Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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So You’re Studying for the Exams – But Are You Actually Learning? - Luke, MMA Class of 2021

6 months into the MMA program, I don’t just simply understand, but literally, feel the saying “time flies.” The Tools Term was intense – lectures, assignments, case competitions, extracurricular work, job search, preparing for the practicum, and so on. After reviewing all the lectures and completing all the assignments, it was finally time to test my knowledge.

Tools Term

The Tools Term was all about providing the students with the necessary knowledge of the tools we will be using in the world of data science.

From causal inference to neural networks, we learned in-depth methodology and insights of various analysis methods using R, Python, SQL, and Excel. As an analyst, it is crucial to know which algorithms or method of analyses will fit best in specific situations, and the Tools Term is a great guidebook. One of the most frequent answers the professors gave to the students was “it depends” – and it is completely true. Which algorithm should I use? It depends. Do I focus more on prediction or inference? It depends. How do I make sure I am capturing relevant information? It depends.

Analyzing data is like going on a road trip. The tools you decide to bring to your trip will depend on your destination.

Studying for the Exams

Now the key question remains – am I actually learning what is important? Exams are stressful, but some things are more important than grades on the transcript.

Studying for exams for the MMA was slightly different from typical undergrad courses. Here are my conclusions after studying for the exams: If you are memorizing the derivation of algorithms formula by formula, you are doing it wrong.

If you are fully understanding the algorithms and have a rough picture of how this can be implemented in a real business setting, you are on the right track. MMA is all about applying the knowledge, and the exams reflect that.

I realized my role as an MMA student is to walk away with critical thinking abilities to help me guide through identifying insights hidden in data, not calculating regression outputs.

Remember to De-Stress

Let’s face it. Learning is fun, but not when you are forced to do it. My only way of releasing stress was going to the gym and lifting heavy weights. Thanks to Covid, all gyms in Toronto are closed. That did not stop me from working out though. I bought myself a home gym to keep me sane from all the online stress. Toronto is a great place with a lot of hidden sceneries.

A late-night jog at Riverdale Park East will not only refresh your mind but also reward you with a great night view of downtown 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. 

© Rotman School of ManagementThe Rotman School of Management is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AASCB)