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Beyond the classroom: Getting the most out of the Rotman MFin program, Part 1

In Conversation with Current MFin Students

Part 1: Clubs, councils, case competitions and LEADS

As Canada’s top-ranked business school, Rotman takes the lead for its location in the heart of Toronto—Canada’s business and financial capital—its robust network of industry professionals and alumni, and its challenging and dynamic programs delivered by an award-winning faculty.

The learning and the advantages don’t just end in the classroom. It’s one thing to attend lectures and complete your assignments and exams, but once you start applying the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired in class and use them in real-life scenarios, you can witness real impacts and results before even finishing the program.

In this series, we bring together three students from the current MFin ’22 cohort to find out how they make the most of their time in the program and maximize the opportunities offered at Rotman.

  • Sarah Wang: Strategy/Product, Ninepoint Partners; MBA, Georgetown University, and BCom, University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business.
  • Talal Alam-Eddine: Formerly Senior Project Manager, BMO Financial Group; FRM, and BComm, Concordia University.
  • Emily Halverson-Duncan: Associate Investment Advisor, BMO Nesbitt Burns; CFA, and BMath, University of Waterloo.

Active participation in student life is one of the key non-academic aspects of the Rotman experience, and it's a truth that Emily Halverson-Duncan discovered to be crucial in her time at Rotman.

“One of the things I was told before I started the MFin program was, ‘You get out of the program as much as you put into it.’ There is a lot more that Rotman has to offer that you can get out of the program if you want to put the time into it.”

Rotman clubs and councils

Some of the opportunities to get involved include running for class representative, joining the Graduate Business Council (Emily is the current MFin director) or the Rotman Council (Talal is the current MFin representative). There are dozens of other clubs from which to choose and they are a testament to the diversity of students and interests at the school, ranging from program-related topics like financial analysis and new ventures, to wine-tasting and classic book clubs. Every point of participation is a chance to get acquainted with your classmates, faculty members and the program team, giving you more exposure to Rotman as a whole.

By developing a more well-rounded experience, club participation opens the door to personal, professional and academic growth.

For Sarah Wang, being an active member of clubs has been one a highlight during her time at Rotman. In her experience, clubs offer so much more beyond their face value, and she sees it as a great resource for building up your network, social skills and experience beyond the classroom walls.

“When you first get into the master’s program, make sure you look into the clubs—it's a great way to make friends, not only in the MFin program but also Rotman in general. After you graduate, you’ll realize that the Rotman network and brand are going to be your biggest assets.”

Case competitions

Case competitions are multi-faceted events that challenge students to work together and apply their knowledge, expertise and teamwork skills to present the best case to solve a given problem. 

They're organized by different clubs and organizations and run the gamut in terms of subject matter, from venture capital scenarios to assessing strategic acquisitions. It’s a chance to work with your peers, learn from your team’s collective strengths and network with industry professionals.

“I found that your participation in these case competitions really allows you to complement the material that you’re studying and develop additional skills,” says Talal Alam-Eddine, who participated in a variety of competitions beyond those that focused on finance. To his benefit, his decision to venture outside his program helped him build a wide network of friends and an even wider circle at Rotman through collaborations with students from other programs.

“There’s plenty of stuff to do outside of just the coursework—if you can dedicate the time and effort to it, I think you’ll be highly rewarded for that,” he adds.

Rotman LEADS Program

Sarah, Talal and Emily were among those selected for the highly competitive Rotman LEADS Program (Leadership, Exploration, Advice, Development and Success). The program identifies motivated and committed Rotman students across all programs to participate in a mentoring cohort with senior industry leaders in their field of interest. Students who apply and are selected will be invited to participate in events and meetings designed to give students valuable insight, career advice and guidance from their industry mentor.

“Explore the things at Rotman that will help you after you graduate and help you to build this Rotman connection. The LEADS program is great for that—you're able to meet senior executives you don’t often have the opportunity to work with,” says Sarah.

Talal says the LEADS program has made a positive impact on his career prospects.

“I was fortunate enough to participate for two years and this has been an exceptional experience – I got to work and meet with some very senior executives who were able to provide me with a lot of good insights and advice in terms of managing my career forward and also opening some doors for me.”

Sarah, Talal and Emily stress the importance of taking every opportunity to network, both formally and informally, and using the resources in your program to build up your résumé and experience beyond classroom content.

But don’t take our word for it. Next time, Sarah, Talal and Emily will share more about their personal experiences in the MFin program.


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