Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Headshot Robert Dionne

Robert Dionne, MFin '22

  • Job title: Retired Portfolio Manager, Private Investor, Board Member
  • Previous education: Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Regina
  • Other designations: CFA, CPA, CMA, DMS, FCSI

What is your current job and what role does it play within the finance industry?

I recently took early retirement after 20+ years, as a founder and partner of Scheer Rowlett & Associates, a Canadian based investment firm and a member of the Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group.  As a member of the leadership team, management committee and board of directors, I was involved in all aspects of the business.  As Portfolio Manager, I had primary responsibility for the Energy and Industrial sectors and was Lead Manager of the concentrated equity portfolios.

Why did you decide to study the MFin program?

Part of the decision to take early retirement was a desire for change and seek a new challenge, before I was too old. I was introduced to the MFin program during a client lunch many years ago.  Although my interest was piqued, the appropriate time commitment was not possible until recently. 

"I joined the MFin program to refresh past knowledge andlearn new skills to increase my value offering and confidence in my decision-making ability for my next,full-time endeavor."   

What is your top reason for choosing Rotman?

From my research, it was by far the most comprehensive MFin offering, especially for someone with my experience.   Believing it was the best program for me, I applied only to Rotman. 

How are you finding Rotman’s community?

Despite covid-19 related challenges preventing in-person learning, Rotman has done a great job transitioning to seamless online learning.  Unfortunately, covid restrictions have come at the expense of extracurricular social activities and in-person club involvement. I hope to get more involved with some clubs in the upcoming year, as restrictions ease.   

What has been a highlight of your Rotman experience?

Some highlights include learning new systems, refreshing past knowledge, meeting interesting classmates, sharing past experiences, and achieving good grades.

Has the Rotman and the MFin program met your expectations?

Yes. With some foundational courses completed, we are now studying more complex aspects of finance such as derivatives, risk management, coding trading algorithms, and machine learning.  I am excited for the second year of the program, which looks very interesting.

What has been your experience studying this year online?

Although in-person would be preferred, the online experience has been fine.   As an extrovert, I am not shy to ask questions or share my experience with fellow classmates.  I do wish I could type faster, which would be helpful with some of the on-line exams.     

Future plans? 

My early retirement at 49 was never intended to be permanent.  After 20+ years of portfolio management, I desired a change and an opportunity to recharge before making an ‘all-in’ commitment.   I will be seeking to extend my investment career as either a CIO or possibly join industry as a CFO. My Rotman education will make my past skill set more relevant and applicable to financial innovations, technological advancements and business complexities.    

What would you say to someone considering choosing the MFin?

Do it. If you enjoy finance, the Rotman MFin is a comprehensive program that will not disappoint.  

“The Rotman MFin is a comprehensive program of high-quality instruction, hands-on applied learning and group collaborationIt would be highly complementary for anyone also interested in a CFA or CPA designation.  If you are in your 30s or 40s, it is never too late to apply and learn.


This post was written while Robert was a student in the program.

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