After a relaxing winter break, we resumed our MMA journey by delivering our practicum pitches to our host company via an internal presentation. This presentation was about 45 minutes in length, with a 15-minute Q&A period. The idea was to present the business problem we were trying to solve after narrowing the scope down and then propose a solution to that problem. On the Friday of the same week, all teams also presented a 5-minute shortened version of their presentation to faculty and industry guests at Rotman. It was an intense first week back to school!
January was organized differently than other months in the MMA program. Our main focus was on career preparation and only one course – Leveraging AI and Deep Learning Tools in Marketing. In the first part of this course, we were introduced to the basics of neural networks from the ground-up, after which we were exposed to more complicated models like autoencoders, convolutional neural networks (CNN), etc. In the second and final part, we were exposed to the basics of recommender systems and other marketing tools like A/B testing. The assignments in this course were very hands-on, where we used tools like Keras to optimize and tune the hyper-parameters of a neural network. In one of the assignments, we actually built a CNN to classify images as hot dogs or not-hot dogs. This is the same problem as seen in the HBO TV show Silicon Valley!
Of the many career preparation workshops we had, I found the Case Interview workshop extremely useful. This workshop gave us the tips and tricks to crack a case interview, most commonly used in the hiring process by consulting firms. But I would highly recommend attending this workshop even though you are not interested in a career in consulting. This is because it teaches you how to solve problems in a way that utilizes structured thinking. This is an important skill to possess, and I personally found it very useful in my interviews later in the semester.
We also had the opportunity to receive feedback on our Rotman practicum presentations by the Self Development Lab (SDL). I highly recommend every student at Rotman to use this resource as much as possible – it will help you develop your soft skills which are extremely vital in today’s workplace. Also, a team of MMA students, including myself, had participated and secured 2nd position in the Elevate Tech Jam back in September. We now had the opportunity this month to pitch our idea to TD and Interac executives at the company office. This was a fantastic opportunity to practice pitching technical details in a way that non-technical people can understand – again, very important to keep in mind since not everyone out there understands how machine learning works, especially managers and executives.
One thing I wish I knew before I joined the MMA program is how intense the program is. Given my undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering at U of T, I never imagined that the MMA program could be more intense than that. But it is!
My advice is to be prepared, especially mentally, be ready to get out of your comfort zone and utilize the many resources, outside the classroom, that this program and Rotman have to offer.
The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional in 9 months.