2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Riley Love, Western University (Ivey)

Riley Love

Ivey Business School at Western University

“Mountain-loving, adventure seeker who seeks out challenges and tough problems.”

Hometown: Dauphin, Manitoba

Fun fact about yourself: I was runner-up in a Mr. Pharmacy pageant during my undergrad!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Manitoba – Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (Gold Medal)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Before coming to Ivey, I worked as a legalized drug dealer, aka a community pharmacist. My most recent role was working at LifeSmart Health, a health-provider start-up in Winnipeg. On paper I was the Pharmacy Manager, but being the first employee I wore many hats, working as a medical receptionist one day to building chairs in waiting rooms as we opened more stores. This entrepreneurial experience pushed me to want to formalize a business education and led me to Ivey.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Not Applicable – Ivey is a 1-year program.

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be moving to Calgary and working as a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Ivey Business Leader Award Recipients MBA Leaders Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement and community leadership
  • Pfizer Bowl of Hygeia Award for outstanding community service and leadership by a Pharmacist
  • Ivey Case Competition – Finalist

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The achievement I’m most proud of during business school was the consulting report that my team created as part of the Ivey Field Project (IFP). IFP offers teams of MBA students the chance to work as consultants for real companies solving real problems and putting what you learn in the classroom into real life. My team was fortunate enough to work with a local non-profit healthcare organization and tasked with designing a business model for affordable senior-living for marginalized seniors.

This is my proudest moment at Ivey because of the impact our report can have for the London community long-term. It solidified for me exactly why I went to Ivey in the first place, to learn fundamental business skills to be able to solve the problems of the future. It was a lot of long days and many hours of work, but working on a meaningful project with the best team that I’ve ever been a part of making it such a rewarding learning experience.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my time at LifeSmart, I forged a strategic partnership with a remote, northern First Nation community to be their sole provider of medical and pharmacy services. Pushing through some technological and regulatory hurdles, I was able to open a satellite pharmacy and dramatically improve access to healthcare for this remote community, seeing over 80 patients during the two days a week when I and another physician would drive up.

This partnership is my proudest professional moment because it demonstrated the ability for a project to be both good for people and business. This was the early days for LifeSmart and helped dramatically propel our growth. More importantly, the project led to dramatically improved healthcare for a marginalized community, a legacy that is being continued even after my departure.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Our MBA Association and Social coordinators did such an amazing job that it’s really hard to pick just one event! So instead of picking an event, I’m going with the tradition of Ivey’s alumni giving back to the school. Before getting to Ivey, I had heard a lot of good things about the strong alumni network the school has. Having gone through the program and witnessed the engagement first-hand, this was not oversold. Alumni are always happy to come back and do panel events, help with interview prep, have a coffee chat, and really go above-and-beyond to help you in whatever ways they can. I think this spirited engagement is one of the defining features of Ivey and something I will be proud to carry forward as a future alumnus of the school.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose to come to Ivey for a number of reasons. First, after having experienced a case class during a class visit, I knew that I wanted to go to a school that used the case method. I witnessed first-hand the dynamism of the class and wanted to be a part of the shared learning magic that can take place. Second, I’m from a small town in Manitoba and felt a lot more comfortable in London, Ontario than Toronto. London is a great city with so much to offer and I’ve really enjoyed my time here. Finally, I was looking for a 1-year program as my wife was staying behind to work in Winnipeg. Ivey fit the bill on all three fronts and I know that I made the right decision.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be authentic and tell YOUR story! Ivey admits such a diverse class each year with people from many professional backgrounds. Our class ranged from a Plastic Surgeon to a Sommelier with me, the pharmacist, somewhere in between. Each person admitted brings something unique to the table and contributes to class learning, which is so important in the case method. So be yourself and tell your story no matter what that story is because I guarantee there is a place for all backgrounds here at Ivey.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think the biggest myth about Ivey is the fact that you can’t have any type of social life because of the 1-year nature of the program. Yes, the compressed timeline makes things busy, but there is still plenty of time to engage in activities you enjoy outside of the classroom. We have a group that rents ice every week and plays hockey and I’ve also played a bunch of intramural sports. You will be busy, but Ivey doesn’t consume your entire life.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Looking back, I would’ve been more reflective throughout the journey. The school year goes by so fast and before you know it graduation is here. I know I’ve grown so much both personally and professionally, but I wish I would’ve taken more time to reflect on that transformation throughout the year.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? This might be biased because I live with the guy, but the classmate I admire most is Phill Gibson. Phill is one of the most well-spoken and intelligent guys I have ever met, and he really adds so much to our class both inside and out of the classroom. He is one of the Social Reps at Ivey and has done an amazing job of bringing our class together by organizing so many fun events. He is an incredibly hard worker and, as a teammate, you know you can always count on him to get the job done. He has pushed me in so many ways and made me a better person and I feel I’m not alone in saying that our class wouldn’t be the same without him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I think my Grandpa indirectly influenced the decision the most. My Grandpa was an entrepreneur and built a business from the ground up and that family business has had a lasting impact on my hometown. I always was inspired by him and seeing how big of impact entrepreneurship can have on communities really pushed me to step outside my comfort zone and pursue my MBA at Ivey.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. I want to start something. Whether that is a for-profit venture or a non-profit, I want to have the experience of being a founder and building something that meaningfully impacts society.
  2. I’m not sure if I could be a politician, but I would love to help shape policy discussions in Canada, particularly in healthcare. I think we are at a point unfortunately where we can’t have a sensible and rational debate about the issues our country faces, and I hope to help change that.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone who you know you can count on when you need them.

Hobbies? I love mountaineering and have summited both Mt. Rainier and Mt. Kilimanjaro. My wife would say that I spend way too much time on fantasy sports and sports in general. I recently have gotten into rock climbing, which I hope to continue once we move out to Alberta!

What made Riley Love such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Riley Love’s employment background as a pharmacist/pharmacy manager uniquely positioned him amongst the MBA 2020 students in terms of being able to provide both a science-based and service-focused learning contribution in core courses’ shared learning discussions. At Ivey, Riley has impressed on a daily basis in terms of his inherent cross-disciplinary approach to tackling business challenges, his ability to assimilate faculty and peer feedback to advance his professional and personal growth, and his problem-solving and decision-making acumen. Riley’s academic efforts in core and elective courses, so far, currently places him as one of the top performers in the MBA 2020 cohort. Riley’s immersive involvement in, and/or leadership of, a variety of careers and social student clubs, along with his active engagement with Ivey alums and prospective MBA applications, highlight his impressive ability to meaningfully contribute to the continued well-being of others as well as to positively reflect the Ivey brand.”

Larry Menor
Ivey Business School MBA Director


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