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Black alumni and current participants share their experience in the Ivey EMBA

May 29, 2023

L-r: Robert Ebere, Lovelyn Toyo, Amoye Henry, Marlon Davis

L-r: Robert Ebere, Lovelyn Toyo, Amoye Henry, Marlon Davis.

Amoye Henry, EMBA '21, did an MBA in hope of advancing her career – but also that of others.

Recognizing that Black women are underrepresented in business, Henry, an investment consultant and global business strategist in London, England, wanted to inspire other Black women to follow in her footsteps.

“I realized that my example – me doing it – could have a trickle-down effect. If I’ve had the audacity to do this, 10 Black women following me can say, ‘OK, she’s done this, so I can do it, too,’” said Henry. “Most of the decision-makers happen to be older white men, but our society is changing. Our society is becoming more diverse so our education pipeline should also look like that. I wanted to be part of that discussion and that transformation.”

In fact, while doing Ivey’s EMBA program, Henry along with Stachen Frederick, EMBA ’21 – an EMBA participant from another cohort – helped Ivey to launch new awards for Black learners in the EMBA program. With their input, Ivey created the EMBA Black Learners Entrance Scholarships, a $10,000-award for equity-deserving incoming EMBA participants who self-identify as Black.

Henry was part of a panel of Black EMBA alumni and current participants who recently shared their experience at Ivey, the impact of the program, and advice for future participants. It was all part of a webinar called Black Perspectives: An EMBA Alumni Panel. The purpose of the event was to draw attention to the EMBA Black Learners scholarships and inspire Black professionals to consider the distinct advantages of the EMBA. Other panellists included Marlon Davis, an EMBA ’23 candidate and Product Owner at TD Bank; Robert Ebere, EMBA ’21, Senior Delivery Manager at Caylent; and Lovelyn Toyo, an EMBA ’24 candidate and Vice President of RBC Capital Markets. Here are some takeaways.

Marlon DavisEmbrace the learning – Marlon Davis

The Ivey EMBA classroom brings together professionals from a diversity of careers and backgrounds and you can learn as much from their experiences as you do the coursework. Davis said he made sure to get to know as many EMBA participants as he could, not just those on his learning teams.

“Being exposed to that many executives at once allows you to bring a lot of things back to your own employment and really thrive on insights you obtained through the program,” he said. “A lot of the learning happens outside of the classroom with your peers so try to get to know everyone.”

Davis also told how he sat through a course on technology thinking it wasn’t applicable to his work, but then later a transition within his company made the content suddenly become relevant. The lesson: embrace the chance to learn from everything.

Robert EbereRaise your hand – Robert Ebere

Having immigrated to Canada from Nigeria in 2017, Ebere said he took the EMBA to build new relationships and executive networks as well as to see how the learning was relatable to the business environment in Africa, particularly Nigeria. Initially, he said he was nervous about asking questions, but found that doing so expanded his learning. He told how during a class discussion on the impact of inflation on markets, he shared that it was different in Nigeria, which led to the professor explaining inflation’s impact more broadly. This made for a richer discussion for all.

“Put yourself out there. If you don’t completely know the answer to a question in class, that’s OK. Say your perspective and just keep learning,” he said. “By asking questions, you get great feedback and everyone can learn from that.”

Amoye HenryTrust the process – Amoye Henry

There’s no question the EMBA is demanding and you may initially feel you’re out of your league, but Henry said she always reminded herself to trust that the process of going through something difficult would ultimately result in growth.

“Have the confidence in your ability to get it done. You were chosen for a reason. You were picked  because they recognize that you bring value to the ecosystem of Ivey,” she said.  “Champion that, celebrate that, and think about that as you go through the process. Always embrace the opportunity to learn and grow.”

Lovelyn ToyoShare your views and get involved – Lovelyn Toyo

When you’re a minority in a space, it can be tempting to be quiet, but if you do so, others will miss out on learning from your experience. Toyo encourages all participants to speak up, share their views, and get involved.

“It can be tempting to not be as vocal about your thoughts – well, perish that thought. Share your thoughts. Share your perspectives. They matter. You matter,” she said. “Share your thoughts and your perspectives because that makes for a richer classroom discussion. And that is what the Ivey experience is all about.”