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MMA Class of 2019 gets to work: lectures, bootcamps and a hands-on practicum project

November 5, 2018

Photo of Veronica WuWhether they plan on breaking into the startup world or making an impact in public education, the students from the Rotman School’s new Master of Management Analytics (MMA) program are anxious to get started. And from the moment they arrived at the School, they got straight to work.

“The first week was packed with activity. By the end of it, we’d met with our career coach, completed an SQL bootcamp, started classes and completed an in-class group assignment,” describes Veronica Wu (MMA ’19). “At that point, I think we all knew that we’d made the right choice in coming here.”

It will only get busier. In addition to taking classes taught by experts and practitioners in the field, these students will also be participating in rigorous bootcamps on other software tools, such as R and Python, and completing nine-month practicum projects involving data engineering, as well as in-depth data analysis and interpretation. They’ll also have multiple opportunities to network, attend speaker series events at the School and participate in case competitions throughout the year.

The class is up for the challenge. Almost 40 per cent of students are entering the program with previous work experience and each has earned an undergraduate degree specializing in a complex area of study, such as computer science, engineering, economics, psychology or commerce.

Though their reasons for coming to Rotman and their career plans might vary, every member of the class of 2019 will acquire the professional experience, technical knowledge and career support necessary to forge further ahead on their chosen career paths.

Understanding the power of data

In light of recent advances in information technology, the world is just beginning to appreciate the power of high-quality data, and its role in prediction. With robust data analysis and interpretation, companies can make intelligent decisions on all areas of business, from how to price a product or service to whether to break into a new market.

Now more than ever, businesses are looking for professionals who understand how to collect and interpret high-quality data — and can explain these findings in a relevant way.

Getting a handle on how to apply quantitative tools in a business context was what attracted Veronica Wu (MMA ’19) to the MMA program at Rotman.

“The program is really preparing us to be the bridge between data analysts and managers,” she explains. “We’ll leave Rotman with the skills to communicate insights derived from the data.”

“We’ll leave Rotman with the skills to communicate insights derived from the data.”

-Veronica Wu, MMA ’19

For Wu — who graduated from Western University in London, Ontario with a bachelor’s degree in financial modeling and a minor in Spanish linguistics — the Rotman School’s strong reputation as a leading business school was key to her decision to pursue the MMA. She immediately saw the possibilities that would be open to graduates from the program.

“Many of us are still figuring out what we might want to do after this degree — but there are definitely some exciting opportunities in the tech, banking, healthcare and other sectors,” says Wu, who will be working on a project with, an online service that compares Canadian insurance and other financial fee rates.

“It will be interesting to see if I can blend my quantitative knowledge with my other interests in food, language and culture. I’m open to the possibilities.”

Hands-on learning

Photo of Nikita FodtchoukOther MMA students entered the program with specific career goals in mind. Nikita Fodtchouk (MMA ’19) knew that he eventually wanted to work in education policy and he saw the value of the MMA in helping him reach this goal.

“I’ve always been deeply interested in strengthening and advancing our public education system,” says Fodtchouk, who completed an undergraduate degree in computer science and psychology at York University in Toronto. “I want to be able to provide solid advice, based on the data, to guide informed decision-making.”

“I want to be able to provide solid advice, based on the data, to guide informed decision-making.”

-Nikita Fodtchouk, MMA ’19

He was drawn to the MMA program because of the practicum component of the program, which engages students to work with an external organization on a complex data analytics issue. For this project, students are given access to confidential data sets and meet regularly with contacts from their partner organization throughout the year.

“I chose this program specifically for the hands-on learning,” explains Fodtchouk, who will be working with Bell Canada for his practicum project. “It’s a great opportunity to apply our knowledge in the field.”

Putting it all together

Photo ofMina Rezaeisaravi This coming year, Mina Rezaeisaravi (MMA’ 19) knows the classes, bootcamps and project work will help her get a handle on data analytics and its role in driving managerial decisions.

Rezaeisaravi, who earned a degree in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Manchester in the UK, has her sights set on healthcare, innovation and technology. Eventually, she would like to develop and launch a customized patient support platform.

“Management analytics is crucial in any business context,” she says. “I know that I’m serious about launching a startup. So I need to learn data science fundamentals and analytical tools to be competitive in the market.”

“I need to learn data science fundamentals and analytical tools to be competitive in the market.”

-Mina Rezaeisaravi, MMA’ 19

She’s very excited about her practicum project with Canadian Tire, which will allow her to apply her knowledge.

Though the program has been challenging so far, she’s feeling motivated.

“There are many resources for students here, in terms of academic, professional, time management and mental health services and support,” she says. “It’s a very positive atmosphere. I know that if I need help, I can just ask.”

Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »