Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Q&A with Zifei, Datathon 2018 participant

Zifei participated in the second Rotman MMA on-campus Datathon and joined the MMA class which started in August 2019.

Zifei was part of a team that finished in the top five teams during the Datathon.

What made you decide to sign up to the Rotman MMA Datathon in 2018?

Big data and analytics has always been my interest. This Datathon is themed around data analytics, so I decided to apply immediately. I heard about the MMA Datathon through one of the MMA info sessions. I knew that participating in the Datathon could increase the competency of my application in the admission process of MMA. I also had the goal of meeting more people, expanding my network and practicing team working through a group competition. Moreover, I was attracted by Rotman’s brand. I knew that I can definitely gain valuable experience from this event. 

Was the event what you expected?

Yes, the event is what I have expected and it was amazing. I had a chance to meet faculty members from Rotman Master’s programs and had a chance to learn more about Rotman and the MMA. I also meet many professionals from varies industry in the field of analytics. They shared their insights during the event. 

After attending the MMA Datathon, I became even more determined that the MMA will be my first choice masters degree. 

What were your fellow participants like?

My teammates have similar background as me.  We have a technical background as well as experience in the data science industry through internships.  The three of us did our undergrad at the University of Toronto specializing in computer science and statistics and we did our PEY with Bell and CIBC in the field of data science and business intelligence. Although it was the first time for us to work in a competition as a group, we had great team dynamic and used 1000% effort in the Datathon.

What was your highlight of the event?

Neither my teammates nor I had experience in SAS before this Datathon. After the SAS tutorial, we were able to complete many parts of the final presentation with SAS. We processed data, ran analysis and created visualizations graphs in SAS. 

Therefore, I think the highlight of the event is to realize each individual’s achievement is built on top of teamwork and effort. When we support each other with in the team, each of us will win greater success compare to doing it individually.

How much of an impact did it make in your decision to choose the MMA program?

There are two main reasons why I chose MMA as my first choice for a Master’s degree. 

Firstly, I always had passion for big data. It has been my interest since undergrad at U of T studying computer science. Moreover, management analytics has been a growing industry. I look up to a bright and prospective future in this industry. 

Secondly, currently running my own startup -- Uforse Education, I had a vision that Uforse will transition to become a big data company. The goal for Uforse is to use the insights we find through big data to guide students to find the most suitable major and career as well as to teach them how to find the correct path to achieve it. Thus, after listening to the info session, I know that MMA can equip me with the knowledge to bring Uforse to next level by integrating analytics and data into traditional education business.  

Therefore, the MMA has fit closely to my career goals and my passion. 

What advice/tips would you give to someone taking part in our Datathon in 2019?

It’s about learning, not about winning. I have three pieces of advices for you:

  1. Fully bring yourself into the Datathon to learn, to meet new people and to gain experience. 
  2. Find teammates that have the same core values as you. Good team dynamic brings more success. 
  3. You will be rewarded if you try your best. 

Register now: Rotman Datathons 2019


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.

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