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MBA graduate says Ivey experience shaped him as a leader

Jun 10, 2024

Soriano Jonathan Grad Profile

When Jonathan Soriano, MBA ’24, thinks about his growth while pursuing an MBA at Ivey, he highlights a key insight that transformed his perspective on leadership: the power of collaboration.

“Anything you want to accomplish can’t really be done by yourself,” he says.

Coming into the program, he knew that he wanted to gain leadership experience. But he didn’t anticipate how many opportunities he would be involved in.

At the start of the school year, Soriano was elected president of the MBA Association (MBAA). In that role, he was determined to help shape a positive MBA experience for the entire cohort, but says working with his peers was the main highlight. He was also appointed the MBA Executive Director for Ivey's LEADER Project – a role that gave him several opportunities to travel to countries including Uzbekistan, Montenegro, and Nepal to teach foundational business administration and entrepreneurial skills to promising entrepreneurs.

Looking for leadership

After achieving a master’s degree in economics at Western, Soriano worked at his family’s automotive retail business. While there, he realized his aspirations to expand the business. So he decided to pursue an MBA.

Although he took business classes at Western, Soriano was eager to gain more business education at Ivey and learn through the Case-Method. While the case-method was the draw, it was the quality of the faculty leading the case discussions that left a lasting impression.

“When I was speaking with next year’s cohort about choosing electives, I couldn’t stop talking about the professors I had,” he said.

Soriano says David Simpson, MBA ’88, Director of Ivey’s Business Families Centre, was particularly inspiring because of his positive outlook on life and approach to leadership.

Teamwork makes the dream work  

After an intense year back in the classroom, Soriano is pleased with his progress as a leader. Above all, he says he’s thankful for the ongoing support of his peers. They showed him the importance of teamwork. 

“I used to have a mentality where I thought I had to figure things out on my own, or get things done myself, but this experience [at Ivey] made me realize that you need people you can rely on,” he said. “I had a lot of executive team members and friends in the cohort who recognized when I was struggling and offered to help me without thinking twice. They’re the reason that I got through the year.”

Work hard, play hard

Although it was demanding to balance two leadership roles and academic responsibilities, Soriano said he prioritized making connections with the candidates in his cohort. Whether  volunteering to get plunged into a dunk tank at the Ivey MBA Olympics, attending weekly gatherings organized by the MBAA’s social representatives, or playing tennis doubles with his friend (and MBA valedictorian), Kurtis Aleksandre, MBA ’24, he made the most of his time at Ivey.

“Coming into the program, I knew that I would meet some great people and probably leave with lifelong friends – and I did,” he said. “There are quite a few people that I’m really glad I met this year and will stay in touch with forever.”

Leading with confidence

As he prepares to take the next step in his career, Soriano is eager to bring with him the fresh perspectives and skills he gained during his time at Ivey.   

“A lot of people might think they’re ready to be a leader, but it’s scary to be in that position when you’re the one having to answer all the questions and make all the decisions,” he says. “This program allowed me to experience that pressure first-hand and gave me the confidence to go back to the family business and take on a leadership role."