Financial access

The MFin program finds a new group of students.

The pandemic was a great time for businesses to try new things. Universities too. Remote teaching opened up a whole lot of possibilities. Case in point, Smith’s Master of Finance–Toronto program.

MFin classes are normally held in person—one night each week and once every second weekend—at Smith- Toronto. Since students work full time, the program attracts people living in the Greater Toronto Area who can easily make the commute to school.

But during Covid, classes went online. Suddenly, having to get to downtown Toronto on a Monday night wasn’t a prerequisite. As a result, MFin began to attract a wider audience—from Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and other parts of Ontario.

“We were giving access to a whole group of people who never could have attended otherwise,” says program director Emily Saunders.

Rather than forgo those potential students as MFin returns to in-person learning this year, Saunders and her team have now created a new MFin section: “MFin Blended”, which starts this June. Enrolled students will follow the same curriculum as in-person students but attend remotely. They’ll also take part in two residential sessions: in Kingston in June and Toronto in January, alongside their fellow classmates who attend classes in person.

The Master of Finance–Toronto program has experienced solid growth since it launched 12 years ago with 43 students. It now typically enrols 110 students in two sections (55 students per section). Adding a third section in the form of MFin Blended will increase those numbers, says the program’s founder, Professor Sean Cleary. But, he adds, “it’s not about growing the program so much as it is about providing more access.”