Our alumni community is over 14,000 members strong. From Toronto to New York City to Hong Kong and beyond, our graduates are making their marks in businesses and communities around the globe. We are exceptionally proud of all of our grads and are excited to share their stories.
Featured Alumni Profile
Home Games: Jad Azar (BCom ’17) Brings His Rotman Commerce Business Knowledge Back to the Board Games Market in Lebanon
Upon finishing high school in Lebanon, Jad Azar packed his bags and made his way to the University of Toronto. Due to its large Lebanese community, Jad had originally planned to pursue his studies in Montreal. But his father suggested that he consider applying somewhere else – “this place called U of T” – and after doing some research, Jad changed his mind and set his sights on Rotman Commerce. The Rotman Commerce program offered him the possibility of learning business in an environment ripe with the kinds of opportunities that a downtown Toronto campus could offer.
Jad’s first year wasn’t easy. He recalls that he had to work extremely hard in his first year to keep his marks up and adapt to the UTM community before deciding to transfer to Rotman Commerce during his second year. The hard work paid off, and by second year, Jad had figured out the system and was ready to take on new challenges. It was in his second year of his studies that Jad made his first foray into entrepreneurism, starting up a suit company with a friend. “Surprisingly, entrepreneurship and university have some similarities – one of which is hard work. Lots of it, to be more precise, especially if you want to excel. But if you make the effort, you can always figure it out. If there’s a will, there’s a way.” he says during the interview where he proudly sported one of the suits from their clothing venture.
By the end of his degree, Jad’s entrepreneurial drive surfaced again. Armed with the self-discipline he had developed at Rotman Commerce and the many skills that he had acquired in his third-year strategy course, as well as his accounting and finance courses, Jad and some friends decided to explore the board game market.
Jad and his partners started off with several prototypes of their game and with their heads full of creative ideas, they decided to enter their product in Lebanon’s westernized game market. Their game “Zello Ma T2ello” of which the literal translation is “Shame Him But Don’t Tell Him” is a card game with 400 cards that contains funny Lebanese stereotypes and jokes. Each player tags each other with the cards they most relate to and the first player with 7 cards loses. Sales are going strong and the game is available across nine stores in Lebanon, six of which are Virgin Megastores. The team also has plans to expand to Dubai and internationally.
For Jad, who also holds a full-time job as a consulting analyst with Accenture, success is as much about opportunity and information as it is about drive and preparation. His advice to his fellow grads and current students? “Be proactive, get informed about the job market and onboarding, have all of the information that you need and if you don’t, make sure that you at least look for it because the way that you do anything is the way that you do everything!”