Exchange report: Richard Ivey School of Business Spring 2011

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1 Exchange report: Richard Ivey School of Business Spring 2011 I was fortunate enough to go on exchange to the Richard Ivey School of Business (Ivey) in London, Ontario, during the spring of 2011 as part of my CEMS master in management degree. I had a great time in Canada during which I was able to discover a new continent and the many famous cities of Canada and the US while also learning about business at a high-quality North-American school. Application process Ivey had just recently been accepted as a member of CEMS and I was the first NHH student to go there on exchange during the spring semester (there was one before me during the fall). I had Ivey as my first priority for exchange destinations and was able to show my great motivation for going on exchange there during the assessment centre for CEMS, having researched Canada and what makes the country unique beforehand. This assessment centre took place during the fall and I was informed that I was going to Canada after Christmas in March. Preparation Unlike many other schools, Ivey was not slow in contacting me and sending me information about the school, classes, housing, etc. They sent me a very helpful CEMS orientation sheet with information about most things and Amanda Gray, the CEMS coordinator, was particularly helpful in responding promptly to s. I had to register for classes already at the end of August (!) for the following spring semester, and had the choice between 3 courses. Other than that I had to fill out a simple online registration form and send some documents, which was easy. Many students had to pay for a healthcare insurance plan during their stay at the university called UHIP which was some $300. However for Norwegian students like myself with a loan at Lånekassen, one was already covered by this loan s insurance and just had to show documentation certifying this to Ann Jones from Human Resources (I showed a document found on Nav.no which was a bilateral agreement between Canada and Norway). I flew to Toronto and made my way to London by bus, it cost around 5000 NOK and I would recommend buying tickets several months in advance. Accomodation Regarding accommodation this also sorted itself out really easily, a CEMS student on exchange at Ivey that semester actually contacted me on Facebook and asked if I was interested in renting the room he had stayed in. It was cheap ($ 450 a month) but unfortunately pretty small and the house was far from downtown (20 min by walk to campus but a 15 min bus ride downtown). Since the semester ended in April I paid for rent from January to April, but I would strongly recommend trying to find a place to rent only

2 from February to April as it will save you a month s rent: classes start in early February and the orientation is at the end of January. Many exchange students were living on or just off Richmond Street which is the street with all the bars in London and is more or less downtown. This would generally be a bit more expensive ($ and up per month), but one is closer to bars and restaurants so I would recommend staying here instead. Utilities were included in my rent. Ivey and London, ON The business school Richard Ivey is a part of the University of Western Ontario campus in London, a huge campus with about 30,000 students. It s located outside the city centre so most people would take a bus in the morning to get there. The transit system in London is ok by American standards but pretty bad compared to European systems: the buses only really run frequently during weekdays in the morning and afternoon and are hard to catch during weekends. Plus, the timetables are hard to figure out like in Bergen. The business school is a small, beautiful building and is a bit bigger than the service building at Merino. It s very professional and faculty and staff are always available to help. The teaching quality at Ivey was very good, clearly the best I ve had at university level. The classes are completely different from NHH: participation is central, preparation essential and every class is an important event. The CEMS students take courses along with the Ivey International Business Msc students so in total we were a bit less than 40 students in the class, half CEMS exchange students and the other half Ivey students (some of which were also CEMS students). It was actually nice being in a small class as it was easy to get to know everyone, but unfortunately we never met many other exchange students outside the CEMS class because the university was so big. Finally, the semester was very short (beginning of February till the end of April) which was great for travel and much more efficient than longer semesters we re used to. Courses Most courses have at least 30 % participation marks (30 % of the final grade is based on participation). It s a great way to practice oral argumentation and to further your English skills, especially if you re a bit shy. I participated since the first class but clearly there were some students who participated more than others. The teachers clearly state that it s quality and not quantity that counts and although there can be a lot of repetition at times, I found that good-quality interventions were rewarded in the final grade. To be able to share good comments it is important to prepare for the classes and to have made reflections on the cases prior to the class. Ivey s teaching method is case-based, a

3 great addition to the theoretical teaching we get at NHH. Depending on the classes there will be theory to accompany the cases, but not necessarily. In Master courses there isn t any final exam either, the students are being evaluated during the semester. We could choose between a total of 3 classes among which we had to pick one. In addition we had to take the course in Cross Cultural Management as this is a mandatory CEMS course, and the CEMS Business project which accounts for 15 ECTS. The three courses we could pick from were Sustainability, International venturing and Decision making with Analytics. I picked Sustainability along with many others in the class. Sustainability Tima Bansal 7,5 ECTS I picked this course because I have an interest for the field and wanted to learn more about climate change and the environment specifically and also because none of the other courses offered appealed to me. I think it was a decent course, the type of inspiring course during which ethical dilemmas future business leader will face are discussed and I believe it s good to keep these reflections in mind as one enters the working life. The class preparation was very original: there was no syllabus, only a guiding question and paragraph explaining the topic for every class. So all the students had to prepare by themselves for each class, which were mostly organized as debates on given topics. It was a bit hard to find research on the topics sometimes but it was good to be able to share personal reflections and not only learn theory. In addition, a weekly reflection paper had to be handed in of about one page on the topic of discussion of the week. The final grade was based on class participation, the reflection papers, two individual oral presentations and a final report which was also to be presented at the end of the course. Cross-cultural Management Lynn Imai 7,5 ECTS This course was a mandatory CEMS course and thus all the students from CEMS and from the Ivey Msc stream had to take it. It was in my opinion very good, especially considering the way it s taught at other CEMS schools. Lots of real-life cases, role play, academic articles and even a virtual team project for l Oréal during which we had to work with students from other European CEMS schools. In this course we had to prepare one or two cases plus some literary articles for every class as a basis for the class discussion. The final grade was based on participation, the virtual team project and a cultural immersion field project which was individual. Neither of these courses had any final exam so after the last class in the mid-end of April we were completely done. The teaching method requires somewhat more mandatory work during the semester itself than NHH, but is much better because you avoid the long exam period and all the stress.

4 Business project 15 ECTS Having a business project instead of 2 extra courses was definitely much more interesting and for sure represented a smaller work load. There were about 5 business projects to pick from in finance and marketing generally, and to make a choice I had to list them according to my preferences. I got my first choice a marketing and branding project for S-Trip! which was very interesting (student travel tour operator). The only downside was maybe the relationship between the company and the group, which didn t always seem as grateful for the important work we were doing. We had to deliver an interim report mid-way through the semester accounting for half the grade and also deliver a final oral presentation upon the request of the company at their office in Toronto. Social life at Western and in London Ontario London Ontario is the 10 th biggest city in Canada and about the size of Bergen in terms of population, but not in terms of surface. Like most North-American cities it s very spread out so for example walking downtown from the university would take at least one hour. The city centre has some nice parks and churches plus good restaurants and bars, all of which can be seen in a couple of days. I d say it s maybe not a very exciting city for a master student but for bachelor students who are looking for a city with lots of parties it s great. The location relative to other big cities is ok 2,5 hours away from Toronto and Detroit, but far from Montréal, Ottawa and Québec City. As in London UK, London Ontario s streets, parks and rivers are all named after the city in Europe but the similarities end there. Many exchange students went to Toronto during weekends, which is a nice place to go out and experience big-city life and culture. There are parties every day of the week in London on Richmond street and you ll quickly get to know most of the places. The parties are pretty similar to those in Norway and the alcohol is clearly cheaper despite being more expensive than the States. You can get decent 24- packs of beer at $30 and decent wine at about $8, so not too much to complain about compared to Norway there. There is a big gym at Western with indoor fields and also outdoor ones too, swimming pools etc. It s all free and new as well. Practical matters Since the buses run so rarely on weekends you often have to catch a cab downtown if you live next to campus, which is a huge hassle. So again, I would recommend living downtown if you plan on going out a lot to restaurants or bars.

5 Groceries are cheaper than in Norway and the selection is much bigger so you can buy lots of good food. The downside is that the grocery stores aren t downtown so I would recommend making friends with a Canadian in the class who has a car, so you can go shopping with him/her. Finally, the casebook fees ended up being about 250$ for me because I only had a syllabus for one course, and should be about that amount for each course. The bus pass which lasted for the entire semester cost about $90. Travel The best thing about going on exchange to Ivey was the possibility to travel to the big North- American cities and experience a new continent. The short semester makes it ideal to travel before and after the semester, and I visited Chicago, New York, Washington, Montréal and Québec City during my stay (in addition to Toronto). Unfortunately, distances are huge in this continent so most of the time you re forced to fly to almost any city which isn t as cheap as in Europe. Flights within the US come at affordable prices, but flights from Canada to the US are pretty expensive. So many students flew out of Detroit which makes it cheaper of course. In Canada the way to get around is by car or bus since flights are at Norwegian prices and the trains are at the same price-level. Buses are not too expensive but are long so I suggest taking them overnight. Finally, because of the cold Canadian winter I d suggest travelling after the semester is done to enjoy the trips to the fullest. Indeed, the winter is a bit colder and snowier than the one in Norway, but the spring and summer gets much hotter. CEMS internship I chose to do my CEMS internship in Toronto after my semester was over since the timing was perfect. Internships aren t very easy to find in Canada and since the semester is short they usually last for about 4 months. So if you re only looking for something for 10 weeks it would probably be easier to look for unpaid ones. The Ivey ezone career forum is a valuable resource you can look for internships through, in addition the career office is good at providing advice on how to proceed, but other than that you can just cold-call companies and maybe look for some that are tied to Norway or the CEMS network. My best piece of advice is approaching the company you re doing your business project for, which I did as they are likely to be interested in further developing the project your group worked on. I decided to do my internship at Ashoka Canada, an NGO working in the field of social entrepreneurship at their office in Toronto. Although it was interesting to get an insight into the world of NGOs to understand how they work and to see if it s something one could be interested in for the future, I wouldn t recommend completing a CEMS internship there. The

6 nature of the tasks wasn t very challenging for a master student and the fact that it was unpaid can make it hard to be motivated at times. Overall I would say that I am happy with my exchange semester at Ivey in Canada as it s a great opportunity to see North-America, to experience the culture and to study at a great university. Don t hesitate to contact me at if you have any specific questions.

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