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CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie reflects on his time as a Bison and Asper student

You might think the Canadian Football League’s newest commissioner enjoys telling the story of how he flunked his first accounting exam.

With obvious relish, Randy Ambrosie [BComm(Hons)/87] describes how he showed up at the University of Manitoba’s management library the day of the test “without having so much as cracked the spine of the textbook.”

Settling into a seat next to his future wife Barb, a fellow BComm student, he opened the book to the first page, turned to her, and asked her what a debit was.

“She looked me dead in the eye and said ‘Get – away – from me.’”

Ambrosie, who was named the CFL’s newest commissioner in June, says the experience of failing that exam taught him an important, if obvious, lesson in the value of preparation – a lesson that later served him well as he made a name for himself on the gridiron and in the executive boardroom.

“Bottom line is, if you show up prepared, you have a much better chance of success,” he says. “That goes with football or any athletic pursuit: you have to practice, practice, practice before you play – especially if you want to win. That’s the standard to which I hold myself, and my executive team. When we go into meetings, we go in prepared.”

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