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Executive Education

Interview with The Ivey Academy's Mark Healy (part one)

  • The Ivey Academy
  • |
  • Sep 26, 2017
Interview with The Ivey Academy's Mark Healy (part one)

Mark Healy is the Executive Director of The Ivey Academy at the Ivey Business School, with campuses in London and Toronto. Mark is also the Brand & Marketing Advisor at The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, and a Corporate Director at ScreenScape Networks in Prince Edward Island. 

In part one of this three-part interview, Mark shares his thoughts on the current state of executive education and how The Ivey Academy is evolving as the top provider of both custom and open-enrolment programs in Canada, while positioning for a wider suite of learning & development offerings. Part two and part three of this interview can be found on The Ivey Academy Blog.  

What exactly is executive education?
Executive education is traditionally top-tier management training, offered in public programs open to anyone in a business role, or custom designed for organizations with specific learning or development goals for their employees/managers/executives. It is designed to both develop and strengthen business acumen and leadership capabilities. However, the executive education world is changing, with more of a focus on behaviour change and transformation.

At Ivey, we encourage active learning by employing the use of case studies, simulations, role plays, assessments, and evaluations. By making decisions and taking action, program participants are compelled to use what is learned, resulting in greater retention and behaviour change. Post-program project work and coaching ensures ongoing reinforcement.  In addition, program participants learn in a fun, warm, and supportive environment with a curated group of like-minded professionals across various industries. Participants return to their organization as stronger leaders, equipped with a peer support network whose challenges are similar to their own.

What’s the size and scope of the business?
Executive Education at Ivey is a roughly $10-million business – about 60 per cent custom program and academy work for corporations, non-profits and government, and about 40 per cent open-enrolment. The open-enrolment portfolio is growing – we currently sit at 16 programs and it will be 20 programs deep by the end of next year. And those programs cover a gamut of core leadership through shorter, focused programs from marketing, to finance for non-finance professionals, to some of the more contemporary economy topics like design thinking and FinTech.

At what point in my career should I consider taking an executive education program?
If you think about it on the spectrum of professional development opportunities, there isn’t a lower bound or upper bound on time frame. But if you’re going to get the most out of executive education, whether it’s here or it’s at one of the better schools in Canada, you need to be at least five years into your career. And either progressing because your organization has deemed you to be progressing, or progressing because you’re going to invest in yourself or want to put yourself on a different track.

Why should I choose Ivey?
Ivey is Canada’s oldest, largest, and proudest business school. The school was established as a sort of “Harvard North” in 1922, after a comprehensive study by Western University faculty determined that the Harvard School of Business case-study method was the most effective style for teaching business. The Western Business School, as it was then known, became the Ivey Business School in 1995. 

At its core, Ivey is a vocational school. A vocational school for managers – a place to actually come and practice some skills. Ivey has 22,000 degree alumni and 15,000 Executive Education alumni around the world. More than a quarter of each of those two buckets have a senior executive title of some sort. Much of corporate Canada and some pretty big local organizations are run by Ivey graduates. Ivey has an extremely strong alumni network – Ivey grads tend to hire one another, refer one another, and do business with one another. This place stands for real world leadership. This is not a specialized school, this is not a finance school or a design thinking school or a technology school. This school is about the practice of leadership, in a real world context. 

Faculty here not only teach cases, but they write cases as well. Why does that matter? It means they’re in touch with corporate Canada in a very meaningful way, they are in touch with contemporary business issues. It means that you don’t have professors rolling out content that they’ve been using for the last 20 years, content that is completely out of touch in today’s economy. We’ve got folks here that understand FinTech and understand design thinking and understand a digital economy and incorporate those themes into some of the same tried and true fundamentals around leadership and around management that have existed for years and will always exist.  That’s what Ivey is. 

Why should I choose The Ivey Academy when I could do something similar online?
The answer might be that you should do something online. If your affordability level is such that true executive education is a barrier for you, or if you’re simply looking for a few fundamentals in terms of knowledge transfer, an online course can be quite a good option. But it’s not at all the same experience as you’re going to get, really, coming to any top flight university, including ours. If you come here, you’re going to learn as much or more from your peers as you are from the materials and the faculty members. You just can’t replicate that online. Even with discussion forums, the interactions are not the same as being in rooms interacting with other human beings, and you’re not going to build a peer network that you can tap into later if you take an online course. Some of the magic of Ivey is the folks that you meet. If you’re in a class with 20 or 25 folks, you may not be friends and tight business colleagues with all of them, but you’re going to have four or five that you’re going to know for the rest of your life.  These people are going to help you with business opportunities and new jobs and challenges that you have in your life. That’s a huge part of the experience here. We are taking steps to formalize an alumni program which you join once you complete any of our programs. There will be content delivered to the network and organized events that are part of that program, but it’s as much the informal network building that you get that’s really important. 

Is The Ivey Academy a realistic option for me if my current situation is such that I can’t devote the time or resources to an MBA or EMBA but still want to acquire those core learnings?
Yes, it’s an excellent option for you. First of all, the Ivey credential is powerful no matter what form it comes in. Secondly, because you’re a time crunched person and you’re very focused, you likely know exactly what you need in terms of your involvement in career advancement, which probably isn’t everything you’re going to get from an MBA program. In our program portfolio you’re going to find a way to, in a very focused way, find the two or three things you think you need in terms of your career and you can get those in a matter of days or a matter of weeks. 

How will an Ivey Academy credential help to advance my career?
You can expect to be in a position where you can confidently go to your employer and say you have more confidence in your skills and you are ready for more. Or, you could shop yourself around for a new opportunity.

Part two and part three of this interview can be found on The Ivey Academy Blog 


The Ivey Academy is ranked as one of the top Executive Education providers globally by Financial Times. The Open-Enrolment portfolio comprises 19 programs focused on core leadership, business acumen, and industry-specific skills. Open programs are typically three days to three weeks in length, and are held at both our Toronto and London campuses. Our Custom Academy business unit works with corporations, governments, and other NGOs and non-profits to design and execute development and training programs tailored to the client’s specific needs. Custom Academy programs are typically multi-cohort, multi-year endeavours, supporting executive, HR and L&D objectives, and run either at our Toronto and London campuses or globally based on client preference. All Ivey Academy programs are deeply experiential in nature, concentrating as much on behaviour change as knowledge transfer.



  • Executive Education