Heading to Toronto
So, the time had arrived. It was July 2 and I was Toronto-bound on my direct 14 hours flight from Delhi. After 3 years of corporate life, I was excited about going “Back to School”.
Things had turned out well, and after my acceptance into the program in April, I had resigned from my job to prepare for the new adventure. Sitting in the flight, I wondered how my new college would be, whether I would make great friends, and whether it was worth going back to school in the first case!
I landed in Toronto and spent the initial couple of days roaming around Mississauga, getting done with SIN (Social Insurance Number), sim card and other formalities and being awed by swanky cars. Then I moved to my temporary accommodation at New College Residence in the campus area. Once settled in, I couldn’t wait more to go check out the school.
Becoming familar with the Rotman School
Rotman being a public building, one can enter without any restrictions during day time. Entering the building, I was amazed by the Fleck auditorium. Later on, I came to know its Fleck where many events and talks take place and that is where I would meet my new classmates on the first day. A ticker on top of the stage with stock prices reminded me of being in a B-school. I went around checking out the school area to witness the famous pink stairs (See my pic above!).
The bright colors make you feel there is creativity at play, and not just serious business. Creative Destruction Lab atop the pink stairs further fortified the idea.
While going around, I happened to go past Fiona’s room. Fiona is part of the Recruitment and Admissions team and had taken my interview along with Prof Joseph Milner. I cold called on her and was marveled by her hospitality. Fiona showed me around the college, the cafeteria and the library area, and her favorite spot outside the library which gives a good view of the Hart House. She guided me about how to get a t card. She also introduced me to Julie, our Program Services Associate Director and Bonnie, whom I had been pestering on email and who had been really kind to me. The first interaction with Rotman people left a stirring impression on me and I could not wait for the school to start.
Fast forward one month. Its August 13 and its our induction day. I had kind of settled into the new city and have taken up accommodation at Grad house, which is going to be my home for the next one year. I dressed up in business casuals and got handed my name tag card for the day. The classmates introduced each other over the breakfast, and I was impressed by the exceptional individuals who were going to be my classmates. After short welcome addresses from Vice Dean and Academic Director, we headed for a session on Cross Cultural Success. That was followed by a tour of the college and our first interaction with Management Data Lab, which is going to be our pillar of support for the next 1 year.
We had some team building sessions and a reception with the Dean and Faculty to close the day. I met Prof Milner, who took my interview, and had a lengthy intriguing conversation with him. He later taught us Operations in the intro term. I was glad to meet the other distinguished faculty, who are names to reckon with in their own fields.
The second day started on a fun note with a treasure hunt at the Royal Ontario Museum – ROM. It was one of the most amusing treasure hunts I ever did and I should not reveal more spoilers of it. We had a session on how to make the best out of the program, a session with Self Development Lab which was at our disposal to improve our soft skills, and a session with Brian Keng, the Data Scientist in Residence. The Career Services Session kickstarted our journey to build a personal brand and laid the foundation for associating with career services through out the year.
The teaching starts
The first term had two courses from the face of it. But one of them, Analytics in Management, was designed to serve as an introduction to functional areas of business: Marketing, Operations, Accounting, Finance, Organizational Behavior and Strategy. Taught by different professors for every function, it was a really interesting and intense course which covered so much in such a short time. The other course was Data-based Management Decisions, which actually laid the foundation for using analytics to make management decisions. We learnt through various case studies, trying to solve business problems. All this was complemented with our newly developed skillset, at least new for me, in R, Python, SQL and SAS. We used different tools for our individual and group assignments during the course and brushed up our statistics alongside.
Half of intro term was over by August end, and that is when this blog was penned. The intense courses, along with the frequent assignments, networking and club activities in college had kept us pretty busy. Time had flied and I knew we were in for an exhilarating experience. We were trying hard to spare time for enjoying the ephemeral Toronto summer, to check the touristy places in the city, to make use of the athletic center across the road and to go check Niagara Falls. But then we had the whole year to do that, hopefully!
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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.