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‘Just do it!’: WDW grad Ezrayah Batuma encourages students to maximize their time at U of T and get involved

Alumni
Community
June 21, 2024
Image of Ezrayah Batuma

From logging on to his first class halfway across the world during COVID to being fully engaged on campus, A&S grad Ezrayah Batuma has made the most of his U of T experience and is excited for life’s next challenge.

Batuma — who earned his bachelor of commerce through the Rotman Commerce program as a member of Woodsworth College — wasted no time getting involved when in-person learning started again after the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was an active member of the first-year learning community (FLC) at Rotman Commerce throughout his undergrad, sat on the committee for the Black Career Conference, and was an Internal Relations Committee member for the Rotman Commerce Law Association.

Batuma spoke to the Arts & Science News about his time at U of T and his big plans for the future.

What did you study and why did you choose U of T?

I studied finance and economics at Rotman Commerce. I really loved all the economics courses I took in high school and I liked studying finance, but I didn't really know what it would look like yet. I remember comparing Rotman to different schools; the program was presented in such an enticing way and it’s such a prestigious school. Something that really attracted me was the quality it provided and the image it had for rigor, which on one end was a little bit daunting, but I wanted to be in a community where people work really hard and have professors that push you to really extend yourself. That’s the impression I got of U of T, and I'm really happy now, four years later, with the decision I made.

What was your experience like at U of T and are there any memorable moments that stand out for you?

I started U of T online in 2020 from Egypt and it was a very different environment. I was involved with a few study groups and those people grew to become my best friends throughout the university journey. The ability to connect with people, especially when things felt so distant, was a great thing. Whenever I talk to my first-year students in the FLC, I encourage them to check out the recognized study groups through the Sidney Smith Commons. They were so impactful, and I have friendships now that I would not have had without them.

And it's not like one specific instance, but something that I've enjoyed every time I walk into a new Rotman class; it always feels like, bam! — we’re into this new world of global capital markets, or organizational behavior is really interesting to me. I found it very easy to put myself in the position of someone becoming an expert in this specific area. That's what you're looking for when you're in classes. That's the feeling you want.

You’ve been actively involved in the first-year learning community at Rotman. Can you speak about that experience?

I've had a long history with the first-year learning community. I think it’s one of the most impactful programs for first year students. I've been involved with it every single year, from my first year when I was mentee. I gained so much knowledge that year about how to really take advantage of the university's resources and set myself up for success. That catalyzed me to want to give back to it every year.

I was an assistant peer mentor in my second year, a peer mentor in my third year and then this previous year I was a program assistant, where I've been able to speak a lot more about the design of the program.

You were also a committee member of the Black Career Conference. Did you enjoy being a part of that and what made you want to be involved?

I had a great experience putting that event on. It’s a truly unique conference. One of the great things about U of T and Rotman is that the students can put on these awesome events where they can bring in all these organizations and experts from the field. It was a taste of how great the power of Rotman students working together can be.

Do you have any advice for your first-year self?

Not to steal words from Nike but, just do it. You should just go for it — immerse yourself in all the different resources available. It’s truly mind boggling the number of things that go on at the university. If you'd like to go to an event, sign up and go talk to people — you'll find someone that you connect with.

Do you have any plans after graduation?

I'm preparing to head to law school, I can't say exactly which one yet. I'm still waiting to hear back from a couple of schools before I make my final decision. Beyond that, my current goals are to try and focus as much as I can towards global business law. I’m from Uganda originally, and I have a great deal of love for Uganda and Africa. My long-term goals are to be a part of economic transformation over the next decades. My hope is to carry on what I've learned here at Rotman and build on it through law school, and eventually take that to have a global impact on that part of the world that I think has a lot of potential.

Read the original article posted on the A&S News page here.

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