The Ivey Business School MBA: What You Need To Know
Two things make Western University Ivey Business School, based at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, stand out from the crowd. The first is its deep commitment to the case method. Forget lectures: the entire Ivey MBA is taught via cases which the school creates itself — it is the second-biggest writer of cases, after Harvard Business School.
Ivey students can expect to study about 300 case during the program, which can range from Alibaba’s Corporate Values to Starbucks Customer Service, via Tata Motors and Cirque du Soleil. The point is to create a practical, action-oriented education which the school likens — in a pretty snappy analogy — to “being in a corporate flight simulator for a year.”
The second thing that makes Ivey different is that its full-time MBA is short for North America, lasting just 12 months — a timeframe far more popular in Europe. That makes it a serious option for people who don’t want to take two years off work. Obviously, that means that certain elements present on other MBAs are dropped; study trips (to China or South America) are optional, and there is no internship. The short duration helps a lot with ROI, though.
The result is a super-efficient and very job-centered MBA experience. Ivey was Canada’s top-ranked school in Bloomberg Businessweek’s rankings from 2014-18 and was also rated number one in Canada for student and recruiter satisfaction during that period.
Indeed, job-finding is one of Ivey’s specialties. Recruiters get involved right from the admissions process, ensuring that Ivey only selects students that it is sure it can help find a job in the short time available. The careers service is helped by a helpful and supportive alumni network consisting of 25,000 people in over 100 countries.
The system works. Over 90% of Ivey MBAs to find employment within three months of graduation, almost all of them in Canada. That includes the 30% of MBA students who are international, the vast majority of whom come to Canada because they are looking to settle in the country. The biggest recruiters are consultants and banks, though the country’s vibrant tech sector — centered in Toronto, just a couple of hours away — is hoovering up more and more.
Jay Kiew, MBA 2018
I chose Ivey for three reasons. One, it was number one in Canada at the time I was applying. I knew I wanted to stay in Canada, so I knew that it would help me get into the big consulting firms where I wanted to go. (It worked: I now work for Deloitte.) Two, the network. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the generosity of Ivey alumni. Over 30 people, from senior managers to partners, gave me valuable feedback that helped me land my post-MBA job. Three, the case methodology seemed like a great technique. The most valuable thing I learned was emotional intelligence. From working intensely with teams, I became far better at reading other people’s emotions better and quicker, which has been extremely useful in my current job, where I work a lot with highly stressed execs.
JD Clarke, Executive Director, Ivey Masters Programs, Recruitment and Admissions
Recruiters tell us that they want MBAs with grit and resilience who can deal with difficult situations — people with good communication skills, who can work out how to get things done in large organizations and who can think on their feet in meetings and sell their ideas. It goes without saying that MBAs come out of business schools with technical skills, but the case method teaches all those soft skills as well. These days knowledge is a commodity, but we give people an experience where they learn to apply their knowledge in a live environment.