotman facilities, hosted by current students
  • Have a Coffee Chat with the Managing Director of the Full- Time MBA Program, Niki Da Silva
  • Visit the Rotman Career Centre for presentations on careers in Finance, Consulting, Marketing, or general career coaching
12:15pm – 1:15pm Buffet lunch
The final teams will be announced over lunch.
1:15pm – 1:45pm Q&A with current students about the Rotman Experience
2:00pm – 4:00pm Final presentations
All participants are invited to watch the final presentations
4:00pm – 6:00pm Awards ceremony and cocktail reception
Time to relax after all your hard work! Prize winners will be announced during the reception
8:00pm onwards A night out on the town!
Get to know some of our current MBA students in an informal setting. Relax and enjoy Toronto's vibrant nightlife.

DAY THREESunday, May 14, 2017

We have organized several social events off campus exclusively for your cohort (no Rotman staff allowed!). This is a great opportunity to relax, unwind and learn more about Toronto outside of Rotman.

11:00am Sunday brunch
Join Rotman alumni for brunch in Toronto’s Financial District.
12:30pm Toronto City Tour
Hop aboard a double decker bus for a tour of the city


Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
105 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, CANADA

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Have a question that's not answered here? Ask us:

Is this event for prospective or incoming students?
The Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is for incoming students to the Full-Time MBA program. It's a great way to meet your future classmates and professors while getting an early start on building your MBA-level skill set. The Rotman Problem Solving Challenge is the perfect way to get an in-depth feel for the Rotman community, facilities, and education style.

Do I need to register for the event if I am not attending in person, and only competing in round 1, the written submission?
No, please do not register for the event if you will not be attending in person. Please use the submission link above to submit your written application.

If I don't attend the Problem Solving Challenge Weekend, can I still qualify for a scholarship award?
If you submit a written response but do not attend the Challenge Weekend, you are only eligible to qualify for the best written submission award of $10,000.

For my written submission, will graphs, charts, and footnotes count towards the word count?
Your word count will not be impacted should you elect to use graphs, charts, and footnotes, however, over-using them can cause your essay to become less impactful and harder to read.

Do I have to travel to Toronto in order to compete?
Yes. You must be physically present at Rotman Problem Solving Challenge on May 12th and 14th in order to take part in the final competition.

Since the live presentation component is a key part of the evaluation process, we are unable to consider you for an award if you cannot give your presentation in person.

When you start planning your journey, please remember to ensure that you meet the visa requirements to enter Canada.

Can Rotman reimburse me for my travel expenses?
Participants are responsible for the full cost of travelling to and from Toronto as well as accommodation and any other expenses incurred while staying in the city.

I require an invitation letter in order to obtain a visa to visit Rotman. Will this be provided?
Yes, send an email to as soon as you have confirmed that you will be coming to Rotman, along with the requirements for the letter, and we will prepare it for you.

Should I register if I have already received an admissions offer with a scholarship?
Definitely. All RPSC awards are incremental in value, meaning that the prizes awarded over the course of the event will be added to your existing entrance awards if you have them (up to, but not exceeding the full cost of tuition). For example, if you had received a $10,000 entrance award with your offer of admission and won a $15,000 price at RPSC, you would be awarded the combination of the two.

Regardless of your current scholarship, you would also still be eligible for the full amount for both the top individual awards and all the team awards, in addition to your existing funding. But more than anything else, this is a fantastic opportunity to experience Rotman before the program begins, interact with faculty, staff, and most importantly, future classmates!

Is there a specific dress code for the competition?
The first day of the competition will be mostly group work. Please dress comfortably, keeping in mind that there is a networking reception that evening. The second day of the competition you will be presenting your work. The dress code is business formal.