• Matt Parkin

#MyFirstYear at Ivey Business School

The Ivey Business School at Western University is located in London, Ontario, Canada. Ivey is a 2+2 structure, where you study something else, either at Western or another school for your first 2 years, before moving to the Honors Business Administration (HBA) program at Ivey for your third (HBA1) and fourth (HBA2) year. You can also stay for an optional fifth (HBA3) year to complete a combined degree (see Ivey’s site for admission details).


Picture of the Ivey Business School


Courses at Ivey are taught through the case-based method, where you put yourself in the shoes of the key decision maker and provide recommendations on solving real business problems. This interactive way of learning is more engaging than a typical lecture-based class and allows students to contribute their diverse perspectives to class discussions.


Students at Ivey are split into 8 sections of ~78 students, so you get to take your HBA1 courses with the same 78 people. This allows you to build a close bond with your classmates, something I was able to do this year despite the virtual environment. We had a Facebook group chat that was very active, and people would use the Zoom chat during class to recognize others’ contributions to class discussions. This created a safe space where your contributions were welcomed and encouraged.


Picture of an Ivey classroom


All HBA1 students take the same courses. In HBA2, you get to take electives to diversify your education and build upon what you learn in HBA1. Here’s an overview of the HBA1 courses:


Fall Term Courses

  • Accounting & Financial Fundamentals (Fin Fun)

  • Decision Making with Analytics (DMA)

  • Finance

  • Leading People and Organizations (LPO)

  • Communications (Comms)


Winter Term Courses

  • Strategy

  • Operations (Ops)

  • Leveraging Information Technology (LIT)

  • Marketing

Full Year Course

  • Learning Through Action

  • There are no regular class sessions for this course. Your marks come from various case competitions and special events.

  • Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Case Competition: work with your team to solve 3 different cases in 3 days with finalists presenting to BCG judges (November)

  • Deloitte Innovation Forum: work with your team to create an innovative solution in 3 days with finalists presenting to Deloitte judges (January)

  • Ivey Design Project: work through the design thinking process with your team over 5 days (March)

This past year, ~85% of classes were live, synchronous sessions on Zoom and ~15% of classes were asynchronous sessions of videos and readings, providing a nice balance between the two delivery methods. The schedule was dynamic, meaning you didn’t always have a course at the same time every week. Classes ran anywhere between 8am-2:30pm, with 2-4 x 80min sessions each day. This provided ample opportunity in the afternoons and evenings to participate in club or project meetings, recruiting events, or work a part-time job.

Outside the classroom, Ivey has a strong brand image and alumni network, providing you with excellent resources and opportunities when searching for a career path that aligns with your interests. Top companies from different industries host networking events and info sessions exclusively for Ivey students so you can learn more about the industry, their company, and what your internship or full time work experience could look like.


In addition to Western’s main campus clubs system through the University Students’ Council, you also have access to Ivey clubs through the Ivey HBA Association. This is a great way to meet fellow students in other sections, learn new skills, and meet partner firms at club events.


Ivey Club Video Pitches can be found HERE.

Hope this helps provide some insight into what your first year at Ivey can look like. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!


Matt Parkin

Co-Founder & CHRO @ LEAP Canada