Tag Archives: GMAT

CFA or MFin? Why not both?

If you are currently studying for your CFA 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.

The Time is Now – Prepare your application for the Morning & Evening MBA program!


Now that we are in November, we are approaching our first deadline, November 20 for the Morning & Evening MBA program. Pro tip: the earlier you apply the better your chances are to become part of our next MBA class for working professionals. While the application process may appear daunting, we have compiled a number of tips that will help you prepare your application with ease. Read below and get started right away to secure your spot in Rotman’s  Morning & Evening MBA program.

Talk to the recruitment team. First and foremost, you need to make sure that this is the right program for you. One major advantage for the Morning & Evening MBA program is that it allows you to work and study towards your degree at the same time. Talking to a recruiter from the program can help you better understand how the Morning & Evening MBA program fits your career. In addition, the team can also shed some light on different aspects of the application and share tips with you to help you make sure to have satisfied all requirements. Our recruiters are eager to help, so don’t hesitate to contact them to set up a coffee chat.

Submit your documents early on. The application process requires you to fulfill a number of steps, some more time-consuming than others. Getting your transcripts and references is often relatively easy. As a result, we recommend to start by submitting these documents right away so that you can focus on other aspects of your application.

 Ace your GMAT. We know that the GMAT/GRE requirement can often cause anxiety in students thinking of applying to an MBA. That’s why at Rotman we help you prepare with our GMAT Review webinars. The next one is coming up on November 17th and you can sign up up today! Remember also that if you have completed all three levels of the CFA, you may be exempted from this requirement altogether.

When writing your essays, focus on content. To submit a complete application to our Morning & Evening MBA program you are required to complete two written essays. Remember when writing these essays to reflect back on your knowledge and experience and to focus on the content rather than the length of your piece. This is a way for the recruitment team to assess fit for the program; show them why you are meant to be part of the Morning & Evening MBA community.

These are just some of the tips we’ve collected over time from our experts, students and alumni. For more information on the program and the application process, contact us or sign up to one of our admissions events.

Ready to apply? Visit our website today and start your application today.


Meet Your Professor: Fotini Tolias

Today, we’d like to introduce Fotini Tolias, our new Academic Director for the Master of Finance program. You will no doubt be interacting with her during the course of your time at Rotman.Fotini Tolias

Congratulations and welcome! We’re so excited to have you as our new Master of Finance Academic Director. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I spent the majority of my career in the capital markets, bond origination, which means that I used to create fixed-income securities in the primary market. Working for banks such as RBC and CIBC, my client coverage included Media & Telecom, Financial Institutions and special situations. My clients were large, publicly traded companies.

Can you tell us a little bit about your time at Rotman?

I’ve been at Rotman since 2009. I teach across all programs, from undergraduate to graduate programs. My area of expertise is in fixed income and I approach my teaching of it from a former practitioner’s point of view. Within the Master of Finance program, I teach the Fixed Income course. The course provides students with an understanding of the capital markets—specifically the bond markets—and how these markets function in practice.

What would you say is your approach to teaching?

Every class, I begin by reviewing new bond issues done in the market. I pick transactions that I think are interesting – that may tie into the lecture of the day – and then discuss them in class. Most people think that quants are boring, but they are absolutely not! That’s what I want to show my students in class. I try to make the market come alive for everyone.

By looking at actual transactions, students can make more sense of the finance theory. The classes I teach on fixed income are very hands-on.

Any advice to anyone interested in the Master of Finance program?

I think it’s a fantastic program. I wish it’d existed when I was thinking of going back to complete a graduate degree.

What I love about the program is that the students are very knowledgeable. To various degrees, every student has industry experience or an established career path. This brings a good mix to the classroom. It’s definitely one of the more challenging groups to teach because they have so much experience already. I have definitely been challenged in the classroom by students who work in the fixed income area. This keeps me on my toes and keeps me engaged and often leads me to consider fixed income from their perspective.

I am pleased to expand my involvement with the Rotman Master of Finance program and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.

Subscribe to our blog for more thoughts on the finance industry, career paths and the Rotman MFin program. If you want to learn more about starting the Master of Finance program this September, check out our website or fill out our Master of Finance contact form for more information.

Tip: There are 3 ways to receive a GMAT exemption on your Rotman MFin application, including passing the CFA III exam. This is just one way we acknowledge the experience of our working professional applicants.

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.

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.

Tuesday Tips: Thoughts on GMAT prep

Katie Gardon, Rotman MBA '15, Director of Finance & Administration, Real Food for Real Kids

Katie Gardon is Director of Finance & Administration at Real Food for Real Kids, and a Rotman MBA 2015 candidiate.

Even deep into the MBA program, the memory of the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) still lingers. After taking it twice, I realized a significant part of the challenge is the psychological stress, not the content of the GMAT itself.

My experience with the GMAT

Once you start to consider applying to business schools, you’re bound to be overwhelmed with the myriad of GMAT study “advice” on the Internet. You haven’t even seen a practice question and the stress has begun!

The fear of failure got the best of me the first time I prepared for the GMAT and I strung out the studying far too long – about 4 months. Too much procrastination and psyching myself out = burn-out. When I got to the test centre, their elaborate check in process, including hand scanning, stressed me out even more before I was thrown into a room where my time management skills were put to the ultimate test. I don’t remember much other than the rapid beating of my heart.

While I fared well on the first go, I wanted better results, so I retook the test. The first time around, I steered clear of prep courses and avoided booking the test until I was ready. The second time around I found great on-demand study resources and booked my test in advance. This gave me about 6 weeks to study and the opportunity to create a study schedule. Preparing properly made it clear that the test wasn’t really that bad – the hard part was having to answer all the questions under stress and strict time constraints.

So what does this mean for you?

  • Don’t get caught up in the legend that is the GMAT! If you are considering an MBA you likely already have the organizational and time-management skills to hunker down and map out time to study.
  • If you are applying to the Rotman Morning or Evening MBA, or any part-time working professional Master’s program, studying after work and on the weekends will be your reality, so no harm in getting used to it now.
  • The worst thing you can do is procrastinate and worry about how hard it will be.
  • If you need the extra structure and guidance – signing up for a course can definitely help you keep to your schedule.
  • Once you are comfortable with the GMAT material, the best thing to do is to practice the test under actual time constraints. If you can master the pace outside of the exam room, you’ll be in a much better position to obtain your ideal score.

The GMAT is absolutely doable. Just remember to take some deep breaths in between questions.

Rotman offers free GMAT mock exams every few months. Check our Rotman working professional programs admissions event calendars to register for the next one.

Why the Rotman Morning MBA? An MBA candidate shares his story

Hisham Sadiyyah, Morning MBA 2015

Hisham Sadiyyah is a Business Analyst at TD, and a Rotman MBA 2015 candidate.

I always knew I would do my MBA. In the summer of 2011 as I was coming up to my 3 year work anniversary, I started looking at MBA programs with three main criteria:

  • I wanted a program in Toronto.
  • It had to be a top MBA program.
  • I wanted a part-time MBA program that allowed me to continue to earn an income and gain work experience as I earned the degree.

As I did my online research I found Rotman met all my criteria. Additionally, the Rotman programs are structured as a cohort. It’s a structure that I find invaluable as it has allowed me to grow a tight-knit group of peers and friends.

Morning MBA
Initially, I preferred and applied to the Rotman Evening MBA, thinking that I would function better in class after work. Even though I considered myself a morning person, the idea of being at school for 7 AM classes was still scary. I am now in the Morning MBA program and if I were to do it all over again, the Morning MBA would have been my first choice. The morning cohort is ideal for me despite the long days. Focusing in class with a fresh mind first thing in the morning comes a lot easier for me, and leaves my evenings open for work events or studying for my courses. Of course, coffee has become my new best friend!

Application preparations
I had decided that I wanted to apply to Rotman in August 2011, and start my MBA in fall 2012. I quickly realized I was running against a January application deadline. At the time, I had not booked my GMAT test let alone started preparations for it, so I thought I had no chance to start in 2012.

Nonetheless, I signed up for a Rotman info session and was subsequently invited for a pre-qualifying interview. Meeting with Rummy definitely encouraged me to pursue the application right away. Having secured my reference letters, I set out to write my admission essays. I found them to be daunting at first, then realized how reflective they were meant to be. I actually enjoyed writing them!

After submitting my application by the January deadline, I focused on my GMAT that was scheduled in March. After submitting my score, I had one more meeting with Rummy for the official admission interview. It felt more like a conversation than an interview really. Finally, I received my admission offer in May for the morning cohort.

The key for me throughout the application process was being clear in knowing why I wanted to do my MBA and how it fit into my career, then being able to express this in my essays and in my interview.