By the numbers, the Class of 2021 brings a 660 GMAT to London, Ontario, nearly equal to last year’s class (though the class’ 670 median is down ten points from 2020). GMAT scores ranged from 620-780, with only 10% of the class submitting GREs. As a whole, the class boasted a 3.5 undergraduate GPA, both average and median. The class is also highly diverse. 48% of the class arrived from outside Canada. By the same token, women account for 35% of the class, up two points from the previous year. At a time when full-time MBA enrollments are down, Ivey boosted its class population from 151 to 154 students.
WHAT’S NEW AT IVEY
COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the Ivey Business School at Western Ontario University from enhancing its programming. In August, P&Q reached out to Larry Menor, Ivey MBA Program Director, to get an update on initiatives in the pipeline, along with learning more about the vaunted Ivey Field Project and alumni network. Here were his thoughts…
1) What has been the biggest news at the Ivey full-time MBA over the past year? How will these development benefit future MBA students?
“The biggest challenge and opportunity that the Ivey full-time MBA Program has faced was the need to adapt educational content and delivery in the face of COVID-19. The most immediate change for the better was the experimentation with, and embracing of, technology-mediated educational means (e.g., technology-enabled learning as well as blended learning) in order to discover a suitably engaging discussion environment allowing for faculty-to-student and student-to-student shared learning experiences akin to what was achieved previously solely through in-person interactions.”
2) What project or initiative do you have in your pipeline? How will they enhance the learning experience for future MBA classes?
“Central to Ivey’s full-time MBA Program is its culture blueprint, which was introduced back in March 2019. While we have always emphasized the criticality for our MBAs to continuously abide by the beliefs of “professional endeavoring” and “transformative excellence”, the last core belief in the MBA culture blueprint (i.e., “valuing community”) has become even more critical given the ramifications of COVID-19 and requires greater advocacy for the related expected behaviors of (1) “Respecting and caring consideration of others and surroundings” and (2) “Giving back with humility”. We are, as a result, pursuing greater urgency initiatives to raise awareness of, educate on, and cultivate advocates for equity, diversity, and inclusion as well as leadership character.”
3) In recent years, Ivey Best & Brightest MBAs and MBAs To Watch have lauded your alumni network. What are you doing to better connect alumni and current MBAs? Could you share a success story or two?
“COVID-19 immediately highlighted the importance for business leaders to be able to responsibly lead through crises and adapt through resilience. To enhance full-time MBA students’ understanding of the issues and challenges associated with these two important leadership responsibilities, a “Teachable Moments” speaker series was created where virtual meetings were set up between the MBA cohort and Presidents and CEOs of a number Canada’s most recognized brands spanning an array of sectors. On this platform, these senior executives could share their real-time insights on leading through the COVID-19 crisis and provide examples of adapting through being resilient. The MBA students were also provided the opportunity to engage in a Q&A with each of the Teachable Moments speakers.”
4) Tell us about the Ivey Field Project. What are some companies you work with and projects students have completed? What makes the Ivey Field Project such an impactful experience for MBAs?
“The Ivey Field Project (IFP) exists in two different live case study formats: the new venture project (IFP-NVP) and the client field project (IFP-Client). The IFP provides MBA students with the opportunity to work in a team setting over a three-month period to apply their integrated business educational takeaways and past work experiences to advance an identified promising business opportunity (IFP-NVP) or address an identified challenge facing an existing (IFP-Client). The IFP is very much an act your way to new learning opportunity.”
5) What are the three biggest advantages of the Ivey one-year MBA program?
“1) Advance in an expeditious manner one’s business leadership capability, commitment, and character.
2) Be challenged on a daily basis with the tasks of productively deciding and acting upon opportunities to resolve relevant business dilemmas.
3) Gain access to an accomplished and influential alumni network.”
5 REASONS WHY THE CASE METHOD MATTERS
The Ivey Business School is closely associated with the case method. Pioneered by Harvard Business School, the case method harnesses the collective expertise and experience of the students. Here, students step into the role of decision-makers by immersing themselves in real-world situations ranging from disruptive innovations to product recalls. In the process, students wrestle with the complex and uncertain. They must weigh unreliable data, painful tradeoffs, and unpopular alternatives. The goal is to formulate holistic solutions – even when there are no correct answers – and defend their approach to their classmates.
Here are five benefits that the Class of 2021 has derived from Ivey’s approach to case readings and discussions.
1) “The case method was definitely a new experience for me, being put on the spot and asked to challenge my ideas, was daunting in the beginning. However, I have learned to trust my ideas and my unique creative problem-solving skills and broaden my knowledge from the variety of diverse opinions and experiences from my classmates.”
2) “Our Accounting prof described the case method as “learning through osmosis” and I couldn’t agree more with that statement. There’s no discernable point where you “learn” the academic material. You just live immersed in it, struggling to keep up as the cases twist and turn from industry-to-industry, qualitative-to-quantitative. Then one day, you hear people discussing a business event and you realize you suddenly have a fully formed understanding of the topic and an opinion on how to approach the problem. You didn’t realize it, but the case method has made you adaptable. You started pulling out case facts and drawing parallels to other problems the second a handful of words triggered your brain.”
3) “The case method is unique as it offers different perspectives on any given subject based on a student’s experiences and beliefs. By hearing my classmates out, I have learned not only to be more open-minded but at the same time understand the drivers behind one’s beliefs and perspectives.”
4) “Another thing I love about the case method is that it’s allowed me to see how business strategies are applied in industries I’ve had no exposure to professionally. This has opened my eyes to pursuing roles post-MBA that I likely wouldn’t have considered prior to joining the program.”
5) “You must be prepped and ready to go for every class, every day. There are no shortcuts in the case method learning and every case must be contextually understood in depth, accompanied with qualitative and quantitative analysis. Learning in a case class also does not happen in a silo. As a CXO recommending solutions for a finance case, one must draw upon learnings from marketing, economics, etc. The learning by doing method has really taught me to step into the shoes of an executive and look at a problem in a multidimensional manner before making suggestions.”
* Go to Page 3 to read a dozen in-depth profiles of Class of 2021 MBA candidates.