Meet the MBA Class of 2021: Jay Deverett, Ivey Business School

Jay Deverett

Ivey Business School at Western University

I’m a film producer-turned-software developer-turned (hopefully) fun case for an MBA career management department.”

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Fun Fact About Yourself: I produced three feature films that can be found on Netflix.

Undergraduate School and Major: McGill University, Philosophy

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Software Developer – BMO Financial Group

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Dangerous. Not in a negative way. It is in the way that you know you’d never let your guard down against them in any kind of competition you wanted to win. In a way that makes you realize you want them fully on your team because you don’t want to have to come up against them. In a way, that makes you constantly want to keep up with the pack because you know it can only elevate you.

How has the case method enriched your learning? 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.

Aside from classmates and cases, what part of the school’s MBA programming led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I originally didn’t even know if I wanted to pursue an MBA. I just knew I was a generalist and I knew that there was a lot I didn’t know, which was slowing me down in reaching my potential. Every Ivey recruiter and alum I came across during my exploration reminded me of a polished version of myself. I felt like these were my people, and there were no exceptions to that as I met more of the community. I came to decide I needed to go through the same transformation that these people clearly had.

You moved online quickly after arriving on campus due to COVID-19. What has the transition been? How has an online platform impacted your relationships with your peers? At the risk of sounding dramatic, I don’t think I’ve ever faced a more demanding challenge. Without having gotten to spend time with my classmates in person before going online, entering isolation felt like entering battle while stripped of my superpowers. Zoom was a surprisingly effective medium for educational delivery. However, there were mountains of work covering areas I’d never studied and the countless deadlines that seemed impossible to meet – all while taking place during the dead of winter in a brand-new city – amounted to an exhausting situation. I found a few people I could truly lean on for help and, in turn, tried to help others as much as possible when I felt I had something to offer them.

Ultimately, I think what resulted is that the bonds I formed are much more uniformly spread out across the class than they would have been had I been in person, where I would have likely drifted towards people who reminded me of my friends from home. I think this is the case for most of the people in the class. When we ever get a chance to get back in school in-person together, I think we’re going to be the most cohesive and dynamic cohort that this program has ever seen.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Getting to see my name on a movie poster alongside Nancy Cartwright’s – who plays the voice of Bart Simpson. I produced a film for Disney’s Freeform TV Network that her production company came on board with to produce and co-finance. I still find it surreal every time I look at the poster and see that I have the same credit as her.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I wanted to level up and pursue bigger opportunities. I couldn’t help but feel like as hard as I tried to do that in the workplace and my daily life, there was always an overload of routine tasks that distracted me from pursuing intentional growth at the rate I wanted. It dawned on me that for me personally, the only way to achieve the kind of transformational growth I was looking for would be to go all in. An MBA provided the exact type of growth opportunities I was looking for.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UCLA Anderson, Northwestern Kellogg

What did you do during the application process that enabled you to get accepted into Ivey? I prepared my story. I constantly talked to people who had done MBAs and forced myself to understand how an MBA would be a bridge between where I was coming from and where I wanted to go. I formed my own story in my own head to the point that I didn’t need to rehearse for interviews anymore – I just knew what I wanted and could fit an answer to every question within a consistent narrative I had established about myself.

What is the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started at Ivey? 

About the world: That the world is working with some very outdated tools, and that it’s necessary to fully understand those tools along with how the world has changed around them in order to construct a case for updating them.

About myself: Maybe not learned for the first time, but certainly reaffirmed in the largest way yet that my greatest personal growth arises when I elect to get dropped off fifteen miles outside of my comfort zone with no map.



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