What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)
A multitude of factors contributed to me selecting this program and I could not be happier with the decision I made. After attending information sessions and doing in-depth research online, I felt confident that this program will equip me with the competitive skills that are essential in a well-rounded candidate upon graduation. I was especially drawn to the co-op option that was offered and after finding out about all the assistance the co-op department provides such as mock interviews, one-on-one resume and cover letter critiquing sessions, and networking opportunities with industry professionals, all skepticism vanished. In addition, I have always known that my specialization is a challenging one. However, the path can always be made easier with great teachers. The professors of this University have a breadth of industry and teaching experience that would set me up for success as can be proven by alumni who have obtained a degree from this program.
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
I experienced a lot of fear and anxiety as a first-year student in this program because I thought it would be extremely difficult and envisioned my marks to take a significant downward plunge because of the higher standards that are placed. Any new venture that is embarked on will be uncomfortable at first but if you take advantage of the resources that are available, and implement the advice of mentors, professors and teaching assistants, the outcome will only be positive. Because I took these aforementioned steps, and got into the habit of developing effective study strategies for each of my courses, it wasn't so bad after all. Aside from the academic component, I have successfully completed 3 co-op work terms and learned a significant amount through each of my experiences on how to become a stronger professional and applying what I have learned in the classroom. Now when I graduate, I will not be lost, I will be found.
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
1. Don't take any advice lightly. Professor's aren't trying to scare you, they are trying to help you succeed. When the professor advises to do your readings, do your readings. It will reflect favourably on your exams. In the management program, many courses are quantitative in nature, so doing the readings may not seem too necessary. However, from my personal experience, it does make a difference and gives you a broader understanding of the material, which in turn reduces the chances of becoming stuck on practical problems.
2. Build your network. This can be done through extracurricular involvement and getting involved in mentorship programs. I find that mentorship programs are great because it gives you someone experienced to look to as a guide and they can address any concerns you may have. Luckily UTSC has many such programs including MESA's MVP program and Department of Student Life's First-year experience program.
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
I intend to pursue my CPA designation. I am grateful that my courses and co-op experiences have not only provided me with technical knowledge, but also the confidence to be able to deal with a wide range of challenges associated with achieving this goal. My interpersonal development has skyrocketed along with my ability to present myself well. This degree will definitely do the same for others because you truly learn how to step outside of your comfort zone through courses like Communications which is solely based on developing public speaking skills through presentations. This skill is especially important when wanting to pursue the CPA designation.
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
In my first year, I decided to solely focus on my academics because I was afraid that becoming involved would affect my grades. However, I now know that time-management goes a long way and can make it possible to get involved and do well in University. I did end up doing quite well, however becoming a well-rounded individual involves doing more than just getting good grades, therefore I recommend getting involved early on. Mentors can help create a study plan and offer time-management tips along with the Academic Advising & Career Centre. Second year was a little more challenging because that is when I had to job seek for co-op, thus I had to set aside time to work on my resume and cover letter and visit the co-op office for critique appointments, on top of school work. Although this was a lot of work, when I landed my co-op job at Toronto Board of Trade, I felt accomplished. I found the task of job seeking to be a lot easier after my first co-op work term. Being in the co-op program requires strong time-management skills because employers do assess grades. I was able to meet the requirement of a 2.5 CGPA to stay in the program and don't think it is difficult to do if students simply stay focused and do what is expected of them. After second year, as I got more involved on campus and gained more experiences, much of the fear I initially experienced diminished. I wanted to share my knowledge and what has worked for me to students, and that is why I have been mentoring first-year students since my third year at UTSC.