How the accounting & finance student found community and opportunity in the classroom and on the baseball diamond.
Mitch Fiacco knows the difference between balance and burnout. The Ted Rogers School of Management student and varsity baseball player credits Ryerson with enabling him to succeed academically while pursuing his athletic passions.
Having previously studied at another university, Mitch was drawn to Ryerson’s downtown Toronto campus. He chose the accounting & finance (BComm) program, accredited by Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Ontario, for the breadth of career-ready skills and experience it offers.
Managing a full course load in a program like accounting and finance would be challenging enough, but as a student-athlete, Mitch also adds training, practices and games into his day-to-day calendar. He’s mastered the art of time management, but he couldn’t do it alone – the Ryerson community supports him every step of the way:
“My professors are fully encouraging of me being on the team. First semester, for example, I had to figure out when all my midterms would be, and I had to reschedule some because of playoffs. Talking to my profs, everybody had no issue rescheduling, they completely understood. They’re very encouraging. I even had professors emailing me and asking how the games went.”
It was the ability to combine his passions with his studies – something that is actively championed by his faculty – that made Ryerson attractive to Mitch. When one accounting professor realized how important baseball was to him, he encouraged Mitch to join the Ted Rogers Sports and Business Association, a student-run organization that bridges students’ love for sports with their interest in entrepreneurship and the business world. At his previous university, Mitch had felt compelled to join clubs and organizations that were related to his career, but at Ryerson he’s able to blend the two together.
“With all the work and expectations, I would have never been able to play baseball. My passion would have died out. Ryerson gave me the opportunity to still get that education, and pursue baseball and get more satisfaction out of it.”
Support with his passions isn’t the only resource Mitch has found as a Ram, however. He says his teammates are like his family and that they’ve quickly gelled and become familiar with each other’s strengths. He feels that the team, which had its inaugural season in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) in 2013, has been very open-minded with respect to the team’s development, taking on new players and creating a positive culture.
Being a varsity athlete has taught Mitch the importance of time management and has also helped in his academics, and he values the structure that baseball provides. It’s not uncommon for the team to have four games each weekend, so he knows he needs to stay on top of his grades. Despite a hectic schedule, he had his best academic semester this past fall, and credits his motivation to do better to his connection to the team.
“It almost pushes you to want to do better, because if you slip academically you’ll be letting your teammates down as well, which is something you really don’t want to do.”
The team dynamic of give-and-take support made it easier for Mitch to adjust to a new school environment during a difficult time in his life, after his mother passed away. He cites the university’s inclusive and diverse atmosphere as the best part of Ryerson, and he quickly found friends from different backgrounds and programs.
Mitch credits his mother for introducing him to baseball, which is his self-proclaimed first love. The ability to balance his academics while playing the sport he loves makes him feel honoured to represent Ryerson.
“You get the freedom to really go pursue something that you’ve always wanted to do, while still getting a world-class education.”