While applicants to top US B-schools often look at the Ivy League, those looking at Canada instead compare with the “Ivey League”. The “Ivey League”, as we at GyanOne call it, is the group of top Canadian B-schools, which includes (and gets its name from) the Richard Ivey School of Business. As noted in an earlier post, Ivey is one of Canada’s best B-schools, and is noted for its excellent focus on learning, its 12-month duration, and the high salaries that its graduates command in Canada and even outside.GyanOne caught up with Greg Yantz, Director, MBA Recruiting and Admissions at Ivey Business School (University of Western Ontario), to get his views on the school, admissions and financial aid, and post-MBA careers for Ivey students and graduates. Thanks Greg, for your time and patience, and for your excellent perspectives that will help applicants evaluate the Ivey MBA better.
The school and the program
GyanOne: The Richard Ivey MBA has been growing in leaps and bounds, and its students currently enjoy the enviable position of being Canada’s highest-paid B-school graduates (source: Financial Times MBA Ranking 2013). What are the key parameters for which top students choose Ivey over other options in Canada and the US?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team: There are 5 distinguishing characteristics of the Ivey MBA, which are exciting opportunities for individuals who are considering where to pursue an MBA and which attract students to Ivey:
1) Experiential learning, or “learning-by-doing” that makes use of the Ivey Case-Method;
2) Who Ivey students learn with, namely the high quality of classmates who have a diversity of work experiences to share with the class;
3) What is learned, meaning the important practice of decision making on a daily basis and the overall leadership essentials that Ivey teaches;
4) Access to the global network of Ivey alumni; and 5) the importance of Ivey Career Management where the mandate is to provide the tools and resources necessary to navigate one’s career well into the future.
GyanOne: The case method of instruction is Ivey’s hallmark. Yet, many feel that a learning methodology that is entirely case-based will not be as effective as others that involve a mix of other methods. How true or false is this notion?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team:Ivey MBA classes use much more than just cases; we make use of textbooks, journal articles, simulations, and other types of learning materials.
But cases are a focus of our philosophy of teaching and learning, and we are one of just four truly case-method schools in the world.
Using over 300 cases during the program allows students a hands-on, decision-based approach to problem-solving; not only understanding or thinking about a problem, but actually practising how to solve it.
Ivey Case-Method is a collision of theory and practice and is part of individual, small team, and classroom learning at Ivey
GyanOne: Ivey offers students a very active life on campus, but considering that this is just a one-year program, how much time do students really have to focus on activities outside academics?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team:There are over 30 active clubs and teams at Ivey, each with its own membership and leadership opportunities.
Additionally, the MBAA (MBA Association) is made up of approximately 50 Senators, Representatives, and Executive members who promote the interests of all MBA students across a variety of areas. It is a busy year, but there are many opportunities to become involved in co-curricular activities.
Ivey MBA Admissions and Financial Aid
GyanOne: Fit with the school is a very important parameter for Ivey, as stated on the website itself. How does the school determine fit and what are the essential qualities that it looks for in applicants for the Ivey MBA Admissions process ?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team:The Ivey MBA Admissions Committee views the entire application as important, and the focus is on leadership potential.
An important, and often underestimated, part of the application process is the interview. All admitted students must complete an interview. The goal of the interview is to understand career goals as well as how the Ivey MBA fits with personal and professional goals.
Understanding the industry where one wants to work, what one will contribute to Ivey, and how Ivey uniquely fits with goals are important preparation.
GyanOne: While we understand that Ivey looks at candidates across a range of GMAT scores, what is indicatively a strong GMAT test score to be considered a competitive applicant at the school?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team:The minimum GMAT score to be competitive is 600, and our median score is 670.
GyanOne: Indian candidates constitute the second-largest applicant and student pool for Ivey (after Canadians). How do you see the candidature of Indian candidates considering the large size of the applicant pool from this region?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team:Overall, this is a significant decision for anyone given the time and cost of the program. Therefore, it is important that research be done to understand how the Ivey MBA is different, and how it helps meet someone’s goals.
The challenge for prospective students who live at a distance is that it is not always possible to visit a class or attend an event.
I would encourage attending an online session, which we hold regularly, as well as taking advantage of individual meetings and events with our Recruiting Managers when they visit India.
Our online and India events can always be found on our website. We also have alumni throughout India with whom we can connect potential candidates to learn more about Ivey.
GyanOne: Information Technology / Information Systems is not a focus area available for study at Ivey. Does Ivey therefore discourage applicants from this industry? What are some of the things that IT applicants do to improve their applications and chances for Ivey MBA Admissions?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team:First, I would note that the Ivey MBA requires a core course in IT (Leveraging Information Technology). An additional IT course is offered as an elective (Design and Technology Management).
IT systems are integral in business, so IT topics are also covered in our other MBA courses. In addition, nearly 15% of our incoming class each year has a background in IT.
We welcome a diversity of work experiences as it enriches the classroom! Improving an application for someone with an IT background remains the same as with everyone else: connect with us to learn more about Ivey and the MBA, determine goals and how Ivey fits with those goals, and complete an application that is balanced and highlights leadership potential.
GyanOne: What are the top criteria for the award of a scholarship? How many students typically receive aid each year and what is the range of scholarships (amounts) disbursed?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team: Over half of our students hold some type of scholarship each year ranging from $10,000 CDN to full tuition.
Careers at Ivey
GyanOne: While most of Canada’s top corporates and large firms have offices in and around Toronto, Ivey is located some distance away in London. How does distance affect career opportunities for students? Do they need to travel often to pursue the right opportunities? Does Ivey have most top recruiters coming to campus?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team: Your questions about careers are best answered by providing you with a link to our Employment Report.
As you will see from the report, hundreds of recruiters come to Ivey to recruit MBA students, and a large percentage of employment does end up in being Toronto for our students.
In addition, each year the in-class portion of the Career Management programming culminates with an exclusive, three-day event in Toronto called “Get Connected”. We like to refer to this as the ‘debut’ to the market. A student council account of this event can be found online.
GyanOne: Consulting is the industry which employs the highest number of Ivey MBA graduates. What are the firms that typically tend to recruit from this sector? What is the average number of students who find careers in this industry each year?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team: As the report shows, there are a variety of industries where Ivey MBA graduates are employed. Both firms and percentage in each industry are listed in the report.
GyanOne: Some professionals come to Ivey with the hope of being able to change careers. That is difficult enough as it is, but might be even more difficult in a one-year program. How does Ivey support students who want a change in function or industry?
Greg Yantz, Ivey MBA Admissions Team: Many of our students have the goal of changing careers, but it is important that someone be running to something, not running away! In other words, to change careers with our one-year program means that an individual will need to understand the industry where they want to work, what is required to work in that industry, and what plan B might look like if it is not possible.