Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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A life-changing journey

With all the final submissions for the semester lined up, we sure did “feel the heat” in December!

Throwback to the 13th of August, day one of the MMA orientation program. I placed my name card on the desk, absolutely thrilled to be seated in one of the world’s most renowned universities, among students who hailed from different parts of the world, each of whom had their own set of unique experiences to share. As an international student myself, I knew I was in for a life-changing journey. 

Though challenging at first, I gained insight into the world of business, from a data analytics perspective.

Team building sessions conducted as part of the orientation program certainly helped me segue into the collaborative environment at Rotman. It seems like only yesterday that we were running around the Royal Ontario Museum in teams, looking for clues to our treasure! The intro term that followed, spanned over a period of one month (mid-August to mid-September) and consisted of two courses: ‘Analytics in Management’ and ‘Data-Based Decision Making’, both of which introduced the importance of leveraging data in business settings. These subjects were relatively new to me, considering my bachelor’s is in computer science and engineering. Though challenging at first, I gained insight into the world of business, from a data analytics perspective. Rotman also conducted several programming bootcamps during this term to help us get acquainted with the software tools we would be using as part of the analytics courses that followed.  

The Practicum

Towards the end of September, right before the commencement of the fall semester, we were introduced to our respective practicum project hosts. A group of three, my teammates and I are currently working on optimizing the omni-channel retail strategy for the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) with the objective of balancing sell-through rates between online inventory (maintained at their distribution center) and physical stores’ inventory to increase profitability. The Analytics Colloquia course taught by industry experts in parallel with other MMA courses to provide insights into modern topics in the field of analytics was also off to a start. We were just about juggling between coursework assignments, workshops and networking events, when it was soon time to break for thanksgiving. 

The fall break had us feeling refreshed, and gave us time to go over some of the concepts covered in class. While acquiring skills in data extraction, predictive modelling and prescriptive analytics, we worked towards obtaining a good understanding of the managerial problem concerning our respective practicum projects through October. We communicated back and forth with the practicum host, to get any questions we had about their operations answered. We consulted our faculty coach often, and began drafting analytical plans for the project. Before we knew it, November had arrived. 

Wonderful opportunities

In the first week of of November, I received a wonderful opportunity to team up and interact with some data analysts from TD bank for the ‘TD Empire Hacks Back’ hackathon, organised in association with Rotman FinHub. The event extended over a period of three days. We worked on a business case that sought to identify gig-economy workers by analyzing millions of transactional data to help them plan for retirement. It has been a memorable experience for me, extremely fitting to the area of management analytics. I learned about the challenges faced in harnessing big data to solve complex, real-world business problems and some of the ways in which they may be overcome. 

Yes, grad life can, and will take a toll on you at some point, but I believe it is more important to relish every aspect of it.

Come December, the “end” was near! We geared up for the finals, and managed to work our way through the busy class schedules to complete some other assignments. It was also time to present our analytical plan at the host organization. My teammates and I worked hard and prepared our proposal of a solution to the optimization problem which was appreciated by HBC. We thus wrapped up the semester with a final presentation at Rotman for Phase-I of our respective management analytics practicum projects, which was then followed by a reception with practicum sponsors and industry guests. 

A great learning experience

Looking back to when we started, I feel my peers and I have come a long way, in terms of the way we analyze problems and present information. As for me, I have learned to better handle trying situations, manage time efficiently, and communicate more effectively. Yes, grad life can, and will take a toll on you at some point, but I believe it is more important to relish every aspect of it; It has been a great learning experience for me so far, in terms of both academics and life! All in all, it has been fun. I can’t wait to see what the next semester has in store for us!

The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional. 

© Rotman School of ManagementThe Rotman School of Management is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB)