2023 MBA To Watch: Maximiliano Garcia Ondarza, Ivey School of Business

Maximiliano Garcia Ondarza

Ivey School of Business, Western University

“I like to leave things better than they were before I came along.”

Hometown: Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Fun fact about yourself: I hosted a Latin music radio show from 2013-2018 in CFRC 101.9 Radio FM out of Queen’s University.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Cognitive Science Degree from the School of Computing at Queen’s University

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? PwC

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? NA

Where will you be working after graduation? EY Parthenon as a Senior Consultant in the Strategy and Transactions practice

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Co-Chair of the Ivey Social Impact Committee

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The Ivey Social Impact Days, especially the 2nd one we hosted on February 3, 2023. We helped three different organizations across London, Ontario. I had the opportunity of volunteering with 519 Pursuit to go meet and deliver a warm meal and clothing to some of the members of our community without a home. It was -16C (3.2F) and snowing, and it was very eye-opening to see how people who are unhoused live as well as the challenges they face. It made me realize that I am in a privileged position and that my actions can have an impact in my community. More than 1000 people in London are struggling with housing challenges, and it’s important to see that as future business leaders we can make a positive difference in our community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Getting selected by my Partners as the “Chief Happiness Officer” of the Workday practice at PwC Canada. It demonstrated to me the value that I can give to my colleagues, and the importance of fostering team work and making sure that colleagues are happy at work.

Why did you choose this business school? The human element was very important for me. Ever since I expressed interest in pursuing my MBA at Ivey, I had phenomenal interactions with members of the recruiting team, alumni I was referred to as a prospective student, current students (at the time), and faculty (I had the opportunity to visit campus and shadow in a class). Ivey really made me see that I would be seen as an important member of the community, not just a student number. I am happy to say that that continued throughout the program, every student is valued for who they are as people, and the human element has been incredible.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Mazi Raz – who was my Developing and Executing Strategies teacher – was my favorite MBA professor. Inside of the classroom, he made me reflect on the dark side of strategy, and how, throughout history, organizations have sometimes exercised their strategy at the expense of those who might be vulnerable or in unprivileged positions. He made me realize the importance of developing strategies that would bring value to stakeholders and not just shareholders – that is anyone who can be affected by your actions such as the community, the environment, or customers. Outside of the classroom, Mazi made me see that the value of an MBA education might not necessarily be reflected right after graduation, but it will be five or more years down the line when my actions are applying the many learnings I’ve had here.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Negotiations with Fernando Olivera. Before that class, I was very green when it came to understanding how to conduct an effective negotiation. That class made me see that an effective negotiation isn’t one in which you seek to win at the expense of making someone else lose. An effective negotiation is one in which you are an “Implementation-Minded Negotiator” and you listen to the concerns from the other party; you try to create value for them, knowing that in the future it is very likely that you will be working closely together. When you win in a negotiation, both parties leave knowing that they’re in a better shape than they were before, and they’re looking forward to continuing to work in the future.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The Ivey Hockey Cup (even though I don’t play hockey). It was the first event we had as an incoming class, and it was great to meet students from the outgoing class as well as alumni. Through the people I

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I think I could’ve made a better effort during my first few months in the program to exercise more often. Doing this would’ve helped me to have a change of pace from just focusing on school.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Myth: Networking is harder for Ivey students because they’re in London, Ontario.

It couldn’t be more false. I think the fact we’re in London makes it easier for Ivey students to network. From a cohort standpoint, we become very close to each other because we’re all together in London. When it comes to networking with alumni, it’s also easier because we can talk with each other about our experiences.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? The Covent Garden Market.

What surprised you the most about business school? How incredibly caring professors are. They really make an effort to get to know students and they care about our success in life, not just in the classroom.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I had conversations with alumni to learn more about the classes they took and get a better understanding of how Ivey helped them get to where they are now.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Gurnoor Gandhi – because of his kindness, positivity, and eternal gratitude. He was my Co-Chair in the Social Impact Committee, and I was always moved by the passion that he has to inspire change in others and to use our power for good. He has helped me grow throughout the year and become a better and kinder person.

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

To become someone’s official mentor/coach/sponsor in my workplace.

To help write the ESG policies for at least one organization.

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

“Max has been an integral part of the MBA class of 2023. Max’s calm demeanor and willingness to work hard has not gone unnoticed this past year. In his role with the Social Impact Club, he has made significant contributions to the London community. In this role he has planned two Ivey Impact days and his dedication in giving back to the community has been recognized and valued by the school and his peers. Academically, Max is a strong student and well respected by his classmates and the dialogue he brings to the classroom. He is well liked by the Faculty team at Ivey who view him an outstanding student and also admired and looked up to by his peers. He has balanced his academics while continuing his passion to play on the school soccer team. Max is well deserving of this nomination as an exemplary student and welcomed member of the Ivey Community.”

Mindy Studnicka
Director, MBA Program Services


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