Big Losers and a Big Winner

Today is the annual crosstown football matchup between the York Lions and the UofT Varsity Blues. Little hope remains to the faithful in light of our recent performances though. So far this season, the Varsity Blues are 0-3, losing by a combined score of 216 to 22. Last season the Varsity Blues went 0-8, giving up 438 points while scoring just 42. That's a combined 0-11 since I arrived on campus. Not only do we lose, but we take traumatizing poundings week in and week out. Combining that with the current sorry shape of Varsity Stadium gives you a good idea of just how drunk one needs to be to enjoy a football game here these days.

One of the many things I looked forward to when I came to UofT was watching some university football. UVic, where I did my undergrad, did not have a football program - although they are historically the best basketball school in Canada, and had some great teams while I was there - so I was jazzed for some football. UofT has, in fact, a very impressive pigskin pedigree. We've won 2 Vanier Cups and 4 Grey Cups here over the years. Can't help but be a little bitter.

In Rotman-specific happenings, Michael Dell was at Rotman this week making a breakfast speech. He spoke a good deal about the early history of his company, and the thinking behind the key decisions he make early on that sent Dell on its super-successful trajectory. My impresson of the man was that he absolutely relished swimming against the tide. He'd flash a satisfied smile when he recounted being advised by analysts against entering the server market, an endeavor which proved to be a huge success. He loved to be told he couldn't do things, and continues to be extremely talented in business strategy, thinking several moves ahead in each "game", anticipating what his competitors will do in each situation, and having his next move already thought through. All in all, not a bad way to spend a morning.

Also, the new Rotman video is up on the website. Yay Rotman!


Ring, Ring Goes the Bell

Welcome to year two of TAML, it's back to school time once again for yours truly. The first week of my second (and final) year of graduate education is at hand, and already recruiting season is in full swing. I've been to three recruiting functions in the last three nights. Monday was TD Securities, yesterday was RBC Financial and tonight was Scotia Capital. I've had so much practice with schmoozing over the past year or so that I could literally teach a class.

For those of you who actually read this blog for the inside MBA scoop - demented as that may be - my major will officially be Risk Management and Financial Engineering. My courses for 2nd year will consist of the following:

Security Analysis & Portfolio Management
Financial Institutions & Capital Markets
Options & Futures Markets*
Game Theory & Competitive Strategy
Applied Portfolio Management
Advanced Derivatives
Financial Risk Management
Risk Moderation & Trade Strategy
Special Topics in Accounting
and Intregrative Management Challenge (described earlier here)

*taught by Prof. John Hull, probably Canada's foremost expert in derivatives

There is, no doubt, a lot to look forward to this year. For starters, we will be hazing the first year students in a way that will make Dazed & Confused look like an MBA-style wine and cheese. (kidding, of course) But there are also plenty of real things to be excited about. Next week Michael Dell will be at Rotman to give a talk and have some breakfast with us. I'm going to be playing some Rugby this year with the Rotman team, we'll be playing against other MBA programs and the plan is to finish the year with a big tournament at Duke University in North Carolina. Lastly, in what will be a huge honour for all involved, our portfolio management class will be travelling all expenses paid to Omaha, Nebraska in April to hang out with Warren Buffett. We will be spending a couple of hours with the world's greatest investor running exercises, touring some of his businesses, and going to lunch.

Yes, lots of great good stuff is still ahead. I'll have much more on all of this in the weeks to come and hopefully a job waiting for me at the end of it all. Stay tuned.

Hockey Talk

Well, hockey season is over. A little earlier than usual this year. Around here folks celebrated the big win by assulting cops and injuring seniors. Got. to. love. this. town. It wasn't all violence and rioting though, big laughs abounded last night as confused Hollywoodians in town for the film festival had their limosines and taxicabs surrounded by drunken, flag-waving, face-painted, woo-hooing partyers. These people had no idea the World Cup was even taking place alongside their schmooze-fest, let alone why someone was standing on their hood in a speedo and a Canadian flag cape, shouting "we're number one" at them.