2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Ramsey Andary, Ivey School of Business

Ramsey Andary

Ivey School of Business, Western University

 “A challenge seeker, inclusive leader, and lifelong learner who is passionate about improving societal systems.”

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Fun fact about yourself: I earned a Black Belt in Karate at the age of 13 – most people don’t know that I even practiced Karate!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Rotman Commerce, University of Toronto – Bachelor of Commerce, Specializing in Finance & Economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Prior to Ivey, I worked at PepsiCo in a number of different roles. In my latest role as Key Account Manager in the Foodservice division, I successfully negotiated new business partnerships while growing sales of regional accounts in Quebec through creative go-to market solutions. Previously, as a Merchandising Manager, I designed and led the implementation of two major pilot projects in Ottawa while coaching and developing one of the best merchandising teams in the country. These diverse business challenges at PepsiCo made me hungrier for more – pushing me to pursue an MBA at Ivey in order to tackle some of the world’s most complex business problems.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? N/A – Ivey is a condensed and demanding 1-year program

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Richard Ivey Excellence Award
  • Vice-President of the MBA Sustainability Club
  • Captain – Ivey MBA Men’s Intramural Soccer Team
  • Winning Team – Ivey MBA Showcase Case Competition
  • Winning Team – Europe Study Trip Consulting Challenge
  • Captain – Winning Team of the Ivey MBA Olympics
  • Ivey MBA Ambassador
  • Tutored classmates in Finance

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Between our Core 1 and 2 blocks, our MBA class was immersed in various EDI workshops and seminars over the span of two days. At the tail end of this was a case competition that challenged us to address a real business problem: what changes or additions can the National Football League (NFL) make to its current policies in order to better address racial inequity within its coaching positions and hiring practices? I teamed up with a diverse group of classmates. Having never formally worked together before, we put our minds together and rigorously deliberated over various challenges and recommendations, applying the concepts that we learned over the previous days. Our final proposal, implementing a complete transformation of the current hiring policies to include a “Balanced Scorecard” that holistically evaluates NFL teams on their performance towards equity-focused KPIs within 4 broad categories, was well-received by the judges – we won the case competition. It’s one of my proudest extracurricular achievements as I believe it demonstrated the epitome of business school: collaboration between a group of individuals from a variety of backgrounds to solve a perplexing contemporary problem.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Following the successful implementation of a national merchandising pilot project at PepsiCo in Ottawa, I decided to build on the momentum we garnered to develop an additional local pilot project that would dramatically improve our operations and save costs across the branch. The question I set out to address was the following: how do I minimize/eliminate the time that our merchandisers wait in stores for the deliveries to arrive? By pushing my lateral thinking and overcoming hurdles through lots of collaboration across departments, I produced a creative solution that involved flipping the problem (and the way most merchandising departments have been operating for years) on its head – deliveries would wait overnight in the inventory of grocery stores for our merchandisers to service them early the next morning; shifting my team and I’s schedules to start 2 hours earlier in the day going forward.

This project was one of the proudest moments in my professional career. Not only did I leave an impact of cost savings and operational efficiency through creative problem solving, but I discovered the type of work that I enjoy best in the business world. By spearheading an operational transformation & change initiative that involved managing many stakeholders despite tons of resistance, I sparked a heightened desire to solve a wider variety of complex business problems going forward in my career – the more puzzling, the better!

Why did you choose this business school? The primary reason that I chose to pursue an MBA at Ivey was for its international reputation in the case method teaching. As someone who learns best by doing, the case method was the perfect way for me to directly apply key frameworks and concepts from the courses to the contexts of real business problems. Moreover, as most real business problems require a complete understanding of the business’s big picture, business cases often push students to consider the implications of potential solutions to all aspects of the business, not simply a silo of finance, HR, accounting, operations, sales, or marketing. Finally, case method class discussions optimize the sharing of ideas and opposing viewpoints from a variety of professional and cultural backgrounds, which makes for the most enriching kind of learning experience.

The secondary reason for choosing Ivey was for its people. Between the supportive student cohort culture, the trailblazing and welcoming faculty members, and the large network of successful alumni who are rooted in the school’s philosophy of paying it forward, I knew there was something special in the Ivey Business School family. To this day, it still surprises me to see alumni members’ willingness to connect and lend a hand to current students or fellow alum!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Picking a favorite MBA professor feels like the cousin of picking a favorite child. While I’d love to give a shout out to many profs at Ivey that made the experience so unique and enriching, I think that Professor Romel Mostafa deserves special recognition. As someone who completed an undergraduate second major in Economics, I still often find the theoretical nature of the topic to be challenging to comprehensively grasp and retain while usually presenting itself sometimes as dry. Professor Mostafa has discovered a distinctive method to teach Macroeconomics in a way that is engaging and very enjoyable. Through his sincere relentless commitment to students’ learning, Professor Mostafa pushed us to reflect and dissect the reasons for macroeconomic actions in different settings around the world. With humor, Professor Mostafa made the experience that much more effective and memorable with quotes that we won’t ever forget such as having “a license to shift [the demand and supply curves], just like 007”.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Like most Ivey MBA students will tell you, Negotiations is one of the most enjoyable and immediately tangible courses at Ivey. Using the simple formula of thoroughly reading a case, immersing oneself into character, playing out the negotiation with a counterpart(s), and discussing and reflecting on the experience as a class. The Negotiations course is the perfect example of why the case method learning works – the learnings and skills you gain in the course are relevant instantaneously in any business role or setting. Moreover, the negotiations roleplaying with your classmates is just a heck of a lot of fun!

I’d like to also give a mention to the Leadership Under Fire course at Ivey. Without giving away any spoilers, this course brings students to an undisclosed location over 4-5 days where they are rigorously challenged by a team of military and ex-military leaders through various tasks. The goal is simple yet complex: develop leadership character. While the design of the course is unique and unforgettable in itself, the secret sauce was the grueling lengthy reflection paper that was due following the experience. Having completed over three quarters of the Ivey MBA program at that point, this deep reflection was well-timed for me to study any gaps in my leadership character that I need to continue working on as I return to the workforce while placing specific measurable commitments in order to address these gaps.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Looking back over one of the most enjoyable years of my life, Ivey’s 13-month program flies by in the blink of an eye. If I did it again, I would allot even more time to getting to know every one of my classmates’ individual stories leading up to the program. With such a diversity of professional backgrounds, cultures, and personal tales, I’m regularly fascinated by every classmate’s unique set of life events that blended together to lead them to the MBA program. Learning lots and gaining perspective from each of their journeys, I have the utmost respect for all those who decided to upend their lives (and often times their loved ones’ too) in order to pursue significant personal and professional growth.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? On the surface, London Ontario doesn’t come across as the most exciting city in the world for an MBA. However, what I loved most about Western University’s beloved town is the collegiate culture at the heart of London that energizes life into the city. Moving to a small city together as a cohort and being in close proximity to one another, students become each other’s second family for the year. Rather than balancing two separate lives within a big city, students can wholeheartedly focus on enjoying their brief year as a student while the close vicinity to Toronto lends the flexibility to maintain a strong business network.

What surprised you the most about business school? Despite the intensive 13-month Ivey MBA schedule, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of social/extracurricular events and initiatives put on weekly by classmates throughout the year. It made for a seriously well-rounded experience!

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Having the opportunity to meet and chat with faculty members and current MBA students, I brought my true self and my curiosity for the program to these conversations as I learned about the collaborative nature of Ivey MBA students. It was less about giving me an edge rather that discovering a mutual fit in culture as we got to know each other!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate that I admire most is Gurnoor Gandhi, someone who lifts the class culture just by being a part of it. Gurnoor’s genuine curiosity in the classroom is commendable. Unafraid to (very politely) ask the professor an honest question to ensure he’s completely mastered the topic, Gurnoor is without a doubt on a journey to learn as much as he possibly can. As one of two Social Impact Senators, Gurnoor has done a fantastic job co-organizing Social Impact days for our cohort to volunteer for meaningful non-profits in the London community. An intelligent guy and a hard worker, if you’re ever lucky to have Gurnoor as a teammate, you know you can count on him. Finally, what I admire most about Gurnoor is his endless positive energy that he continuously radiates into our class, both inside and outside the classroom. He is someone who always speaks from the heart and always has a smile on his face – that kindness and positivity is contagious and I’m sure that I’m not alone in believing that our MBA cohort wouldn’t be the same without him.

I’d also like to briefly recognize all my classmates who took on this program while being a parent. The Ivey MBA program can be particularly difficult at times, without having the additional responsibility of raising kids. I can only begin to imagine the sacrifices and the hurdles all the mom and dad classmates have had to make – I admire them a lot for their tenacity and resilience!

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

1. I’d like to one day sit on the board of directors for a non-profit organization or institution such as a charity, a hospital, or a university. Alternatively, I’d love to be a co-founder of a meaningful non-profit!

2. I want to work with a cutting-edge organization such as TPG Capital’s Rise Fund that aims to tackle big global problems by “shaping capitalism” – going beyond blending impact and returns.

What made Ramsey such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Ramsey has been a strong and engaged student since the start of the MBA program.  His peers value his contribution in classes as he has been noted for bringing high quality discussions into the classroom to each case discussion.  He has led the Sustainability club in many successful events, while supporting other clubs and events. He has been described by his peers as a natural leader.  His calm and cheerful demeanor make him a pleasure to be around.  Academically, he is a very strong student in all disciplines and has performed well throughout the program in all of his classes. Ramsey is very deserving of this nomination as an outstanding member of the Ivey community.”

Mindy Studnicka
Director, MBA Program Services

DON’T MISS: 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS: CLASS OF 2023

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.