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Leveraging industry: MFRM alumnus benefits from program’s strong industry partnership philosophy

December 12, 2023

Nick Byrne

Nick Byrne (MFRM ‘21)

“If you look at the world’s great business schools, they have one thing in common: they have a big impact on the local business community.”

Professor John Hull is the co-founder of Rotman’s Master of Financial Risk Management (MFRM) program. He made this statement three years ago, and since then, Rotman’s industry ties have grown even stronger.

Nick Byrne (MFRM ’21) decided he wanted to attend Rotman’s MFRM, in part to access the latest industry expertise and leverage connections. Byrne did his undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in applied mathematics and mechanical engineering, where he developed quantitative skills like math and analytical thinking. He realized quickly that he wanted to leverage these skills and put them to use in the finance industry.

“I knew I wanted to get into capital markets,” Byrne explains. “I also knew that Rotman does industry partnerships particularly well.”

Byrne learned that relationship-building in business was important from an early age. In addition to his strong academic record, he credits industry networking to landing his undergraduate engineering internship.

Then, when he became an MFRM student, he immediately began participating in Rotman’s many speaker panels, fireside chats, and events featuring industry executives.

“You have to be able to stand out and showcase your unique talents. Rotman gave me a platform to do that.”

–Nick Byrne (MFRM ‘21)

“At industry events, I prioritized being an active listener, and I asked genuine questions based on my interests,” Byrne says. “If I enjoyed a talk from someone in the finance industry, I would reach out afterwards on LinkedIn, and aim to set up a coffee chat. That’s where Rotman opens the door for you - versus cold calling someone without establishing that initial connection.”

Byrne says he also took full advantage of Career Services during his time at Rotman. “I had several meetings with them, and almost treated those sessions as another class.”

Rotman career consultant Mahsa Mashayekhi was Byrne’s main career coach during this time. She says their process is always tailored to the student. “We really try to understand what the areas are that each student needs more support with,” she explains. “Then we focus on how to help them develop their career plan, and make sure that we can work together to achieve the optimal outcome.”

This includes working with the students on what she refers to as their ‘career toolbox’ – their resume, cover letter and tips on winning the interview process. Her team also works closely with Rotman’s corporate relations team, who are integral to the process: going to industry events, meeting with prospective employers, paying close attention to the latest jobs trends and bringing that information back to Rotman.

Launched in 2016, Rotman’s MFRM program was created with strong industry partnerships in mind. There is an influential MFRM advisory board, with members from major banks in Toronto and Montreal, as well as some in New York and London. The board seeks to raise the profile of Rotman’s MFRM program, is instrumental in keeping Rotman up to date on the latest industry developments and facilitates networking and employment opportunities for students.

Byrne found value in the MFRM’s classes, especially Anthony Peccia’s Operational Risk class, which Byrne describes as being set-up like a meeting: students would present their findings on real-world risk events.

Byrne’s favourite part of the MFRM program was the Risk Assessment Project, a practicum that brings students out of the classroom and pairs them with risk professionals to work on a real-world issue. Byrne worked on the Bank of Canada’s Financial Markets Department, where he and another Rotman MFRM student researched and co-authored a paper about the changing nature of Canadian pension portfolios.

Today, Byrne works on the collateral management and funding team at Scotiabank. His primary responsibility is to trade Canada repo, which means Canadian denominated securities through repurchase agreements.

Mashayekhi confirms that Byrne’s commitment to industry networking and career building paid off: “He was the first student hired from his MFRM cohort,” she explains. Byrne says Rotman opened the doors that he needed to leverage his networking skills.

“You have to be able to stand out and showcase your unique talents. Rotman gave me a platform to do that.”


Written by Meaghan MacSween | More Student Stories »

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