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Ring it Forward: The first winners of the alumni referral contest

Aug 30, 2017

Ring it Forward

In the business world, it pays to know people – literally.

That’s never been more true than with Ivey’s inaugural Ring it Forward contest, where alumni refer prospective students to the MBA and Executive MBA programs for a chance to win. Alumni can win a $10,000 travel voucher, and students can earn a $5,000 scholarship for their tuition.

Alumna Diane Ring, MBA ’14, and current MBA candidate Beckie Thain-Blonk were selected as the contest’s first ever winners.

An advocate for women pursuing their MBAs, Ring was excited to hear Thain-Blonk was considering an MBA. After working together on internal projects at KPMG, Ring knew Thain-Blonk was Ivey material.

“She’s not afraid to reach out, to chase things she’s passionate about. She’s a self motivator,” Ring said. “Because of Ivey’s one-year format, you have to make decisions quickly and you have to be motivated enough to challenge yourself to keep up with the fast pace. I had no doubt Beckie would thrive in that environment.”

Because Ring had such a positive experience at Ivey herself, and wanted to see more women pursuing formal education, she often has candid conversations with coworkers at KPMG about the value of an MBA. This led her to Thain-Blonk.

“Pursuing an MBA was a logical next step for me from a career acceleration perspective,” Thain-Blonk said. “I knew that in order to achieve my career goals, I needed a master's degree.”

The importance of Ivey’s alumni network

A recent Ivey marketing and recruitment survey showed that just over half of Ivey students said they first heard about the program from an alumnus.

“When we ask students ‘What sources of information were most helpful to you as you considered MBA programs?’ – Ivey alumni is a close second to one-on-one meetings with the recruitment team,” J.D. Clarke, Executive Director of Masters Programs Recruitment and Admissions, said. “The commitment of alumni interacting with MBA candidates is extremely important to our success.”

Ring echoed this sentiment, saying the decision-making process can be overwhelming for applicants considering different schools. The best way to decide if a school is the right fit is to talk to someone who has been through the program, she said.

“There’s such an overwhelming amount of information out there, it can be hard to decide why one particular school is better than another,” Ring said. “Having these personal one-on-one conversations with alumni about the Ivey experience can really help your decision.”

“While I was working at KPMG, I had the opportunity to work with some very intelligent and experienced individuals. A number of these individuals were Ivey grads,” Thain-Blonk said. “I was constantly impressed by their ability to adapt, communicate, and lead in the most genuine and professional manner.”

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