Call them a finance power couple: Azande Ntanzi Ndlovu and Tariro Ndlovu (both MFin ’24) knew for years that they wanted to be a part of the action on Toronto’s Bay Street.
Already highly educated, the duo also had years of experience working in various positions within finance in South Africa.
Azande Ntanzi Ndlovu and Tariro Ndlovu (both MFin ’24)
“We both had previously completed a first master’s degree in business and finance,” explains Ntanzi. “But we felt that being in Canada, and specifically Toronto, would give us access to a bigger and broader financial market.”
Ndlovu agrees. “There would be more career opportunities than what we would have had back home. And that's purely a function of the size of this economy.”
They met and married in South Africa in 2018, and began to apply for visas shortly afterward. They decided on the Rotman School, citing its reputation and proximity to Toronto’s financial hub.
Derailed for a time by COVID, they finally landed in the city in the spring of 2022. That fall, they started in Rotman’s Master of Finance (MFin) program. Ntanzi remembers the moment she walked into the school’s main building, and how the tagline had a major impact on her in those first days.
“I didn’t have a job yet, and I saw the Rotman slogan written on the building wall, in pink: ‘Here’s where it changes.’ I remember smiling and feeling excited. And I could already feel the energy of people who were so passionate about finance and capital markets.”
Ndlovu didn’t have to wait long before he was hired in his field of specialty - and neither did Ntanzi. They both landed jobs within the first month of beginning the MFin. Ndlovu was hired as a relationship manager at RBC, and Ntanzi as assistant vice-president within corporate credit ratings at DBRS Morningstar - a credit ratings agency.
They were able to seamlessly combine their work and their studies at Rotman. MFin program classes take place every Wednesday evening and every second Saturday - allowing students to work full-time throughout. Like Ndlovu and Ntanzi, the students who are admitted to Rotman’s MFin already have a background in finance. The topics covered are at an advanced level from day one.
Ndlovu says the timing of getting his RBC job and beginning at Rotman worked out perfectly. “I deal with commercial clients in my role,” he says, “and there is a lot of knowledge from the program that I immediately began to apply to my day job - specifically in this current interest rate environment.”
Ndlovu explains that he is better equipped to help his clients because there is so much context given in the program to financial trends. “In class, we look at something like the current interest rate hike through more of a generational lens,” he says.
“We’re also encouraged to speculate on factors that would need to happen before we see interest rates normalizing.”
The wide breadth of knowledge offered by the program surprised Ndlovu. “Everyone in our class has a background in at least one field of finance, but somehow these classes are still relevant, and very challenging. They force us to really engage in that content in a different way.”
“On the first day, I saw the Rotman slogan written on the building wall, in pink: ‘Here’s where it changes.’ I remember smiling and feeling excited. And I could already feel the energy of people who were so passionate about finance and capital markets.”
Azande Ntanzi Ndlovu
Ntanzi describes her work as very technical. She says that the MFin program has given her an extensive introduction to North American financial systems. The program has also taught her new technology that is relevant in her role.
“The market continues to demand more modern applications in analysis, so I’ve been able to apply some of these to my day-to-day work.” One of these applications is Python, which she says has helped her streamline data analysis processes. Through workshops offered at the BMO Financial Lab, students in the program stay up to date on the latest coding languages and data analytics programs.
The duo says they have found value as well in parts of the program that are less directly applicable to their day-to-day work.
“There are some classes, like Application of Derivative Products, that I don’t have professional experience in, so it didn’t come easy to me,” says Ndlovu. “But it felt good challenging myself through courses like that.”
Azande Ntanzi Ndlovu
Along a similar vein of the excitement she felt on her first day at Rotman when she read the school’s tagline, Ntanzi believes the Rotman name continues to help in her career in Toronto. “I think what the Rotman School does for people from a different market is - because of the quality of the name - it reduces the perception of risk. When I tell people in this market that I go to Rotman, it assures them, and connects us.”
The couple’s industries are very different - and so, apparently, are their study habits. “We don’t study together,” Ntanzi laughs. “I take a lot of notes and write everything down, and I study after hours in the office. Tariro, on the other hand, takes fewer notes and prefers home or the library.”
But are they competitive about grades? They both laugh at this question too, but Ntanzi is the one who answers.
“I like to beat him.”
Written by Meaghan MacSween | More Student Stories »