EMBA Careers Q&A: Ivey Business School | TopMBA.com

EMBA Careers Q&A: Ivey Business School

By Karen Turtle

Updated October 6, 2020 Updated October 6, 2020

Western University’s Ivey Business School was the first institution outside the US to offer an MBA degree, and has, over the years, built itself a strong reputation in the qualification, both within Canada and globally.

Its executive MBA program is ranked 36th in the QS Global EMBA Rankings 2019 and is the 15th best in North America.

In this EMBA Careers Q&A interview, JD Clarke, executive director of recruitment and admissions talks about Ivey Business School’s EMBA cohort, the realities of company sponsorship, career progression and students' goals and aspirations.

How many of your current class of executive MBA students are company-sponsored, and how has this number changed in recent years?

If you look at our whole demographic, there are about 35% of students who pay for the executive MBA themselves. About a quarter of incoming EMBAs are sponsored fully, and the remaining 40% receive partial sponsorship. We used to see one third equally, but organizations are now saying that they want students to have some skin on the game financially.    

Companies' policies dictate a maximum amount that they can cover, so if prospective students are looking at an executive MBA that's on the higher end of the price point, they will probably have to put up some of the cost themselves. I believe that our fees are very consistent with the other schools people consider, which include; Rotman, Queen's and the Kellogg-Schulich EMBA program. Fees for our executive MBA currently stand [for those starting in September 2017] at C$107,000 (c. US$80k).  

What kind of career services does Ivey Business School provide for its executive MBA students?

Ivey Business School supports students, both during the program and after. To give you an idea - the executive MBA is split over three separate terms [semesters], and each term is five months long.

During the first term, students focus on an in-depth 360-degree feedback which involves self-discovery, evaluating what work environments are a best fit, and so on. EMBA candidates also attend a set of skills seminars throughout the duration of the executive MBA program, addressing topics such as; managing your executive presence, dealing with executive recruiters, managing your brand, and building a network.

In the third term, candidates have access to external career coaches, individuals who are highly skilled in dealing with an executive audience. We have to make sure that coaching fits the wide variety of our participants' needs, so in one case, a student might want to do something different from their present role, but they're not too sure what, while another candidate might be extremely focused and prefer support with regard to the job search - coaches therefore work across a continuum.  

What should EMBA students be doing during their program in order to fulfil their career goals?

There are two things that students should be doing. The first is to build a network with classmates, and this is incredibly important. I've seen great job opportunities come up for individuals that really spend time with their peers. Also, getting involved with the school, especially with alumni activities, opens up that network further.

The second thing that students should really invest in, are our applied projects. EMBA candidates on each of our courses take a problem or an issue within an organization and are assessed on the value they provide back to that organization…This is a great way to provide a breadth of experience, as well as introducing students to areas that they may not have dealt with in the past.

What are the most popular career goals among your EMBA students and how has this changed in recent years?

No matter where students want to go after the program, there's always a common thought process of; 'I want to be better'...in career, decision making, and as a leader. It's good to have that kind of approach when coming into the EMBA.

The program is a great opportunity for people to accelerate their career path, either in their function, or in their industry. It is a lot harder for people to make a career change as it involves resetting experience.

The executive MBA is about developing people as executive leaders, and sometimes that's moving people laterally – e.g. I'm an operations professional and I want to become more strategic within my industry. Or, it could be changing industries and accelerating within their function – e.g. I'm the director of IT here, and now I want to become a CIO there.

Doing the executive MBA is equivalent to 15 years of work experience. So, let's imagine your career 15 years down the road -  a degree like this is designed to make sure that doors don't close on you.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally published in June 2017 and was updated most recently in April 2019 to reflect Ivey's latest rankings position.

This article was originally published in June 2017 . It was last updated in October 2020

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Written by

A content writer with a background in higher education, Karen holds an MA in modern languages from the University of St Andrews. Her interests include languages and literature, current affairs and film. ​

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