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The Flag Initiative

  • Pranav Bhardwaj, Ivey MBA 2018
  • |
  • Oct 4, 2017
The Flag Initiative

Pranav Bhardwaj, Ivey MBA 2018

The history is rich here at Ivey. From people representing the oldest civilizations to people representing some of the most developed and modern economies in the world, we come together to exchange thoughts and ideas under one roof. Coming from a country that is sometimes referred to as the sub-continent, diversity is something that I was exposed to from the very beginning of my life. All my classmates from India, even though we are from the same country, come from distinct cultures. We speak different languages and are truly a diverse bunch. But what unites us is the country, the motherland, and everything about being Indian. The tricolour signifies India’s diversity, struggles, and identity. Having lived in various parts of the world I was exposed to diverse cultures over my lifetime. What I never expected was to experience an even higher level of diversity in London, Ontario at the Ivey Business School.

During the beginning of the program I met classmates from South Africa, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bermuda, and a host of other countries about which I was curious. I was truly amazed at the mosaic appearance of the cohort of 2017 and I realized that our class had people of more than twenty different nationalities and between us we spoke more than twenty languages.

Canada is perhaps the most multi-cultural and most welcoming country in the world. I reckoned that the best way to celebrate this diversity was by including the flags in the backdrop of our class. These flags signify the diverse cultures that our classmates represent. What started out as a simple idea was received positively and encouraged by my classmates. Every single flag was donated by my classmates, without hesitation or second thoughts. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed. Without them it would have been a mere idea. It was indeed a privilege to have been entrusted with the custody of these flags. Intentionally, I wanted to put up the flags during the electives so that people from both sections could sit in the class where the flags were put up.

To see the flag of one’s own country with the flags of other countries also reminds us of how privileged we are to be in the company of multi-faceted individuals from such different places. It is also a nice initiating point to learn about one’s peers’ country and culture. We have put up fourteen flags so far and my generous classmates have promised to fill in the space with more flags from their countries of birth or origin. Ivey Business School and we as a class are lucky to have talented individuals from all around the world. I believe that there are people from at least forty different nationalities at the school spread across different programs and the faculty.

In the future, it would be heartening to see the coming classes take this small initiative a step further. The Ivey building is known across Canada to be one of the most well-designed modern buildings. Nothing would adorn the décor more than those flags in the hallways. Elite universities across the world use their corridors to showcase the diversity of their classes by hanging flags from the hallway ceilings and with the kind of diversity we have here, Ivey is just a step away from making the ambience truly international. As it is with everything else, I hope that the coming cohorts outdo us and grow this collection.

Finally, I’d like to thank the program office for their support, and I hope that the coming classes will have someone who will continue what we’ve started.




  • Diversity
  • MBA