Rotman Dean Gains A Second Five-Year Term

Tiff Macklem, the dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management (photo courtesy of Rotman)

The University of Toronto announced today (Nov. 15) that the dean of its Rotman School of Management has been reappointed to a second five-year term, starting on July 1, 2019.

Tiff Macklem, the former senior deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, joined the school as dean four and one-half years ago. Among other things, Macklem has extended the school’s portfolio of programs beyond an existing suite of MBA options to a flourishing undergraduate business program. He led the creation of four new specialized master’s programs in healthcare and life sciences, risk management, data analytics and accounting. He also led a new partnership with SDA Bocconi School of Management has extended the global reach of the Global Executive MBA program.

In an interview with Poets&Quants, Macklem reflected on his accomplishments so far and why he wanted to take on another five years as dean. “I was keen to do a second term because the specialized programs are off to a strong start and I really want to see that through,” says Macklem. “Those are areas where we need to combine quantitative STEM skills with sound management.


“The reality is that the demands of the marketplace are changing,” he adds. “What students need is changing as well as their preferences. So in some ways, there has never been a better time to be a student because there is a lot more choice out there. You are going to see a lot of change over the next five years.”

The school’s investment in a portfolio of specialized graduate programs has permitted the hiring of new faculty with expertise in these areas. It allows you to build both research and teaching capacity but also infrastructure to use across the programs,” he says. “We built this new data and analytics lab that has allowed us to hire data scientists, to bring in the newest software, and to gain access to big databases. That is going to be a lab that supports faculty in their research. It gives us the depth and capacity to bring those things to other parts of the school.”

Macklem, 57, wanted to play a key role in those changes, using the research culture of the school to come up with new thinking.“One of the things that attracted me to Rotman was that the school is such a research powerhouse. As someone who made policy decisions that were informed by research, i was convinced coming in that Rotman’s research could have more impact. Our initiatives and centers have been very effective conduits to increase the impact of the research going on at Rotman.”


At both the school’s Institute of Gender & the Economy and Rotman’s Creative Destruction Lab, a seed stage program for scalable, science-based companies, Macklem is eager to continue to grow those initiatives. “These are the defining issues of our times,” he notes. “Helping executives scale up AI (artificial intelligence) within their companies will be a chllenge for at least ten years. I want to see to it that Rotman is playing a leading part of that.”

Asked to name his accomplishments in his first term, he ticked off a number of initiatives for which he is proud. “Building a more inclusive environment where everybody can come and do their best work is one of them,” he says. “We’re getting more engaged with the community and the rest of the university. Second, the introduction of a number of specialized programs. They are creating new depth and capacity in some high demnd areas in the marketplce where Rotman cn make an outsized contribution.”

Macklem also referred to improvements in the full-time MBA program. Under his leadership, the school has launched a more flexible internship opportunities and a revised curriculum. The revamped MBA program now allows students to take electives during the first year of their studies, have strengthened the student experience. and Increased experiential learning and self-development opportunities.


“We have really focused on the student experience, revised the curriculum and made a number of changes to the Commerce undergraduate program. The thrust of all these changes is to give students more choice and to bring in more experiential learning and more self-development.”

Before joining Rotman, Macklem was also the Bank of Canada’s chief operating officer and a member of its board of directors, overseeing strategic planning and coordinating the Bank’s operations. Before his appointment at the Bank, he served as associate deputy minister of the federal Department of Finance and Canada’s finance deputy at the G7 and G20, the IMF, and the Financial Stability Board. He also served as chair of the Standing Committee on Standards Implementation of the Financial Stability Board. In that role, he worked to establish an international system of peer review to promote and assess the implementation of new financial standards across the 24 most financially important countries in the world.

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