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Awards give students opportunities, confidence to go after career goals

February 11, 2019

Photo of Rotman student Oleg FleitmanWhen second-year MBA student Oleg Fleitman (MBA ’19) learned that he’d won the Peter Godsoe/Scotiabank Scholarship in Financial Engineering, he was ecstatic, grateful and relieved. The award, which recognizes Fleitman’s strong academic performance and potential in finance, also helped him cover tuition expenses for one semester.

For Fleitman, the scholarship’s real value was that it gave him time to reflect and focus on his studies.

“It took the pressure off,” explains Fleitman, who up until that point had been financing his MBA with personal savings. “The scholarship allowed me to take a step back and think about what I really wanted to do after graduation.”

“The MBA positioned me well for embracing new opportunities and learning experiences.”

— Oleg Fleitman, MBA ’19

In his second year in the Full-Time MBA program, he thought carefully about the types of roles he was interested in while completing finance electives and participating in Rotman Finance Association activities. After speaking with several finance professionals in his network — including many colleagues from Scotiabank, where he had completed his summer internship — he gained some clarity and decided to pursue roles that blended finance, emerging technologies and working with people. Within months, he successfully interviewed and secured a spot in the human resources management associate program at Citi.

It’s come together nicely for Fleitman.

“The MBA positioned me well for embracing new opportunities and learning experiences,” he says. “It’s the perfect training for working in this new frontier of finance where we’ll see how data-driven decision-making blends with the people side of the business.”

Fleitman is one of more than 450 Rotman students who received student awards this academic year. Supporting students in funding their education has always been a priority for the School. This academic year, Rotman awarded approximately $6.7 million in scholarships to students across the School. Additionally, students have also been successful in pursuing award opportunities external to Rotman.

For recipients, the value of these awards often goes beyond their monetary worth. These scholarships give students time, opportunities and the confidence to go after their professional goals.

Awards that provide opportunities

Photo of Rotman student Dominique MielnikWinning a Vector Scholarship in Artificial Intelligence has opened up many exciting learning and networking opportunities for Dominique Mielnik (MMA ’19).

Mielnik won the prestigious external scholarship, which honours some of the brightest students enrolled in AI-focused academic programs across Ontario, including the Master of Management Analytics (MMA) program at Rotman.

As an award recipient, Mielnik is invited to events hosted by the Vector Institute, an organization aimed at driving AI and machine-learning research and teaching in Ontario.

“I’m humbled by the recognition, but more than that, I’m grateful for the opportunities that come along with it,” she says.

Mielnik, who completed an undergraduate degree in psychology, hopes to work in human-centred or human resources analytics after she completes the MMA program. She was slightly nervous about pursuing a graduate program that focused so heavily on quantitative methods.

“It’s encouraging to know that an organization like Vector has reviewed my academic background and references and felt that I was worth investing in. It’s given me the confidence to keep working hard at my career goals.”

Off to a strong start with entrance awards

Photo of Rotman student Tuba ChristiEntrance awards can also go a long way in making incoming students feel welcome at Rotman.

Receiving the Women in Business entrance award was particularly meaningful to Tuba Chishti (Evening MBA ’21), who has just completed her first semester at the School.

“It was confirmation that Rotman wasn’t just talking the talk when it came to diversity and inclusion,” she says.

In fact, it was the School’s reputation for creating a space to discuss current events, diverse views and new ideas that drew Chishti to Rotman.

“I set out to earn a degree that would make me a stronger leader.”

— Tuba Chishti, Evening MBA ’21

“Rotman has a history of bringing impressive people here — from Prime Minister Trudeau to the New York Times investigative journalists who covered many of the early #MeToo stories, just to name a few. Being able to hear thought leaders talk about the issues I’m concerned about has been incredible.”

Academically, Chishti is looking forward to getting the most of her classes in the Evening MBA program.

“I set out to earn a degree that would make me a stronger leader,” she says. “We’re just getting started, but we’ve already learned so much about strategy, negotiations and finance. There’s a lot left to learn and we’re excited.”

Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »

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