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One month into the Ivey MBA

  • Rabih Chour
  • |
  • Apr 19, 2017
One month into the Ivey MBA

Rabih Chour, MBA '18 candidate, reflects on his first month in the MBA Program.

Eleven years ago, at the age of seventeen, I left the Ivory Coast to study in Montreal. For the first time, I really went out of my comfort zone. After my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, I was privileged to work for the largest 3D software company in the world, and the role led to spending six months in Japan. This experience took me once again outside my comfort zone, transformed me, and opened my eyes to an unexpected culture in a very fast-paced world.

Back in Montreal in April 2016, I knew it was time to move to something new, and I wanted to use my experience as a foundation for a career where I could shape the world and not just be an observer. I also knew that it was time to do an MBA to build on my business foundations. After attending a First Class on the Road and talking to some Ivey students and alumni, the decision became obvious: the strong alumni network, the case-based method, the career placement facts, the one-year program. For me, it was Ivey or nothing.

As of today, we are only one month into the program, yet the transformation is already taking place. Every day in the classroom, I am exposed to the best faculty in Canada. The case teaching method means this is not a place to rest: the expectations are that you contribute value, speak concisely, and engage a diverse audience. This is as close as one can get to the workplace post-MBA. So far, we have survived a sub-arctic experience and hired a team of five people to save a failing company. We also had as guests the former prime minister of Canada speaking about world events and the current minister of finance speaking on expanding the participation of women in entrepreneurship and business.

But the transformation is not only academic, it is deeply human. The small size of the program allows for everyone to meet one another. Every morning, when I look around, I realize how privileged I am: the best talents in Canada and abroad, all united in the same classroom. And everyone is here for a reason. With the program picking up speed, everyone is ready to collaborate and share their knowledge and experience. So far, I have learned even more from my classmates than I have learned from the books. We are not in competition against each other, maybe just against ourselves.

In the first month at Ivey, we are starting our first 24-hour report and the stress is palpable. But I am excited for this experience, the first of many that will strengthen our bonds and forge our resilience and character as future leaders. Next time I’m asked how the program is going, I will be able to answer that I’ve made a hundred new friends.