Tag Archives: Case Competitions

How Nastassia Bukina juggles work and the Evening MBA

Nastassia Bukina is an accomplished professional living and working downtown Toronto. This year, she made the decision to apply for Rotman’s Evening MBA program in order to earn her degree part-time while continuing to work. During the application process, all of our applicants are automatically considered for entrance awards, and Natassia’s application was particularly outstanding. She is one of four winners of a Forte Fellowship Award, part of one million dollars in entrance awards available to Rotman Morning & Evening MBA students. We sat down to talk to her about the experience so far.

People decide to earn an MBA for a variety of reasons. With Nastassia’s background in engineering and business, she already had experience with problem solving and analytical challenges, but she needed something more. “I felt like I had a gap in strategic thinking and leadership. I thought I could either learn these skills organically on the job or I could fast-track and learn through an MBA program.”

Nastassia Bukina, Rotman Evening MBA student

Nastassia Bukina, Rotman Evening MBA student

Classes in the Morning & Evening MBAs take place two days a week, either before work from 7-8:59 am or after work in the evening from 6:30-8:30 pm in downtown Toronto. That format was very appealing to Nastassia. “One major benefit of this program is that you are able to continue working and study during your mornings or evenings. That way everything you learn in the classroom can be taken back to work the next day. Or vice versa!”

It’s not just the timing of the classes that appealed, though. Each MBA class is made up of talented, accomplished professionals from a wide range of industries. When asked about the most rewarding part of the program so far, she was quick to point to her exceptional classmates. “We have an amazing group. We’re very social and there is true camaraderie in our group. When things go well we all celebrate together. On the flip side, if we’re in the middle of exams everyone is very helpful –  a classmate actually hosted a tutorial session for the group once. Everyone is very supportive and that makes it a lot easier.”  Her new network of professionals from different backgrounds helps Nastassia get the most out of her degree, but they’re also helpful back at work, too. “If you’re having trouble at work you have tremendous resources at school that you can use to bounce ideas off of; people who might have more insights into an area you’re not familiar with.”

Earning an MBA while you work is relevant and rewarding, but it’s also a lot of hard work. “It is what you make of it,” Nastassia said. “I think to get the most benefit out of the program you have to be involved. Make connections with your classmates and participate in class. There are a lot of clubs and case competitions that are offered at Rotman.” Case competitions allow students to test their skills and knowledge in real-time. “I’m working on a few case competitions at the moment. It’s an interesting contrast to things we learn in class and is a great opportunity to work with your classmates to apply theoretical concepts to real life scenarios.”

If you’ve been considering applying for Rotman’s Morning MBA or Evening MBA programs, Nastassia has some parting wisdom. “What I found to be most helpful was coming to Rotman and seeing what it’s like for myself. Talk to admissions, go to coffee chats, attend an actual class, and talk to current students and alumni.”

You can learn more about Rotman’s Morning & Evening MBAs here.

Rotman Evening MBA’s Impact on a Healthcare Professional

Healthcare professionals find the depth and breadth of management knowledge, and the flexibility of Rotman’s Morning & Evening MBA programs particularly attractive. In today’s guest blog post, current Evening MBA student and healthcare professional Jia Inacio shares her experience so far in the program, and why the Rotman MBA works for her.

Jia Inaco, MBA '17

Jia Inacio, MBA ’17, MRT(R)

“I completed my Bachelor’s education specialised in Radiation Sciences at the University of Toronto. Currently I am working in Princess Margaret as a Breast Cancer Imaging Expert. My work is involves imaging guided breast cancer detection and diagnosis. I take pride in helping women, addressing their personal concerns, as well as providing timely treatment.

“My days are often from 8 am to 4 pm with slight variations. Unlike many other clinicians who may have to work in shifts, mine are fairly fixed. On my own time, I enjoy learning and self-improvement, which led me to pursue several professional development courses and the UHN emerging leaders program. At the same time, I seriously looked into master’s programs that would be a right fit for my career goals.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

“I knew I wanted to keep working as I pursued further education because keeping my professional skill and experience fresh was important to me. Also, I love the tangible impact I am making battling breast cancer.

Reputation, convenient location, doable schedule and powerful network

Welcome to the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

Welcome to the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

“Rotman’s part-time MBA degree is an attractive option due to its reputation, convenient location, and outstanding alumni network. Having met a couple of Rotman alumni, and encouraged by my husband, I decided to apply to the part-time MBA program. The evening MBA program appeals to me, because it fits around my work schedule. I can work, go to school, and still have my weekends. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I’d finish at Princess Margaret, get home quickly to my little puppy, and then walk over to Rotman for class by 6:30pm. Most times, I’d be home around 9 or 9:30pm, and be able to have a late dinner before heading to bed.

“My classmates are one of the best parts of my Rotman experience. I have classmates who work in finance, IT, telecom, aerospace and so on. I get to discuss ideas with fresh new perspective all the time. In the beginning, I had doubt in my ability to compete in this elite group. However, I found that we are all aiming for the same goal: to get better together and to seek knowledge, which makes this education experience great. Learning aside, I have made great friends along the way.

Beyond the classroom

“Outside of the regular school schedule, I am also a member in two student societies. Last year, I was able to participate in a case competition. My goal for the next year is to take on more projects as well as to join more case competitions.

“The benefit of choosing to do my MBA at Rotman is already shining through. I find that I can often apply what I have learned in the classroom into work and my personal life. I’ve led a hospital wide open house event, made several work environment improvements, started my personal blog in helping women to seek breast health knowledge, and am now applying for a research fellowship for allied health professionals. Post Rotman, I hope to stay in the healthcare sector. My clinician experience together with my business management knowledge would help me to identify needs and bring tangible benefits to patients. I am a dedicated healthcare professional and am proud to be a part of the Rotman community.”


Students and alumni in Rotman’s Morning & Evening MBA programs for working professionals come from all industries, including healthcare. At Rotman, they’re able to bring together their industry experience with new management knowledge to make big impacts in the global community. Read about some of our Rotman MBA students and graduates – where they’ve been and where they are now.

If you’re interested in learning more about our MBA programs and how they might fit your career, please fill out our contact form. We’d love to hear from you. We also have opportunities for you to experience what it’s like to be a Rotman MBA student with events like our upcoming strategy sample class on May 31, 2016.

StrategyatRotman-160531

The topic will be Aligning the Stars: Using Systems Thinking to (Re)Design Canadian Healthcare. We invite you to attend and look forward to meeting you.

CFA Ethics Challenge: Third Win for Rotman Master of Finance

CFA Ethics Competition Winners 2016 - Rotman Master of Finance

CFA Ethics Challenge Rotman Master of Finance winning team. L-R Johnny Wu, Nicole Jiang, Elizabeth Ren and Michael Kim (CNW Group/CFA Society Toronto)

Congratulations to the Rotman Master of Finance winners of the annual CFA Ethics Challenge! This is the third consecutive year that Rotman students achieved first place, competing against students from Schulich, Queen’s Smith School of Business, and the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management.

The CFA Ethics Challenge is organized to encourage the development of analytical and ethical skills required to tackle real-life challenges in the workplace. We asked winners Elizabeth Ren, Nicole Jiang, Michael Kim and Johnny Wu from the Master of Finance 2017 winning team to tell us about their experience.

Congratulations on winning this competition! How do you feel about bringing it home for the third year?

We are so proud (and also relieved, phew!) to bring home the top honor for the third year in a row, especially since Rotman was hosting the challenge this year. We all strongly believe in the importance of ethics for financial professionals. With the bloom of compliance and the regulatory industry, Rotman has taken the leadership in educating financial practitioners in this area. Our very own MFin Program is a strong evidence of this.

Where there other resources that you tapped into to prepare for this challenge?

While academic courses provided us insights into ethics in the finance world, mandatory and optional professional development modules offered by the Rotman MFin program really gave us an edge. The dynamic Teams Workshop showed us how powerful we can be if we value each other’s input and truly collaborate with each other; the Presentation Skills Workshop sharpened our skills and enabled us to present effectively in front of the CFA Society of Toronto. We worked extremely hard to dissect the complicated case, and now we know that all those Sunday practices and late online meetings were worth it! This experience has been more than rewarding and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this challenge.

Did you reach out to your external network outside of your team?

We could not have done this without the support from last year’s winning team (Michael Szaura, Sheng Fei, Mahtab Faruqui and Roger Brown). We are so thankful for Roger taking time on a Saturday afternoon to coach us. Special thanks to our former and current MFin Academic Directors Alexandra MacKay and Fotini Tolias, and Reema Chaudhry our MFin programs Assistant Director,  who not only encouraged us but also provided much guidance.


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 deadline is February and we look forward to reviewing your application.

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

Why the Rotman Master of Finance program?

Roger Brown, MFin '16

Roger Brown, MFin ’16, Relationship Manager, Commercial Real Estate Banking, Scotiabank

Hear it straight from the source. In the midst of his busy work, life and class schedule, one of our Rotman Master of Finance current students, Roger Brown, MFin ’16, had a chance to reflect on his experiences in the program so far. This is what he has to say:

“I chose the Rotman MFin program because of the world-class recognition of the Rotman brand, the part-time curriculum structure and the impressive deep and diverse financial expertise of its students and alumnus.

“The part-time structure was a key deciding factor for me. I wanted a program that was of top-notch quality and also accommodated my work schedule. The proximity of the campus to my workplace coupled with Rotman’s industry connections to Bay Street made my decision seamless.

“Being enrolled in the program gave my supervisor and senior management the confidence to assign more challenging projects to me. Six months ago, I was assigned to manage a larger loan portfolio with approximately $500 million in assets. This has given me the opportunity to operate at a higher level while working with more sophisticated clients. Also, I continue to strategically expand my professional network through my engagements in industry events organized by Rotman.

“The most valuable part of the program thus far would be my application of in-class experience at work. There were several occasions where I was able to lead my team at work on specific projects due to the expertise I bring from the MFin program. Another highlight so far was being part of the Rotman MFin winning team for this year’s Master of Finance CFA Ethics Competition. There is so much that the program can offer both in and out of the classroom.”


Get more insights directly from current students, including Roger, who will be one our of student panelists, at our upcoming Rotman Master of Finance Information Session on May 5. Or, contact Breanna Brooks, Assistant Director, Rotman Master of Finance Admissions to chat one-on-one about the program. We would be happy to hear from you.

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

Winning case competitions: the #GEECLP experience

We’re proud to congratulate a team of Morning & Evening MBA students who won the Inaugural Canadian ECLP Consulting Case Competition with GE (GE ECLP). Competing against three other top Canadian Business Schools, these students took first place in their approach to GE business cases.

#GEECLP 2014 Rotman MBA winners

From left to right: Rotman Morning & Evening MBA students Christopher McIntyre, Dejan Knezevic, Candice Luck, Wahed Fidaali, Jennifer Flexman

There are many ways for your Rotman MBA experience to extend beyond the classroom; case competitions is one way for you to enrich your experience by putting theory into practice, and is a great platform to display your strategic ability and creativity with potential employers.

“Case competitions are an excellent way for Rotman MBAs to apply and showcase our Business Problem Solving Approach”, says Wahed Fidaali, one member of the GE ECLP case competition winning team.

“Our Team really credit our win at the GE ECLP Case Competition to the strong team we put together. As students in our final year of the program, we have spent over two years working together, this really gave us an advantage when it came to working as a team to deliver this case in a very tight timeline.”

What is a case competition, and what is the experience like? Candice Luck, a current Rotman Morning MBA student and another member of the winning team, gave us her reflections on her experience.

GE ECLP Case Competition Challenge:

The intersection of industrial infrastructure and digital analytics is inevitable. GE needs to define and capitalize on the industrial internet to continue to grow and maintain its relevance. GE is facing competition in this space from both traditional and non-traditional competitors. GE partnered with Accenture and Amazon to develop a data analytics solution known as Predictivity that can be used optimize the performance of industrial assets and operations.  However, GE’s customers have shown reluctance in adopting digital technology and data solutions. GE is a global conglomerate with expertise in the manufacturing and servicing of industrial infrastructure, not software and data solutions.  With all that, how should GE drive customer adoption of Predictivity?

Our Winning Solution:

GE should develop a Targeted, Tailored, and Partnership Approach to drive adoption of Predictivity. This ultimately means that GE should transition from being a manufacturer of industrial product to being a provider of customer solutions. Providing customer solutions means that GE needs to develop a consultant relationship with the customer to create a custom solution catered to each customer’s needs. This requires GE to target and identify the right customer, understand and tailor to their needs, and become a partner that is intimately involved in all aspects of their customer’s business.

Why our Solution was Unique:

The feedback we received was that our solution was rather “provocative” because although GE strives to become a partner, the path to becoming a solutions provider or developing that consultant relationship was unclear for GE. They were very intrigued by our delivery and detailed walk-through of how this could potentially play out. Utilizing the business design emphasis on user empathy, we mapped the emotions of a potential customer and crafted a story of how GE could walk hand-in-hand with this customer through the Predictivity adoption cycle. We delivered the story as if the judges and the audience were in the boardroom witnessing the conversation between the customer and the GE representative. We painted a picture of the future with our solution in it. That, is what I believe made our presentation and our solution unique.

My Personal Key Takeaways:

I was genuinely impressed by how GE developed a unique platform to recruit talent. The case competition was really well organized with the right combination of work load and networking. It allowed students to demonstrate their strengths in a live team setting.

The case itself was quite interesting. It was current, relevant, and challenging.  The case alone was a great experience and worth the time and effort even if it were not tied to the ECLP interview opportunity.

I was really glad that Rotman allowed us to form our own diverse teams. I was surprised to find out that other schools had formed the teams based on individual student applications. Our team was complimented for our display of cohesiveness and team dynamic.

It was a great experience working with my Morning & Evening MBA classmates.  As a working professional balancing school and other commitments, it was a tough decision to invest in yet another extracurricular activity; and the decision was the right one.  The opportunity to apply my skills directly to a live case in a short period of time and to create an actionable strategy for a global conglomerate was priceless. It is so important to step outside of your day job and the classroom to participate in the unique opportunities Rotman has to offer. Because frankly, there’s never a good time. So if not now, when?


If you’re interested to learn more about the Rotman Morning or Evening MBA program, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/me-mba.

Contact us for more information or to start your MBA August 2015. You may also contact the Assistant Director of Admissions directly. We would love to meet with you!