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Recently I was invited to visit the prestigious Ivey School of Business at the UWO. I made my way through the corridors filled with young students in business attire toting their lap top computers. There are vast numbers of portraits of the establishment - Stronachs, Thompsons and Iveys smiling down at the new crop of business students.

Larysa Gamulla, Director of the HBA program, introduced me to five students in their fourth and final year of the program. It was great to interview Katie McGarry, Jennifer Semley, James Kim, David French and Melissa Thomas who filled me in on the real scoop of being part of the class of 222 students: 37% are female and 27% come from visible minorities.

Melissa told me that "the students are judged on their merit, no one is treated differently." Jennifer reminded me that many young women can now opt for careers in Engineering, Medicine and Law. Male, female, ethnicity is not part of the criterion to choose the best students for the program." " The "glass ceiling" is being cracked by incredibly bright young women who wish to make a contribution to society."

The selection process is rigorous with two routes for admission to the HBA program. High school students may be conditionally accepted via the Academic Excellence Opportunity (AEO) that begins in the third year of university. Or, students may apply from second year university. Strong academics, community involvement, leadership and diversity of interests are all integral parts of the formula to be selected.

Twenty hours of class time along with 4-5 hours of study plus daily group case studies keeps the students involved. The attrition rate is very small because of the selection procedure. Katie emphasized that " Ivey chooses you and you choose Ivey."

Many of the students saw their future careers in the for profit industries/businesses. Career choices determine oneís personal life style that in the long run impact on their communities.

We spoke of the ability to keep a balance in their lives between work and family. David had learned from the "Leaderís Forum" that one did not have to sacrifice oneís well being to be successful. The students have wisely learned the hard lesson: A young person gives up his health for money. An old man/women is willing to give up all their money but can not buy back their health.

The Ivey program emphasises the importance of knowing yourself. "Employable skills gives one choices along with the diversity to balance your aspirations."

I asked the students if they could give me a consensus on if given the choice to change themselves or change the world; what would they would choose?. They all wanted to "make dents, minor tweaking to make their world a little better place to live."

I was impressed with the positive attitude, forthrightness of the students. No wonder that approximately 70% of the graduating class found employment last year The old boys better keep an eye on their executive suites; the Ivey students are comfortable delegating and leading by example.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com