Tag Archives: Alumni

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Advice from Rotman students and alumni

There are many different sources of information when it comes to getting advice and making most decisions in life, and choosing the right Master degree is no different.  In researching Rotman Master degree programs, you will most likely have viewed our website a number of times, hopefully attended an event or spoken to someone involved with the program – whether someone on the recruitment team, or a member of faculty.

One great source of information are current students and graduates – they would have had similar questions to you before starting and now have the answers to those questions (and perhaps ones you have not thought of before).

We asked the question ‘what advice would you give to someone considering choosing a Rotman program’ to students/graduates from the Executive MBA, Master of Finance, Global Executive MBA and the Morning and Evening MBA programs. We’ve highlighted a few of their comments below.

Rotman Executive MBA

“What advice would you give to someone considering choosing a Rotman program?”

“The relationships with your classmates are as important as the academics. Prepare to work hard, and have fun.” Eghtedar Manouchehri, EMBA ‘15

“My experience at Rotman exceeded my expectations. The program is a well-rounded academic experience and Rotman offers amazing opportunities to connect and network with industry leaders, both past, present and future.” Ashley Warburton, MFin ’17

“My advice: engage early and often with career services. They were instrumental in helping me choose my next career, prepare for it, and land the job I wanted.” Cole Lepine, Morning MBA ‘17

“Take advantage of extracurricular activities including clubs, lectures, workshops and case competitions. Rotman offers fantastic learning and networking opportunities outside of your coursework in the MBA.” Vanessa Perry, Morning MBA’18

“The support within the class is incredible. Inspiring professional women and role models help you thrive as colleagues and friends.” Gavinder Bhatia, EMBA ‘15

“I was impressed with the emphasis that Rotman places on leadership excellence – both organizational and personal. There is no substitution for great leadership in the corporate world.” Rachel Huckle, GEMBA ‘17

“I have acquired new friendships with like-minded people in all corners of the financial market. For anyone who wants to further their career in the financial markets while working full-time, this program is undoubtedly at the top of my recommendation list.” Richard Wong, MFin ’12

Where is he now? A Master of Finance alumnus shares his experience 1 year after graduation

The Master of Finance (MFin) at the Rotman School of Management is designed to develop the next generation of finance leaders. Our graduates are examples of our delivered promise. We interviewed Tony Chan, MFin ’15 currently working as an associate of Global Corporate Securities for CPP Investment Board. Here is what he had to say:

Tony Chan, MFin ’15

Hello Tony! Thank you for sharing your experience as a student and alumnus with us.

It hasn’t been that long since you graduated, how did it feel in your second year as an alumnus not to have to go back to school?

To be honest, it felt weird! I was really busy while I was in school and I got used to it. Having to go to work and school at the same time, I had developed a routine to help me keep up with the work and also maintain an active social life. But, now that I am done, I feel as if I’m slacking. So much so that I decided to join recreational classes and activities such as cooking, badminton, volleyball and Frisbee.

What does it mean to you and your career to be an alumnus of the MFin program?

It’s hard to say at this point because it’s only been a year since I graduated, but I can say that I’m still connected with friends from the MFin program. It feels good to know that I’m still part of the Rotman community and that I have met so many people with common interest and life experiences, who are now some of my best friends.

Did the program give you a new appreciation for a different area(s) of finance?

Yes, the curriculum covered a lot of important basis and some foundational concepts that weren’t as familiar to me. This also sparked new interests. For example, before joining the MFin program I didn’t know a whole lot about investment banking and wasn’t sure if I would find it interesting. However, once I joined the program and took the investment banking course I learned to really enjoy the subject. I was surprise that I was interested in this content, but after taking the course everything in finance makes more sense to me.

How did the program expand your professional network?

One of the major benefits of joining the MFin program was the possibility of expanding my network. As a graduate, today,  I can definitively say it helped me make more connections. Think about it: because you are studying alongside finance experts and working professionals in some of the major financial institutions in Canada, you have a chance to make extremely good connections.

In today’s labour market there is a lot of emphasis on networking, and many people choose to attend conferences and events to meet people in their field. This is good, but it is definitely a lot better when you are able to get to know these people over two years of course work. After all, if you are part of the same team project, they’ll get to know how you really work and be able to vouch for you.

How have the relationships you’ve made during your program impact your year since the graduation?

I made some great friends during my time as an MFin student. I think this is mainly because we share so much in common. Before joining the program, I only had a small group of friends with whom I could actually discuss politics, finance and our careers. Thanks to my time at Rotman, I now have a really close group of friends with whom I can engage in these kinds of conversations. My friends from the program are also good people to go to for professional advice, and I think that is invaluable.

Have you been able to make a career switch or receive a promotion because of the MFin?

I did change careers during the program. What I can say with certainty is that graduating from the MFin program definitely made me a more confident professional. Ultimately, I think this will positively impact my career going forward.

Do you have any words of advice for future students or anyone thinking of applying now? 

I think everyone considering applying to a Master’s program should think of their own criteria for doing so. We all come with different experience and career goals and it is important to stay true to yourself. I would also urge applicants to do their research! They should speak with faculty members, the recruitment team and current students to really understand what the program is like and how it can benefit their careers.

 Ready to learn more about the MFin program? Visit our website or sign up to one of our admissions event and start preparing to become a finance leader.

 

 

 

 

 

Where is he now? A Master of Finance alumnus shares 5 years after graduation

Interview with Yasir Mallick, MFin ’11, CPA

Yasir Mallick, MFin ’11, CPAThe Master of Finance (MFin) program at the Rotman School of Management strives for strong connections with our alumni network. Not only do we think it’s important to see how our former students are doing – we believe in paying it forward.

In this second blog post of our series, Where are they now?, we checked in with Yasir Mallick, MFin ’11, CPA, Director, Manager Selection and Portfolio Construction at the University of Toronto Asset Management Corp. (UTAM).

Thank you for speaking with us, Yasir. Tell us what it means to you and your career to be an MFin alumnus.
I applied for the MFin program after the 2008 financial crisis – I viewed it as a way to enhance my technical background given my work experience in the financial services sector. As an alumnus, I have definitely experienced direct educational and professional benefits from the program. Beyond these benefits, I am also proud of being an alumnus because I am part of a much broader community at the University of Toronto and at Rotman, a highly-regarded centre of knowledge in the Toronto financial community.

It’s been a while since you graduated; is there anything you miss from the program?
While I can’t say I miss attending classes and studying as a working professional, the program certainly reinforced my intellectual curiosity. During the program we were constantly exposed to interesting academic papers and empirical research that challenged our knowledge of finance. I have now replaced the intellectual stimulation of class with the intellectual challenges I face in my day to day role at UTAM.

Did the program give you a new appreciation for different area(s) of finance?
There were actually two areas: risk management and long-term portfolio management. These courses have provided a great foundation for my work ever since I graduated. I draw on this material daily to better understand new complexities and to execute my job.

Aside from that, what would you say have been the immediate impacts from completing your degree?
In my last year of the program, I was trying to make a career transition and I’d say that completing the MFin was critical in helping me achieve this goal. Not only did the program give me the necessary knowledge and technical skills to become a strong candidate for jobs in the industry, but it also gave me the confidence to apply to a more executive role in the pension fund management industry. I knew that, without the MFin, I would have likely been screened out by recruiters. I believe that, often, all you need is that first opportunity to meet with the hiring manager, and the MFin allowed me to get my foot in the door.

How are you involved with the MFin community as an alumnus? How do you foresee getting involved moving forward?
I’m still in touch with various professors, as I often connect with them when I see they have published new work in my area of interest. In fact, there’s a chance that I may be a guest lecturer for Rotman in the future.

In terms of the student body, I have also met with many prospective or current students to share my insights or tips as they consider their choices in the program and in their careers. I plan to continue my involvement in this capacity, as I believe it is important to share our experiences and help others.

Do you have any words of advice for future students or anyone thinking of applying now? 
Two things…

  1. Whatever course you choose to take, make sure that you are truly engaged with the material and passionate about it. As a working professional and part-time student you are pushing yourself to learn and work very hard. To keep yourself motivated, it’s important that you find the material useful and intellectually stimulating.
  1. On a more professional note, I certainly think that it’s important to have a loose outline of what you want to do with your career. However, keep an open mind! Be aware that this outline may not resemble anything close to where you end up, which sometimes, can also be a great thing.

Yasir Mallick, MFin ’11, CPA, has seen the benefits of being part of the MFin community. Since graduating 5 years ago he has been rewarded with two promotions and a job at a new organization. Intrigued by his career path? Visit our website or sign up to one of our admissions events and get ready to become part of the MFin community.

 

 

Annual Rotman Open House Draws Huge Interest: A Recap

With over 300 prospective students at the Rotman Open House on Sunday November 6, the event was nothing short of a great success. The event was an exciting opportunity for attendees to learn more about the 6 programs that Rotman has to offer through engaging sample classes and information sessions.

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Morning and Evening MBA students are more than happy to answer questions from prospective applicants!

The programs that were represented at the fair were the Morning and Evening MBA, Full Time MBA, Executive MBA, Global Executive MBA, Master of Finance, and the Master of Financial Risk Management.

Making Connections at the Programs Fair

As guests began to arrive, they eagerly headed to the buzzing programs fair. Representatives for each of our Master’s programs provided information regarding admissions details and program structures. Current students were also more than happy to share their own Rotman experience. There was something new for everybody to discover about the school. One of our attendees commented that “I know I registered for one program of interest, but with such a wide range of programs that Rotman offers, it was hard to pick just one!”

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The programs fair is in  full swing

A New Way to Think

Rotman’s Annual Open House formally kicked off with a keynote speech by Don Tapscott, CEO of The Tapscott Group, and one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on business and society. He also happens to be an Adjunct Professor here at the Rotman School of Management, and was ranked the 4th most influential management thinker in the world by Thinkers50.

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Don Tapscott kicking off the event with a keynote speech

He provided us with his thrilling insight into how blockchain is becoming an industry disruptor. Don concluded by challenging our audience, the future leaders in management, on how we can develop solutions to new technological, social and economic problems.

Mix and Match to Customize Your Day

Attendees mixed and matched the sessions that were of most interest to them. With a wide selection of 17 different sessions to attend, it was definitely not an easy choice to make.

Each session brought a unique perspective and experience for our prospective applicants. On top of the information sessions led by our recruiters about what applicants needed to get in and to succeed at Rotman, there were also unique interactive sessions. In our BMO Financial Group Finance Research and Trading Lab, prospective students had the opportunity to get involved in an exciting trading simulation where they made decisions under different scenarios. There were also a number of sample classes showcasing the world renowned faculty that teach at Rotman and their research strengths. Professor Brian Golden’s sample class on Strategic Management was energizing, overflowing and was even followed enthusiastically by an international audience via our live stream!

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Brian Golden presenting a sample class on Strategic Management

The Perfect Fit at Rotman

The Rotman Open House is not only a great event for prospective applicants to learn more information about the admissions process and to get their questions answered, it is also a chance to meet with our recruitment team to network and build a one-on-one relationship.

On behalf of the entire recruitment and admissions team, thank you to each and every individual who took the time to come out and learn about all the graduate programs that Rotman has to offer. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

To learn more about the Rotman School of Management, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca

Where is he now? A Master of Finance alumnus shares 2 years after graduation

Where are they now? Where have their careers taken them since their days at Rotman? In our new series, Where are they now?, we seek out Rotman Master of Finance alumni and ask them to review their careers since graduation.

In this first blog post, Michael Hayes, MFin ’14, CFA, Director of Structuring and Credit Risk, BMO Corporate Finance took the time to share his wide ranging insights as an MFin alumni.

So, it’s been two years! How does it feel?
It feels great! I feel grounded in my career in finance since completing the Master of Finance (MFin); the program has a lot to do with my current success.

Michael Hayes MFin '14, CFA, Director of Structuring and Credit Risk , BMO Corporate Finance

Michael Hayes MFin ’14, CFA, Director of Structuring and Credit Risk, BMO Corporate Finance

Why did you choose to do the MFin instead of an MBA?
I’ve always been a big believer that credentials are ever more important in mature industries like banking. As I wanted to remain in this sector, I knew that I needed highly qualified credentials to my name in order to advance significantly and remove any potential future career barriers. I already had a Bachelors of Commerce and my CFA, but knew that it wouldn’t be enough.

When you realize that, you need to ask yourself: why am I going back to school? Is it to further develop skills necessary in my current field or to move industries and land a job in a different area?

If your answer is like mine, and you are looking to become an expert in your field, then your best bet is to stay in your job and complete the MFin. With my work experience and previous education, for me, it simply didn’t make sense to do an MBA. I was more interested in the technical skills and depth of finance knowledge that could best be obtained through the MFin.

What would you say have been the immediate impacts of being part of the MFin community?
When I first joined the MFin program, I was managing a book of commercial clients in Toronto as a Relationship Manager. I needed a change and starting the MFin program gave me the confidence to reach out to executive leaders and to talk about my career goals. This was a great decision, as just two months after joining the program I was promoted with an opportunity to work as an Associate in Investment & Corporate Banking in Chicago, USA.

Since then, I’ve advanced another two times within the same institution, with my most recent promotion in June 2016 when I became the Director of Structuring and Credit Risk for BMO’s Corporate Finance Division. I can certainly say that joining the Master of Finance was a catalyst for my first upward move.

What does it mean to you and your career to be an MFin alumni?
I am exceptionally proud not only of being a Rotman alumnus, but also of being a graduate of the MFin program. I take a lot of pride in being part of the highly-skilled and experienced community that is made up of MFin alumni. The Rotman MFin is a challenging program that admits students with work experience in finance. Many of my classmates already possessed designations such as the CFA or CPA.

What we learn and the networks that we build are extremely valuable to our professional and even our personal life.

How has this network impacted your life?
I have worked with some of my classmates at BMO, and there’ve been times when we leaned on each other for career advice. More importantly, some of my best friends today are from the MFin program.

You’ have to realize that in the program you not only meet people who share your passion for finance; you also meet people who share similar life experiences, whether it means being a working professional and part-time student, or having kids for the first time. In fact, aside from the intellectual stimulation present in the program, getting together with my classmates during our lunch break or after class is probably what I miss the most from the program.

How do you foresee getting involved with the MFin community as an alumni going forward?
I think it’s very important to stay connected. Every single graduate of the MFin program can give back and increase your scope. For example, working in a bank for quite sometime, I hadn’t been exposed to the perspectives of finance leaders who are non-bankers. During the MFin program, I met several classmates working in insurance companies and pension funds, which made me recognize the bigger world outside of banking.

As alumni, we have a responsibility to pay it forward and connect with current students looking to learn about our work and opportunities in our field.

What advice would you give to someone considering starting the program now?
First, recognize the importance of your community of classmates who will be your connections for life. Make connections with as many people as you can. As a tip, the easiest way to do that is to never sit in the same seat twice.

Second, remember that going back to school is a family decision. As a working professional and part-time student you’ll be sacrificing some of the time you spend with your family. Recognize their importance, and ensure they are on board with your plans.

Third, challenge the status quo. As a graduate student, you are here to learn and push the boundaries, so don’t just settle for what’s in the textbook. The best classes take place when students challenge the concepts reviewed in class and put them to the test.


Interested to learn more about what our students and alumni have to say about the program? Our upcoming Open House on November 6 is the perfect time to speak with students and alumni. Or, sign up for an upcoming admissions events.

6 Master’s Programs, 1 Open House

Rotman's Annual Open House. Join us November 6, 2016.

Rotman’s Annual Open House. Join us November 6, 2016.

Rotman’s Open House 2016 – mark your calendars!

Rotman’s Annual Open House takes place on Sunday, November 6, 2016. Check out all six of our Master’s programs to see which program is the right fit for you. It’s the perfect day! Attend an information session, sample a class, try your hand at a trading simulation, and meet current students and alumni.

MBA programs at Rotman

Specialized degrees at Rotman

Don Tapscott, CEO of the Tapscott Group and one of the world's leading authories on the impact of technology. He is also an Adjunct Processor at the Rotman School of Management.

Don Tapscott, CEO of the Tapscott Group and one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Rotman School of Management.

Don Tapscott, keynote

Our exciting keynote speaker is Don Tapscott, CEO of The Tapscott Group. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on business and society. He has authored over 15 books including Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything which has been translated into over 25 languages.

Don’s most recent and ambitious book was co-authored with his son, startup CEO and bitcoin governance expert Alex Tapscott. Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Underlying Bitcoin is Changing Business, Money and the World was published in May 2016 and is, according to Harvard Business School’s Clay Christensen, “the book, literally, on how to survive and thrive in this next wave of technology-driven disruption” and, “likely to become one of the iconic books of our time.”

In 2015, Don became a member of the Order of Canada, and was ranked the 4th most influential management thinker in the world by Thinkers50. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Rotman School of Management, an Associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and Chancellor of Trent University in Ontario. Don is the Founder and Executive Director of the $4M Global Solution Networks investigation of multi-stakeholder models for global problem solving and governance.

It is hard to imagine anyone who has been more prolific, profound, and influential in explaining today’s technological revolutions and their impact on the world.

Register now to meet Don and our Master’s admissions teams on November 6, 2016 at Rotman’s Annual Open House.

The Fall 2017 Master’s programs application cycle is now open!

Start your application for one of Rotman’s Master’s programs for working professionals today!

Study while you accelerate your career. At the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, we have four flexible options for ambitious working professionals looking to boost their potential through part-time Master’s programs.

Whether you are thinking of making changes at work or expanding your professional network, now is the time to take charge of your career.

Applications are now open for all our Master’s programs for working professionals at Rotman. Take a look at each of our four Master’s programs for working professionals and get ready to apply to the program that is the right fit for you.

Master of Finance

Rotman Finance Lab

Do you:
• work in the financial industry?
• have solid technical skills?
• want to become an expert in the finance field?

Consider the Master of Finance. Attend one of our admissions events to learn more about the program or start your application today. The first application deadline is November 15, 2016.

Check out the profiles of some of our students and alumni.

Morning & Evening MBA

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Our Morning & Evening MBA program is perfect for those who have started their careers and want to broaden their leadership skills to strengthen their presence in the boardroom. Learn more about the program requirements through our admission events and start planning your submission for our first application deadline on November 20, 2016.

Executive MBA

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At Rotman, we designed the One-Year Executive MBA program with senior industry leaders in mind. As an executive leader, this program will give you the tools to lead your team into success with confidence. Come to one of our information sessions to learn more or start preparing your application; the first submission deadline is on November 16, 2016.

Global Executive MBA

East Asia-Rotman18 months. 4 continents. Career Transformation.

In today’s global market it is imperative for leaders to understand the complexities of doing business across border. With Rotman’s Global Executive MBA program you’ll gain the practical skills and international experience to respond to the demands of today’s globalized world. The first application deadline is on November 16, 2016. Visit our website or attend one of our information sessions to learn more about the program.


Excited about the possibility of joining the Rotman community in 2017 but still unsure which program is right for you? Come to Rotman’s Open House on November 6 where you’ll be able to meet with alumni, current students and recruiters for all of our programs.

This is your chance to start building connections and learning all that there is to know to ensure you prepare a great application and start your part-time Master’s program in Fall 2017. Don’t wait, register now!

Bonus tip: the earlier you apply, the greater your chance of securing an entrance award.

Master of Finance: June 11-13, 2016 in review

What a busy couple of weeks at Rotman for our recently graduated Master of Finance class of 2016 and current MFin students! More than just in the classroom, our alumni, students, faculty and staff rubbed shoulders (and noisemakers) outside of school.

On June 11, 2016, we had our third annual friendly soccer match with Schulich’s and Smith’s MFin classes. Trophy goes to Smith this year. Well played!

The day after on June 12, we had our pre-convocation MFin reception where valedictorian Morgan Pampe gave a rousing and at times, emotional retrospective of the class over the past 20 months.

Finally, the big day! On June 13, the MFin class of 2016 officially became Rotman alumni.

Check out the photos below.

2016 Master of Finance Soccer Match

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Rotman Master of Finance Class of 2016 Convocation Reception

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Rotman Master of Finance Class of 2016 Convocation

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CFA or MFin? Why not both?

If you are currently studying for your CFA Level III exam or are a charterholder, you may  wonder if you should consider completing a Master of Finance (MFin). To give you some perspective, we spoke to a number of our Rotman MFin grads who are also charterholders.

Tracy Chong, MFin ’16, CFA

Tracy Chong, MFin ’17, CFA

“While Rotman’s Master of Finance and the CFA both cover a wide range of finance topics, the MFin explores each area in much greater detail while the CFA is more focused on portfolio management.” Tracy Chong, CFA, MFin ‘17.

As Tracy points out, becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is key to certain positions within the financial sector, including portfolio management. However, the MFin will prepare you to go even further in your career. Having both is definitely an advantage, if you want to be a finance leader.

Michael Da Silva, MFin ’16, CFA

Michael Da Silva, MFin, CFA

Another recent grad, Michael Da Silva, CFA, MFin ’16, expands on this:

“Through the MFin program, you attain the technical skills needed to get an edge in any finance career—including investment banking, which is a challenging field to break into. In Heather-Anne Irwin’s Investment Banking course, you learn what it takes to be an investment banker when you produce your own M&A deal and pitch it to a panel of industry professionals.”

Omar Karim, MFin ’17, CFA

Omar Karim, MFin ’17, CFA

The practical skills learned through the MFin curriculum and the practical experience of your faculty and peers will help you take the theoretical knowledge gained during your CFA and apply it in your day-to-day. As Omar Karim, CFA, MFin ’17 says, “It is incredibly fulfilling to learn about bond theories in class one day and then apply them directly on the sales and trading floor the next day.”

Ashley Warburton, MFin ’17, CFA

Ashley Warburton, MFin ’17, CFA

Ashley Warburton, CFA, MFin ‘17 and Francois du Toit, CFA, MFin ‘16 both agreed that learning from practically-minded faculty was invaluable when exploring current events in financial markets. Ashley remembers, for example, learning about coco bonds in Fotini Tolias’ class and seeing them affect European banks balance sheets, which resulted in changes in their stock price this past February.

Ultimately, while the CFA may give you key foundational concepts to understand these events, it is in the MFin that you’ll get the deeper insights to interpret and understand the complex set of variables that impacted turns in financial markets.

Francois du Toit, MFin '16 , CFA

Francois du Toit, MFin, CFA

Without a doubt, together the CFA and the MFin will make you a strong candidate in the financial sector. In addition, if you are currently completing the CFA Level III exam and are thinking of applying to the MFin, you have the advantage of receiving a GMAT exemption, as you can automatically be considered for a conditional offer.


What are you waiting for? Put your CFA knowledge to the test, and contact us or apply now to become our next MFin candidate.

Rising Up with Rotman’s Morning MBA

Congratulations to the Rotman Morning & Evening MBA Class of 2016 on convocation day! After 32 months of hard and rewarding work, our Rotman MBA class of 2016 is graduating today and ready to expand their impact globally. It’s the perfect day to reflect on the overall MBA experience. We spoke to Ciara Wakita, about her time in the Morning MBA for working professionals.

Ciara Wakita, Rotman Morning MBA ' 17

Ciara Wakita, MBA ‘ 16

Congratulations on your graduation, Ciara! You must be thrilled to have arrived to the finish line. Looking back do you remember why you chose to complete the Morning MBA at Rotman?

Thank you. It has definitely been a fulfilling time of my life!

When I decided to enrol in an MBA program, I knew that I would do it part-time. Taking time away from my career was simply not an option for me. I ended up choosing Rotman because of its reputation in the financial services sector and because U of T is an internationally renowned school.

Once I chose Rotman, I had to decide between the morning or evening program. Because I wanted to keep an active social life and play sports in the evenings, waking up earlier two mornings a week made my days hyper-productive. After my 7 to 9 am class, I would still be able to get to work in time and put in a full day.

What would you say is your favourite aspect of the program?

I’d say it’s the camaraderie of the entire Rotman community. While you make a natural bond with people in your cohort in the first half of the program, I also made friends when I went into my electives in the second half of the program. I met amazing people from other cohorts. I didn’t the camaraderie, but there is just a very common understanding amongst everyone.

Ciara open house

Ciara Wakita (Morning MBA 2016) at our 2015 Rotman Open House

Did you develop a strong network with your friends and faculty during the program? How was this beneficial?

Yes. I feel that when you are in the program, you become part of a league of professionals who all have a common understanding about what you know. You are surrounded by super smart and overachieving people and it’s cool to talk about ideas. I have three close friends in the program who are what I call my ‘board of directors’. When I need to make a professional (or personal) decision, I go to them for guidance.

How has attending the Rotman school and completing the Morning MBA impacted your career so far?

Almost everyone in my cohort switched either jobs or roles while in the program. Even I switched roles within the same company. Just by being part of the program you become a hotter commodity in the labour market.

What piece of advice could you give new incoming students and prospects for the Morning MBA at Rotman?

Do things your way. There are so many events and clubs at Rotman, it can be overwhelming at first! Don’t feel like you need to do everything. Join clubs and events that matter to you; be selective. Personally, I didn’t get involved in student life as much as others. I don’t feel that I missed out on anything. I did what worked for me.

Congratulations again and thank you for your reflections, Ciara!


If you’re interested to learn more about the Morning MBA, contact us, visit our website or sign up for an admissions event. We’d love to hear from you. 

 

Rotman Master of Finance: A Wealth of Surprises

Today is convocation day for the Rotman Master of Finance Class of 2016! Congratulations. Our newly graduated Rotman MFin Class of 2016 is now armed with a new way to think about finance and management that will transform their careers as finance leaders.

Morgan Pampe, MFin ’16, CFA is the class of 2016’s valedictorian. He was drawn to the program for career reasons. What came as a welcome surprise was the wealth of experiences that Rotman makes possible: the professors, the case competitions, the speaker series, and most of all, the friendships. Here is a conversation we recently had with him.

Morgan Pampe, MFin '17, CFA

Morgan Pampe, MFin ’17, CFA

How does it feel to be finally done?

It’s nice to have a lot more free time. And since the weather has improved, it’s doubly uplifting. However, I do miss coming back to Rotman because I made so many great friends here.

Something people don’t appreciate or understand about the Master of Finance program is the closeness of the friendships you form here. As the program is so intensive, you end up spending a lot of your free time at the School, working on challenges together. It’s like when you’re younger and you’re doing everything together at the cabin, or going on a canoe trip.  I really enjoyed that aspect, because I was a camper and I like that idea of closely bonding with people.

That was something you didn’t expect.

Like most people, I was drawn to the program for career reasons. With regards to that, it was the right choice. But I had no idea of how much I’d like everyone in class. There are people from all sorts of different backgrounds, in terms of the country they’re from, or their professional experience or education. You get great perspective on many different things. You’re all going through the same process of working and doing school, so there’s a lot of empathy. People are smart and ambitious, and there’s also a sense that we’re all in it together.

Aside from the friendships you made, what’s the biggest take away from your experience?

I couldn’t imagine how smart the professors would be. I’d learn something in, let’s say, John Hull’s or Peter Christoffersen’s class, and the next day I would be doing it at work and showing people. I would get some blank stares or head nods, and they’d be, “That’s good.  We’ve never done that before. Keep doing that.”  I got to see how worthwhile the program is in real time.

Coming out as a graduate, you feel confident in talking to anybody about their job or their line of business. If you don’t understand it, you know how to find out. The program gives you the tools and confidence to dig deeper.

 If you were to talk to someone just entering the program, what advice would you give?

I would point out that Rotman has so much to offer. The professors are great. There’s a wonderful stream of smart people and ideas and knowledge that flow through here. There’s an incredible speaker series that brings in heads of state, professionals and industry leaders to come and share their ideas.  There’s an incredible alumni network, and always someone willing to sit down and talk to you.

That said, the opportunity is fleeting. Time is passing. It’s up to you to have the discipline to constantly try to get as much out of it as possible.  It’s like a wet towel and you need to just squeeze as much as you can out.  How hard you’re willing to do that is in your hands.

Edited. Full conversation with Morgan can be found here.


Are you interested in investing in your career with the Rotman MFin? Contact us or visit our website for more information. We’d love to hear from you.

Classmates, friends, network for life

Network for life: Rotman MFins Jose Rivas, Wentao Jiang, Srijan Agrawal, Fotini Tolias (Academic Director), Michael Kristanto, Tony Zhuang, Tracy Chong, Christina Alexander, Chi Woong Hoh, Emile Givogue, Morgan Pampe

A fun night of connecting with Rotman classmates and friends (and winning a lot, apparently)! Master of Finance students at Charity Casino Night left to right: Jose Rivas, Wentao Jiang, Srijan Agrawal, Fotini Tolias (MFin Academic Director), Michael Kristanto, Tony Zhuang, Tracy Chong, Christina Alexander, Chi Woong Hoh, Emile Givogue, Morgan Pampe.

A network for life: that’s one of irreplaceable benefits that you can expect from being at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Classmates become lifelong friends who become the network that you can rely on throughout your career.

This March, the Graduate Business Council launched the inaugural Charity Casino Night, modelled after the Master of Finance program‘s traditional event. This year’s event brought together students, alumni, faculty and staff from all of the Rotman School’s master’s programs for a lively evening of fun, connection and raising proceeds for four charity partners.

Beyond the classroom, there are so many opportunities to develop your network for life here at Rotman. Here are a few examples of moments during your time at Rotman that could lead to your next great connection:

Remember that when choosing a graduate program, it’s also important to think about the community that will surround you. In the end, it’s this network that will make all the difference.


For more sneak peeks into some of our great events, keep reading our blog or visit our website.

Career growth in finance: reflections from a first class Rotman Master of Finance alumna

It’s incredibly inspiring to follow the career growth of our Rotman alumni. Recently, we got a chance to follow up with Krati Chhajer, MFin, CFA. She is an alumna from the inaugural Rotman Master of Finance class of 2009 and is currently a Director in Corporate Banking at CIBC.

Finance Career Growth: Krati Chhajer, MFin, CFA, Director, Corporate Banking, CIBC

Krati Chhajer, MFin, CFA, Director, Corporate Banking, CIBC

Thank you for taking the time to share your finance career story with us today! What made you first consider the Rotman Master of Finance program?

When I started to contemplate a graduate program, my options were endless. My credentials at the time were a Bachelor of Commerce degree with specialization in Finance and the CFA designation, with four years of work experience in capital markets.  I wasn’t looking for a career change but wanted to enhance my knowledge from the basic and intermediate foundation that were set.  First year MBA classes would have been repetitive with only second year offering the specialization that I was looking for.  I wanted to focus my immediate learning on quantitative skills with a deep dive on corporate structure and derivatives. The Rotman Master of Finance program offered these topics from day 1. Also, Rotman’s downtown location and vicinity to my workplace in the financial district was definitely attractive.

Has the Rotman MFin impacted your career in finance?

Definitely! I’d say that the critical thinking skills I learned had the biggest impact. The Master of Finance gave me the analytical skills to assess and understand how markets work, and to comprehend the theories and assumptions behind pricing and tail risk. The combination of critical thinking skills and learned knowledge affected how deep I could dig into my work.

All this being said, you have to evaluate for yourself what your finance background is and what the MFin program offers. At the end of the day, your MFin credentials will be compared to that of other masters’ programs. What will help is the incredibly deep finance knowledge you have gained from the program.

Tell us a bit about your professional journey.

Getting into the rotational program at Scotiabank with my MFin was a huge step, as I had rotations in corporate lending, market risk and economic capital – giving me the opportunity to see many aspects of the business. After completing the rotations, I took on a Senior Manager position in Global Risk Management with Scotiabank, where I adjudicated on trading lines to hedge fund counterparties. From there, I moved to Corporate Banking as a Director at CIBC, with a focus on non-bank financial institutions. I know the industry well, and have developed the technical skills with experience and with education – which helped me move effortlessly between these roles.

Krati, we know you’re a mom as well – any advice on balancing your career and home life?

I have two great kids who are three and five. I can’t say that I have all the answers on maintaining a good work/life balance all the time. You definitely have to stay on top of things. I have never held myself back because I am a mom but have acknowledged that having children does delay your career progression to some degree in the first few years. You do catch up, just don’t expect too much in the first five years with kids.

What I found really encouraging was listening to and meeting up one-on-one with other successful women with children. Hearing them talk about their experiences also helped to put the career and home balance into perspective.


If you’re interested to learn more about the Rotman Master of Finance program, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/MFin or contact us. Our next MFin application deadline is in April and we look forward to reviewing your application.

Tip: the earlier you apply, the greater your chance of an entrance award.

Passionate about a career in finance? This program is designed for you.

Passionate about finance and accelerating your career? The Master of Finance at the Rotman School of Management may be the perfect program for you. In our latest video, world renowned Professors of Finance John Hull and Peter Christoffersen give compelling reasons why this program will enrich your professional life.

The Rotman Master of Finance is designed for students who are already working in the financial industry. “The Rotman Master of Finance offers a deep focus on a broad set of finance topics, where the CFA is quite centered on money management. The learning style is very different as well,” says Lindsay Sinclair, CFA, an MFin alumna and Vice-President, Rates Sales at RBC Capital Markets. The depth and breadth of our curriculum will give you the finance fluency to make direct impact in your boardroom and your career.

This program will impact your career in two main ways:

First, by studying at the top finance school in Canada, you’ll have access to state of the art resources such as our finance lab and to world-class finance faculty strongly connected to industry. Often, the best schools will have ties with industry, creating a reciprocal feed of input and ideas. This is the case with Stanford and Silicon Valley, and it is also the case with Rotman and the financial industry in Toronto.

Second, this program only admits one cohort per year, which means that you’ll be taking courses with the same people and at the same time. This will allow you to build strong professional and personal relationships that will continue well beyond the duration of the program. At Rotman we have a highly active and engaged Master of Finance alumni network, often participating in events together with our current students. In this community you’ll share study notes, tips and advice and you’ll be able to grow together as professionals by sharing ideas and challenging each other to think.

There is simply no question that this program can help you achieve your goal to become a future finance leader.

Want to learn more about the program? Contact us or attend one of our upcoming events.

Energized to meet our prospective new students! Open House 2015 Recap

Rotman Open House 2015Rotman’s annual Open House on Saturday, October 17, 2015 was an energizing success! It is the Rotman School of Management’s biggest annual recruiting event where prospective students can get a feel of the quality of education at U of T, and also get a chance to chat with current students, alumni, faculty and recruiting and admissions staff to see which master’s program is the right fit.

Rotman Morning & Evening MBA students, alumni and staff ready to greet our Open House visitors.

Rotman Morning & Evening MBA students, alumni and staff ready to greet our Open House visitors.

6 programs were on showcase including the Morning & Evening MBA and Master of Finance for working professionals, plus our newest graduate program, Master of Financial Risk Management.

The school was already buzzing at the earliest part of the Open House during our Programs Fair. Student ambassadors, alumni and staff from each of the programs were on hand to give perspective and information. Prospective students also had a chance to tour the Rotman building.

Michael Hyatt on the set of Next Gen Den.

Michael Hyatt on the set of Next Gen Den.

Michael Hyatt, our keynote from the Next Gen Den, immediately followed with a dynamic presentation on Opportunity.

Rotman's Professor Peter ChristoffersenRotman's Professor Glen WhyteThe main events of Rotman’s annual Open House took place thereafter. There were information sessions on each of the master’s programs; sample classes like Professor Peter Christoffersen‘s class on New Techniques for Managing Market Risk; Professor Glen Whyte‘s case study illustrating Effective Negotiating ; round table discussions on women in business, and more sessions that truly gave a flavour of all that is available to students of the Rotman School of Management.

If you missed the Open House, there are still opportunities for you to connect with our admissions staff, and to find our more about the programs that interest you. Visit our website and keep an eye out for our next Morning & Evening MBA and Master of Finance admission events. We look forward to meeting you at one of our upcoming events!

6 Master’s programs to check out at Rotman’s Annual Open House

Rotman's Annual Open House. Join us October 17, 2015.

Rotman’s Annual Open House. Join us October 17, 2015.

Rotman’s Annual Open House is fast approaching! Come explore what Rotman has to offer by attending an information session, sampling a class, trying out our BMO Financial Group Finance and Trading Lab, and meeting current students and alumni.

This year, 6 Rotman Master’s programs will be showcased:

Make the most of it by planning your day in advance using the online schedule.

Michael Hyatt on the set of Next Gen Den.

Michael Hyatt on the set of Next Gen Den.

Latest news! Our keynote speaker is Michael Hyatt. He became a self-made millionaire at just 25, when he built two highly successful tech firms valued in the hundreds of millions. Today, he ranks as one of Canada’s top entrepreneurs, is a celebrated “Dragon” on CBC’s new online sensation Next Gen Den, and is a weekly Business Commentator on CBC News Network. Michael is also a Founding Partner at the Rotman School of Management Creative Destruction Lab, and on the CEO Board of Advisors at Georgian Partners. He is a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a recipient of the Top 40 Under 40™ Award and chairs his family’s charitable foundation.

Our Master’s admissions teams will be in attendance and available to answer any questions about our programs, the School, and application processes.

Register now and we’ll see you on October 17 at Rotman’s Annual Open House.

3 Job Search Tips from a Rotman MBA Grad

Students in our part-time MBA programs have access to a range of strong and efficient career services and tools during their time here at the Rotman School of Management. Dejan Knezevic is a recent graduate of our Rotman Evening MBA program for working professionals who also successfully navigated a job search while taking full advantage of our career services offerings. In this blog post, he gives us his top three pieces of job search advice.

Dejan Knezevic, MBA, Consultant, Cpco

Dejan Knezevic, MBA, Consultant, Capco

Name: Dejan Knezevic, MBA
Current title and company: Consultant at Capco
Former title and company: Vice-President, National Sales at Spartan Fund Management

1. Leverage your Rotman Morning & Evening MBA Career Services’ career coaches, tools and resources

Students in the Rotman Morning & Evening MBA programs have access to a wide range of career services. I found career coaching for behavioural interviews crucial if you are looking to move your career in a different direction. Additionally, I strongly encourage everyone to leverage the many online tools and videos that are available to you through Rotman’s career services. As an example, this is an online seminar that will teach you a very effective framework to help you become much more efficient during your job search.

2. Network

I cannot stress how important this is; take the opportunity meet both alumni and non-alumni. The more you network, the better you will become at it. You will definitely get better at asking the right questions over time. As I went through this process, I learned quickly that meeting multiple people from one organization will give you a good feel for the culture of that organization, which is hugely important.

3. Preparation is key

The job search is a consuming process. Take advantage of Rotman’s career services to guide you through it. Make sure that you have a focused, tailored approach that will allow you to be effective in pursuing organizations and industries that you are truly interested in.

Rotman Morning MBA Alumni Field Tests Talking Stickers with Children and Parents in India

On-the-ground update: Team Attollo has landed in Hyderabad, India and is in the midst of actively field testing their Talking Stickers concept that involves a small hand-held device.

Piloting Talking Stickers concept in Hyderabad, India.

Piloting Talking Stickers concept in Hyderabad, India.

The ultimate goal of Attollo Social Enterprise is to improve the vocabulary and communication skills for children in underdeveloped areas around the world. They won the Hult Prize regional finals in Dubai in March with their Talking Stickers idea, and the U of T quarter finals previous to that. Today, they are field testing their concept and preparing for the finals in September that would result in US $1 million to the winning team. The Hult Prize is a competition designed to help launch the ‘most compelling social business ideas’ and to ‘solve the world’s toughest challenges’.

Lak Chinta, one of the four co-founders of Attollo dropped us a few lines yesterday to share their progress so far.

“We are into day five of our field tests. We are finally getting to see progress of parents from urban slums learning with the device, and are engaging children curious to scan and playback sounds. It’s very encouraging.

Parents engaging in field tests for Talking Stickers in Hyderabad, India.

Parents engaging in field tests for Talking Stickers in Hyderabad, India.

Children interacting with Talking Stickers during field tests in Hyderabad, India.

Children interacting with Talking Stickers during field tests in Hyderabad, India.

“We will be meeting last year’s Hult Prize winner NanoHealth this afternoon to understand their slum operations and to observe the community in the same city.

“In the coming week, we will be meeting the local press and government officials as well to discuss and to spread word of our work.”

Welcome to India, Attollo!

Welcome to India, Attollo!

Chinta, his colleagues Jamie Austin, Aisha Bukhari and Peter Cinat met as students while studying in the Rotman Morning MBA program for working professionals. We’re so proud of their social innovation and dedication to improving the lives of children in impoverished communities. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for their updates, and cheering them on as they continue their field tests in Hyderabad and in Mombasa, Kenya later this summer.

All photos courtesy of Attollo Social Enterprise. Follow their progress on Twitter.

 

Rotman Master of Finance Soccer Champions (Again)!

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Last year, Rotman Master of Finance students and alumni won the inaugural friendly GTA MFin soccer match. On Sunday, June 14, at Glendon College, we repeated our success!  In the first game, we beat Queens 1:0 and, in the final game, we won 4:1 against York.

We are the champions for the second time in a row! Congratulations and thanks to all for a fun and energetic day!

MFin & Morning and Evening MBA Graduates Celebrate Their Success

 

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Congratulations Class of 2015! Our Recruitment & Admissions team congratulate you on your hard work over the past 2-3 years. You’ve juggled countless assignments and multiple priorities in your home and work life, all for this moment. We hope that our part-time programs have allowed you to pursue your career aspirations without sacrificing your daily responsibilities. We are certain that you will continue to inspire and lead in the workforce just as you have done during your time at Rotman. We can’t wait to see what successes the future will bring you!

 

 

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.

Impact and Intiative at Rotman

This post is an excerpt of an original post from the Rotman Admissions Blog (Full-Time MBA).

On Monday February 2nd  the Women in Management Association (WIMA) student club at Rotman launched the annual WIMA Top 10 gathered to celebrate the achievements of Rotman alumnae.

In the following categories we recognized 10 women who have made outstanding contributions in their field:

  • Business Industry
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Professional Services
  • Public Services
  • Social Impact
WIMA Top 10 Award Winners with Dean Tiff Macklem

WIMA Top 10 Award Winners with Dean Tiff Macklem

How did this all come about? Fourteen years ago, two women saw a gap in women in leadership at the school and decided to do something about it and founded WIMA. Fast forward to today, the WIMA executive saw a gap in recognizing and celebrating the many achievements of our female alumni and WIMA Top10 was born.

This type of leadership is natural for Rotman students; see a ‘problem’, take initiative, and solve it. When we review future applicants to the program we look for the same things. Where in your life have you seen a gap, an issue, or a problem and done something about it? A work example, an extracurricular example, even a personal one all count. The theory goes, if you’re wired this way to have an impact in one area in your life, the likelihood is that you will do it again and again.

Impact is an emerging theme at Rotman. Our Dean Tiff Macklem recently wrote that his vision for the next 5 years is focusing on this very thing. We’ve spent the last number of years with a phenomenal growth story, now we’re turning that into a growth and impact story. Our impact story is the impact of Rotman graduates around the world measured by their success in leading companies, starting companies, the value and jobs they create, the businesses they reinvent and the leadership they provide in society. Additionally, we mean the impact of Rotman thinking and scholarship at management and board tables around the world.

Start thinking about your impact story. Your resume, references, essays are all great ways to signal ways you’ve taken initiative and had an impact.


Our Winter Morning & Evening MBA application deadline closes on February 15, 2015 and we would love to see in your application your impact thus far in your life.

The earlier you apply, the greater your chance of an entrance award. For more tips on submitting a powerful application, review our post on “Inside Scoop on the Professional MBA Application“.

Back-to-Back Top Honours with CFA Master of Finance Ethics Challenge

For the second year in a row, a Rotman MFin team won the CFA Master of Finance Ethics Challenge. Congratulations to the Rotman MFin team of Roger Brown, Mahtab Faruqui, Sheng Fei and Michael Szaura!

Rotman winners of 2015 CFA Master of Finance Ethics Challenge Michael Szaura, Sheng Fei, Mahtab Faruqui and Roger Brown.

Left to right: Rotman winners of 2015 CFA Master of Finance Ethics Challenge Michael Szaura, Sheng Fei, Mahtab Faruqui and Roger Brown.

Planted last year as a result of a conversations between the Rotman, Schulich and Queen’s Master of Finance programs, the 2015 second annual ethics challenge saw MFin teams from the three schools again competing for top honours.

Case competitions like this is an incredible way to take theory beyond the classroom. “Presenting my work to my classmates was a good first step. That is because the answer was not simply A, B or C,” says Michael. “And this time I got to present my analysis to the president of the CFA Society. ”

Sheng continues, “All my team members signed up immediately after I pitched the case competition. All of us believe strongly in the value of ethics education, and the importance of promoting the highest ethical standards in the investment profession. As financial professionals we are faced with ethical dilemmas on a daily basis and this competition helped us sharpen our tool kit to analyze and resolve ethical situations effectively.

“We received tremendous support from the Rotman family. The faculty and staff are extraordinarily supportive and resourceful. We owe much of our success to the fantastic coaching from both last year’s winning team (Tony Chan, Akshat Gupta and Angel Liu) and two highly accomplished MFin alumni (Miranda Fong and William Cheng). The team worked extremely hard and we are very proud to have brought back the top honour once again to Rotman.”

We’re delighted with the team’s win and are looking forward to next year’s challenge.


If you’re interested to learn more about the Rotman Master of Finance program, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/MFin.

Contact us for more information or to start your MFin September 2015. You may also contact Breanna Brooks, Assistant Director of Admissions directly. We would love to meet with you!

Congratulations to winners of the Hult Prize at U of T

It is with great pride that we congratulate our Hult Prize at U of T quarterfinal winners. Team Attollo is made up of current Rotman Morning MBA students and an alumnus: Lak Chinta, Aisha Bukhari and Peter Cinat.

Hult Prize at U of T winners 2014

Left to right: Rotman Morning MBA alumnus Peter Cinat, Rotman Morning MBA candidates Aisha Bukhari and Lak Chinta

“In the Hult Prize competition, teams of students from around the world develop ideas for social enterprises to solve global challenges. The 2015 challenge, co-sponsored by Hult International Business School and the Clinton Global Initiative, is to develop a business plan to deliver early childhood education for marginalized children.”[1]

The three students will now go on to represent U of T at the Regional Finals in March 2015. The winners of the regional will compete for US$1 million in funding to start-up their social enterprise.

It’s not the first time this team has worked and won a competition together. In 2013, they won the $100,000 to prize in the Manulife Entry to Asia Challenge. Their personal accomplishments are impressive and each member brings his or her own passion and experience for a winning combination. Lak has a PhD in Neuroscience with over 12 years’ experience in research, engineering, healthcare, entrepreneurship and direct experience from living and working with urban slums communities in India. Peter comes from a computer engineering background with over 11 years of experience working on strategic problems in the technology space with global clients. Aisha has her Masters in Engineering, expertise developing innovative solutions in the energy sector and brings her public-sector experience to the team. For more details about their win and an interview with Peter, visit this U of T news article.

Good luck to an outstanding team. We’re very proud of your accomplishments.


[1] Meet the winners of Hult Prize at U of T; next stop, regional rounds ǀ last accessed 17/12/2014
Image: Facebook

Powerhouse Mix & Mingle: Annual Rotman MFin Casino Night

Every year, the Rotman Master of Finance program organizes the popular Rotman MFin Casino Night Mix and Mingle. It’s a fabulous opportunity for current MFin students, alumni, faculty and staff to meet together for a fun and casual night. Current students take the opportunity to meet their seniors, alumni touch base with friends made during their time at Rotman, and faculty mix and mingle with all.

Check out photos from our last Rotman MFin Casino Night Mix and Mingle on Thursday, November 6, 2014.

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Powerful Network, Friends for Life. Conversations with a Rotman MFin alumna [Part IV of IV]

Wen Lei, Rotman MFin

Wen Lei, MFin, CFA

In the fourth and final installment of our wide-ranging conversation with Rotman Master of Finance class of 2014 alumna, Wen Lei, CFA, Manager, Asset and Liability Management at Manulife Financial, shares her thoughts about the friendships she formed, the calibre of her classmates and her final thoughts on the MFin program. Remember to check out part I, II and III of our conversations.

Congratulations on graduating this June! Now that you’re no longer in the classroom together, do you still keep in touch with your fellow MFin alumni?

Definitely. We still hang out. Recently, one of us sent an invitation to everyone for a poker night. So everyone’s still in contact.

We went through the fire together so to speak, so there’s a kind of camaraderie there. The Rotman MFin classes are small as well so you’re able to talk to most of the people. It’s easier to make friends.

In my class, it’s funny, most of the people sat in the same spot through the whole program. So on my left was Andre. On my right was Jim. We had a pretty good dynamic.

I have to say that I learned a lot from both of them. Especially Andre. He really pushed me.

How did he push you?

He knew that I like to talk but that I’m not good at presentations or speaking in front of the class. We were in a career workshop with Heather-Anne Irwin. We had to do a one minute elevator speech, introduce yourself kind of thing. She asked for volunteers to come up and give a speech to the class. And Andre said, “Wen wants to go!” I didn’t want to go!

I did alright. Afterwards I thought, if it wasn’t because he pushed me so hard, I wouldn’t have done it.

That’s really great to hear. We always talk about how we have this powerful network. It’s great that it’s more than formal ‘networking for work’ – it’s also about gaining friendships. You really do help each other out.

Friendship - Rotman MFin Class of 2014

Friendship – Rotman MFin Class of 2014

Yes. Like Jim, he’s in a very senior position in a bank. Last year I set myself a goal to do something out of my comfort zone. So I booked informal meetings with some of the portfolio managers or senior VPs in Manulife. I would ask Jim for advice about what kind of questions I should ask, what I should talk about. He’s in that position. So I assumed he knew how I could make the most of my time with them. He helped me out, he talked to me about it. The outcome was pretty good.

I have another example of the class helping each other out. In our class, we had a lot of babies. That is, at least five of the guys became new dads during the MFin program! After they had children, we understood that they may not have as much time as before to do assignments, so the other group members will take more on. We actually did it without talking about it.

Clearly, the relationships you’ve built in the MFin program really means a lot to you. Is there anything else that stood out to you about the program? 

A Powerful Network - Rotman MFin Class of 2014

A Powerful Network – Rotman MFin Class of 2014

People do ask me about the MFin program, and I always tell them that there are three major benefits you can get from the MFin.

One, you get the best professors in finance in Canada. They’re not just the best, they’re approachable. If you have questions, they never delay replying to your emails. You can always reach them. A few of my teachers are women who are also in the industry. They really inspired me.

My classmates were also very inspiring. I truly appreciated the calibre of the class. My peers come from all areas in the finance field. In our class we had traders, sales, risk management and accounting. I‘m more like asset management and accounting. For people who are relatively new to the field and are reevaluating what to do with their career, you can get a lot of advice.  You can talk to a lot of people and see what each job is like. Plus, not only do you meet people, you make friends. And those are life time friends actually.

The third benefit that I tell people is that you definitely learn a lot from the program. It’s much deeper than the CFA. I actually applied a lot of the theories from the risk management and portfolio management courses in my work right away. For example, I was able to apply the maple bond concepts that we learned in our applied fixed income class immediately. At the time, I was working with Canadian portfolio management. We were considering issuing long term treasury because there was a lot of demand for it. I talked to Fotini (Tolias) about it and she actually helped me with the proposal I made. Now, sometimes my manager at work will come to me with questions.

One of two Rotman MFin finalist teams of the 2013 National Investment Banking Competition in Vancouver. (L-R) Raymond Lam, Wen Lei, Iffat Kashif, Jiten Mistry.

One of two Rotman MFin finalist teams of the 2013 National Investment Banking Competition in Vancouver. (L-R) Raymond Lam, Wen Lei, Iffat Kashif, Jiten Mistry.

The curriculum really is practical and so on point. Portfolio management was an awesome class. One of my class group mates is a trader at BMO and we talked about trading ideas. I started a trading account, and started managing my parents’ pension fund. I started last June; year-to-date, I have a return of 25%. My group’s balanced fund was the top performer and we received an award for that.

Thank you so much for all your insight into your time here at Rotman!

You’re very welcome.


If you’re interested to learn more about the Rotman Master of Finance program, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/mfin.

Contact us for more information or to start your MFin September 2015. You may also contact Breanna Brooks, Assistant Director of Admissions directly. We would love to meet with you!

A Woman in Finance on Balance, Discipline & Support: Conversations with a Rotman MFin Alumna [Part III of IV]

What is it like to study part-time while working full-time in the finance industry? In part 3 of 4 of our wide-ranging conversation with Rotman Master of Finance alumna, Wen Lei, CFA, Manager, Asset and Liability Management at Manulife Financial, she shares her personal experiences with getting it all done. Remember to check out part I and II of our conversations.

Wen Lei, Rotman MFin

Wen Lei, MFin, CFA

What’s the lifestyle for you as a woman in finance?

It’s busy, I like it. A lot it is about your personality and what you want to do career-wise and in your personal life. For me, I feel anxious if I’m not doing anything. For example, this year, work was pretty heavy. I worked with Manulife Hong Kong and Japan, so I was always on calls at eight in the morning, eight o’clock at night. Then school in the last semester was crazy. I also had a wedding in May. In February, I completed my group fitness certificate as a personal trainer. If it wasn’t for exercise, I wouldn’t have energy for all those things.

That’s a lot! Let’s talk about your strategy for juggling these different areas in your life. One of the big questions that people pose about part-time programs is how to balance, work, family and study at the same time.

The thing is, I don’t think I’m the best student in class. My approach is to separate work and school. During the week, I focused on work. Some people have time here and there to do assignments and stuff. But because of my work schedule, I’m constantly working overtime. The 8AM/8PM calls mean that I wouldn’t have time during the week to do assignments unless I really had to. I devote my time 100% to school on the weekends. I’m always kind of playing catch up. We have class on Wednesday nights, Saturdays, and sometimes Saturday and Sunday. I definitely devote those days mostly to assignment and readings. I make sure that I get whatever I need done, done.

I’m not a super woman either, so I can’t do everything at once. You have to give up something. So I had to see my friends less frequently. I didn’t really go out all that much during my studies. The only time I really go out is after class on Saturday. I’ll go out for a drink with friends or classmates. And I’ll make sure I don’t over indulge to the point where I have a hangover the next day because that would waste my whole day. You really have to be disciplined.

During the MFin program, I got a lot of support. My family, my husband. And also classmates. They’re your motivators.

[Laughs] For my wedding, I was able to push much of it to my husband. He did a lot.

So it sounds like you really have to be dedicated to achieving what you want – and studying while working full-time is possible.

Well, for the Rotman MFin program, it’s part-time, so the school understands you’re not going to be 100% at school. The curriculum is structured in a way so that all the work is very doable.

The thing is, you’re paying good money for your education and advancement. It all depends on what you want out of this program. I’m sure some people may just go through the motions or even miss classes. You paid for this. You should definitely get as much out it as possible.


If you’re interested to learn more about the Rotman Master of Finance program, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/mfin.

Contact us for more information or to start your MFin this September. This time next year you’ll be half way towards achieving your degree.  You may also contact Fiona Duley, Assistant Director of Admissions directly. We would love to meet with you!

How is the Rotman Master of Finance (MFin) different from the CFA?

How is the Rotman Master of Finance (MFin) different from the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation? 

It’s a question that we are frequently asked by prospective students like yourself who are looking to accelerate your finance career with the Rotman Master of Finance.

To answer this, we turned to one of our MFin alumna to get her perspective in her own words.

Lindsay Sinclair, MFin, CFA

Lindsay Sinclair, MFin, CFA, Vice-President, Rates Sales, RBC Capital Markets

“The Rotman Master of Finance offers a deep focus on a broad set of finance topics, where the CFA is quite centered on money management. The learning style is very different as well. The MFin is classroom and team-work based which allows for interaction with professors, industry professionals and other classmates, who are often well-versed in their specific areas of finance. Plus, there are many other benefits of a Rotman graduate program – networking, career services for working professionals, being at the forefront of the latest industry research, industry events and conferences, case competitions, etc.”

Lindsay Sinclair, MFin, CFA
Vice-President, Rates Sales, RBC Capital Markets

What those seriously looking into the program should know is that the Rotman MFin curriculum supplements and extends beyond that of CFA and other professional finance designations. Typically 50% of our class has at minimum passed the CFA level I examination. The Rotman MFin is a program that’s designed to help you to become a future finance leader. The breadth and depth of finance knowledge that Ms. Sinclair mentions above translates into an ability to master the diverse languages of finance – from risk management, fixed income, investments to corporate finance. You’ll also have access to world-renowned faculty such as Professor John Hull, who is the world’s leading expert in derivatives, options and risk management.

Professor John Hull

Rotman Master of Finance: Professor John Hull

We recognize the dedication and foundational finance knowledge gained with a CFA designation, which is why the Rotman MFin program accepts your CFA level 3 exam passed in lieu of the Graduate Masters Admissions Test (GMAT). For those who have recently passed their CFA level 3 examination, congratulations again and we hope you’re ready for your next challenge with the Rotman MFin!

Bonus: Did you know that the Rotman MFin itself qualifies as a Continuing Education (CE) activity for CFA charter holders?

Talk to us if you have any questions about starting the Rotman Master of Finance. Our Master of Finance Assistant Director of Admissions, Emily Mancuso would love to hear from you! Simply fill out this contact form with your information.

An MBA post-mortem from a real estate guy

Brandon Donnelly is a real estate developer, internet entrepreneur, blogger and Rotman MBA alumnus.

As a recent graduate of Rotman’s Morning MBA program (and presumably because somebody over there reads my blog), I was asked to write a guest post for their MBA blog. More specifically, I was asked to share my thoughts on the real estate industry and on my time at Rotman. And since I haven’t really done a post like this before, I thought it would be worthwhile to do.

My city pt 2 by JR F

But before I begin, I think it’s important to explain a bit about my background and my motivations for doing an MBA in the first place. Before going to Rotman, my first master’s degree was in architecture and real estate from the University of Pennsylvania. Basically it was a Master of Architecture combined with their MBA real estate concentration. So it included everything from real estate finance to real estate development.

Having already done this 3-year program, there were a couple of things I wanted out of an MBA program. First of all, I wasn’t prepared to go full-time. Five years out of the workforce was simply too high of an opportunity cost for me and so part-time was all I considered. I also only applied to Rotman because I didn’t want to waste anytime traveling outside of the city (or to other parts of the city). I also saw Rotman as a rising star and one of, if not the, best option in Canada.

At the same time, I didn’t give much thought to the real estate curriculum being offered even though I fully planned to stay working in the real estate industry. I felt like I already had that sort of formal training and so, unlike some of my classmates who were looking to switch into real estate, I was after something else. I ended up majoring in Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

What I was trying to do was really round out my skillset and fill in some of the missing holes: accounting, marketing, and so on. But even more importantly, I had drunk the kool-aid around Rotman’s focus on integrative thinking (renamed “business problem solving”) and “design thinking”. And since there will always be a part of me that thinks of itself as a designer, it seemed like the perfect program for me.

Because at the end of the day, it’s not that hard to learn how to create a real estate development pro forma or calculate your expected exit cap rate on some piece of real estate. That stuff is all fairly mechanical. It might seem quite mythical when you don’t know how to do it, but once you do, you quickly realize that a financial model is only as good as the assumptions you put in. As we’re told in school, garbage in = garbage out.

The real value gets created in the assumptions. It’s created in the way you think about the market, your product, and your customers. And a lot of the time, the most value is created when you know or believe something that nobody else believes to be true. If you’re a lemming, you’re going to get lemming like returns and outcomes. So in a lot of ways, I went to Rotman to help me think better and think differently.

In some industries, resting on your laurels can kill you in a relatively short period of time. See Blackberry. Real estate, on the other hand, is generally a bit slower moving. But that doesn’t mean that change doesn’t happen and that there isn’t room for loads of innovation.

Just look at the Toronto of today versus the Toronto of 10-15 years ago. We’ve transformed ourselves into a city of high-rises where more and more people now want to live in the core of the city. This has brought commercial landlords back to the city center so that employers have downtown office space to attract the best human capital (see South Core) and it’s brought suburban retailers into the core to sell to these same urbanites. We’re seeing a complete reversal of the trends experienced with the last generation.

Amidst all of this, I’ve been noticing a growing awareness and passion around cities. My blog Architect This City started as a forum for architects, planners, and developers, but it has grown into a community of thousands of people who simply love cities. They’re passionate about everything from architecture to grade-separated bike lanes (as geeky as that probably sounds).

So I think that it’s not only the real estate market that’s changing, but also the professions involved with it. I’ve written a lot about the future of the architecture profession because I think we’re starting to see the emergence of new business models. Architects are becoming developers and developers are starting to become much more heavily involved in the shaping of the communities in which they build. Which is why in many ways, I think of my self as a city builder more than anything else.

Finally, to make matters even more complicated, technology is starting to have a huge impact on the business. Zillow.com just bought Trulia.com for $3.5 billion to form a portal that will now serve around 1/4 of the online US residential market. And Opendoor.com is getting ready to launch a product that seems entirely poised to disrupt the way homes are bought and sold in America.

So what I’m getting at is that there’s absolutely no guarantee that the way we used to do something, is the way we’re going to continue doing it. In fact, I operate under the assumption that everything can and will be changed by somebody at some point. And if this is the way you approach things, then it should become abundantly clear to you that being able think critically is going to be one of your most important assets.

When I was just starting at Rotman, I met for lunch with an upper year classmate who told me that one of the best things he’s taken away from the program is the ability to think about the way he thinks. That may sound silly to some, but in our uncertain world, it’s actually a great skill to have.

Image: Flickr

Why the Rotman MFin? Conversations with a Rotman MFin alumna [Part II of IV]

Have a peek at what one alumna’s journey to the Rotman Master of Finance was like. We sat down with Wen Lei, CFA, Manager, Asset and Liability Management at Manulife Financial and recent Rotman MFin alumna for a wide-ranging conversation on her career, influences and the Rotman MFin program. This post is the second in a four-part series. Check out her first post and stay tuned for the following posts!

Wen Lei, Rotman MFin

Wen Lei, MFin, CFA

How did you find about the Rotman MFin? You finished your undergrad in 2006 and started the MFin in 2012. What did you do in the 6 years in between?

The first time that I heard about the MFin was in 2007 while I was working at CIBC in risk management. It’s actually also the year that the MFin program launched. I had 2 co-workers at CIBC in my department at the time who took the MFin, one of them in the inaugural year and the other the year after.

At the time, I had just graduated from university, and was still in a junior role. I was taking my CFA, so I was hoping to finish that before pursuing a Master’s degree.

I had already kind of planned out my career path; what I want to accomplish by what age. My goal was that by age 30, I have to finish all my formal schooling.

Anyway, I worked at CIBC for a couple of years before I switched over to TD where I continued with my CFA. In terms of work, I did pretty well at TD. I was promoted directly to manager from analyst, so I didn’t have to go through the additional step of senior analyst.

The opportunity at Manulife came along when as my former boss reached out to me. I thought it was a good move. So I took it. At the same time, I also became a CFA charter holder. That was when I looked seriously at doing either an MFin or an MBA.

Right away?

Yes, right away. I had that goal to finish everything before 30! My advice is for people to really know what they want and to take the steps to work towards it.

What made you decide on the MFin vs an MBA?

I was already a people manager – I had managed a staff of eight. I knew I wanted to be in finance. Like a lot of my peers in class, I wanted to learn something deeper specific to finance. The MFin was definitely the way to go for me.

Also, I compared the three programs in the city. There are only 3 schools that offered the MFin in Toronto. One is geared towards people who wanted to finish their CFA program, another is a full-time program. And I looked at U of T. It does charge the most, but you got these fantastic, stellar professors.

The Rotman MFin is part-time, has amazing professors, and the location is right where I needed to be. Classes are small, which is what I wanted. I had fun. I got to know a lot of smart people in class, which proved that I made the right choice.


If you’re interested to learn more about the Rotman Master of Finance program, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/mfin.

Apply to start your MFin this September. This time next year you’ll be half way towards achieving your degree. Merit based entrance awards are available.  Contact us with any questions.

What’s it like as a woman in finance? Conversations with a Rotman MFin alumna [Part I of IV]

Wen Lei, Rotman MFin

Wen Lei, MFin, CFA

What is it like as a woman in finance? We caught up with Wen Lei, CFA, Manager, Asset and Liability Management at Manulife Financial and recent Rotman Master of Finance alumna for a wide-ranging conversation on her career, influences and the Rotman MFin program. This post is the first in a four part series. Stay tuned!

How did you choose finance for your career?

In my undergraduate studies, I had an excellent instructor, Karen Chiykowski. She was very influential in my finance career choice.

Were you interested in finance before?

No. I had no idea what I wanted to do exactly. Truthfully, I just thought that I wanted a business degree because of the job options. You had a few fields to choose from. More than half of the students went into accounting. I had no interest in accounting at all. I did quite terribly actually. I think it was my only C+. I hated it! I liked finance the best. Karen was really good. She motivated me and definitely kicked off my interest in the area. It’s not 100% just numbers; you have the quantitative and qualitative aspects at the same time.

There are relatively few women in the finance industry. Thoughts?

I don’t feel disadvantaged at all, especially in Toronto. My boss is a woman. I had a couple of women mentors. In school we had female professors, a lot of whom had also been practitioners in the industry.

I think a lot of women go into other fields by choice. Traditionally, we might look at ourselves as better in literature, psychology, not necessarily in math nor science.

What character do you need to succeed in finance?

You have to be able to compete in finance. You have to be hard-working. You have to be driven. You have to be motivated all the time. Particularly in Toronto, we have more CFA charter holders than New York! Everyone works hard to get in to get a good job. You just have to be very assertive about yourself. Very self-motivated.

Would you have any advice for women thinking about going to finance?

Find yourself a mentor. Join some sort of organization. For example, Women in Capital Markets is very good. Having a good mentor is important. I mentor some people too. Right now, I’m in a formal mentorship through WCM as an “apprentice”. Actually, my mentor is also a Rotman MFin alumna who graduated in 2012.

What value do you find in a mentor?

I find women very supportive. Most mentors have more experience than you. For example, my mentor has been in the industry for more than 15 years. She has a pretty good career path. She did the Rotman MFin. You’ll find commonalities with your mentor. You’ll also learn about their career path, their experience, how they get to where they are right now. You learn from that. And, if you have issues or problems or questions, maybe they can help. Maybe they have had the same experience or puzzle before. They’ll help give you some kind of solution or insight that could be useful.


If you’re interested to learn more about the Rotman Master of Finance program, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/mfin.

Apply to start your MFin this September. This time next year you’ll be half way towards achieving your degree. Contact us with any questions.

Street credibility, competitive leverage: Rotman Master of Finance

From real estate finance to corporate credit and risk. Rotman Master of Finance alumna Miranda Fong shares how the MFin gave her the street credibility and competitive leverage to differentiate herself among a very competitive pool of candidates.

The Rotman MFin program takes place over 20-months. Apply by August 15, 2014 to start your MFin this September. This time next year you’ll be half way towards achieving your degree. Merit based entrance awards are available. Contact us with any questions.

3 alumni reveal top reasons for pursuing the Rotman Master of Finance

Time flies when you’re focused on your career, and having fun doing it. In a throwback Thursday kind of moment, 3 recent Rotman Master of Finance alumni, still students during filming, share their top reasons for pursuing the program.

Featured alumni:
Kedar Rindani, MFin, CA l Manager, Wealth Management Finance, TD Bank
Andre C. Lewis, MFin, CFA l Assistant Treasurer, PC Bank
Lindsay Sinclair, MFin, CFA l Vice-President, Rates Sales, RBC Capital Markets


The Rotman MFin program takes place over 20-months. Apply by the August 15, 2014 deadline to start your MFin this September, and graduate by May 2016. Entrance awards are $5,000 – $20,000. Contact us with any questions.

5 strengths of the Rotman Master of Finance

Practical. Real-world. Solid finance faculty. Reputation. Location. Rotman MFin alumna Sandy Lam, MFin, CPA, CA, CFA, Associate, Sales & Trading and Investment Banking Rotational Program at National Bank Financial shares sound bites on why she chose the Rotman Master of Finance program.

 

In his own words: Dallas Gray, Morning MBA

Dallas Gray, MBA '13

Dallas Gray, MBA ’13, Associate, Sales and Trading, TD Securities

“Rotman’s central location was perfect for me. Since I work downtown on Bay Street, I appreciate being able to attend class and gain valuable insights before heading into the office each morning.”

~ Dallas Gray, MBA ’13, Associate, Sales and Trading, TD Securities on the Rotman Morning MBA