Left to right: Bryan & Samuel
A busy month
September was the first official month of the MFRM program but the learning and preparation started very early in the summer. Once prerequisite exams were finished, we were given access to many resources to improve our Python coding skills and access to the Bloomberg Terminal to complete our Bloomberg Market Concepts certification. Early in August we started working with our wonderful careers team with resume review, career coaching, and outlining what we expect to achieve during our program.
Fast forward a few weeks to orientation in the first week of September, we all got together in the Fleck Atrium and made our introductions over breakfast as the Rotman faculty and the Dean did the opening remarks for what was an exciting first month of the program. Orientation was fun! We did an open-outcry trading competition with Prof. Tom McCurdy in Rotman’s Finance Lab, a scavenger hunt at the Royal Ontario Museum, a building tour, many team activities, and finally got together off-campus at the end of the second day with the Rotman Risk Management Association to network with other students at Rotman.
What may be the biggest highlight of September however was the industry reception night. As you know, one of the most important components of the MFRM program is the MFRM industry project – a nine-week internship where students apply the quantitative and qualitative skills they’ve developed in the first semester to real-world challenges in financial risk management facing financial institutions today. Industry sponsors and students came together in the evening to discuss the projects and network – just two weeks into the program!
Tips & strategies for success
That concludes a brief overview of what to expect in the month of September, which was quite busy – assignments in your classes will start early and you’re expected to work hard and be ready to learn from the very first day. It’s tough to stay on top of everything with so many things going on, but looking back on what we’ve done, it’s absolutely worth it because we feel as though we’ll be going into our industry projects prepared and confident. For the newcomer however, here are some pointers to set you on the right track before you start:
Big payoff requires a big commitment
The MFRM is an intense 8-month program full of interesting assignments and group work. However, its not all about course deliverables. The program is jam packed with extra-curricular activities that help your overall development as a future finance-industry professional. Every week there are plenty of events you can attend and participate in, such as networking sessions, self-development workshops, case competitions, to name just a few. It's up to you to pick and choose what you're interested in.
TIP: Decide what your objectives are for this program beyond academics and focus on the activities that support your objective!
The MFRM program has world-class professors and you’ll have the chance to learn directly from them. Office hours, before and after class, in the finance lab, wherever you are, you’ll be interacting not only with these very approachable professors but also with staff, doctoral students and students in other masters’ programs. Take every chance you get to interact with them and learn from the knowledgeable people around you.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re at school to learn and develop, so use every opportunity to do so before you embark on your career or continue what you’ve started!
Get ready to present to your professors and classmates
One of the focus points of the MFRM program is developing communication and presentation skills. Every week you’ll be presenting to your peers! Feeling nervous? Fear not! The school’s Self-Development Lab (SDL) is there to train you to become a confident and effective presenter and public speaker. This is an amazing resource available to you where you work with experts and get constructive feedback to improve your next presentations. What’s even better is that you can go as many times as you want, so take full advantage of this resource and perfect your communication skills and presentation skills – you’ll have a huge leg up in the job market and into your career.
TIP: Learn to get out of your comfort zone and invest in yourself by using the resources available to you!
You’ll meet a lot of new people
We were pleasantly surprised with the diversity of people in the program. We have singers, athletes, musicians, people with a lot of different experiences and perspectives. We also have amazing presenters, excellent coders, and outstanding writers. We have people from all over the world. It’s a great environment that fosters learning and collaboration.
TIP: get to know your classmates and professors and start building your network, also don’t be afraid to reach out to MFRM-alumni, they’re happy to share their experiences and give you advice!
It’s not always about course work
As busy as the program is, we always seem to find small pockets of free time to grab lunch or dinner together. We go out and socialize whenever we can: Asian food on Spadina, Karaoke, hiking, downtown Toronto, and much more. We also spend a lot of time altogether working on assignments, attending workshops, and networking events. It’s always very rewarding to grab a quick bite or sit down at a restaurant with your teammates or other classmates and share our struggles and successes together.
TIP: Embrace the community and take the opportunity to develop as a person!
The Master of Financial Risk Management is a full time program designed to prepare ambitious young professionals for careers in risk management and finance.