When I accepted my offer to the MFRM program in December 2019, I had imagined I would be living downtown Toronto and attending classes and networking events at Rotman. Fast forward to March 2020, social distancing measures were imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Canada and I returned home from my undergraduate university. I expected that I would be back before the end of the semester… Wow was I wrong!
I am very fortunate that neither myself nor loved ones have been affected by COVID-19; however, as weeks turned into months, I felt as if my world had turned upside down. I did not realize that the “see you later” to my undergraduate friends would be the last time I would see them and that the summer internship I was pursuing was no longer offered. My stress levels associated with the uncertainty of the future began to swell.
My relief came when I received an email from the MFRM program services team, indicating that the program was still going to offer, albeit virtually.
Without an internship, I spent my summer reviewing python (a skill that is necessary for success in both the program and the financial industry) as well as, the Financial Derivatives prerequisite course. In my spare time, I took up the game of golf. Through multiple lessons and countless hours spent on the range, I have turned my slice into a draw. Although, I still do not trust myself to keep it on my own fairway. At the end of the summer, my girlfriend and I traveled to Victoria, BC for a two-week road trip around Vancouver Island.
I returned from the trip excited to attend the two-day MFRM orientation – the first day was held online and the second in-person at Rotman. The organization and engagement of an ‘online’ orientation were beyond my expectations. We were welcomed by faculty, introduced to Career Services and the Self-Development Lab, and engaged in an entertaining team-building trivia game hosted by Conundrum Adventures. On arrival at Rotman for the second day of orientation, I was impressed with the safety protocols and thrilled to see (most of) my fellow classmates. We were introduced to our professors with a ‘fun fact quiz’, listened to a very insightful presentation about capital markets from Heather-Anne Irwin, and then played an interactive game of ‘two truths and a lie’ to learn more about each other.
It is surreal how fast the first semester is going - between class, group projects, speaker events, networking sessions, case competitions, and professional development workshops the days and weeks fly by!
I empathize with the professors’ challenges of lecturing online; however, they have adapted very well to create an engaging classroom environment. I am most enjoying Professor Kevin Wang’s Financial Derivatives class. We are participating in a semester-long trading competition to utilize the theory taught in class to gain real-world feedback from imploring different strategies.
I was originally discouraged when I heard the semester would be delivered virtually because I assumed there would be a lack of networking opportunities. Again, wow was I wrong! Through club events and the Career Services team, there are speaker series events and virtual information sessions offered weekly, providing the opportunity to network with industry professionals.
Looking ahead it is uncertain that my cohort will return to campus next semester. I hope that we do; however, I would not feel shortchanged having my Rotman experience fully virtual. My experience at Rotman has been everything I imagined and more!
The Master of Financial Risk Management is a full time program designed to prepare ambitious young professionals for careers in risk management and finance.