In the spotlight: Thaksa Sethukavalan, CPA, CA, Auditor & Rotman MFin Candidate

Thaksa Sethukavalan, CPA, CA, Auditor, Office of the Auditor General of Ontario. Rotman MFin candidate and Master of Finance Women’s Excellence Entrance Award Recipient.

Thaksa Sethukavalan, CPA, CA, Auditor, Office of the Auditor General of Ontario. Rotman MFin candidate and Master of Finance Women’s Excellence Entrance Award Recipient.

We’re now deep into building our Master of Finance 2017 class. The calibre of applicants are impressive professionally and are remarkable in the clarity of their drive to succeed.

In this blog post, we’re highlighting another recipient of the Master of Finance Women’s Excellence Entrance Award. Congratulations to Thaksa Sethukavalan, CPA, CA who will start the program this September.

How did you hear about the Rotman MFin?

Before applying to the MFin program, I had spent several months researching graduate business programs in Toronto. I had been feeling the itch to go back to school for some time by that point, but I wasn’t initially sure which graduate degree was right for me. Originally, I was leaning towards an MBA, but through my research I came across the MFin program. It appealed to me a lot more as I read more and more about the program.

Can you tell us a bit more about your professional background as you certainly are a unique candidate for the MFin program.

My professional background is actually in accounting and audit. After university, I spent three years working at Deloitte LLP in its audit practice and earned my Chartered Accountant designation with the firm. My focus was on financial statement audits. I can honestly say that I learned a lot while I was there, and was able to work on a number of interesting and complex audit engagements. At present I work for the Auditor General of Ontario, where my focus is on value-for-money audits of the provincial government and its ministries. It is very interesting work!

What is your favourite thing about finance?

My favourite thing about finance is the fact that finance itself is such a broad and wide-ranging topic. There are so many different specializations or focus areas that an individual could choose to get into or pursue, based on their own personal interests. I love the fact that you can never really be done learning about finance – there is always something new that an individual can choose to understand.

What made you decide to apply to the MFin?

As a Chartered Accountant, I’m always looking for ways to differentiate myself from my peers. With the recent merger of all the Canadian accounting designations into the CPA designation, I really felt like I needed a graduate degree to help set myself apart from other CPAs and to move into more upper management type roles. I’ve also always had an interest in finance in particular, and having already come from an accounting and audit background, it made more sense for me to complete a Master of Finance degree over an MBA. I also enjoy challenges and truly love to learn – I really felt as though the Master of Finance degree would help me become a better, stronger and more well-rounded business professional than any other type of graduate degree.

Did you attend any MFin events that helped you to make your decision?

I was fortunate to attend quite a few MFin events that helped me make my decision. The Rotman information session was able to provide me with some background information on the program, the curriculum and the workload involved with the MFin degree. There were some past and current students that attended the event and I was able to speak to them about their experiences with the program. I was also able to attend some Rotman networking events (the MFin market simulation sample class as well as the TD & Rotman Women @ Work Symposium) which really gave me a good feel for the culture and network at Rotman. I was also fortunate enough to be able to sit in on a Wednesday evening class and speak to some current students who spoke highly of the program, which also helped me make my decision to pursue an MFin degree.

Additionally, Alexandra MacKay, the Academic Director of the Master of Finance program, was kind enough to put me in contact with several Chartered Accountants who had already completed the program or were in the process of completing it. All of them had very good things to say about the program, the material and courses, as well as the quality of professors that taught in the program. They all told me it was a very challenging program, but well worth their time and effort, which is something that really resonated with me.

What made you decide to accept your offer of admission?

For me, there were several factors that helped guide me to accept my Rotman MFin offer. First and foremost, having sat in an MFin class and having spoken to several past and current students, I was really impressed by the material being taught and what past and current students had to say about the program. No matter who I spoke to, everyone spoke highly about the program, the curriculum and the professors, which really impressed me. I was also impressed by the close-knit network at Rotman and the high calibre of graduates from the program. Everyone I spoke to was really eager to help answer my questions about the program, which was very appealing to me. I decided that I want to a part of this community. Also, being awarded with the Master of Finance Women’s Excellence Scholarship was a very pleasant surprise and helped seal the deal.

Do you have any advice for students thinking of applying to the MFin program?

The only piece of advice I would have to give is to do your research. The MFin is an incredible program, but it’s really important to make an assessment as to whether the program is the right fit for you at your stage in your career. I recommend attending information sessions and Rotman networking sessions to see if you could benefit from the program. I also recommend getting in touch with MFin alumni and current students and talking to them about how they found the program. Doing this will help ensure you make an informed decision about pursuing an MFin degree.

Final question: what are you most looking forward to in the program?

Other than bettering my understanding of finance, I am really looking forward to meeting and networking with my future classmates. I have heard great things about the calibre of students that are admitted into the program, so I look forward to learning and working with them.


Our next Rotman Master of Finance application deadline to start September 2015 is fast approaching on April 1, 2015. If you have any questions about the program or the application, please contact us. We would be pleased to help.

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