A CLEANER AND GREENER LONDON
Fear is something that Yzah Macalintal overcame before business school…when she was swimming alongside crocodiles in Zimbabwe. Jennifer Kim, an on-air talent, served as head of athlete services at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. And let’s just say Shivali Barot is a woman of many talents
“I’ve acted in an IMDB-credited independent feature film that played at TIFF. I love cooking and have a vegetarian cooking blog. I’ve published research papers in radiation oncology, and co-founded a matchmaking tool for South Asians during the pandemic.”
One of the best-kept secrets of the Ivey MBA experience? Think London itself. It is nicknamed “Forest City” for its ample green space and walking trails. For Gurnoor Singh Gandhi, London recreation is best reflected by Evergreen Park.
“I, along with my classmates, go there every week for a game of basketball. The park, surrounded by walking trails, is tranquility personified, a stark contrast to the high-octane action at the court. Playing basketball together helps us bond, relieve stress, as well as appreciate and value the health that we enjoy. Special memories and strong bonds have been forged at Evergreen Park.”
Another popular spot for Ivey MBAs? Think of Jack’s, a bar and grill known for beer and wings. “Those dollar beers at Jacks were the beginning of many friendships,” jokes Giustin MacLean.
MORE EXPERIENTIAL THAN JUST CASES AND FIELD PROJECTS
By the numbers, the Class of 2023 brings a 665 GMAT to London, with scores ranging from 540-770. On average, the class is 28.5 years of age, with the youngest student being 24 and the oldest coming in at 35. As a whole, women make up 32% of the class. Academically, 29% of the class majored in Business, followed by Engineering (25%), Sciences (17%), Arts (15%), and Other Categories (14%). In terms of professional experience, the largest segment of the class – 21% – most recently worked in Finance and Insurance. Another 14% held positions in Consulting, while Energy and Consumer Goods each make up 7% of the class. The remainder includes representatives from Healthcare, Technology, Engineering, Not-For-Profit, Tourism, and Manufacturing.
Thus far, the Class of 2023 has found that the Ivey programming has lived up to its pitch. Gurnoor Singh Gandhi, for one, cites the emphasis on sustainability principles in the cases. At the same time, he also lauds a week-long outdoor expedition with the Canadian military, where students practice teamwork and leadership. Another increasingly-popular experiential program is called 24 Hour Reports, where six-member teams are given a day to turn around a 4,000-word report – an activity that simulates the expectations and urgency they’ll face after graduation.
“While it might sound a little overwhelming, it really is an enjoyable learning experience,” writes Jeff Smith. “Having such a large amount of work to do in such a small timeframe forces you to rely on your teammates, and the pressure brings out the best in everyone. Some of the best memories I have from core 1 are sitting in breakout rooms frantically editing our reports in the final minutes before they are due.”
And sometimes the programming can really tap into the students’ creativity. For example, Gandhi remembers how his Operations course uses a novel, The Goal, to teach students best practices in dealing with capacities and constraints.
“All the learning teams were given components of the book that we had to teach each other interactively and creatively,” Gandhi writes. “I got the opportunity with my learning team to make and present an instructional animated video for my cohort….Teaching methods adopted by the MBA cohort included a game of family feud, a dating show, and a cup flipping competition to discuss and understand the various aspects of the book.”
TAKING UKRAINIAN MBAS UNDER THEIR WING
True to its problem-solving prowess, Ivey also found a way to turn tragedy into opportunity. When Russia invaded the Ukraine, several MBAs were displaced by the fighting. In response, Ivey waived tuition and provided a cost of living stipend to nearly a dozen students. Technically an exchange, the program has been a hit for MBAs like Oksana Kosendiak, who was finishing up her degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development at the Lviv Business School of Ukrainian Catholic University.
“Everybody is so supportive — the administration, the students, the teachers,” Kosendiak tells P&Q. “They gave us a special adaptation week where we were separated from the rest of the students to get acquainted with the case-study method of teaching at Ivey. They gave us our books, they paired us with student buddies who could help us get up to speed. That was very helpful. We have one teacher who has roots in Ukraine, and he was really supportive. He invited us to a barbecue. The people here really care about what’s going on and how we feel here. So our introduction to the Ivey program was really smooth.”
This program is expected to grow according to Adam Fremeth, Faculty Director of the Ivey MBA program. Last month, P&Q reached out to Fremeth to learn about new program developments, along with getting the scoop on how the larger Western University enhances the learning experience for MBAs. Here are Fremeth’s thoughts on the state of the Ivey MBA.
AN INTERVIEW WITH ADAM FREMETH
P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program in the past year and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?
Fremeth: “Ivey was one of the first MBA programs to welcome Ukrainian exchange students seeking to continue their studies that were disrupted by the war. We have welcomed 8 students from Kyiv and Lviv that were welcomed warmly by the class. It has proven to be a great experience for all students and allowed us to work towards our focus at building global citizens. We in process of building stronger long-term relationships with the Ukrainian business schools with the intention of contributing to important reconstruction of their nation.
With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the program has been able to expand its exciting set of international experiences. This year, about half of our students will be engaging in international study trips to Silicon Valley, Costa Rica, and Portugal. For a 12-month program, it has been important to build in a window where students can take a break from the classroom and get away to learn more about cross cultural business practices and opportunities.”
P&Q: If you were giving a campus tour, what is the first place you’d take an MBA applicant? Why is that so important to the MBA experience?
Fremeth: “The Richard Ivey Building is an architectural wonder and a jewel on Western’s campus. The building is a wonderful place to go to school, which is such an important element for an immersive, cohort-based program such as ours. From the natural light to the locally-sourced limestone to the walnut panelled classrooms, the building is a welcoming place for students that are intent on using the twelve months to transform themselves personally and professionally.”
P&Q: What is the most innovative thing you have introduced into the MBA program in recent years? How has it been a game changer for your program?
Fremeth: “The introduction of the MBA Showcase has been a great innovation as it has provided an opportunity for our students to take a deep dive into advancing sensitivities and awareness of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion perspectives and actions. This multi-day experience combines (1) panels focused on the issues and challenges that leaders face in trying to promote and execute upon an EDI strategy with (2) workshops about tools that can be enacted to bring about productive change ,and (3) a case competition that positions the students as leaders seeking to how best to bring about action that would improve diversity amongst the senior ranks of an organization.”
P&Q: What have MBAs told you is the most memorable, signature experience they’ve had in your program? Why did it resonate so much with them?
Fremeth: “The 24-Hour Report is always something that current and former students point back to as a key transformative experience at Ivey. As a case-based MBA program, a key part of each of our core classes is to give the students a day to tackle a case study in a small group. What may seem like a pressure-fueled experience is actually fun-filled day that allows the students to stretch themselves and discover how they can effectively crack a case as a team. This is where students develop strong connections with their classmates that extend well beyond their time in our program.”
Next Page: Profiles of 12 members of the Class of 2023