Jeffrey Ma, JD, MBA – BCom ’11
Legal Counsel, Municipal Property Assessment Corporation
Rotman Commerce Alumni Steering Committee (RCASC) Chair Jeffrey Ma traces his decision to pursue a career in law back to his involvement in the Rotman Commerce Law Association (RCLA). During his time at RCLA, he had a chance to meet a number of lawyers and law students who had a deep commitment to both their work and social issues. Their perspectives reflected Ma’s personal goals to become both a successful businessperson and an engaged citizen. Rotman Commerce also provided him with a strong network that propelled his legal career after graduation. “Rotman Commerce produces business undergraduates with some of the strongest technical skills in the country, which has served me well in a highly technical and multi-disciplinary field such as business law,” he says.
While the academic reputation of Rotman Commerce was important, it was the program’s location in Toronto that informed his decision to study at U of T. “Access to Toronto was crucial for building my network on Bay Street, which helped accelerate my legal and business career,” he notes. He also credits a rigorous academic program and the strength of the U of T brand in helping him decide to study at Rotman Commerce. In addition, he was also attracted to the extra-curricular offerings such as student clubs, volunteer opportunities and the campus culture.
Getting the Most Out of Campus Life
Once on campus, Jeffrey took full advantage of what the University had to offer by making the most of opportunities to develop leadership skills, participate in networking, pursue career opportunities and build relationships with future career sponsors. “Having fun both in and outside the classroom is critical to long-term academic success and keeping refreshed and eager to learn was a key tool to help handle the workload,” he observes.
While completing his undergraduate degree, Ma thrived. He was a member of the team that won the U of T Consulting Association Business Case Competition in 2010, was president of AIESEC at U of T (an international student exchange and leadership development organization), was a member of the RCLA, and assessed applications for the Hart House Good Ideas Fund. And on top of all that, he found time to earn his first degree black belt with the City of Mississauga. According to Jeffrey, “finding your passions, causes and communities can help make a big university more personal and welcoming.” When asked about his defining moments at Rotman Commerce, he recalls the rigours of the Entrepreneurship, Business Law and Capstone courses, being mentored by Professor Maureen Stapleton and being accepted into U of T Law.
Making an Impact as an Alum
Since graduating, Ma has remained active in the Rotman Commerce alumni community. Prior to being elected as the RCASC Chair in May 2017, he served on the RCASC Recruitment & Admissions group, and volunteered with the Alumni Mentorship Program, He is also the Class of 2011 Class Champion. His contributions have had an immediate and lasting impact on both alumni and students. Of note is the success of the Boardroom Case Competition, originally initiated by the RCASC Recruitment and Admissions Group , which is now a cornerstone of the Rotman Commerce admissions and recruiting strategy of attracting strong high school students to choose Rotman Commerce.
Jeffrey firmly believes that actively engaging in the Rotman Commerce alumni community affords graduates of all ages the chance to establish connections and build projects that could lead to their next big opportunity. Moreover, Jeffrey never underestimates the impact that even one person can make in an environment that is ripe for positive change. “Rotman Commerce has made tremendous strides in providing innovative new opportunities for new graduates to lead emerging industries and start their own businesses. For alumni, being an important part of the next generation’s chances of success is worth your investment back into this program.”
Building Alumni Engagement
Jeffrey encourages new grads to continue to explore the University after graduation and find professionals who can help support their career aspirations, while at the same time not losing sight of how they might be able to help others succeed. “Rotman Commerce and U of T have undertaken a lot of effort to bring together interesting people and give them a big platform to pursue their passions,” he says. “Find these alumni, as they can continue to have a real positive impact on your life.” Finally, Jeffrey advocates making the difficult choices that are often required to succeed. “Putting yourself in the best position to satisfy your professional and personal goals often requires you to make tough choices with no obvious answers.”
The Rotman Commerce alumni community has found a passionate advocate in Jeffrey Ma. “The Commerce program continues to make noticeable and significant strides every year in areas such as professional skills development, updated curricula, increasingly selective admissions, and intensive course offerings that provide training highly applicable to the real world,” says Jeffrey. Moreover, he argues, “Rotman Commerce’s alumni initiatives are readying itself for transformation change. If you are on the fence as to whether you want to get involved, there has been no better time to explore the available opportunities that you can lead and get involved in.”