Edward Ricardo Braithwaite wrote him, Sidney Poitier played him, Lulu sang him… But are inspirational teachers like Mark Thackeray just confined to our books, our screens, and our stereos? I’m very fortunate to say that I’ve come across some inspiring teachers and mentors, each one of them playing a role in spurring me on to greater heights. Some of them appeared in the classroom, some in the boardroom, and some of them offered silent wisdom as they went along their way. For me, most of them appeared in the hallways and classrooms of the Rotman School of Management, each one of them inspiring me to do better than I thought I could do, and one day hopefully, emulate their insight, foresight and wisdom. But I wouldn’t have found myself at Rotman, learning from these amazing professors, had it not been for one particularly inspirational professor, Roger Martin.
A few years ago, while searching for the future home of my MBA, I perused catalogs, websites, emails, blogs and videos, trying to find something that clicked with me, something that I could identify with, something that would spark my curiosity, and fuel my fire for learning and knowledge. While Rotman was always in my top choices, it wasn’t until I saw a video of Dean Roger Martin at the Business Innovation Factory (BIF-5) Collaborative Innovation Summit in 2009, that Rotman became the only choice for me. Professor Martin spoke of Rotman redefining business education from “narrow, shallow and static” to “broad, deep and dynamic,” and producing business professionals capable of handling today’s business problems, but also proactively tackling the wicked problems of tomorrow. After watching that video, Rotman became my only choice, and suffice to say, I was deliriously happy when they sent me their acceptance letter about two and a half years ago.
Over the past two years at Rotman, I have not only acquired a strong foundation in business knowledge, but I have also been very fortunate to learn from some truly stellar professors, many of whom became mentors, as I navigated my way through this roller-coaster, each one of them providing unique insight that helped me along my way. But I do owe Professor Martin a special nod of thanks. Thanks to him, I found myself at Canada’s top business school; I understand the incredible value of Integrative Thinking; I discovered my passion and delight for Business Design; I find myself applying Human-Centered Design Thinking principles everywhere I go; I am yearning to tie up Strategy and Innovation in the challenges ahead; I am inspired by the academic pursuit of excellence; and I can’t wait to pay it back to my school.
After 15 impressive years as Dean of the Rotman School of Management, Roger Martin stepped down as Dean this summer, and took a leadership position at the Martin Prosperity Institute researching democratic capitalism. Professor Martin, during your years as Dean, you have had innumerable incredible accomplishments that have elevated Rotman through the ranks. However, I think your biggest accomplishments would be the impact you’ve left on your students; we’re better today than when we first walked through Rotman’s doors, discovering new skills and passions, and raring to tackle the world’s little and wicked problems. And so, it is with utmost gratitude that we say, “To Sir, With Love.”