Update: Fotini Tolias held the position of Academic Director between 2015 and 2019. Fotini continues to teach in the MFin program, and the current Academic Director is Chay Ornthanalai.
Today, we’d like to introduce Fotini Tolias, our new Academic Director for the Master of Finance program. You will no doubt be interacting with her during the course of your time at Rotman.
Congratulations and welcome! We’re so excited to have you as our new Master of Finance Academic Director. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I spent the majority of my career in the capital markets, bond origination, which means that I used to create fixed-income securities in the primary market. Working for banks such as RBC and CIBC, my client coverage included Media & Telecom, Financial Institutions and special situations. My clients were large, publicly traded companies.
Can you tell us a little bit about your time at Rotman?
I’ve been at Rotman since 2009. I teach across all programs, from undergraduate to graduate programs. My area of expertise is in fixed income and I approach my teaching of it from a former practitioner’s point of view. Within the Master of Finance program, I teach the Fixed Income course. The course provides students with an understanding of the capital markets—specifically the bond markets—and how these markets function in practice.
What would you say is your approach to teaching?
Every class, I begin by reviewing new bond issues done in the market. I pick transactions that I think are interesting – that may tie into the lecture of the day – and then discuss them in class. Most people think that quants are boring, but they are absolutely not! That’s what I want to show my students in class. I try to make the market come alive for everyone.
By looking at actual transactions, students can make more sense of the finance theory. The classes I teach on fixed income are very hands-on.
Any advice to anyone interested in the Master of Finance program?
I think it’s a fantastic program. I wish it’d existed when I was thinking of going back to complete a graduate degree.
What I love about the program is that the students are very knowledgeable. To various degrees, every student has industry experience or an established career path. This brings a good mix to the classroom. It’s definitely one of the more challenging groups to teach because they have so much experience already. I have definitely been challenged in the classroom by students who work in the fixed income area. This keeps me on my toes and keeps me engaged and often leads me to consider fixed income from their perspective.
I am pleased to expand my involvement with the Rotman Master of Finance program and I’m looking forward to meeting everyone.