Tag Archives: CPA

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.

 

 

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.

Theory in Practice Series: Master of Finance Part Three

What is the Rotman Master of Finance curriculum like? How do our working professional students and alumni take the theory they learn in the classroom and apply them to real situations in the workplace? In this final blog post of our 3-part series on the Rotman MFin curriculum, current student Jose Rivas gives his view of the program so far.


Jose Rivas, MFin '17, CPA, CGA, Senior Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis Business, Operations, National Diabetes Trust

Jose Rivas, MFin ’17, CPA, CGA, Senior Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis, Business Operations, National Diabetes Trust

Jose Rivas, MFin ’17, CPA, CGA
Current role: Senior Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis, National Diabetes Trust
Role entering the program: Senior Finance Manager, National Diabetes Trust

The Theory:

In the Forecasting Risks and Opportunities class taught by Professor Tom McCurdy, we covered advanced methods to forecast and to assess risks in our financial models. In the Advanced Accounting class taught by Associate Professor Ramy Elitzur, we covered the use of statistical regressions to derive meaningful forecasting relationships.

The Application:

Although I didn’t use the exact forecasting models taught in the forecasting risk course (a mean reversion model), the methodology to develop a forecast and to assess model risk was meaningful as I was able to use the same techniques to create a production forecasting model. I then used the advanced accounting course material to assess the adequacy of the model (autocorrelation tests as well as the evaluation of the model’s parameters).

The end result was the creation of a forecasting model with robust documentation. After presenting my findings to my CFO and senior operations management group, I got buy-in to roll out, and to use it to forecast production, which was a deficient process in the past. Through this, we have drastically improved guidance and product planning nationally.

Breadth of Finance Knowledge

In terms of general capital markets knowledge, most people with my background and level of seniority have a soft understanding of capital markets. The Analysis of Fixed Income Markets class taught by Associate Professor Fotini Tolias gave me a much better understanding of debt products and their origination.

Certainly, the context of this course is more relevant to those who work for large firms. However, in gaining this type of knowledge, I have been able to open up conversations with senior management surrounding access to mid-markets, and to understand what financial institutions seek out of these deals.

Finance Career Bridge

All in all, my take on the Rotman MFin program is that it is not only about specific knowledge – it is also about our ability to expand what we’ve learned in creative applications beyond the classroom. The Rotman MFin program is excellent for those with a background similar to mine who want to change up their finance career path as the program truly advances your finance knowledge and bridges your knowledge or skill set gaps.


Interested to see how the Rotman Master of Finance program for working professionals can help you master your finance career in just 20-months? Learn more about the Rotman MFin program on our website, or contact us to see if the program is right for you.

Theory in Practice Series: Master of Finance Part Two

Di Shan, MFin '17, CPA, CMA, Senior Financial Analyst, Canadian Tire Corporation

Di Shan, MFin ’17, CPA, CMA, Senior Financial Analyst, Canadian Tire

Make an immediate impact at work and on your finance career. According to our working professional students, the ability to practically apply the latest finance theories learned in the classroom is one of Rotman’s Master of Finance program’s key benefits.

Half way into the 20-month Rotman MFin program, current MFin student Di Shan shares her experiences so far – the knowledge she has gained, and how she applies this to her work daily. This is the second blog post in a series of three posts about the Rotman MFin curriculum.


Di Shan, MFin ’17, CPA, CMA
Current role: Senior Financial Analyst, Canadian Tire Corporation
Role entering the program: Financial Analyst, Canadian Tire Corporation

At Canadian Tire, I work in the corporate finance area providing financial support and management consulting to the senior management of our business teams.

The six courses that we’ve taken so far in the first half of the Rotman MFin program covered a broad range of topics in finance. The Foundation of Finance and Macroeconomics courses provided a great foundation for the theories and models required to understand and analyze market movements. I was able to very quickly apply what we learned in class. I linked discoveries from our weekly news article assignments to my weekly meetings with business clients; I would provide relevant market updates such as interest rate and exchange rate movements, and engage in in-depth conversation with senior leaders.

The Forecasting Risks & Opportunities course provided many practical tools and models that I was able to use in my financial planning work where I enhanced my existing forecasting models with regressions and simulations. The Financial Analysis course provided new perspectives to analyzing and valuing a company; the experience gained from working on the final project of valuing and comparing two firms was highly valuable. Applying the same procedures, and focusing more on the quality of financial disclosure, I was able to link back to corporate strategies when performing analysis on competitors at work.


Are you a working professional in finance? Have a look at the Rotman Master of Finance curriculum and see if the program is right for you. Contact us if you have any questions or to meet us for a coffee chat.

Theory in Practice Series: Master of Finance

MFin Theory in Practice: Hank Liu, Rotman MFin '17, Senior Performance Analyst, Manulife Asset Management

Hank Liu, MFin ’17, CPA, CGA, CFA II Candidate, Client On-boarding Manager, Manulife Asset Management

The latest financial theories with direct practical applications – this is what students can expect with the Master of Finance program at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Every day, our globally renowned faculty and practitioners translate their latest research and experience in the finance field into the classroom.

Over 20-months, the Rotman MFin curriculum covers in-depth topics such as Risk Management and Financial Institutions, Applications of Derivative Products, Investment Banking, Applied Portfolio Management and more. In this first of a series of three blog posts on the Rotman MFin curriculum, current MFin student Hank Liu shares his experiences in a few of the courses to date, and what this means in his everyday work, and for his career.


Hank Liu, MFin ’17, CPA, CGA, CFA II Candidate
Current role: Client On-boarding Manager, Manulife Asset Management
Role entering the program: Senior Analyst, Performance Measurement and Attribution, Manulife Asset Management

Professor Laurence Booth‘s Foundations of Finance course requires me to follow the market closely on a daily basis. Through this, I know more about what is happening around in the financial world, and this helps me better understand and predict our portfolio manager’s strategy. For instance, by closely following world news, I know when the U.S. treasury rate is expected to go up and would expect our U.S. fixed income PM to reduce our exposure to long duration securities.

Associate Professor Fotini Tolias‘ Analysis of Fixed Income Markets course is directly applicable to my work. I developed a much deeper understanding on all types of fixed income products. Part of my work is to analyze the performance, analytics, and attribution for our fixed income portfolios. By learning how to calculate average life, yield, duration, convexity, I developed an independent calculation tool/model for our team, and if there were any discrepancies on those characteristics, I have the confidence to validate them. Another example: there were some data issues with a “fix-to-floating” security held in our portfolio. As we covered it in class, I quickly figured out what caused the issues and suggested how to fix them.

Most importantly, these incredible courses offered by MFin program sharpened my expertise in financial world, and taught me how to speak the same language as professionals in other areas of finance. I now have a much better understanding of how other teams operate. For example, after taking the Forecasting Risks and Opportunities course taught by Professor Tom McCurdy, I am able discuss with the variable annuity team about their hedging strategies. The Corporate Finance and Valuation course taught by Adjunct Professor Heather-Anne Irwin was helpful for me to discuss the models developed by our finance project team.

I’m taking the MFin program at just “The Right Time”. As I am transitioning from accounting to investments, the MFin program is preparing me well for all the challenges that I will encounter in the future. Since I’m taking the MFin program as a working professional with a few years of work experience, rather than as a fresh undergraduate, I have a clear sense on “why I am taking the program”, “what I expect from the program”, and “what my plan is after the program”.


Interested in exploring the Rotman Master of Finance curriculum or want to see if the program is right for your finance career? Visit our Rotman MFin website or contact us for a chat.

3 Ways to Receive a GMAT Exemption

Breanna Brooks, Assistant Director, Master of Finance Recruitment and Admissions

Breanna Brooks, Assistant Director, Master of Finance Recruitment and Admissions

In our admissions experience, it takes an average of about 20-months for Rotman Master of Finance candidates to actually submit an application from when they first think about higher education to accelerate their careers. In reality though, it can take as short as a few weeks to submit your application and be accepted into the program.

As a part-time program geared towards working professionals in the finance-related fields in the greater Toronto area, we get that finding that work-life balance is challenging at best.

You’re not alone. The fact is, time and time again, this is what we hear from our working professional candidates: one of the greatest barriers to finally submitting the MFin application is committing the time to study and write the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). The GMAT is a global, standardized test that is required for many business-related graduate program applications. The test is meant to level the playing field across a breadth of applicants with very different educational and life experiences.

We hear you. As a working professional, you already have a full-time career, plus, there’s this little thing called ‘life’. Moreover, as a working professional looking to apply to a part-time Masters program for people with already valuable experience, shouldn’t your professional experience and designations count towards something?

We agree. This is why we have 3 ways for you to receive a GMAT (or GRE) exemption when you apply to the Rotman Master of Finance program and, if you have a minimum of two years of work experience in the finance field.

  1. If you have passed the CFA Level III exam
  2. If you’ve passed the three-day Uniform Evaluation (UFE) for CPA, CA designation OR
  3. If you have graduated from the University of Toronto with High Distinction

Here at Rotman, we strive to bring in and elevate the best candidates for our programs. This means that you’ll be in a classroom with peers who have just as much to offer from their real-life experiences in the boardroom as you do.

If you have questions about how the part-time Rotman Master of Finance program for working professionals is the right move for your career, please send over your questions and details in this form. I’ll be pleased to review your options with 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.