Tag Archives: Heather-Anne Irwin

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.

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.

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!

Welcome, Rotman Master of Finance Class of 2016!

Our Rotman Master of Finance class of 2016 is in the building! On Wednesday, September 3, the class met together for the first time at our Orientation Welcome Dinner. Faculty, Rotman School Dean Tiff Macklem, staff and students came together to celebrate the launch of the new MFin class.

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