top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Mentorship Spot

Waterloo to Ivey and Lessons Along the Way

By Farzan Dubash

When I started my undergraduate degree in Waterloo’s Arts and Business program, I had no idea where to start. I was overwhelmed by all of the opportunities ahead of me and the only thing that I knew for sure was that, after my first two years at Waterloo, I wanted to try and transfer into the Ivey Business School to finish my undergraduate degree. 3 years later, I’ve learned a ton of lessons, not just about how to transfer schools, but also about university life in general.

Transferring Into Ivey:

Everywhere I looked told me that transferring into Ivey would be extremely difficult. Every year, Ivey accepts between 20 and 50 transfer students as part of the incoming class of over 600 students. There are a few important considerations for transfer applicants to pay attention to.

Extracurriculars: 50% of the consideration for Ivey admissions is your extracurricular activities. They want to admit well-rounded individuals with leadership experience. For your supplemental application, you have to write 2 500 word essays about your involvement throughout your first 2 years of university. Overall, getting involved early in university is one of the best things any student can do. Not only are extracurriculars a great way to meet people, they also give you a chance to explore your passions. I found that it was much easier to write the essays because I was passionate about the positions I undertook and really enjoyed the work that I did.

Grades: The other 50% of the Ivey admissions process is your university grades. On their website, Ivey says that their cutoff for consideration is an 80% average through your first 2 years. However, this will rarely be good enough to get accepted. I got in with an 85% and I’ve heard that most other transfer students got in with around the same. A program you’re passionate about with courses you enjoy will do wonders for your grades.

Business 2257: Along with the supplemental application, all applicants must complete a course called Business 2257 at Western or an equivalent at another university with above a 70%. This is an accounting course that teaches you the fundamentals of financial and managerial accounting, concepts that are revisited There are a few ways for transfer students to do this. The first is to take it at Western during their intersession period (May-June) as a visiting student. If possible, this is the one I would strongly recommend. For me, taking this two month course at Western allowed me to familiarize myself with the campus atmosphere, as well as how Ivey classes are run. Gaining experience contributing in a large class setting (which is worth 30% of your mark in Ivey classes) and learning through the case-based method allowed me to really determine whether I would enjoy the program AND helped with my adjustment once I did get into Ivey. The other way to get the required credit is to complete an approved alternative course at your host university.

Why Ivey?

For me, the allure of Ivey came from how they taught classes using the case-based method. At times, I’ve found it hard to focus on courses that emphasize concepts without discussing real-world applications and uses. The case-based method mitigates some of these issues, allowing students to explore real-world situations in every class, making the material much more concrete.

What I’ve Learned:

In my two years preparing to apply to Ivey and my first year of the HBA program, I have picked up a few lessons that I wish I’d known when I started university:

  1. Get Involved as soon as possible: Both at Waterloo and when I started at Ivey, I found that the quickest way to meet people was to get involved with extracurriculars. There are so many different clubs and organizations that you will almost always be able to find something that you’re passionate about with people who share the same passions. I’ve met some amazing friends through these clubs and I’ve also learned a ton! You never know when a friend or connection will pay off down the road!

  2. Progress isn’t linear: A lot of people look at success like linear success, meaning that once it starts it’s a continuous upward trajectory. When I started university, I saw this the same way. However, I’ve found that this is far from the case. In reality, there are so many fluctuations and it’s so important to not let failures take up too much space in your head. I don’t think that there's a single person who goes through life without failing at least once. Look at failure as an opportunity and a learning experience. If you made a mistake, learn why and how to avoid repeating it. Use the lessons you learn to push yourself to greater heights!

  3. Finding a clear path takes time: When I started university wanting to go into business, I thought I wanted to be an accountant. 3 years later, that couldn’t be farther from the truth and I’m looking to pursue a career in marketing. When you start university, it’s totally okay to not know exactly what you want to do and I’ll bet most people fall into that category. Use your first couple years to feel things out and explore a variety of different areas. This will help you figure out what you actually enjoy, which is what you want to look for in a potential career.

Overall, my university experience has been one with a lot of changes, but I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself and some valuable lessons that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. If anyone has any questions about transferring into Ivey or university life in general please don’t hesitate to reach out to me @farzu.dubash on Instagram!


Thanks for reading this article! If you liked it, consider checking out the other articles on our page and stay tuned for new ones weekly. Did you know we also pair high school students with uni students in their desired program for advice and mentorship? Check out our sign-up page to register as a mentor or mentee today!

bottom of page