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Rotman Commerce - Special Topics Courses


  • Content in any given year will depend on the instructor.
  • Enrolment is restricted to Rotman Commerce students.
  • To take a 400-series course, 14.0+ credits are required; and for a 300-series, 9.0+ credits are required; except when otherwise indicated in the course descriptions below
  • Course descriptions may be found following the listings


Summer 2023

RSM411H1F – International Entrepreneurship

RSM411H1F – International Entrepreneurship (Cancelled for Summer 2023)

Instructor: Rebecca Reuber
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits, RSM 392H1
May be applied to the following focuses: International Business (Requirement 2), Strategy & Innovation (Requirement 2), and Requirement 15 of the Management Specialist.

Pursuing international opportunities is essential to the growth of entrepreneurial ventures, particularly in Canada and other countries with a small domestic market. However, internationalization is challenging for the leaders of young high-growth firms around the world because of their financial and managerial resource constraints. This course highlights the challenges they face in internationalizing and the mechanisms they use to overcome them. It differs from a traditional international business course because it focuses on the early internationalization issues of young firms, rather than the issues of managing established multinational corporations. The course material is highly international, with most cases featuring the internationalization of young companies started outside North America. Students will have the opportunity to work collaboratively in teams to apply the course concepts to the development of an internationalization plan for a real-world company that is located in Canada or in another country.

The course is intended for students who are interested in growing an entrepreneurial venture internationally, or working with internationally-active entrepreneurs as a manager, partner, consultant or investor. It is also relevant for students who want to lead the pursuit of new international opportunities in existing organizations. The course emphasizes the development of professional skills, such as discussions in groups, presentations, researching real companies, and teamwork.

Fall-Term 2023

RSM310H1F – One-to-One Marketing
RSM406H1F – Corporation 360
RSM409H1F – Business and the City
RSM410H1F – Sustainability Strategy
RSM415H1F – Strategic Decisions in Operations
RSM417H1F – Supply Chain Analytics
RSM419H1F – Chinese Markets and Investments

Winter-Term 2024

RSM210H1S – Communicating for Impact
RSM311H1S – Data-Based Decision Making
RSM315H1S – Taxation for Business Professionals
RSM317H1S – Text Mining and Natural Language Processing
RSM418H1S – Investment Banking and Mergers and Acquisitions

RSM210H1S – Communicating for Impact

Instructor: Alexandra Motut
Prerequisite: Completion of the Rotman Commerce Guaranteed Admission requirements.
May be applied to the following focuses: None

Students learn oral communication skills in both casual and formal professional settings (i.e. from coffee chats to boardroom presentations): we cover the core elements of audience, message structure and delivery for a variety of professional communication contexts, both individually and in groups, with visual aids (slides) and without. We will also address aspects of professionalism including email and digital communication, etiquette, and intercultural awareness. Course methods emphasize low-stakes practice, feedback (including peer feedback), and personal reflection. Course format includes lectures and some asynchronous content, with a heavy emphasis on in-class practice and application of learning to promote skill development.

RSM310H1F – One-To-One Marketing

Instructor: Dan Richards
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits; RSM250H1 (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students)
May be applied to the following Focuses: Marketing Focus

In One to One Marketing, you’ll learn how to market yourself and how to succeed in face to face and written communication with classmates, with employers and with customers. This course does this in two ways. First it will help you understand the most current research and best practices on common forms of communication:

• Business writing – emails, memos, proposals and reports

• Formal stand-up presentations, including responding to questions

• One on one and small group conversations

• Networking – how to build and maintain a robust network that will help you get the right job and then get things done on the job and advance your career

• One you start working full time, how to build and improve relationships with colleagues and managers

Second, One to One Marketing will help you apply the class concepts about effective persuasion to your day to day interactions, by helping you create new habits to communicate more effectively. To help you learn, each class will discuss lessons from videos of successful CEOs and we’ll also use role plays, individual and group presentations and biweekly journals. You’ll also have weekly meetings with a small group of classmates with whom you’ll complete short weekly assignments and practice the concepts you learn in class. One to One Marketing was developed for Rotman’s MBA program by Dan Richards, who this year was voted Best Professor by the graduating MBA class. The course emerged when he saw some of his MBA students who were extremely strong technically but who struggled to communicate effectively. Since it was first offered in 2018, One to One Marketing has received outstanding feedback in student evaluations.

RSM311H1S – Data-Based Decision Making

Instructor: David Soberman
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits; RSM250H1 (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students)
May be applied to the following Focuses: Marketing; Data Science in Business

The objectives of this course is to introduce the upper year students to key ideas about data-intensive business decision-making. The ideas explored in the course include:

• Understanding that the questions a business needs answered precedes the collection and analysis of data
• The difference between what the data “say” and what the data “mean”
• Understanding and measuring randomness and its implications. Different sources of randomness (inherently random outcomes vs measurement errors)
• Introduction to standard questions and analyses that businesses need to address
• Understanding traps and biases in the data and their implications on the analysis
• Difference between various modelling approaches

You can find a video introduction here:

RSM315H1S – Taxation for Business Professionals

Instructor: Alexander Edwards
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits; RSM219H1, RSM230H1 (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students)
May be applied to the following Focus: Financial Statement Analysis; Finance

Description: Taxes are a compulsory fee imposed by governments on individuals and businesses. All business professionals can benefit from understanding the tax system so that they can considered taxes in their decisions and maximize after tax returns. This course is designed to develop your ability to identify, understand, and evaluate tax-planning opportunities. The course will provide a high-level overview of the income tax system and how it impacts business and investment decisions. The material will focus on tax planning concepts and the effect of taxes on decision making, rather than detailed tax rules and legal research (i.e., this is a class designed for all business professionals, not simply future tax professionals). We will begin by developing a conceptual framework for evaluating how tax rules affect financial decisions. We will then apply the framework to various types of financial decisions. Specific topics include investing, registered savings vehicles, compensation planning, international tax issues, capital structure, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, and financial statement analysis.

What past students have said in course evaluations:

The instruction was extremely clear and made tax something that could be studied by non–accounting majors.

The best class…. I don’t like accounting at all, but this class was interesting, engaging, helpful, and exciting to attend.

I would highly recommend taking this course to my peers.

RSM317H1S – Text Mining and Natural Language Processing

Instructor: Gerhard Trippen
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students)
May be applied to the following Focus: Data Science in Business (Updated September 18, 2023)

This course will introduce the students to a diverse collection text mining techniques and natural language processing using machine learning. These techniques are often aimed at identifying and quantifying various structures in the text data to answer business problems and provide managerial insights. Model validation and effective communication of model-based results will be stressed. The course will employ a “white-box” methodology, which emphasizes an understanding of the algorithmic and statistical model structures and how they apply to text analysis. Following leading industry standards, the course will use Python to apply a number of different algorithms to real-world big text data.

RSM406H1F – Corporation 360

Instructor: Stefan Dimitriadis
Prerequisite: 14.0+ Credits; RSM392H1
May be applied to the following Focus: Strategy and Innovation; Managing in Diverse Economies; Leadership in Organizations

Businesses are increasingly called upon to help solve major global challenges like climate change, political polarization, social and income inequality, and global pandemics. How can businesses contribute to tackling these problems while also fulfilling their mission of creating and capturing value for their shareholders? The objective of this course is to use core concepts from strategy and management theory, along with cutting edge research, to explore this question. We will analyze firms from many perspectives (360 degrees), revealing that firms affect a broad range of stakeholders. We will discuss how profits are not always compatible with the interests of those stakeholders and how firms can manage these tensions by making trade-offs. This will lead to discussions of the role of leadership in managing those tensions and groups of stakeholders.

RSM409H1F – Business and the City

Instructor: Richard Florida
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits; ECO204Y1Y (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students) (Please note there was an error in the enrollment controls on this course.  This has been corrected on ACORN)
May be applied to the following Focuses: Strategy and Innovation

The course is designed to impart a basic understanding of the role of location and community engagement in corporate strategy, and give you the tools to make better location decisions for yourself and family. Its scope in includes three main objectives
• To help you better understand the importance of location and community engagement as key components of corporate strategy and performance.
• To help you understand how to make better location decisions for yourself, your career and family.
• To help you better understand what cities and other levels of government can do to spur economic development.

RSM410H1F – Sustainability Strategy

Instructor: Kenneth Corts
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits; Co-Requisite: RSM392H1 (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students)
May be applied to the following Focus: Strategy and Innovation

The environmental and social impact and context of business matter like never before. Diverse stakeholders—from shareholders and lenders to workers and consumers to governments and activists—are raising their voices to ensure that these considerations are given their due in business decision-making and that firms are being transparent and accountable for performance in diverse dimensions well beyond short-term financial performance. This course takes an economics and strategy lens to consider how business leaders can and should respond to the rise of these concerns in pursuing long-run sustainable growth and prosperity.

RSM415H1F – Strategic Decisions in Operations

Instructor: Vahid Roshanaei
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits; and RSM270H1 (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students) (Please note there was an error in the enrollment controls on this course.  This has been corrected on ACORN)
May be applied to the following Focus: None (Updated Sept 18, 2023)

This course provides a framework and multiple analytic tools to analyze, evaluate, and optimize the strategic asset and process decisions involved in configuring the “Operating System” of a firm. The focus is on making value-creating decisions that are grounded in operational reality. Students will learn that a firm’s Operating System is composed of “Assets” and “Processes” and that the Operating System of a firm is uniquely designed to support a firm’s business and competitive strategy. Asset decisions include capacity sizing, expansion, flexibility, and location. Process decisions include strategic and global sourcing (supply management), dynamic pricing and revenue (demand) management, smart technology and digital automation, innovation management, and risk management.

RSM417H1F – Supply Chain Analytics (Cancelled – August 2, 2023)

Instructor: Paul Jan
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits;
Corequisite: RSM370H1 (Please note that ECO220Y, CSC108H/CSC148H, and data science related courses would help you prepare for this course.) (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students)
May be applied to the following Focus: Strategy and Innovation; Data Science in Business (Updated July 24, 2023)

This course exposes students to improve a company’s supply chain operations through analytics. Students will apply pricing, forecasting, inventory management, and network design models learned in prior courses to real-world challenges. Students get to conduct hands-on analyses in the four domains listed above and present recommendations to the participating company at the end of the semester. Throughout the semester, students will gain exposure to enterprise software, effective communication techniques, and effective interaction with key stakeholders/executives.

You can find a video about the course here:  RSM417 Promo

RSM418H1S – Investment Banking and Mergers and Acquisitions

Instructor: Wayne Adlam
Prerequisite: 14.0+ Credits; RSM433H1
This course may be applied to the following:
Focus in Finance (Req 2)
F&E specialist: at least 2.0 credits of 400-level Finance courses (Req15)

This course will focus on understanding the drivers of value creation in mergers & acquisitions and to develop the skills necessary in the design, evaluation, and negotiation of these transactions. The practice of mergers & acquisitions covers many value creation strategies including spin-offs, carve-outs, strategic acquisitions, leveraged buyouts and going private transactions. Familiarity with mergers & acquisitions is a foundation for effective work in a wide range of fields including investment banking, private equity, consulting, corporate development, and advising senior management. This case-based course will focus in particular on how investment bankers assist companies by advising them on strategic initiatives and arranging the necessary financing for the transaction, as well as fostering an understanding of the overall deal making process.

RSM419H1F – Chinese Markets and Investments

Instructor: Hai Lu
Prerequisite: 9.0+ Credits (Please note that this course is open to 3rd and 4th year students)
May be applied to the following Focus: Diverse Economies, Financial Statement Analysis, International Business

This course is designed for the students who are interested in Chinese institutions and markets that can facilitate investment decisions in China, the second largest economy in the world. Understanding institutional environment in Chinese capital markets is important because it exhibits significant differences from shareholder-driven Western economies. The course begins by introducing a stakeholder approach to understanding the Chinese eco-system and highlighting the major differences relative to the capital markets in developed countries. Subsequent classes are devoted to the behaviors and incentives of important market participants such as government, managers, investors, and analysts. The course is largely based on the instructor’s own field research related to China (please check Topics include information quality in China, market transparency and efficiency, financial frauds, high speed railway investment, AI investment, digital economy and metaverse, carbon strategies and ESG, and joint ventures in China. While the course focuses on Chinese institutions and a few specific industries, a broad objective of this course is to raise awareness for a thorough understanding of the relevant institutions when engaging in international investment decisions.

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