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Five lessons I learned while completing my Executive MBA

Feb 20, 2020

Shannon Busta

Shannon Busta, EMBA ’20, Audience Growth Editor for Canada at The New York Times, recently completed Ivey’s Executive MBA Program. She posted about the lessons learned on her LinkedIn account, and has given us permission to repost the article here.

Last week, myself and 57 brilliant, funny and kind people completed our Executive MBAs at Ivey Business School. On Sunday, we said goodbye to our professors and each other, ready for the next exciting phase of our lives.

I was on a flight to New York for work before sunrise the following morning, leaving me little time to reflect. This week, I carved out time to pause and consider what this experience has meant to me, and I’d like to share a few of the lessons I learned along the way:

1. Success has very little to do with intelligence, and almost everything to do with how hard you work, how you respond to failure, and the people you surround yourself with.

When I began my MBA, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be smart enough to get through accounting. With the help of my professor, great colleagues and hard work, I finished the class with an A. I will never be an accountant, but now I can converse with mine, and I learned how limiting self-doubt can be.

EMBA Class of 2020 students at the stock market

Work hard and believe in yourself.

2. “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Journalists are often solitary, and I absolutely went into this program dreading teamwork. Today, I value it. So much so that I have founded a company with a team of brilliant women. 

The perspectives of other people make you better.

3. Family, friends and partners are your most valuable assets. 

My family and friends gave me the support and time I needed to overcome the personal guilt I felt for spending 30+ hours a week (on top of my full-time job) working toward something that took me away from them.

4. Knowledge is the greatest gift you will ever give to yourself.

Attending Ivey is among the best choices I have ever made. I am more educated now, yes, but I am also more confident, more aware of my shortcomings, better equipped to lead, more interested in listening, and more grateful for my circumstances.

5. And finally, as Stephen Foerster, the director of the Executive MBA program, drilled into us in every finance class: Growth is good. Risk is rotten.

Thank you Ivey!