Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Every semester, students of the Master of Financial Risk Management (MFRM) program showcase their analytical and decision-making skills outside of class. This was the case for the PRMIA Risk Management Challenge, which encourages students to use critical and creative thinking to solve realistic business problems with a risk management focus. 

First place Regional Final Winners Team SWEAR and Team MFRM of Legendary

Two Rotman MFRM teams tied for first in the regional final: Team SWEAR and Team MFRM of Legendary. They’ll be advancing to the international final on March 29 in Montreal, where they’ll be competing against the winners of regional finals from Chicago, Edmonton, Hungary, Ireland, Egypt, London, Montreal, the Netherlands, New York, Paris, Poland, Russia, and Vancouver. 

We spoke to students Samuel Appasamy and Windy Weng (MFRM ‘19) to learn more about their participation in the competition and their experience in the MFRM. They told us about their reasons for choosing the MFRM at Rotman, what they learned from the PRMIA challenge, and had a message to those interested in the program. 

Why the MFRM?

For Samuel Appasamy, the MFRM was a logical next step. With experience as an analyst for a hedge fund, Samuel was accustomed to making a real-world impact by providing daily risk reports to portfolio managers. The idea of working on an industry project in the MFRM was an opportunity to “put the theory into practice.”

Samuel Appasamy (MFRM '19)

“I chose Rotman because it had everything I was looking for in a graduate program. The program curriculum looked interesting, the faculty is second to none, and the resources available for students are outstanding.”

Windy’s road to the MFRM was through her experience as an undergraduate student in the Rotman Commerce program. She particularly appreciated her undergraduate professors as well as her peers and was eager to return to Rotman to become a top-performer in the risk management industry.  

PRMIA Challenge: the lessons

For the PRMIA regional final, students had to apply their analytical skills in a case that involved weather risk. For Samuel, it was a chance to transfer the concepts learned in the MFRM and deliver a presentation in front of industry experts. 

“We had to synthesize what we learned from several of our courses and think outside the box to craft a coherent, clear and concise hedging strategy for a commodities portfolio.”

Samuel considered the competition as an opportunity to learn from his peers, whose backgrounds include mathematics, business, engineering, and actuarial science.

“I was able to witness the importance of a diverse and well-rounded team. Bringing all our strengths together when it came to modelling, coding, statistics and presentation is what eventually led to our success.” 

For Windy, knowing how to work as a team was an essential part of the competition. 

Windy Weng (MFRM '19)

“I found it is extremely important that team members encourage and support each other to keep going. After that, we have close relationships which are hard to obtain elsewhere.” 

A message to those considering the MFRM

Both students had something to say when it came to describing their favourite parts of the MFRM. Samuel considers the interactions he has with peers and faculty members as the aspect of the program he appreciates the most. 

“I am lucky to be among a group of very bright students from diverse academic backgrounds and seeing how we all contribute our skills and knowledge from past experiences during group projects is always a treat for me.”

Samuel encourages students interested in the risk management industry to take quick action and consider the MFRM.

“You will study a lot and meet a lot of new people so make sure you come into the program with an open-mind and hungry to learn!”

As for Windy, she found that giving presentations and learning quantitative skills have been an essential part of her experience. She had a straightforward piece of advice for those aspiring to join the MFRM: 

“Be prepared to go out of your comfort zone. Don’t be scared by all the challenges that you will face, as long as you tried your best, you are the champion. The result is what you cannot control, but the process is.”

The Master of Financial Risk Management is a full time program designed to prepare ambitious young professionals for careers in risk management and finance. 

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