MBA Student Fellows

//MBA Student Fellows
MBA Student Fellows2018-07-13T10:33:36+00:00

To engage students in advancing the agenda on gender equality, GATE offers a competition each year for student fellowships.

Each selected MBA Fellow receives a bursary of $10,000 and commits to work on a project related to the mandate of GATE. Projects include a short video series on women’s experiences in companies, a whitepaper on women in STEM, guidelines for adapting MBA courses to be more inclusive and a strategy for attracting more women to MBA programs. Consulting firm Bain & Company is partnering with GATE to provide consultants who can guide and support the Fellows as they complete their projects.

2018-19 Student Fellows

Understanding human behavior and social development has always been a part of Veronica’s interest. Initially, her passion for understanding consumer behavior led her to work for Mattel Latin America, where she spent seven years designing marketing strategies for top brands and had a successful trajectory positioning these brands as leaders of their categories. Although this experience provided her with a broader business acumen, her curiosity for social and human development grew. During her MBA she decided to go to Nigeria and do her summer internship as a business development advisor, and mentor rural entrepreneurs. Here, she learned that working in the business variables is very important, but also guiding the entrepreneur’s self-development is instrumental for the success of the venture. Her goal is to continue promoting a more egalitarian world, and to continue supporting minorities in accessing life changing opportunities. Upon graduation her aim is to continue developing her career in social innovation and development.

Lechin, a part-time MBA student at the Rotman School of Management, is looking at new ways to improve healthcare and social services by integrating community development and design thinking. Lechin is a community development specialist who is passionate about innovative solutions to empower women and other marginalized groups. She has worked with various communities in both Canada and China in the last 10 years. Her accomplishments include helping establish the first private non-for-profit social service centre in southern China and leading a community advocacy campaign for equitable healthcare in Toronto’s immigrant communities. Throughout, she continued to hone a broad set of skills in community research, project management, and leadership. Lechin holds a Bachelor of Law in Social Work from Sun Yet-Sen University in China and a Master of Social Work from Calgary University.

Growing up in the Middle East, Narjis realized the importance of self-advocacy, mentorship, and sponsorship in both her personal and corporate life. While in the region, she co-founded a Women’s Initiatives organization as part of which she organized Women Leadership Programs, planned International Women’s Day and attended female leadership conferences. During her summer internship at Deloitte Canada - Human Capital Consulting, she has learned about the challenges companies face in designing more innovative, inclusive HR policies. She plans to pair her interest in design thinking, behavioral economics, and passion for female empowerment to help bridge the gaps in management and pay in the corporate world. With the support of GATE, and as a Diversity and Inclusion Champion at Rotman, she hopes to do her part in changing the conversation on gender equality. Narjis also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, with a minor in Psychology.

Alicia is a strategic thinker with a proven ability to implement change. As a Corporate Strategist she bridges gaps between external trends and internal capabilities; empowering executives to envision a better future and realize their business objectives. She is fascinated by organizational cultures and the role of leadership in supporting inclusion and equity. As the Director of Research for Diversio, she is developing a catalogue of research and insights connecting organizational inclusion to business results. Alicia holds a Masters of Arts in Economic Policy from McMaster University, where she focused on health policy and research methods. She is currently pursuing her MBA, exploring how culture is an essential factor in sustainable growth.

A former professional cricketer and a sports agent to some of India’s top female athletes, Adil has witnessed first-hand the major imbalance in gender equality within the sports industry.  It was this disparity that strengthened his resolve to enhance all-round capacities of women athletes and realign gender frameworks in sports. His efforts tackling gender bias led him to be appointed as a Trustee of Kri Foundation, a non-profit that pioneers in the empowerment of women and disadvantaged groups in India. As a Trustee, he was responsible for leading the Foundation’s female empowerment through sports vertical. An MBA candidate at the Rotman School of Management, Adil envisions to start his own sports management venture that focuses exclusively on creating a conducive environment for female athletes to flourish.

Alison Zimmer is an experienced film industry professional, and has worked with leading Canadian broadcasters, film distributors and festivals including Mongrel Media and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has served as a panelist and jury member for many local and regional Canadian film festivals and is an executive with the Rotman Entertainment and Media Association. She has a particular interest in gender and is a host and programmer with the Drunk Feminist Films collective and serves as an activist member of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, a national pro-choice advocacy organization. Alison is a second-year student in Rotman’s Morning MBA. Alison also holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of Toronto, with a major in Latin American Studies and minors in Spanish and Women and Gender Studies.

2017-18 Student Fellows

Ria sought to understand the lack of representation of women at the management level in Canada. Using video as her medium, she engaged current MBA students, alumni, and high-profile executives to address this issue through interviews, and found that “sponsorship” was a significant tool in solving the gender gap in business. Her final video series will not only answer what sponsorship is, but will also explore what it looks like in practice.
Click here to watch Ria's video series.
Vanessa proposed developing a podcast series exploring the “business case” for diversity and inclusion. Her podcast offers a discussion of why talking about the business case is not enough – we have to change the structures and systems that lead to inequality and inequity. The podcast series highlights companies and individuals, in a variety of sectors, that are working to move beyond the business case.
Click here to listen to Vanessa's podcast series.
Hilary began her project by exploring how to get more women into business school. In understanding the admission process, she realized that admissions collect 3-5 words that candidates and their referees use to describe each applicant. She predicted that there would be differences between the types of words used (feminine vs. masculine) to describe female and male applicants. She also hypothesized that an applicant’s use of masculine language would be predictive of admission to the MBA program. After reviewing a sample of over 2,700 applications, she came to a few key conclusions. 
Click here to view Hilary's findings.
Fatima sought to analyze how discussions about gender equality were presented in the core MBA curriculum at Rotman. She discovered, however, that this was an issue the Rotman administration had recently begun working to address, so she turned her attention instead to student perceptions. Using an online survey, she collected data on how students gauged the importance of including discussions of gender equality in the curriculum and found some surprising insights. 
Fatima's findings will be published later this summer.
Mark wanted to identify if there is a “leaky pipe” in terms of raw numbers of students starting and finishing STEM-focused undergraduate programs, and subsequently, if there are specific motivations and support required or received by students in order to solve the “leaky pipe” problem. This project was predominately occupied with exploring why the rates of women in STEM remain low relative to men in certain STEM-fields, such as engineering and computer science.
Mark's findings will be published later this summer.

2016-17 Student Fellows

Celeste Jalbert
Celeste is deeply committed to improving people's lives through sustainable, market-based solutions and spent nearly six years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working in service of this mission – most recently with Co-chair Melinda Gates as her Associate Program Officer focused on how gender intersects with the foundation’s 27 different strategic program areas across global health, global development, and US education. She is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Toronto as a Forté Fellow, building her business acumen and exploring opportunities to bring her multidisciplinary and consumer-centered approach to the private sector. Celeste graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. where she earned a degree in Women’s Studies with a minor in Communication and was a Dean’s Scholar in Globalization. She also holds a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington.

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To engage students in advancing the agenda on gender equality, GATE offers a competition each year for student fellowships.

Each selected MBA Fellow receives a bursary of $10,000 and commits to work on a project related to the mandate of GATE. Projects include a short video series on women’s experiences in companies, a whitepaper on women in STEM, guidelines for adapting MBA courses to be more inclusive and a strategy for attracting more women to MBA programs. Consulting firm Bain & Company is partnering with GATE to provide consultants who can guide and support the Fellows as they complete their projects.

2018-19 Student Fellows

Verónica Hernandez Herrera

Understanding human behavior and social development has always been a part of Veronica’s interest. Initially, her passion for understanding consumer behavior led her to work for Mattel Latin America, where she spent seven years designing marketing strategies for top brands and had a successful trajectory positioning these brands as leaders of their categories. Although this experience provided her with a broader business acumen, her curiosity for social and human development grew. During her MBA she decided to go to Nigeria and do her summer internship as a business development advisor, and mentor rural entrepreneurs. Here, she learned that working in the business variables is very important, but also guiding the entrepreneur’s self-development is instrumental for the success of the venture. Her goal is to continue promoting a more egalitarian world, and to continue supporting minorities in accessing life changing opportunities. Upon graduation her aim is to continue developing her career in social innovation and development.

Lechin Lu

Lechin, a part-time MBA student at the Rotman School of Management, is looking at new ways to improve healthcare and social services by integrating community development and design thinking. Lechin is a community development specialist who is passionate about innovative solutions to empower women and other marginalized groups. She has worked with various communities in both Canada and China in the last 10 years. Her accomplishments include helping establish the first private non-for-profit social service centre in southern China and leading a community advocacy campaign for equitable healthcare in Toronto’s immigrant communities. Throughout, she continued to hone a broad set of skills in community research, project management, and leadership. Lechin holds a Bachelor of Law in Social Work from Sun Yet-Sen University in China and a Master of Social Work from Calgary University.

Narjis Premjee

Growing up in the Middle East, Narjis realized the importance of self-advocacy, mentorship, and sponsorship in both her personal and corporate life. While in the region, she co-founded a Women’s Initiatives organization as part of which she organized Women Leadership Programs, planned International Women’s Day and attended female leadership conferences. During her summer internship at Deloitte Canada - Human Capital Consulting, she has learned about the challenges companies face in designing more innovative, inclusive HR policies. She plans to pair her interest in design thinking, behavioral economics, and passion for female empowerment to help bridge the gaps in management and pay in the corporate world. With the support of GATE, and as a Diversity and Inclusion Champion at Rotman, she hopes to do her part in changing the conversation on gender equality. Narjis also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, with a minor in Psychology.

Alicia Riolino

Alicia is a strategic thinker with a proven ability to implement change. As a Corporate Strategist she bridges gaps between external trends and internal capabilities; empowering executives to envision a better future and realize their business objectives. She is fascinated by organizational cultures and the role of leadership in supporting inclusion and equity. As the Director of Research for Diversio, she is developing a catalogue of research and insights connecting organizational inclusion to business results. Alicia holds a Masters of Arts in Economic Policy from McMaster University, where she focused on health policy and research methods. She is currently pursuing her MBA, exploring how culture is an essential factor in sustainable growth.

Adil Sethi

A former professional cricketer and a sports agent to some of India’s top female athletes, Adil has witnessed first-hand the major imbalance in gender equality within the sports industry.  It was this disparity that strengthened his resolve to enhance all-round capacities of women athletes and realign gender frameworks in sports. His efforts tackling gender bias led him to be appointed as a Trustee of Kri Foundation, a non-profit that pioneers in the empowerment of women and disadvantaged groups in India. As a Trustee, he was responsible for leading the Foundation’s female empowerment through sports vertical. An MBA candidate at the Rotman School of Management, Adil envisions to start his own sports management venture that focuses exclusively on creating a conducive environment for female athletes to flourish.

Alison Zimmer

Alison Zimmer is an experienced film industry professional, and has worked with leading Canadian broadcasters, film distributors and festivals including Mongrel Media and the Toronto International Film Festival. She has served as a panelist and jury member for many local and regional Canadian film festivals and is an executive with the Rotman Entertainment and Media Association. She has a particular interest in gender and is a host and programmer with the Drunk Feminist Films collective and serves as an activist member of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, a national pro-choice advocacy organization. Alison is a second-year student in Rotman’s Morning MBA. Alison also holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from the University of Toronto, with a major in Latin American Studies and minors in Spanish and Women and Gender Studies.

2017-18 Student Fellows

Ria Dutta
Ria sought to understand the lack of representation of women at the management level in Canada. Using video as her medium, she engaged current MBA students, alumni, and high-profile executives to address this issue through interviews, and found that “sponsorship” was a significant tool in solving the gender gap in business. Her final video series will not only answer what sponsorship is, but will also explore what it looks like in practice.
Click here to watch Ria's video series.
Vanessa Ko
Vanessa proposed developing a podcast series exploring the “business case” for diversity and inclusion. Her podcast offers a discussion of why talking about the business case is not enough – we have to change the structures and systems that lead to inequality and inequity. The podcast series highlights companies and individuals, in a variety of sectors, that are working to move beyond the business case.
Click here to listen to Vanessa's podcast series.
Hilary Partner
Hilary began her project by exploring how to get more women into business school. In understanding the admission process, she realized that admissions collect 3-5 words that candidates and their referees use to describe each applicant. She predicted that there would be differences between the types of words used (feminine vs. masculine) to describe female and male applicants. She also hypothesized that an applicant’s use of masculine language would be predictive of admission to the MBA program. After reviewing a sample of over 2,700 applications, she came to a few key conclusions. 
Click here to view Hilary's findings.
Fatima Saya
Fatima sought to analyze how discussions about gender equality were presented in the core MBA curriculum at Rotman. She discovered, however, that this was an issue the Rotman administration had recently begun working to address, so she turned her attention instead to student perceptions. Using an online survey, she collected data on how students gauged the importance of including discussions of gender equality in the curriculum and found some surprising insights. 
Fatima's findings will be published later this summer.
Mark Vaz
Mark wanted to identify if there is a “leaky pipe” in terms of raw numbers of students starting and finishing STEM-focused undergraduate programs, and subsequently, if there are specific motivations and support required or received by students in order to solve the “leaky pipe” problem. This project was predominately occupied with exploring why the rates of women in STEM remain low relative to men in certain STEM-fields, such as engineering and computer science.
Mark's findings will be published later this summer.

2016-17 Student Fellows

Celeste Jalbert
Celeste is deeply committed to improving people's lives through sustainable, market-based solutions and spent nearly six years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation working in service of this mission – most recently with Co-chair Melinda Gates as her Associate Program Officer focused on how gender intersects with the foundation’s 27 different strategic program areas across global health, global development, and US education. She is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Toronto as a Forté Fellow, building her business acumen and exploring opportunities to bring her multidisciplinary and consumer-centered approach to the private sector. Celeste graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. where she earned a degree in Women’s Studies with a minor in Communication and was a Dean’s Scholar in Globalization. She also holds a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington.

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