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MSc · Akarsh Thodupunuri

What does it mean to be an Ivey Business School’s MSc Student in 2021-22?

Dec 7, 2021

Akarsh Blog Photo

We are living in extremely uncertain times and situations are evolving at an unparalleled pace. In 2020, I made a life-changing decision to leave my half a century old family business in pharmaceuticals based in India to gain a broader technical-business skillset with the MSc in Digital Management at Ivey.

I was in a dilemma of choosing between the comforts of being my own boss or getting back to a rigorous academic rhythm that would lead to an enriching corporate life. I realized that having a master's degree could be beneficial as you not only complete a global educational standard but also bridge the digital gap between business and technology.

Fast forward to fall 2021, I arrive at Ivey Business School after a short trip in Maldives, which relaxed me just enough to stay enthusiastic throughout the first semester. Now, three months into my journey at Ivey, I am certain that the path that I have decided to take was the right one for me. Here’s why:

  1. High quality experiential pedagogy

One of the most important things I’d like to convey from my Ivey experience is that this was something that exceeded far beyond my expectations. I have been in several Business Schools before in Singapore, France, and the Netherlands; I was pleasantly surprised about how things are done at Ivey.

The case-based approach to education is second to none; it is in Ivey’s DNA. Each student puts their individual efforts into cracking the case prior to class and you deal with it as if it is your own problem to solve. During the class your knowledge is bolstered by the perspectives of other students who have tackled the same case study and you are 100% involved in the problem solving along with the talented professors who sail the ship in the right direction. All this happens in 80 minutes!

Trust me, this is nothing like you have seen before!

  1. The student clubs provide you with networking and real-life engagement

It took me almost 3 weeks to completely get back into the educational rhythm and soon I jumped into several activities at Ivey. There are several student associations that are committed to providing the most fruitful MSc experience to students at Ivey. Due to my entrepreneurial and pharmaceutical background, I began working as an executive member at the Ivey MSc Entrepreneurship Club (IMEC) and Ivey Healthcare Connections (IHC). In my second and third month, I helped organize one event in each club, drawing speakers from Deloitte, Project Ant, and Rapid Boost Marketing to name a few, while shaping the structure of the events and engaging fellow MScs at the event.


  1. Making friends is easier than you think

At first, I thought I would be too international for the cohort as I have lived in 3 countries. I even missed the induction week due to my flight delays, but do not worry, it is much more diverse than you think. The first few weeks of our program took place on Zoom, and this was a blessing for us so that we got enough time to get accustomed to Ivey, Canada and to learn about the COVID-19 policies. The moment we moved to in person lectures, we all knew each other and decided to hangout more often. In every course, you are automatically assigned to be part of a learning team from the beginning until the end of the semester. This eliminates the hassle of forming a new group each time and dealing with awkwardness of not knowing what to do if you are ever left out. We were put together at random, but I personally have found close friends such as a new bubble tea enthusiast, a fellow travel companion, and a dance partner (it takes two to Tango)


  1. You are on the right track. It is your career!

We all know how challenging it is right now and it is going to be, especially for those graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not just in Canada or your home country; it is a global problem.

At Ivey, I realized that there is more than just one way of finding your dream job. Firstly, their Ivey Career Center will help you make your own personal branding top notch, help you with your resume, your LinkedIn profile, and help you find networking events. Do not underestimate the value of getting involved! The student associations host a multitude of events and your participation in those events will not only help you understand previously unknown subjects but will also help you foster strong connections in the professional world. I was fortunate to be part of one of the top 4 finalist teams of Digital Leadership conference held across Business Schools in Canada. It was a rewarding experience because we were presenting to the CIO of Vyaire Medical.

Ivey is a respected name in Canada. The Ivey alumni are the key pillars in building this brand and with a strong alumni network at Ivey, students get access to senior managers who have been where we are.

On a more personal note...

I hope that through my words and experiences, you are able to discover and relate to some of the reasons why I am so grateful for being a part of the Ivey Business School community. As an international student, moving overseas to start a new life, and not knowing what to expect can be daunting. But here, you will find some of the most meaningful friendships, have your biggest laughs, make deep connections, improve yourself, and most importantly, find your purpose - even if the end might not always seem clear.