Sunday, May 6, 2012

And that’s a wrap for first year!

And what a year it was! It has been a week since Q4 exams finished, and after a much needed break, I am ready to go back to work tomorrow for the summer.

But first, a Q4 post-mortem. Q4 took many people by surprise. The second years told us that Q2 was the most difficult one, but I have to disagree. Q4 consisted of more group projects than any other quarter, and as we all know, compiling everyone’s individual effort into one group deliverable can be a challenge. However, I think we all pulled through and hopefully were able to learn something about working in teams along the way. And with the weather getting nicer and nicer, it made sitting through classes and studying in the fishbowl very difficult. Here are the courses we took this quarter:

Global Managerial Perspective: Also known as GMP. This was probably my favourite course this quarter. The professor for my section was Walid Hejazi. His passion for the material was evident when he shared his own research on the discussion topics and anecdotes that were sure to make the class chuckle. The course really made us appreciate the importance of globalization in today’s business world and understand the mechanisms from which benefits of globalization are derived. We learned about the relationship between interest rates, exchange rates and inflation; four trade theories that help explain trade between countries; the role of innovation and R&D in an ever-changing exchange rate environment; and what company activities and tasks should and should not be outsourced. Professor Hejazi challenged us to learn the material well and study hard, and like David Goldreich, he definitely knew how to keep the class awake for an 8:30am class.

Operations Management: I briefly discussed this course when I wrote about Littlefield. Let me tell you, it was no walk in the park. There are three group assignments that build upon the material learned in the lectures (one of which is Littlefield), a case to read for nearly every class, and a final exam. Despite the frustration with the assignments and the lengthy cases, I can say that I definitely learned a lot from the class. And I know this because now whenever I am standing in line waiting for anything, I can’t help but think how I can change the process so that there are no queues at all. So thanks, Operations, you have made waiting in line at Tim Horton’s so much better!

Business Ethics: Another amazing course. The only really disappointing part about this course is that it is only once a week. When else do you get to talk frankly about ethical issues in business and really acknowledge how complex ethical issues can get? It was oftentimes very surprising, when discussing an ethics case in class, how divided the class can be on the right thing to do. Should a CEO be fired for having a romantic relationship at work with someone in an unrelated department? Should a CEO be fired for lying about his credentials on his resume when he was hired 20 years prior? What do you do when a major donor to your institution is charged with securities fraud? This is another course where participating in class discussions makes the learning so much better. Your classmates’ differing perspectives on an ethical issue can make you question – or change your mind on – your own position on an ethical issue.

Integrative Thinking Practicum: This course was taught by our Dean, Roger Martin and Jennifer Riel, Associate Director of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking. The content is largely based off of Roger Martin’s book, The Opposable Mind, and some other articles co-authored by Martin and Riel. Nearly every class, we discuss a company whose CEO has faced a problem in the past where he or she is faced with a decision that involves obvious trade-offs and compromises. What this courses teaches us to do, is to think about the problem in a way where you do not have to make a trade-off; instead, you devise a solution that incorporates the benefits of both choices and that is better than simply opting for one choice over the other. We were able to apply our learning to two companies that are facing this sort of dilemma: Loblaws and BMO. The group that presented the best solution from each section for the BMO case also gets to give a presentation to the CEO of BMO, Bill Downe. Congratulations to the groups and best of luck!

Managerial Accounting: This is the first time I have seen the word “accounting” in the name of a course and not actually had to look at any financial statements throughout the course. Which was, in a way, nice. Unlike financial accounting, managerial accounting uses data to help managers make decisions such as which products to keep and which products to drop, how to properly compensate employees so they are motivated to perform well, and how to evaluate employees’ performance. We also learned how to create a flexible budget and attribute earnings to certain products and services. The evaluation for this course consisted of two quizzes and a heavily weighted final exam.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is life as a first-year student at the Rotman School of Management!

This summer, I will be returning to my employer before I started at Rotman, Raymond James Ltd. I will be working in the wealth management department with a financial advisor, helping him analyze client portfolios, find new investment products and learn more about investment strategies for his clients. I am looking forward to it, and am excited to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones too!

I’m not sure how often I will be updating this blog over the summer. I will try my best to get updates out when we start picking our elective courses for next year or when any other exciting Rotman news comes out. So, as always, stay tuned! 


  1. Hi Paige,

    How difficult is it to secure a summer internship in asset/portfolio mgmt. without any prior experience or CFA? I intend to start @ Rotman this fall, but I'm from an engineering background, without a CFA.


  2. Hi Paige,

    I have a somewhat similar question. I am going to start Rotman this fall and coming from engineering background. I have been working as a Researcher in Finance Department of my university for a while and I am more interested in careers in private equity research and portfolio management. How crucial CFA is? is there a group or class that people get together to study that?

    Thank you,

  3. Hi Monel and Houman,

    Regarding the CFA: Completing up to any level of the CFA program is very helpful from a Rotman academic point of view, but it is not necessary. Some of the students interested in finance had not written any of the exams and still performed well in class. In terms of getting a job in finance, it is definitely an asset and will stand out on your resume, especially if you are interested in portfolio management or research. There are no classes that will prepare you specifically to write the exams, but the accounting, economics and finance classes draw on some of the CFA material in some manner. There are several Rotman students who have been studying hard to write the upcoming exam in June. I am not sure if there is a formal study group for the exam, but feel free to start one when you are here in September!

    Regarding summer internships in portfolio management: I unfortunately cannot accurately comment on this. I did not participate in many of the recruiting events since I was always intending on going back to Raymond James Ltd. However, when you start at Rotman in the fall, I encourage you to join the Rotman Finance Association (RFA). Many students found this club particularly useful for helping them secure an internship in the finance industry, and it gives you the opportunity to speak to lots of second year students who went through the recruiting process for all kinds of positions.

    Looking forward to meeting you in September!


  4. Thank you Paige, it was really helpful. I guess I need to add "CFA-study hours" to my calendar then!

    Looking forward to meeting you too!