Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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About Me: Erhardt, MMA Class of 2021

January is the last full month of our tools term, and we hit the ground running. All our final projects are coming up and we are starting to put together everything we have learned throughout the first semester. It’s been a lot of work but super interesting at the same time!

Cross-Validation is the answer to life the universe and everything 

The program has been intensive, but the assignments and lectures are amazing. The courses we take in the MMA program have been very insightful. It really teaches you the theory, for example, Modeling Tools for Predictive Analytics (RSM8512) ensures we have the statistical background knowledge on why we choose certain methods (we talk about the bias-variance trade-off in lots of detail) and the application. Big Data Analytics (RSM8413) puts a lot of those theories in use to develop algorithms. In January we learned neural networks, decision trees, and clustering.

My biggest take away from January and the first term is “When in doubt, use cross-validation”. It is literally the answer to life’s questions, and it is used widely for parameter tuning, estimating accuracy or error for overall model selection.

Zoom fatigue and pandemic tips

Let’s be honest and say Zoom fatigue is real.

Being stuck inside while doing everything virtually can be tough and it weighs on you. On top of that we have weekly assignments and readings in all classes, so time management is super important. It can get overwhelming, but this program is very manageable, and we have lots of group work that make this easier.

I cannot speak for everyone but what has helped me is to take one day or evening off a week. This is to get away from my room and the computer to recharge or relax. It makes the next week a lot easier to handle and it refreshes me. For me, that day varies from either getting outside for a hike or spending all day on the couch with my favorite movies and tv shows. The important part is to disconnect, and yes, I still feel guilty, but the point is to try to put those feelings away because you need R&R in whatever way that works for you!

The homework and readings are super interesting though, and you get to practice what you learn! It really ties everything together and honestly, the homework is engaging. I bet those two words are not used in the same sentence a lot, but it is true. That is why we are in this program; we want to learn how we can use analytics to improve decision making.

Extracurricular activities & Workshops

January was filled with extra activities! We had Gallup come in to perform the Clifton Strengths Assessment.

We learned about each of our individual strengths and focused on what we’re good at, which is a nice alternative to always focusing on where we can improve!

We had two workshops on Agile Project Management that taught us how to work and lead agile projects. This is super useful for our practicum since we are implementing scrum methodology! The MMA cohort are some of the brightest and best people around! They are always there to answer questions and to help and hangout. The Program Services team has been making sure we keep in contact with weekly coffee chats and social gatherings on Fridays. Our latest one was Pet Friday where everyone showed off their pets!

Since the class has been virtual, I’ve been lucky enough to spend the holiday break and a bit of January in my hometown of Vancouver! I’ve enjoyed getting out on different hikes around the area. In Toronto, I’ve enjoyed walking and biking (when the weather was warmer) along the lake. Check out some of the lakeside walks that will make you fall in love with Toronto. 

The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics, and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional. 

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