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Justin Duff

After completing my undergraduate degree in Mathematics at the University of Winnipeg, I decided to do what many new graduates aspire to do: Take an extended leave of absence from Canada to explore the world.

Luckily, others were willing to foot the bill for my travel and lifestyle, since I had also used my time at the U of W to become an international-level professional volleyball player. I spent 10 years getting contracted by various professional clubs from all corners of the world, as well as representing Canada at numerous international events, including the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

As I entered the twilight of my athletic career, I started putting serious thought into the ways I could enter the traditional Canadian workforce in a meaningful way. I always planned on further education, and fortunately the Canadian Olympic Committee had organized a partnership with another Canadian University to offer Business Education to former Olympians via correspondence. These few courses put the idea of obtaining an MBA on my roadmap, and prepared me to get back into full-time academics.

I was in touch with another former Canadian athlete who decided to pursue his MBA at Ivey and managed to transition into a successful career as a management consultant. His story, and the recognizable transformation that he underwent, left a strong impression and encouraged me to get in touch with the recruitment staff. It was not a surprise to me that Ivey was regarded as a top business school in Canada.

An MBA is a very flexible degree that is applicable in almost every field. Since I did not have a strong sense of what exactly my post-athletic career would be, I decided that becoming well versed in foundational business skills, and being exposed to a vast cohort of tremendously talented individuals would be a great place to start. I felt Ivey was interested in how my athletic background and worldly experiences would add to the overall diversity of the classroom, and they made me confident Ivey would provide me the proper environment to break out of my comfort zone, and use this year to develop into a much improved version of myself.

The COVID crisis forced our class to adapt to a new online learning environment, but where it stood in our way, it has also offered opportunity. Our resilience and adaptability have been thoroughly tested and expanded. Our class has found ways to use technology to work together, grow relationships, and learn. We are becoming experts at working remotely, which will likely be an incredibly sought-after skill entering the post-COVID labor market, and we are using our expertise to thrive in our own unique Ivey experience.

MBA '21

Ivey Business School

Justin Duff

Justin Duff

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