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Ivey Business School at Western University

Ivey Business School at Western University

Ivey MBA

 John-Derek Clarke, Executive Director, Masters Programs

Recruitment and Admissions, Ivey Business School

What is the one area of your program that you wish applicants knew more about?

Case-Method Learning is something that we’re known for but sometimes candidates aren’t totally sure exactly what this looks like. We strongly encourage candidates to attend a First Class on the Road event or a Class Visit or Open House to really get a sense of how Case-Method Learning operates in action.

Class preparation starts with each student tackling an individual assessment of the case and crafting a plan of action. From there, you test your ideas with your learning team and new ideas and strategies will emerge. The Ivey classroom is the final step, opening up the debate to diverse perspectives and the surprising conclusion that there is not one right answer. In your one year at Ivey, you’ll tackle up to 300 cases!

The other thing our students often mention is how impressed they are by the quality of their classmates. They often say that they feel they’re learning as much from the diverse expertise and experience of their classmates as they are learning within the classroom itself.

What’s the single most exciting development, change, or event happening at your MBA program this coming year?

Our international study trips are a highlight for students every year. Students have the option of travelling to China, South East Asia (Singapore, India, Thailand) or South America for elective credit.

New student-run initiatives this year include a Leadership Conference in February, run by MBA students and including HBA and MSc students, as well as a community initiative called Ivey Connects: Monthly Community Engagement and Philanthropy Planning. This will focus on donating goods and time, as well as running events that give back to the community.

Walk us through the life of an application in your office from an operational standpoint. What happens between the time an applicant clicks “submit” and the time the committee offers a final decision (e.g. how many “reads” does it get, how long is each “read,” who reads it, does the committee convene to discuss it as a group, etc.)

The application review process begins once we have received all application components. Applications are then reviewed for interview consideration.

There are many touchpoints from application to offer. Our admissions officer and the admissions committee, which is made up of many members — those from the career management team and the recruiting and admissions team — work together to find the best candidates. We pride ourselves on having one of the most thoughtful admissions processes of any business school.

Within approximately a week of receiving all application components, a candidate may receive an invitation to interview. Ivey conducts interviews by invitation only, and all candidates admitted to the Ivey MBA are interviewed at least once.

How does your team approach the essay portion of the application specifically? What are you looking for as you read the essays? Are there common mistakes that applicants should try to avoid? One key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write them?

We are looking for carefully thought-out responses. Once you’ve done a draft, go back and ask yourself, have I actually answered the question? We are looking for essays that are well-expressed and well- written with thoughtful, concise thinking.

Proofread more than once! Have a friend or family member read through it as well — a second set of eyes helps to make sure your spelling and grammar are on point and helps to catch any typos. Keep an eye on the word count and make sure to make full use of the allotted space — don’t write far less than you have room for.

Put the work in so that you feel confident before you submit. Your essays are an integral part of our decision-making process and should you be selected for an interview, they offer good information to the interviewers as well.

Do you have any application tips (for essays & recommendations) for MBA applicants?

You want to be sure you’re putting together the strongest possible application. We have so many resources available to you — engage with us! If you have questions about whether you are a good fit for our program, complete a resumé assessment, come to an event, and speak to a recruiting manager. When the time comes to start your application, you’ll feel so much more confident and have a clearer sense of what we’re looking for.

What are the most important aspects of the MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA and current job position?

Get very clear on why you want to do the Ivey MBA, how it fits in with your future career goals, and what kind of leadership and experience you would bring to the program and the school as a potential student and, later, graduate — be able to express that and demonstrate that clearly. We want to see a history of leadership, no matter what roles you’ve held — what did you bring to it? Leadership can also be demonstrated through volunteer work and community initiatives or other interests like athletics or the arts.

Keep in mind too that we’re looking for quality work experience — a demonstrated track record. This ensures that you and your classmates will have great experience to contribute to team and class discussions.

Think of your application holistically, as that’s how the admissions committee will look at it.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

If your score is lower than our minimum, we encourage you to get in touch with us to receive some feedback on the best next steps. We look at applications holistically, but we want to help ensure that you are submitting the most competitive application possible. Keep in mind also that there is no downside to writing the GMAT more than once — we only look at your highest score. If you properly prepare, you may see a big improvement the second time around — you’ll have a better sense of what to expect and you’ll be less nervous than the first time you wrote.

What resources are available at your MBA program to assist with internship and full-time job opportunities?

Ivey has one of the largest and most qualified Career Management departments in North America. The Career Management team’s mandate is to provide you with the tools and resources needed to navigate your career path well into the future. Career Management plays a critical role in our admissions process, interviewing candidates to ensure that their career goals and expectations are defined, realistic, and achievable.

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