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Undergraduates at Ivey

Ivey Business School, part of Western University (University of Western Ontario) provides a 2-year undergraduate business school program in London, Ontario, Canada, which is 190 kilometers southwest of Toronto and with a population of ~500,000 people.

Ivey is the best school to go to if you are looking to land an investment banking job out of college. They place ~60 students into investment banking every year. Ivey is less strong for sales and trading.

The tuition is high for a Canadian school at C$28,000 a year (C$40,000 for international students), but given the relative easiness of getting in (versus top US universities), relative cheapness (especially with a weak Canadian dollar) and successful placement rate, this is by far the top choice in Canada for studying business.

Ivey Job Placements

Due to Ivey’s large alumni network, strong finance culture, supportive career centre and extensive resources, it is the best undergraduate business school in Canada to land a job in Finance. However, Ivey students also place very well in accounting (Big 4), marketing, consulting (McKinsey, Bain, BCG) and supply chain.

Top Ivey students (highest grades) land at Elite Boutiques (Centerview, Moelis, Evercore, Lazard, Blackstone, Greenhill, Allen & Co) or top groups at bulge bracket investment banks (Goldman TMT/Morgan Stanley M&A/JP Morgan) in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. There are strong alumni networks for Ivey in all of those cities. The top students are very competitive with top US colleges (Harvard/Yale/Princeton) and have consistently beaten out top tier competition to place in premier Private Equity firms directly as an analyst (Silver Lake etc.). After their analyst years, many Ivey grads move to top-tier Private Equity firms.

In Toronto, the top students will go to Goldman Sachs, Evercore, RBC Capital Markets M&A, BMO Metals & Mining. Bulge Brackets such as JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Citi, UBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays also see Ivey as a target school.

Ivey is so good at placing students that even mediocre students (bottom half of the class, the average at Ivey is 80%) end up working at Big 5 Canadian banks. What would constitute a very good job at many other undergraduate programs may be looked down upon at Ivey.

Other students are very successful in landing top tier consulting jobs (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, AT Kearney). Practically everyone will get something at a brand name company whether Big 4 Accounting or in a management program at a Fortune 500. Basically, you do not have to be that good at Ivey to get a good job and we would not at all say this about other schools.

Ivey has a strong finance culture where the 2nd years will prepare the 1st years for summer internship interviews at top investment banks. All of the major banks recruit at Ivey and there is a strong alumni network across London, New York, Toronto and Hong Kong.

Also, Ivey has a bell curve grading system where the average grade is 80% (an A in most Canadian universities) in the first year and 82% in the second year, making students look more attractive to potential employers.

Western University Rankings

Times Higher Education 2017: 201st – 250th, tied 9th in Canada

QS 2017: 198th, 9th in Canada

Western and Ivey Admissions and Tuition

Ivey is a 2 year Honours Business Administration (HBA) program that admits people after looking at their grades and extracurricular activities two years into an undergraduate program at any reputable school (including Western, itself).

Ivey also offers an Advanced Entry Opportunity (AEO), where students from high school with high Canadian grades (90%+ final year high school average) are able to guarantee a spot in Ivey starting in their 3rd year provided they study at Western for their first two years AND maintain an 80% average at Western (which is very, very easy). More than half of Ivey students enter through the AEO program.

Western welcomes international students with AP or International Baccalaureate (IB) scores.  An IB score of 36 or 37 translates into the 90% average required by Ivey. These are minimum requirements, so a 39 with a weak extracurricular activity profile may get you rejected, while a 36 with a strong resume may get you accepted.

Similar to top US universities, Ivey has a broad based admissions system which considers leadership as well as academics, so very good grades but a lack of participation on sports teams, student clubs and volunteering or work experience can mean you are rejected from Ivey.

Tuition for the first two years at Western is around C$8,000 for Canadian students and C$27,000 for international students. After housing, food, textbooks and supplies, total costs for an international student will be around C$50,000.

For each year at Ivey, Canadian students will pay C$28,000 in tuition alone and international students will pay C$40,000 per year. All in costs can exceed C$65,000.

Ivey Curriculum

Ivey has a case-study based curriculum, similar to Harvard Business School, instead of the purely academic approach that many other business undergraduates take. This prepares students well for the workforce as it teaches the application as well as the theory – and the courses are designed to simulate the stress of a project in a professional job.

Ivey courses have three components that determine grades – this is very important for international students who are used to scoring high on tests only in order to get good grades. Many high IQ students at Ivey end up getting bad grades for this reason.

The three components are participation, the group project and the exam. Each of these are equally weighted.

The participation component involves speaking up and contributing to class discussions (and showing up for class). Disruptive comments will result in mark reductions. Adding thoughtful points will add to your participation score. Putting up your hand and contributing without saying anything of substance will only get you an OK participation mark.

The group project involves student groups being assigned a case that is due in a set deadline (48 hours), and they will have to work together and hand it in over that time period. These cases are comprehensive and require input from all team members (although there are stories of students sending team members home and completing the projects by themselves – and getting a great mark) and are meant to imitate a real work situation.

The exam is an individual mark, which is based on writing a case and applying the academic knowledge on paper. However, remember this is only a third of the final grade.

After all of these marks are compiled, the students are graded on a bell curve. In the first year, the average is 80% and in the second year, the average is 82%. The standard deviation is around 1.5% (85% is a very good average and 78% is a very bad average).

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