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Natalie Shields

Briefly describe your background and profile. Think about how Ivey is/will complement your own personal background and experience.

Growing up as a dancer and athlete, I have always been interested in human health and kinetics. This is what led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at Western University. The Kinesiology program at Western places a great emphasis on lab- and research-based courses where I discovered my appetite for quantitative work – I realized that I enjoyed taking on the data collection and analysis role in-group lab projects. Upon graduation, the Business Analytics stream of the MSc seemed like the next best step for me to develop my business acumen while gaining hands on analytics experience. This program has given me many opportunities to develop and gain a number of skills, which will prepare me for entering the healthcare workforce from a business-focused standpoint.

What were you most nervous about when you began the program? Has that nervousness eased, and/or how have your expectations been met/exceeded?

Before my first day of the MSc I was nervous about breaking into the “business world” from a science-focused background. Since I had limited business knowledge and experience, I was worried that I would have a difficult time adjusting to the case-based learning method and feel confident contributing my ideas in class.

On my first day of orientation, I spoke with peers in my cohort who were also coming into the program from non-business focused backgrounds; this provided me with comfort that there were other students already not well versed in business topics. In the first few days of class, I found that I was easily able to keep up with the information taught, as the professors understood that our incoming class was made up of a diverse group of individuals. As a hands-on learner, I also found that the case-based method led me to be more engaged in class and helped ensure that concepts resonated with me. While my fears surrounding the method of learning began to subside, I remained nervous when it came to contribution. This did not quickly change at the beginning of the semester; however, I did notice a change in my level of confidence from the beginning to the end of the semester. This is a fear that most students face when coming into Ivey, but with time and utilization of available resources it can be easily overcome.

How is your story different from that of your classmates? What perspective do you bring to the class?

My undergrad in Kinesiology provided me with a strong foundation for the Business Analytics program, as well as an alternative perspective from my peers that came from business-focused backgrounds. My undergrad degree was primarily focused on enriching students’ competence with and application of the methods taught in research-based courses. These courses challenged my ability to systematically explore my surroundings and devise relevant questions based on theory and available data. This established problem-solving process for approaching situations is defined as the “Scientific Method” and it can be performed in any context, such as in the business world to assist companies overcome challenges. My proficiency with the Scientific Method has provided me with an alternative approach to solving business-related problems and gives me a distinct perspective about a situation that differentiates me from my peers.

Natalie Shields

MSc '21

Ivey Business School

Natalie Shields

Natalie Shields

MSc in Business Analytics 2021