Among students making their mark in the field of business is Rini Sharma, part of the Rotman School of Management and a member of the Rotman Entertainment & Media Association. The Varsity caught up with Sharma to discuss her experience as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) student.
The Varsity: What does your role in the Rotman Entertainment & Media Association entail?
Rini Sharma: I’m currently serving as Vice-President External for the Entertainment & Media Association at Rotman. My role involves building relationships with industry leaders and connecting them to our student community at Rotman through the medium of events and other platforms.
TV: What kind of work does the Rotman Entertainment & Media Association do?
RS: The Entertainment & Media Association at Rotman is working on bridging the gap between MBA students and Toronto’s growing media and entertainment sector. Our goal is to help students identify and create opportunities for themselves in a manner which combines their business skills with their passion for the media and entertainment sector.
To do this, we planned various events over the 2019–2020 school year which will provide students with hands-on skill-building through case competitions, as well as networking opportunities through our industry night event, set to be held later in the year. And, last but not least, I’ve been lucky enough to produce and host my own personal project with the club, the Rotman Thoughtcast, which is Rotman’s upcoming official podcast series.
TV: What are some of the productions you’ve worked on?
RS: Prior to starting at Rotman I was working at Shaftesbury, a leading Canadian media production company, as a development and production analyst. I’ve worked on several major projects, including CBC’s most highly-rated program Murdoch Mysteries, CBC’s Frankie Drake Mysteries and Netflix’s Slasher. I was also involved in Hudson & Rex from Citytv and Shaftesbury’s latest drama series Departure, from GlobalTV, in their early stages of development.
TV: What or who has been your greatest influence in starting a business career?
RS: My dad, who has taught me the values of integrity, persistence, and relationship-building in the world of business.
TV: When did you think to combine two seemingly-different fields of technology and business?
RS: While I’ve always been curious to learn about new technologies, it was only after I joined Rotman that I observed how emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, are disrupting several different industries besides media. Moreover, I spent my summer interning at a tech accelerator, which made me realize how important it is to have a viable business strategy in order to grow and scale new technologies.
TV: How has your experience been, managing your education while also managing your career?
RS: The MBA program is a huge time commitment which essentially requires you to work on academics and career simultaneously, since day one. It hasn’t been easy. However, I love a good challenge and I’m enjoying every bit of it.
TV: How do you think an MBA has prepared you for your field?
RS: Aside from the core academic learnings, my experience in the MBA program has enabled me to enhance my time management, leadership, and communication skills — and that shall go a long way in any field!
TV: What has been your experience in media been like?
RS: In my experience in the media industry, I’ve been lucky enough to work in an environment where I was mentored by strong women leaders. That being said, it is still an evolving space for a woman of colour to be in. There’s a long way to go before we, as the audience, start perceiving stories about Mindy Kaling as anything other than a factor of her immigrant experiences.
TV: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
RS: Finding and carving my own unique niche within an institute full of 650 bright and ambitious minds.
TV: What are some tips that you have for anyone pursuing a career in business?
RS: For anyone wanting to pursue an MBA, I would recommend knowing your own personal goals before choosing a particular school or stream. In the world of business, I think it is very important to have an open and flexible mind in order to be successful in today’s globalized economy. Always strive to expose yourself to different experiences, people, and cultures.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
This profile is part of an ongoing series to highlight women in business.