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Juan Fernando Serrano

MSc International Business & CEMS-MIM 2018


MSc '18, Ivey Business School

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

After completing my undergrad program in three years due to high school credits, it was easier to make the decision to do a master's degree. Given my finance background, I wanted to study something more open-ended to give me a larger picture of business concepts. I also wanted to figure out exactly what I wanted to pursue post-school, which was not clear after my undergrad. Ivey seemed like a great place to refine my thoughts and narrow down the various industries I could pursue. Additionally, coming from a diverse international background (living in five countries before undergrad) an international business focus made sense in terms of culture and language requirements. The internship abroad and exchange would fit in perfectly with the lifestyle I have been living throughout my life.

Think back to when you were researching business schools. What did Ivey offer you that other schools did not? What made it a good fit for you?

Ivey allowed me to put my foot in the door for Canadian employment in Ontario. Apart from that, it has the brand name and quality that I was pursuing, on top of the start date (January) versus almost all other programs I researched, which started in the fall.

Describe the relationships and culture of support at Ivey.

At Ivey, especially within a small program like the MSc, it is very easy to feel like a family. We all know each other and have been able to make real connections because of the class size and similar interests. Sharing space and doing group projects with this number of people, along with being sent abroad with them, allows you to forge relationships that would otherwise be very difficult. The culture at this program specifically has been extremely international, another thing that made me feel at home. We have students from across the globe, with extensive international experiences that are receptive to your own. The culture within Ivey is certainly working hard/play hard and that huge surge of energy was obvious to me from day one. People will not stop until their work is perfect, or up to their standards, and then still have the energy to celebrate the achievement.

What advice would you give to prospective students considering Ivey?

Prospective students need to know certain things about Ivey. Firstly, Ivey will at some points consume your life and this is done intentionally to mimic the work-life balance most people will have to juggle after business school. It is important to be ready for this and allow yourself to experience everything Ivey has to offer, not just what you are comfortable with. Ivey also has an intense atmosphere of high-achieving individuals, and this can be a motivator for many. It is important to be socially open at a place like Ivey, where everyone wants to know everyone. In terms of the MSc, I believe students would thrive the most when they have some international experience, or if they are comfortable in that atmosphere.


  • Bachelors of Management and Organizational Studies- Finance, Western University