2020 MBAs To Watch: Alexandra Krolak, Western University (Ivey)


Alexandra Krolak

Ivey Business School at Western University

“Energetic, outgoing, ambitious, and creative, with a passion for reading, learning, and new experiences.”

Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario

Fun fact about yourself: I was a competitive dancer for 16 years; starting at the age of four, I danced competitively my entire childhood through to the end of high school. Upon graduation, I continued my involvement in dance as a competitive dance instructor and choreographer.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Western University – Honours Bachelor of Arts in Media, Information, Technoculture (2016)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Before enrolling at Ivey, I spent two years working at DAC Group, a global digital marketing agency, where I frequently tackled complex business challenges and developed compelling, analytics-based solutions. I was initially hired as a business process coordinator, where I reported directly to the global Vice President of Operations at DAC and was responsible for leading the change management process for on-boarding and integrating three recently acquired international agencies. I gained experience implementing optimized workflows, analyzing business synergies, and driving focused results through collaboration with management teams. After a successful six-month integration process that resulted in an increase in client retention and streamlined corporate processes, I was promoted to account management. As the main point of contact for all client communications, I owned the lifecycle of client projects and materials. Using my creative problem-solving and communication skills, I was able to analyze ambiguous problems, develop a clear understanding of client business objectives, and create analytics-based digital solutions. Leveraging extensive product and marketing data allowed me to implement custom integrated digital campaigns and derive meaningful insights for my clients.

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

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be working at Restaurant Brands International (RBI), as a Senior Manager in their MBA Leadership Program. The program is designed to place recent graduates into leadership positions at the firm and help accelerate their careers. I am particularly excited as this position will allow me to explore various high impact roles and take personal ownership of business-critical challenges within RBI.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
Upon accepting my offer at Ivey Business School, I was awarded the Lean In Canada MBA Scholarship, awarded to female students based on exemplary leadership during my Undergrad years.

I am particularly proud of being a member of The LEADER Project, holding the role of instructor, in addition to serving on the marketing and communications committee. The LEADER Project is a student-driven, economic development program delivered in underserved countries, providing current and future entrepreneurs with the analytical tools, thought processes, and decision-making skills to tackle complex business challenges. The goal of LEADER is to deliver a two-week teaching-intensive to empower entrepreneurs and transform ideas into engines for sustainable economic growth and positive social change in their respective communities.

I am also a proud Ivey Student Ambassador, responsible for mentoring prospective and incoming Ivey students. Working alongside other ambassadors and Ivey admissions staff, we engage with these students, providing them the best possible introduction experience into the school and program.

In addition, I have taken on the position of Formal Senator with Ivey’s MBA Association, responsible for organizing and executing this year’s Ivey Formal, the MBA Association’s largest annual event for the graduating class. As part of this, I am looking forward to building a memorable experience for my fellow MBA classmates.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The extracurricular achievement I am most proud of is my involvement in The LEADER Project. Educating, coaching, and mentoring others has always been a passion of mine. LEADER is an organization that offers remarkable opportunities to entrepreneurs in developing countries, allowing them to work closely with LEADERites to turn ideas into viable businesses. Developing the necessary skills gives them the confidence to launch their businesses in their respective markets. As a LEADERite, I am given the opportunity to coach, guide, and positively impact promising entrepreneurs many of whom often don’t have access to the same resources that we did growing up. Together, we work through confronting key challenges facing the companies. The LEADER Project delivers impact in multiple countries every year and is an initiative that touches the lives of entrepreneurs and LEADERites alike.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Although I am proud of everything I was able to accomplish at DAC Group, the thing I am most proud of was deciding to take a chance, invest in myself and join the MBA program at Ivey. In all honesty, it wasn’t an easy decision at the time, and I weighed the risks of putting my current career on hold and making such a large financial investment in myself against the potential benefits of learning and increasing my skillset (and potentially landing an amazing job upon graduating). In the end, I knew I wanted to make a significant career transition. After months of research and networking, I decided an MBA was the best next step for me. Looking back now, this was the best decision I have made for my career. Along with the constant support of family and friends, I am proud of myself for taking that chance. I am fortunate to say that the risk paid off and I was able to land my dream job, something that would not have been possible without the MBA. On top of this, I was able to learn from incredible professors, expand my skillsets, and (most importantly) gain a group of lifelong friends!

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favourite MBA tradition is the annual Ivey Impact Day, where MBA students have the opportunity to give back to the London community through various initiatives, ranging from park cleanups to homebuilding. In each event, students are assigned to their respective organizations and spread out across the city to lend a helping hand. Not only does this initiative encouraged community service, but it also strengthens participant teamwork and friendships. Part of what Ivey teaches is the impact our business decisions can have beyond the bottom line, including on social and environmental matters. As future leaders in business, it’s vital to practice diligence and mindfulness in any venture we undertake. Impact Day reinforces those valuable lessons and that have a lasting impact on those involved.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose to attend Ivey primarily for two reasons: the case-method and the Ivey network.

The interactive nature of the case method ensures that each class is dynamic, taking you through complex, multi-disciplined business, and leadership challenges, and pushing you out of your comfort zone. Having networked across many schools before joining the program, I was excited by this method of teaching. Now having experienced it myself, I see how it has helped shape my approach to unknown problems, something that will be invaluable in my career. The second reason I chose to attend Ivey is due to its strong alumni network. Not only are the graduates of Ivey powerful leaders in the business world, but they are part of a greater culture of support that Ivey has fostered over the years. There is a pervasive “pay-it-forward” culture amongst the alumni that is taught on day one and extends long past graduation. This generosity and enthusiasm further solidified my choice to attend Ivey.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Don’t be afraid of your non-traditional background! Ivey is an environment that thrives on the diversity of experience and thought, and your uniqueness is what brings value to the program. The case-method allows everyone to bring their experience into the classroom and learn from one another in a collaborative space.

What is the biggest myth about your school? A common myth about the Ivey MBA program is that you are disadvantaged when it comes to networking and landing a job because you are not located in a big city. In reality, the same firms recruit at Ivey as other business schools in large metropolises, and many students land top jobs at top firms.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Reflecting back over my MBA year, one thing I would do differently is to not worry as much about where I end up, and to focus more on being in the moment, and enjoying the experience. The one-year program goes by very quickly and is truly a once in a lifetime experience! Finding the right job will always be stressful, but it’s important not to let that stress overshadow all the amazing experiences that the program offers.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is Phill Gibson. Ivey is a program that deeply values leadership, character, and grit – and Phill is a role model of those values in every aspect. From the moment the program started, Phill has made a continuous effort to get to know his classmates and forge meaningful relationships with as many people as he could. He constantly and actively looks to lift up others and help them whenever needed. He is the first person to sit with you to explain a difficult concept or lend an ear to someone going through the recruiting process. His thoughtfulness, creativity, and wit – along with his patience and selflessness – have had a noticeably positive influence on the program as a whole. I truly admire his character and can’t imagine the program without him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mother is my biggest inspiration and the person who most influenced my decision to pursue an MBA. My passion for learning and work ethic undoubtedly comes from her, and when I questioned whether I was capable of completing such a rigorous program, she was always the first to encourage and support me. Not only is she one of the kindest, hardworking people I know, but she is also an exceptional business leader in her own right and an inspiration to me and my sisters.

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

  1. Become a senior female executive
  2. Publish a novel

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as kind, fun, honest, and hardworking, but most all, I hope they know I am always there for them if ever they need me.

Hobbies? I love traveling, writing stories, dancing almost anywhere, cooking, and euchre.

What made Alexandra Krolak such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Alexandra Krolak (henceforth Alex) brings to Ivey’s MBA Program a unique educational background (e.g., Honors in Media, Information and Technoculture at Western University), a varied portfolio of employment responsibilities despite recently completing her Bachelor of Arts degree, and unique instructional or service leadership experiences that resulted in her receiving a Lean In Canada MBA Scholarship. She also brings to her MBA 2020 cohort an infectious spirit and personality. Alex is an active contributor to the MBA 2020 community as she is a member of Ivey’s LEADER project, an Ivey Student Ambassador, and an Ivey MBA Association senator. She also co-founded, along with one of her MBA colleagues, a MBA Small Business Consulting Program, which is a student-run program intended to match MBA student teams with London (Ontario) non-profit businesses to provide those organizations with pro-bono consulting work. In addition to these contributions to the MBA 2020 community, Alex has excelled in her core and electives courses as her learning efforts, so far, have resulted in an academic performance standing that places her amongst the top female students in Ivey’s MBA cohort.”

Larry Menor
Ivey Business School MBA Director


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