June was a whirlwind of sprint meetings, Blue Jays, model testing and celebrations. As our spring term grades rolled in and the "supply chain heroes" (as Professor Andre Cire warmly refers to us) breathed a sigh of relief, we were ready to take on the final practicum sprint and our last term here at Rotman.
Practicum for me meant continuing our work at IG Wealth Management. Within a few days our Rotman student team at IG transitioned back to daily meetings with our manager and fleshing out project deliverables. Fortunately, we had tons of support along the way from our Faculty Coach, Professor Opher Baron, and our Teaching Assistant Coach. The practicum term culminates with an hour-long presentation with our respective host companies where we delve into the technical details of the project. This is later followed by the Rotman Analytics & Finance Showcase, which is an opportunity for the Master of Management Analytics (MMA) and Master of Financial Risk Management (MFRM) students to present their practicum projects and network with industry professionals and potential employers.
The journey to our detailed internal presentation and the showcase entailed weeks developing the dashboard, finalizing our results and recommendations, and aiming to exceed our project host’s expectations. To help us better prepare for both events, our faculty advisors and career coach held a session to improve our technical presentations and build our networking skills. This was an especially fruitful (and pizza-filled) session—for most of us, this was our first large-scale in-person networking event and no longer could we rely on the comfort of our multiple screens at home or the crutch of Zoom backgrounds. Additionally, during this session, Anthony Naimi from the Self Development Lab helped us refine our interpersonal skills to successfully showcase the effort we put into our projects.
Taking a breather from our intense practicum weeks, the lovely people at Program Services organized a special MMA at Blue Jays event which brought together alumni and current MMA students to cheer on the Jays as they took on the Baltimore Orioles. Over hots dogs and several baseball puns, we bonded over our shared experiences and love for analytics (only a few Moneyball references were made that day). It was great seeing so many of us together in person after a month; what was not so great was finding a place to accommodate all of us to celebrate after the game!
We were now back in the home stretch of our presentations. The days flew by with last-minute edits to the deck, dry runs on Teams calls and incorporating helpful feedback from our manager and faculty coach. Our final presentation with IG Wealth saw nearly 30 people in attendance across the various departments of the company. Our project involved developing models based on integrated findings from behavioural economics and marketing; as such, several teams were keen on seeing the outcome of our work.
Based on the feedback received, we were pleased with our [practicum] end deliverables. I am immensely proud that what was initially supposed to be a proof of concept evolved into a tangible product that can be used in development to generate real value for clients at IG Wealth.
We were now ready for our last but most important day at Rotman, the final flourish on our 11-month-long program. Scripts were finalized and and shirts were pressed as we prepared to take the stage and present the results of our projects at the inaugural Analytics and Finance Showcase. The day exceeded all our expectations. Every team was nothing short of incredible, a reflection of all the hard work we had put in over the past few months.
Most of us came into the program with the aim of being able to solve real-world business problems using analytics and communicate technical findings to various stakeholders. On the day of the Analytics and Finance Showcase, for every single student, that goal was exceeded.
Watching the MMA Class of 2022 provide solutions to firms extending from retail and government to some of the world’s largest banks and telecom companies was enlightening, but what made it even more inspiring was seeing how far our cohort had come.
From struggling with the statistics bootcamps in August to confidently delivering end-to-end machine learning solutions in front of over 130 industry representatives in June, the growth has been tremendous.
The MMA and MFRM presentations were followed by an industry reception where Susan Christoffersen, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, addressed the audience. We also had the opportunity to network with various organizations and learn how they leverage analytics in their businesses and discuss potential job openings. What particularly, and very pleasantly, stood out for me was how interested these industry leaders were in recruiting MMA talent, which just goes to show how in demand our newly-developed skillset is and reinforces the journey we have taken. While our last day at Rotman came to an end, our cohort had one last celebration. Later that evening we raised a glass to the incredible year that has been and to our futures. We reflected on the sleepless nights, assignment deadlines, case competitions, interview preparation and bleary eyes on Teams calls. We celebrated the new friendships, job offers and of course the Master’s degrees.
To the incoming MMA class: you have no idea what you are in for. This program will test you and push you to limits you did not know existed, but it will reward you immensely. You will get as much as you put in. Rely on your cohort, they are your support system. Trust the process even though it is often frustrating at times. Leverage the network and opportunities that Rotman provides and keep learning from the MMA—it offers you so much.
And finally, to the graduating MMA class of 2022: it has been an absolute honour to go through this process with you. You have taught me the importance of diversity and persistence. I have been lucky to meet some of the most brilliant minds and create life-long friendships through this program; any organization would be lucky to have you. Best of luck with your future and I look forward to crossing the stage with you all at Convocation Hall this November.
The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics, and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional.