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Preparing Ivey students for the digital world

Apr 29, 2021

Team 8, OWL Consulting (top, l-r) Sarai Castrejon, Kenzie Garton, Tosin Ojulari; (Bottom, l-r) Steve (Jiehao) Zou, Dilanka Wijesinghe, Abhimanyu Bhosekar.

Team 8, OWL Consulting (top, l-r) Sarai Castrejon, Kenzie Garton, Tosin Ojulari; (bottom, l-r) Steve (Jiehao) Zou, Dilanka Wijesinghe, Abhimanyu Bhosekar.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of evolution towards a more tech-driven future as people have increasingly relied on digital connections for everything from work and education to health care and social interactions.

Students in Ivey’s inaugural MSc in Digital Management stream are preparing for this new normal through courses and experiential activities that help them to understand the role of technology in contemporary management and prepare for a digitally-enabled world.

“The Ivey MSc in Digital Management is a unique, next-generation program, designed to develop skills for the future. We may not be able to imagine it yet, but we will nevertheless need to if we want to create the future we want, rather than just react to what is happening,” said Nicole Haggerty, HBA ’89, PhD ’04, an associate professor of Management Information Systems who is faculty director of the MSc in Digital Management program.

A case in point – the students participated in the MSc Digital Management Case Competition, which ran virtually from April 28-29. The students analyzed a case on the short-form video-sharing social networking service, TikTok, and presented their ideas on how it might disrupt the strategies of tech giants like Facebook, Netflix, and Google. Three finalist teams were selected from preliminary presentations and advanced to a final round before a panel of judges. In addition, the students gained advice from guest speakers and had a chance to network virtually with alumni who have built careers in the digital space.

“We built this case competition using a brand new, right-up-to-the-minute case of an organization facing key strategic and global challenges,” said Haggerty, who wrote the TikTok case. “The competition will allow the students to demonstrate the range of skills they have built to date and showcase their teamwork, communication skills, time management, and creativity. Case competitions offer an experience that cultivates student skills and allows students to test themselves and demonstrate their analytical reasoning and critical thinking to their peers, faculty, and judges. It is both a fun activity and an amazing learning challenge.”

More about the MSc in Digital Management

Launched in April 2019, the MSc in Digital Management program was created by Ivey faculty in Information Systems and Entrepreneurship to help students to create and manage opportunities emerging from digital disruption, whether as entrepreneurs or as part of an organization. Haggerty said the program is grounded in systems thinking, which helps students to understand complex and ambiguous challenges from economic, social, environmental, political, and technological perspectives.

“Systems thinkers imagine the kinds of organizational and societal solutions that could be both economically successful and environmentally sustainable,” she said. “We focus on well-evidenced processes for creating new, emergent, testable solutions and ideas that are not weighed down by ‘old ways’ of thinking and solving problems.”

The first cohort of 52 students began the program in September 2020 and Haggerty said she has been impressed with the group so far.

“This first cohort of students have performed extraordinarily well. They have a fantastic degree of initiative and have created their own governance and outreach for speakers. They have also taken advantage of our partnership with Coursera to each pursue a customized approach to developing essential digital skills,” she said. “Every faculty member who has taught them has noted their creativity and energy.”

Haggerty said she is pleased, but not surprised, the program reached capacity in only its first year because market research showed there is huge demand for leaders who understand how innovation techniques drive business transformation and new venture creation.

With that goal in mind, the next experience for the students is the Ivey Digital Innovation Lab, running from May to August. The Lab gives the students several four-week studio experiences with a variety of corporate partners and challenges them to design new opportunities for the organizations.

Haggerty said next up for the MSc in Digital Management program will be the addition of international exchanges with like-minded schools.

Congratulations to the winners

Congratulations to the winning team, Team 8, OWL Consulting, made up of Abhimanyu Bhosekar, Sarai Castrejon, Kenzie Garton, Tosin Ojulari, Dilanka Wijesinghe, and Steve (Jiehao) Zou.

Meet the case competition judges

Preliminary-round judges (Ivey):

Sampath Bemgal, PhD candidate;
Isam Faik, Assistant Professor, Information Systems;
Nicole Haggerty, HBA ’89, PhD ’04, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems;
Lameck Osinde, Lecturer, Information Systems;
Warren Ritchie, Assistant Professor, Information Systems & Strategy; and,
Ning Su, Associate Professor, General Management, Strategy & Information Systems.

Final-round judges:

Andrew Godfrey, MBA ’14, Senior Project Director (PC Optimum), Loblaw Digital;
Adele Huffman, Executive Director, Marketing and Communications, Ivey Business School; and,

Gordon Sandford, HBA ’93, MBA ’99, Partner – Transformation at EY. 

Thank you to our alumni guests

Mona Eghanian, MBA ’12, St. Manager, Automotive & Mobility Innovation at Ontario Centre of Innovation;
Andrew Godfrey, MBA ’14, Senior Project Director (PC Optimum), Loblaw Digital;
Mark Langlois, EMBA ’97, Managing Partner, Unified Mobility;
Kendy Lau, HBA ’09, Director, Digital Client Experience, Functionalities and Testing, Sephora;
Emily Lonetto, HBA ’16, Head of Growth, Voice Flow; 
Gordon Sandford, HBA ’93, MBA ’99, Partner – Transformation at EY; and,
Phillip Yang, MSc ’20, Consultant at Deloitte Digital.

Student experiences with the case competition

In her blog below, Marielle Badger, an MSc Digital Management ’21 candidate, shares how her team handled a surprise twist.