Extract meaning and understanding from numbers

Jessica Thiele

Jessica Thiele, Director of Marketing at VL OMNI, explains how The Ivey Academy's Finance for Non-Financial Professionals program gave her the working knowledge to ask the important finance and accounting questions, and how to extract meaning and understanding from numbers.

What led you to take the Finance for Non-Financial Professionals program (FNFP)?|
With a growing role and looking to take on more responsibility in forecasting our activities accurately, I knew that financial and accounting proficiency was going to be key to continuing to grow our business. The FNFP course was perfect as it gave me the working knowledge to not only sit at the table with financial and accounting professionals, but to truly understand the rationale behind the numbers being discussed and ask the important questions to derive meaning and understanding. This course came highly recommended to me, and having explored the Ivey MBA process in the past, I knew the case-based approach to education was going to give me the tools I needed in an expedited format under The Ivey Academy.

How did the program compare to your expectations?
The FNFP program exceeded my expectations. It was exactly the education I had hoped for (and then some). The no-pressure, no-shame learning environment was very conducive to the “non-financial” people taking this course, myself included.

What was your favourite part of the program?
The team-based learning was an effective way to work through our individual understandings of the problem at hand. It allowed for us to put all notions aside, focusing instead wholly on the case and our understandings of how to extract meaning from the numbers.

What were your biggest takeaways?
I've never taken so many notes! I have a literal binder full of take-aways from this course. But ultimately, finance and accounting is not necessarily about the numbers, or finding “right” or “wrong” numbers, it's about what they mean, and the context the numbers were generated in (and by whom).

How did the curriculum prepare you for the challenges you face at work?
The curriculum was purposely broad given the backgrounds and needs of everyone in the class, but this course specifically gave me a much better understanding of how to assign value to my project-based marketing work.

How will you approach your current role differently as a result of the program?
I am already applying my new-found financial and accounting knowledge to my 2020 preparations and strategy formation.

Have you found peers in the program that you can continue to use as sounding boards and referrals after the program?
Although my sections' attendees included people from all over North America from a variety of industries, there were quite a few synergies in the group and we will likely stay in touch!


For more information on the Finance for Non-Financial Professionals program, please download a program brochure.


About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.