University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine
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Poll: Does the Idea of Starting Your Own Business Appeal to You?

The students we asked liked the greater autonomy and creativity that running their own company allows

Like many U of T students who are interested in starting their own business, Xinyi Zhao – who is in her second year of an MBA at the Rotman School of Management – foresees greater career satisfaction in building her own company than in working for someone else’s.

For Khadija Waseem, a third-year Rotman commerce student, the appeal in an entrepreneurial venture is that it allows “you so much autonomy and creativity.”

Students who said “no” to the idea of starting their own business typically cited the higher risks involved. Candace Gunn, a fourth-year student, says she would prefer the staff support more commonly found in established companies.

This highly unscientific poll of 100 U of T students was conducted on the St. George campus in February.

What four students had to say: 

Closeup photo of Candace Gunn inside the Bahen CentreCandace Gunn
4th year, English and Concurrent Teacher Education Program, Victoria College

In the education field, it’s really nice to have a community around you, to have that support system. In schools, you have a principal, a superintendent, and you have other teachers. Even in an informal education environment – such as Frontier College, where I’ve been volunteering since the summer – I have people who are there to support me, to give me advice. It’s really comforting.

Closeup photo of Khadija Waseem outside the Rotman School of ManagementKhadija Waseem
3rd year, Rotman commerce, University College

There’s so much room for creativity in society today in terms of how we’re connected through the Internet. You can have an idea in Toronto today, and have it mass-produced in another country tomorrow. That’s something I would love to experience for myself. Everything is changing so quickly, and it takes a while for large companies to adapt. When you are working as an entrepreneur, you have the ability to implement the policies and changes you believe in.

Closeup photo of Hillel Bierbrier outside the Rotman School of ManagementHillel Bierbrier

1st year, MBA, Rotman School of Management

I think it would be valuable for me to apply my Rotman education as a management consultant in an environment that integrates ongoing learning, innovation and implementation of ideas. After gaining from such a corporate experience, an opportunity to take a direct ownership would be appealing to me.

Closeup photo of Martha Nicol outside the Rotman School of ManagementMartha Nicol

1st year, MBA, Rotman School of Management

It’s a lot more accessible for people to start their own business than it has been in the past. I think there’s a lot being done, especially with AI and new technology, that makes it a lot easier for someone to break into the industry. Being creative and setting my own aspirations appeal to me.

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