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Winter/Spring 2013

Athabasca University


Carter Yellowbird, MBA ‘12 proves that an adventurous spirit can take you a long way ... but a strong education can bring you home.

The fine art of dreaming practically

Alumni Consultants Directory

Commerce grad pens two novels

Can learning accounting be fun?

A new way of looking at retirement

Germany’s ‘Mittelstand’ & Innovation



Message from Dean Alex Kondra O

ne of the things I love most about the Faculty of Business is its entrepreneurial spirit. Faculty and staff are all devoted to bettering the student experience at AUFB, and all work hard to improve our students’ learning experiences, our student and alumni events and communications, and to bring on new courses and programs to meet student needs. A particularly exciting area in the Faculty right now is in our Leadership and Management Development (LMD) program, led by Dr. Deborah Hurst. The National Research Council has given us, in conjunction with the Faculty of Science, a significant grant to develop 14 courses on productivity improvement. The first course could be offered as soon as October 2013 and has the potential to attract a large number of students across the country. Also in the area of LMD, the University of Alberta has made a firm commitment to offer our courses, along with their own, to the Government of Alberta through 2014. We are seeing the first graduates from the Gaming Leadership Certificate Program, our partnership with the Canadian Gaming Centre of Excellence. Dr. Hurst has been busy getting several new LMD courses


ready for rollout as we are in talks with many potential clients and we want to be ready to meet their needs. On the undergraduate front, we have seen a tremendous increase in our number of program students over the past year. There are many reasons for this, but the one most important to me is student satisfaction with the courses and programs we offer. It seems students are growing more open to the idea of completing their entire degree online ... and are choosing to do so with us. Another thing I am very happy about— and I believe the two are connected— is a steadily increasing number of undergraduate students and alumni coming out to alumni events that have historically only had MBA participation. We also are seeing more undergraduate alumni come out to our MBA information sessions. These developments indicate a growing undergrad engagement with the Faculty of Business, and along with that, an increasing school pride and loyalty that many in the post-secondary world have long believed difficult, if not impossible, for an online university. We’ve had this kind of engagement among our MBA alumni for years, so it is indeed heartwarming to

see the undergraduate community joining in since we merged our undergraduate and graduate schools a few years ago. Working hard to engage students and enrich their learning experience is always on the minds of our academics. While in the last issue of this newseltter we told you about Dr. Merlyn Foo’s work (sponsored by the Chartered Accountants Education Fund) to create interactive online tools to aid learning in corporate finance, this month we are featuring the collaborative efforts of accounting professor Dr. Tilly Jensen, Rocketfuel Games, and Spin Technologies. Together, they have secured a $50,000 grant from the Certified Management Accountants of Alberta Education Fund to develop an Introduction to Accounting game that will be marketed across Canada (story on page 14). Not only is this great news for our students, but also for our Faculty: Dr. Jensen has graciously agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds to a fund for technology development in the Faculty. We are sending two teams of undergraduate students, under the leadership of Dr. Aris Solomon, to compete in the CMA Alberta Board Governance case competition again this year. These students have big shoes to fill after our last

year’s teams took both first and second spots! Also this year, Dr. Eric Wang is leading a student team in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange competition, and Dr. Helen Lam is working with a group led by the University of Alberta to develop an undergraduate human resource management case competition. You can expect to be reading more about all of these competitions in upcoming issues! At the graduate level, we have had very strong numbers for the MBA program over the past year, and a near record number of potential students signed up for our winter information session tour. By Convocation time, we expect to have more than 3,000 MBA alumni and to see our very first Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) graduates! Dr. Kay Devine has done a tremendous job of getting our first students through the DBA program. On a final note, we recently secured a corporate partnership with Apple (see page 28), so if you are thinking of purchasing an Apple product, please be sure to buy it through our ‘Apple on Campus’ store. The great thing about this partnership is that a portion of each sale will go into a Faculty of Business student bursary. All of these great developments would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the Faculty of Business faculty and staff. Their team spirit is exhibited daily—they know how to get things done, even when time and other resources may be limited. In fact, I’m so confident in the abilities of this group that I feel comfortable accepting a six month secondment into the role of vice president, academic for Athabasca University. It’s a somewhat daunting but exciting challenge I’m happy to accept while the University executive embarks on a full search for a permanent VP. Acting in my stead as dean of the Faculty of Business will be associate dean, Dr. Deborah Hurst. I have complete confidence that the team here will go on doing all the great work they’ve been doing without missing a beat. And I will, of course, still be at Convocation this year, and hope I will be meeting many newly minted alumni from both our undergraduate and graduate programs!

Mark your calendars!

Convocation 2013 I

f you’ve graduated this academic year, plan to be in Edmonton and Athabasca to celebrate this momentous achievement with your family, friends, professors, and colleagues. This is a huge achievement— recognize it in style!

June 7, 2013 WELCOME RECEPTION 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm The Westin Edmonton Hotel Devonian Room, Lobby Level

AUFB’s fabulous Convocation planning team, led by Jill Grandy (centre), is looking forward to meeting you, as are many of your professors and other AUFB staff members. l-r: Shannon Oscroft, Deb Scaber, Jill, Nola Reichert, and Shannon LaRose.

On the Friday evening before Convocation day, a welcome reception provides a special opportunity for you to meet and mingle faceto-face with the coaches and fellow grads you have come to know so well online. Some of our alumni will also be in attendance to welcome you to their ranks!

June 8, 2013 CONVOCATION CEREMONY 12:00 noon Athabasca University Main Campus, Athabasca

GALA DINNER AND DANCE 6:30 pm The Westin Edmonton Hotel Ballroom, Banquet Level

Very few moments in life can compare to joining the graduand procession to the Convocation stage!

The official Convocation ceremony at AU’s main campus in Athabasca will be followed by a gala dinner and dance at the Westin Edmonton Hotel located in downtown Edmonton. These are both fabulous events for the whole family.



An adventurer returns home Carter Yellowbird proves that an adventurous spirit can take you a long way ... but a strong education can bring you home.



t 18 years old, Carter Yellowbird made his first serious assessment of his future. With little more than a strong sense of adventure and a gut feeling there had to be something better out there for him, he packed up and left the Samson Cree First Nations reserve for California. “My father looked at me and said ‘this day will change you for the rest of your life,’” he says. “And he was absolutely right. Getting out there and exploring the world is one of richest learning experiences you can have. You have to open up your opportunities. If you look beyond the boundaries, the opportunities are unlimited.”

Seeing and seizing opportunities comes naturally to Carter. Not long after arriving in California, he discovered the world of rodeo and worked his way into becoming a professional athlete who competed for years at events such as the Calgary Stampede and the Indian National Finals Rodeo. Later, his love and talent for the sport led him to jobs performing in Paris at the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and as a stuntman in films and TV. It was an exciting life, but not one without peril and in the late 1990s, Carter suffered a serious injury that led him to once again reassess

where his life was going. “It had long been in the back of my mind that an education was important,” says Carter, who at that point had only a grade 9 education. “I needed to open some new doors for

It was an exciting life, but not one without peril and in the late 1990s, Carter suffered a serious injury ... myself.” So he went back to school, completed his high school education and, in 2003, received a BA from the University of Alberta. He

also returned home and began running the Samson Education Trust Fund for the Samson Cree First Nation, a job he did for six years. “I helped students get grants and I acted as a liaison to help Cree youth pursue university and college,” he says. By 2008, Carter wanted to “pursue bigger and bigger dreams and objectives.” For that, he realized he needed an MBA. He applied and was accepted into AU’s program. “I think an MBA is one of the best degrees anyone could have,” he says. “It gives you freedom, and that’s what it’s all about, as well as the opportunities it opens up. Then you just don’t have dreams. You have goals you can make real,” he says. With his AU MBA now in hand, Carter’s goal is to empower First Nations people with greater self-

people will start seeing that they can get an education, work off the reserve, live on the reserve, pay taxes, and it’s not such a bad thing,” he says. “We have a really strong, untapped labour resource that industry could use. We have 78 percent of the people

“I think an MBA is one of the best degrees anyone could have ... it gives you freedom, and that’s what it’s all about ...” in Samson Cree Nation not working. We have a mean age of about 26.5 so we have all these people who want to work. It’s a matter of connecting industry to First Nations and reserves. Transportation is needed. Proper education is

training network, and tap into provincial and federal funding for support,” says Carter. With that funding, AITF will be able to help First Nations develop their own environmental services. And then, “we can use our expertise to support First Nation businesses in creating environmental services on their land and sustain themselves economically,” says Carter. “My thinking with AITF is to find that correlation between western thinking and traditional knowledge, and to come up with solutions to deal with environmental concerns that First Nations are faced with.” Both personally and professionally, Carter, who was the first man in his community to get an MBA, is committed to a better future for all and breaking down barriers that keep people thinking inside the box. And he’s succeeding—

since getting his MBA, he has been approached by industry people who want to learn more about how to tap into the aboriginal workforce as part of their solution to the growing labour shortages. In October of last year he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Dreamcatcher Foundation for his work helping First Nations youth pursue an education, as well as his contribution to First Nations communities through his long involvement in rodeo. “I feel content now with an education,” says Carter. “An education really does bring your dreams closer to you.”

to get down to business sufficiency and prosperity. He sees a better future with First Nations people and the rest of Canada connected to each other in a mutually beneficial and respectful way. And he wants others who live in the Samson Cree First Nation reserve or any reserve in Canada to be able to find opportunity without having to leave their homes and communities. His MBA project focused on strategies for industry to attract and retain First Nations people living on reserves. “I work with First Nations. I’m a taxpayer but I live in a First Nations reserve and I feel good about that. I think

needed—we need more First Nations people in science and business.” Carter walks his talk. He’s putting his graduate business degree to work with Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures (AITF), where he is acting as Aboriginal Liaison and working to build aboriginal community capacity through such initiatives as an environmental services network for Aboriginal groups across Alberta. “We are trying to assist Aboriginal communities and organizations to become involved in environmental services through the development of a communication and

Carter was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Dreamcatcher Foundation for his work in helping First Nations youth pursue education.



The fine art of dreaming ... We all know being a grownup sometimes means compromising between the romance of living our dreams and the reality of paying our bills. Lyudmila BezpalaBrown, MBA‘11, held on to her dream while embracing practicality ... and ultimately wound up exactly where she was meant to be.


yudmila had always wanted to be an artist, but her father’s advice (“you had better get a job that can provide a living!”) took hold and she found herself instead practising intellectual and copyright law with an international firm in the Ukraine. She met and married Canadian lawyer Darrell Brown, who worked in international development and travelled extensively for his work. At first Lyudmila was hesitant to leave her job, homeland, and family to live abroad with Darrell. But from the moment she decided ‘why not?’, she journeyed enthusiastically, not just geographically but also in terms of personal growth. She lived in Macedonia, Ukraine, the US, Azerbaijan, and Canada, and worked on charitable projects for the International Women’s Club of Baku in Azerbaijan and the International Women’s Association of Skopje in Macedonia. She also stayed and worked in Kazakhstan,

The Faculty of Business held its 2012 Student and Alumni Seasonal Cheer get-together at Bezpala Brown Gallery. “It’s a gorgeous venue, everyone there loved it.” said AUFB’s manager of marketing and alumni relations, Whitney Masson.


Kyrgystan, Armenia, and Serbia ... and kept her passion for art alive as she and Darrell found and interacted with art communities wherever they were in the world. But her work with the International Women’s Club ignited a brand new passion in her: business. “I really enjoyed working with people, managing projects and events,” she says. She decided she wanted to

“When we came to Canada, the decision to open our own business was an easy one. I had the feeling we could do it.” pursue an MBA, but she still wanted to be able to travel with her husband wherever his work took him. AU’s program made that possible, so she applied. But life had another twist in store for Lyudmila that again called for putting practicality first. “Literally on the same day I was accepted, I found out I was pregnant,” she says. “I’d had difficulty getting pregnant and had had miscarriages, so I decided to postpone my studies until the baby was born.” It was a short delay. Roughly nine months later, with a three-week old baby alongside, Lyudmila began her first MBA course. “I had a baby in one arm, and the other arm on my laptop. It was incredibly difficult, but I loved it,” she says. In 2008, Lyudmila and her husband decided to settle down in Canada. Coincidentally, so did a friend of theirs—Fariz Kovalchuk, a talented artist and economist from Azerbaijan.

Soon, plans were brewing and by 2010 Lyudmila, with Darrell and Fariz, had turned passions for art and business into a new venture: Bezpala Brown Gallery, an innovative art gallery on Toronto’s Church Street that is pioneering the internationalization of the city’s art scene. “When we came to Canada, the decision to open our own business was an easy one. I had the feeling we could do it,” she says. With a very clear strategy that included tapping into Toronto’s large multicultural community, the gallery has already received numerous positive reviews from prominent critics and is close to breaking even, when it generally it takes galleries five years or more to do so. “We can change the art scene here in Canada by bringing more international art and taking Canadian artists outside of Canada,” says Lyudmila, who is only 34 years old. “Not many Canadian artists are known internationally, and those who are only become known in Canada once they are recognized internationally.” Just as Lyudmila began her last MBA course, while juggling the responsibilities of her new business, she found out she was pregnant again! “I had been trying to get pregnant for five years and had finally given up, so it was a surprise,” she says. This time, instead of waiting, she completed her course and graduated with a four-month old baby in her arms. And today, Lyudmila Bezpala-Brown, MBA, wife, mother of two, art-scene

practically This time, instead of waiting, she completed her course and graduated with a four-month-old baby in her arms. entrepreneur, is justifiably proud of her achievements, but says, “I do not believe any of these accomplishments would have ever been possible without people next to me providing thoughtful support day to day, hour to hour, especially my husband Darrell and my father.” She hopes that her children will see by her example that they can follow their dreams and do whatever they set out to do — even if they encounter a few twists along the way!


yudmila had two major challenges to contend

yudmila had two major challenges to contend with with during her MBA: a brand new baby, and during her MBA: a brand new baby, and studying studying in a second language. Her advice to in a second language. Her advice to others facing others facing similar obstacles? Push forward! similar obstacles? Push forward!

“Because I had a family and was active in the

their English might not be strong enough. “When you

hesitant to pursue an MBA at AU because they think their study virtually, it gives you time to sit down with that English might not be strong enough. “When you study textbook and mark all the words that are new to you, virtually, it gives you time to sit down with that textbook rather than going to a lecture and hearing a word for and mark all the words that are new to you, rather than the first time. A virtual learning experience, gave me going lecture and word for the skills,” first time. time to to adevelop andhearing perfectamy English sheA virtual learning experience gave me time to develop and says. perfect my English “Studying for myskills,” MBA she wassays. not just

“Because I haddoing a family wasgave active in the community, community, theand MBA me a strong sense doing the MBA gave me a strong sense of prioritizing, selfof prioritizing, self-discipline and strategizing about discipline and strategizing about life— life—what is more important to what is more atimportant accomplish “Studying for my was not just learning accomplish a giventomoment. So learning how toMBA manage business and “Yes, you can do it. at a given moment. So yes, it took me yes, it took me six years instead of how to manage business and people, but people, but also learning what the three to finish myofdegree, I didmy it. It’s tough, but you also six years instead three tobut finish engines of lifewhat are the in Canada. me learning enginesItofgave life are can do it.” I want to to other degree, butgive I didthis it. Imessage want to give this confidence and an understanding of the in Canada. It gave me confidence and an women (or men!)women who want to have country. The AU MBAcountry. is veryThe practical. message to other (or men!) whoa understanding of the AU MBA greattocareer a family, theyand can’t do they it all. Course by course, as you finish each one, want have aand great career and and think a family, think is very practical. Course by course, as you finishyou’re each Yes, you can do it. It’s tough, but you can do it.” ready to apply it. And you know you can do it. can’t do it all. Yes, you can do it. It’s tough, but you can one, you’re ready to apply it. And you know you canYou do learned it, you practiced it. You have good insights She do it.”shares a similar message with people who might it. You learned it, you practiced it. You have good insights

be hesitant to pursue an MBA at AU because they think

She shares a similar message with people who might be

into how things should work in real life.”

into how things should work in real life.”



MBA Class Notes A wrap-up of news bites from AU Faculty of Business MBA students and alumni across Canada and around the world over the past six months. Congratulations, all and thank you for sharing your news! Current student and alumni notes are published every month at


TONY JEWELLS, MBA ‘97, received his LLM – Master of International Business Laws – from the University of London. NATALIE KWADRANS (NEE ANDRES), MBA ‘99, and Michael Kwadrans were married on October 13th, 2012. Natalie also completed her CMA designation and started a new role at TELUS as senior strategy manager for the Enterprise Strategy & Enablement Team. JEY ARUL, MBA ‘01, had his organization, VR Business Sales and Mergers & Acquisitions (Edmonton), recognized as the #8 top VR office in the world by VR Corporate. MARY AYLESWORTH, MBA ‘01, was appointed director of procurement services at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. JACQIE SHARTIER, MBA ‘03, became executive director of operations for the Thorpe Recovery Centre in Blackfoot, Alberta. She also completed her Bachelor of Divinity degree. PETER GOLDBERG, MBA-ITM ‘04, was appointed BC Hydro’s chief process architect. TERRI HINKLEY, MBA ’05, is a clinical research consultant at Terri Hinkley Consulting, which provides independent clinical research consulting to organizations.

JEFF RITTER, MBA ‘05, was named CEO of the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC).

SYLVIA CASHMORE, MBA ‘08, finished the Boston Marathon and participated in Sprint the World Age Group Triathlon in Auckland, New Zealand.

SHARON BARNES, MBA PM ‘06, sold her company, RFind Systems, Inc. to The Trapeze Group, a subsidiary of Constellation Software Inc.

MARIO CHABOT, MBA PM ’09, was promoted to vice president of operations at Fujitsu Canada, the world’s third largest information and communication technology provider. Mario previously held the role of director, project management.

JEFF ENQUIST, MBA ITM ‘06, is the new director of engagement services at Wawanesa Insurance in Winnipeg, MB. Jeff was previously the manager of the Project Management Office at Wawanesa. ALLAN DANROTH, MBA ‘07, was appointed to the board of directors of Saturn Minerals. NAVEEN GUPTA, MBA PM ‘07, took on the role of director, risk and improvement, in the Nuclear Division of SNC Lavalin. Naveen had previously been promoted from senior project manager to director of operations in Asia since completing his MBA. MICHAEL J. MARTIN, MBA ’07, senior executive consultant with IBM’s Global Center of Excellence, co-authored a technical white paper in collaboration with staff from Cisco, IBM and Hydro-Quebec. The paper discussed the application of smart grid communication strategies to utility distribution grids and sets the stage for the next generation of electrical power distribution automation designed around a distributed, federated model.

CHARLES MACLENNAN, MBA ‘09, took on the role of agency manager at Allstate Insurance. CAROLINE NEVIN, MBA ‘09, was awarded the Canadian Bar Association’s 2012 Jack Innes Achievement Award. The Jack Innes Achievement Award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the CBA by a current staff member who has exhibited creativity, innovation, leadership and commitment. Caroline is the executive director of the CBA in British Columbia. EMMY OKAZAWA-BORTOLIN, MBA ‘09, became a sales and marketing executive with Ardmore Language Schools in Calgary, Alberta. JAMIE ROZEMA, MBA ‘09, married Jeremy Stinson on May 28th, 2012.

promotions awards babies ventures good works IAN MACKINNON, MBA ‘10, purchased the Benjamin Moore Signature Store in Quispamsis, New Brunswick. Ian also continues his role as director of information technology at CAA Atlantic Limited.

was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Dreamcatcher Gala for his many contributions to his community of Samson Cree Nation in Hobbema. Read more about Carter on page 4.

JENNIFER LADOUCEUR (POWERS), MBA ‘10, is now director of economic development at the City of Vaughn, Ontario.

MICHELLE ELL, MBA STUDENT, and her husband, Japheth Kenyi, welcomed their daughter, Ellen Laura Kenyi, on October 27, 2012 - a little sister for Max! Michelle currently works in Rwanda as program coordinator for Global Communities, Partners for Good (formerly CHF International).

IRENE DIXON, MBA ‘11, is now a business analyst at QIEM, conducting process mapping and ROI for customer relationship management (CRM) systems. RANDY KEHLER, MBA ‘12 was featured in the National Post article, “Virtual MBA creates real networks,” in November. LOUISE TAYLOR GREEN, MBA ‘12, became executive vice-president, corporate affairs and strategy with Hamilton Health Sciences in Hamilton, Ontario. ETIENNE VEZINA, PENG, MBA ’12, joined Precision Engineering Inc. in Edmonton, AB. CARTER YELLOWBIRD, MBA ’12, was featured in the article “Hobbema man proof good things can happen” in the Edmonton Sun. He recounts his struggles growing up on a reserve, a career ending rodeo injury and his desire to get an education, ultimately receiving his MBA from Athabasca. Carter

WILSON HO, MBA STUDENT, was one of ten students to attend Alberta Venture magazine’s first Transform Alberta Summit through an essay writing competition. The event featured Alberta’s leaders discussing the challenges facing the province and offering solutions for a successful future. COREY STASIUK, MBA STUDENT, took on the role of director of operations with Armtec, a leading construction materials company. MATTHEW ZOOK, MBA STUDENT, director of market and customer insights at Sobeys corporate office in Edmonton, was nominated for the “2012 Generation Next Award” by Canadian Grocers magazine.

AU’S RISING STAR OF 2012 DENISE BLAIR, MBA ‘10, received AU’s Rising Star Award for 2012. Denise is the founder and Executive Director of the Calgary Youth Justice Society and created In The Lead, an innovative leadership development program for youth. In the Lead matches young people in Calgary who are vulnerable to engaging in high-risk behavior with coaches from Cenovus Energy who help build their resilience and direct their strengths towards success. AU’s Rising Star Award recognizes an alumnus who has demonstrated leadership and made significant areas to his or her area of expertise.

GO UNDERGRAD TEAM!! AT PRESS TIME, A TEAM OF THREE undergrad students competing in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Commodity Trading Challenge had made it through the preliminary round of competition and was sitting 14th place out of over 300 teams. They are the ONLY Canadian team to make it to the finals. Watch for a full feature on this group and their experiences in the next issue. Competition details can be found at:

STAY IN TOUCH If you are a Faculty of Business student or alumnus/alumna—undergraduate or graduate level—with news to share, your AUFB community would love to hear from you. Email your news to and don’t forget to attach a photo!



AU MBA Alumni Consultants BY INDUSTRY:




VR Mergers and Acquisitions

Inspired HR Ltd. The Keith Bagg Group Thomas-Ritt Associates Limited Western Management Consultants

CHANGE MANAGEMENT Excellerated Management Tech Western Management Consultants

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Cameron Leadership Development Convergence Consulting Group Inc. Thomas-Ritt Associates Limited


ENVIRONMENTAL Terra Firma Consultants

EVENT PLANNING Chain of Events

GENERAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTING Alpern & Associates Association Management Consulting and Evaluation Services (AMCES) Convergence Consulting Group Inc. EMR Consultants fiLAWGENy JohnSuart.Com McGrath Executive Richmond House Management Consulting Ltd. SIMC Consulting The Strong Communication Group Thomas-Ritt Associates Limited Western Management Consultants

HEALTH CARE Bay Area Health Care Solutions (BAHCS)

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Excellerated Management Technologies (EMT) Inc. IP ConnectX Corp Murray & Associates

INSURANCE / FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AR Jaffer Professional Corporation Greenfield Benefits Inc. McDougall Insurance Brokers The Expatriate Group TMG The Mortage Group


MARKETING Annex Media Marketing Chain of Events Barbara Suen, Graphic Designer The Strong Communication Group

PROJECT MANAGEMENT Excellerated Management Technologies

Murray & Associates

URBAN PLANNING Terra Firma Consultants

WEB Annex Media Marketing

Alpern & Associates Mark T. Alpern, MBA 905-597-7147 or 647-210-8654 (c)

Chain of Events Wendy Fee, MBA 519-591-2119

Annex Media Marketing Carm Maesano, MBA Burlington, ON 905-320-7309

Convergence Consulting Group Inc. David Oman Spruce Grove, AB 780-968-2768

AR Jaffer Professional Corporation, Certified General Accountant Ali Raza Jaffer, CGA, MBA, BComm 905-629-7720 AMCES - Association Management Consulting and Evaluation Services Jim Pealow, MBA, CMA, CAE, CMC 613-839-0085

Barbara Suen, Graphic Designer 905-259-2160 or 905-721-2000 Bay Area Health Care Solutions Susan Ward, RN, MBA 905-521-2100-76025 (p) and Cameron Leadership Development Margaret (Peggy) Cameron 613-699-5125

EMR Consultants Ellen McRae, MBA 905-767-0192 Excellerated Management Technologies Wayne Fillmore, CMC, PMP, MBA 416-720-0901 Expatriate Group Tom Boleantu, P.Geol, PRP 403-232-8561 or 1-800-232-8561 fiLAWGENy Samantha Russell, GDM 519-990-5149 Greenfield Benefits Inc. Jason Yip, MBA 403-539-5828 866-262-4474

You know the education and experience that backs up an AU MBA. When you’re in the market for a service, check here first and support your fellow alumni! Details on each consultant can be found at If you would like your business added to this directory, email 10 WINTER / SPRING 2013 AUBUSINESSNEWS

Directory Inspired HR Ltd. Debby Carreau 403-975-9336 INTERPOC Inc. International Point of Commerce Inc. Gustavo Zentner, MBA (001-204) 956-7682 IP ConnectX Corp Alex Bichuch, MBA, CISSP 416-834-2956 JohnSuart.Com John Suart, MBA 613-583-3062 The Keith Bagg Group Geoff Bagg 416-847-4951 Web site: McDougall Insurance Brokers Christian Hutchison, MBA 905-579-9276 or 905-442-6044 McGrath Executive Lorraine McGrath, MBA 250-808-8118 Murray & Associates Brian Murray, MBA 902-629-50441

Richmond House Management Consulting Ltd. Keith Andrews, MBA, CMC, PMP, CISA 250-370-2145

Dreaming of launching your own business? This set of four week online courses could help you find and grow the RIGHT entrepreneurial venture for YOU.

SIMC Consulting Samuel McCollum, MBA 403-689-6001

The Strong Communication Group Marilyn Strong, MBA 250-870-6368 Terra Firma Consultants Louie Azzolini, MA, MBA 867-873-9348 or 867-765-8550 (c) TMG The Mortgage Group Gaylene Noyes, MBA 1-877-766-1483 or 780-999-2127 Thomas-Ritt Associates Limited Thomas Stirr, MBA 905-309-5431 VR Mergers & Acquisitions Jey Arul, MBA 780-469-4769 Western Management Consultants Gordon Harris, MBA 780-401-2804

Entrepreneurship Series • Aligning Entrepreneurial and Personal Vision: Daring to Dream • Planning Entrepreneurial and Small Business Ventures: Designing the Dream • Managing Entrepreneurial and Small Business Ventures: Directing the Dream AU’s online Leadership and Management Development courses (LMD) are highly collaborative graduate level management courses designed for professionals with significant work experience.

Athabasca University

Faculty of Business Leadership and Management Development Phone 780-459-1144 or Toll Free at 1-800-561-4650 Email:



Commerce grad pens two novels —

his book, and then began actively promoting it to get it into the hands of readers and booksellers across the country. The novel, The Impact of a Single Event, became a national bestseller and was long-listed for the Independent Publisher Book Award for literary fiction in 2009. Although he had no intention of writing another book, a few years later he found himself returning to the writing life. “I was remembering all the stories my relatives told about life on the Prairies during the Depression,” he says. “They were so powerful and moving that I still recollected them almost three decades later.” It was while writing the stories down that the idea for his second novel emerged. Rod left his job as director of a laser vision correction company to write full time over an 18-month period, sitting down from nine in the morning until, as he says, “my brain was mushy.” Dinner with Lisa tells

the first a best-seller, the second an award-winner (and potential future best-seller!)


ith a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Athabasca and a successful career in business, Rod Prendergast didn’t set out to be a novelist. But while living in New Zealand for a year while his wife was studying, he happily spent his time surfing and reading in the university library. One day, he says, an idea for a novel came to him, and he began writing out a story about a family journal passed down through the generations. 12 WINTER / SPRING 2013 AUBUSINESSNEWS

The transition from book lover to writer required learning a new set of skills that Rod equates to learning a new language. It wasn’t easy, “but you wouldn’t expect to take an introductory German class and then be fluent,” he says. He took a year to write a first draft of the book, moved back to Edmonton and sought feedback from writers-in-residence at the Edmonton Public Library and various post-secondary institutions. “I’d submit 5,000 words of

my draft and come away with a pearl of wisdom that I’d use to rewrite the entire manuscript.” In the end, he revised his novel six times over two-and-a-half years to get it to a polished state. Rod approached the next phase—publishing—with the same entrepreneurial spirit he had successfully used in the world of business. He hired an experienced freelance editor, created a publishing company, assembled a team of designers and production people, printed

Rod approached ... publishing with the same entrepreneurial spirit he had successfully used in the word of business.

the story of Joseph, a widower with four young children who travels from Ontario to a small town in Alberta seeking work in the early 1930s. It weaves together a moving personal story with rich historical detail – the result of time Rod spent poring over archival newspapers to soak in the “daily flavour of the period.” Published last year, Dinner with Lisa won the bronze medal for best fiction in Western Canada at the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Rod promoted the book over the course of last year – while completing an accelerated MBA program at Queen’s University. The decision to pursue an MBA fit with Rod’s desire to live a balanced life and spend more time with his wife and son Markus, now three-and-a-half. “I knew I could start another business, but I wasn’t interested in throwing myself into something that would be so time-consuming. My plan was to do the MBA and then seek part-time work as a sessional instructor.” Now that he’s finished the MBA, Rod will be teaching courses in sales and marketing at NAIT, drawing on his educational background and extensive work experience. Rod’s interest in business started in his youth with the proverbial lemonade stand. And although he completed a few years of post-secondary education at Red Deer College, he left school to start his own business, a commercial mailreceiving company along the lines of Mail Boxes Etc. “Deciding to start and run my own business definitely put the kibosh on my schooling,” he says. But he knew that getting a degree was important, so he was interested to learn about the flexible approach

of Athabasca University. He enrolled at Athabasca and continued to run his business while finishing up the last 60 credits of his degree. “Starting my first business really gave me my chops,” he says. He’s quick to add that the courses at Athabasca gave

him a solid grounding for pursuing many ventures, citing in particular the influence of a course on strategy. His advice for aspiring writers? “Do it because you have a passion for writing. The odds of being able to make a living as a writer are slim, but if you love writing and telling stories, pursue it—just don’t quit your day job!” Rod’s novels, The Impact of a Single Event and Dinner with Lisa, are available in Canada at Indigo/Chapters and at Barnes & Noble in the US. For more information, visit

Author Q & A: Dinner with Lisa won the bronze medal for best fiction in Western Canada at the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards

What are you currently reading? Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I haven’t finished, so the jury’s still out.

Who are your favourite writers? I actually don’t have favourite authors. I often find I enjoy one or two novels by a writer and

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not their other works. That said, some of my favourite books are The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.

What’s the last great book you read? The last novel that I really, really enjoyed was World War Z by Max Brooks. I don’t watch zombie movies, I don’t watch zombie TV shows and I don’t play zombie video games, but I thoroughly enjoyed World War Z. I respect and enjoy good storytelling.

What’s one of the best business books that you’ve read? I don’t know if it’s the best, but one of the most important business books I’ve read is Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter. I was introduced to it by one of my lecturers at Athabasca.

If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would it be? I suppose I would like to chat with Friedrich Nietzsche. Not that he was a great writer in the storytelling sense, but I’d probably be entertained by him and his philosophical ideas.

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App will make introductory accounting a game D

r. Tilly Jensen thinks business professors can learn something from Angry Birds©. An Assistant Professor of Accounting, Dr. Jensen is developing an online accounting game that will not only introduce students to the basics of financial statements, but will challenge the stereotype that accounting is a boring subject. Dr. Jensen has long been at the forefront of developing innovative technologies that enhance student learning. In 2002, she and Randy Troppmann of Spin Technologies developed the first accounting applications available on a handheld computer, the Compaq iPAQ. Randy recalls what a challenge that was: “the fact that we had to develop them for a small mobile screen forced us to strip the exercises down to their absolute bare minimum. This, in fact, turned out to be a huge plus. The simplicity made the concepts very clear and easy to work through for students.” “In many ways we were ahead of our time,” Dr. Jensen says. “There have been huge changes in the marketplace and now handheld devices are ubiquitous. We realized this is an excellent opportunity to take what we learned from the iPAQ experience and develop something again.” Dr. Jensen teaches Accounting 253, a mandatory course for students pursuing an accounting designation, and she wanted to develop a tool that would appeal to a broad range of students. “Young people love games and they are very computer savvy. You need to speak their language. Some of my students are going to be engaged with the course material no matter what. But a large number of them need a bigger carrot. This is that carrot.” A passionate advocate for the possibilities of online learning, Dr. Jensen believes that educators have an obligation to be more creative and innovative in how they use technology. The goal

“Young people love games and they are very computer savvy. You need to speak their language.”

should never be to simply replicate online what has traditionally been done face-to-face, but to explore new ways of connecting and engaging. The idea for an app was shared with Rocketfuel Games, an Edmonton company that develops web-based educational games. To get the much-needed funding, Jensen pursued discussions with CMAAlberta, who endorsed her vision by investing $50,000 in the app’s development.

The goal should never be to simply replicate online what has traditionally been done face to face ... Although many details still need to be worked out, Jensen says the role-playing game will star accountants as heroes battling the forces of unethical accounting practices. The development team—which once again includes Randy Troppmann and Spin Technologies—is hoping to release a beta version in June and to have a final version ready for ACCT253 students in September. The group had its start-up meeting in January and Jensen is very excited about the game’s interactive possibilities. “The Rocketfuel team is amazingly creative,” she says. “They have a real sense of play.” But it won’t all be play: Dr. Jensen will provide content and subject matter expertise and the app will give students a thorough introduction to financial accounting. CMA is potentially interested in using a version of the game with high school students to promote awareness of careers in accounting, and there may be opportunities for licensing agreements with publishers or continued on page 26


Undergrads: 9 reasons you should be using DegreeWorks! 2 3 1 Your worksheet shows you, any time you like, which courses you have completed (including transfer credit), which you are currently working on, and which you must still enroll in to finish your requirements and graduate with your chosen degree.

4 7

A planner tool lets you drag and drop courses into a program plan, which you can then send to a senior program advisor for review and approval.

... which should help you graduate sooner. Watching those checkmarks pop up on your program worksheet keeps you motivated and focused on doing what you need to do to get

The grade point average (GPA) calculator helps you determine what you need to do to achieve a desired GPA—important if you hope to qualify for certain scholarships and awards, get into grad school one day, etc.

A look ahead feature lets you quickly see what courses may fit into your program and allows you to explore different course selection scenarios. Maybe that Astronomy course you’d like to take will work as an option!

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When you call your program advisor, you will both be looking at the same online program plan. Discuss your course choices, make any changes together immediately, and know you are on the same page. No misunderstandings, call backs or waiting for a new plan to be emailed to you. Once you’ve got that credential on your resume, you can take advantage of

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Do you need help? ... getting on to DegreeWorks, or any other aspect of your undergrad course or program? Contact your Student Support Centre, they’re here for you! Phone: 780-675-6189 or 1-800-468-6531 toll-free in Canada and the U.S.



DBA Program Update W

e have our first official AU Doctor of Business Administration! Janet Porter successfully defended her dissertation on February 13 (see details below). Congratulations, Janet, we’re so proud of you! Two other DBA students, Michael Opara and Colleen Grady, successfully defended their dissertation proposals in December and January. Michael is analyzing the phenomenon of P3s (public-private partnerships), while Colleen is looking at physician leadership. Our ABD (All But Dissertation) count is now 13 students. To the rest of our DBA students: there is light at the end of the tunnel! As the deadline to apply for admission to the DBA is March 15 of each year, we are currently reviewing applications and preparing to welcome a new cohort for 2013. Admission is competitive, and the Admission Committee looks at a number of criteria, as listed on the DBA website ( Questions can be directed to me at We have two tiny new DBA family members! Derek Prue and his wife welcomed baby Derek into the world last June, while Arthur Barbut and his wife welcomed little Alexander Hugo in November.

Dr. Kay Devine, Program Director

Class Notes promotions awards babies ventures good works BRAD ANDERSON published his second novel this past December, entitled, In the Ravager’s Shadow. It is the second part of a trilogy, and is available on PASCAL BECOTTE moved to Toronto with his family (five daughters) last June to take on the role of Group Director - Stores for Target Canada. RICHARD GAME, vice president of Evans Consoles Corporation, was featured in the Financial Post article “Framework for action,” with the company’s CEO, Greg Smith. GOLNAZ GOLNARAGHI co-authored a paper entitled, “Unveiling the myth of the Muslim woman: A postcolonial


critique,” with Dr. Albert Mills of Saint Mary’s University. It has been accepted by Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal. Golnaz and Dr. Kelly Dye of Acadia University have been invited to provide a chapter on the organizational benefits of diversity management and the business case for the forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook of Diversity in Organizations (to be published in 2014). The book features the best emerging scholars along with some of the biggest names in the field. DEREK PRUE, President of Skyrider Developments, recently had an article on his company entitled, “Truly elite: Forward thinking equals upward mobility,” published in the DDC Journal. A digital edition can be found at winter2012, page 28.

Derek and Dr. Kay Devine have also published Isomorphism and Organizational Culture: A First Nation’s Housing Initiative in ALTERNATIVE – An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples; Volume 8 Number 3

NADINE ROBINSON and her colleagues, Anna M. Walz and Kevin Celuch, have their paper, “I will have no other! – The role of communication and trust in driving exclusive behaviour” published in the Journal of Consumer Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction & Complaining Behavior, 2012, Volume 25, p 80-95. RICHARD RUSH was recently appointed to Director, Community and Professional Programs at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC.

JANET PORTER, DBA ‘13 successfully defended her dissertation entitled, “The hegemonies and antagonisms of gender equity discourse in a professional engineering assocation,” on February 13 and became AU’s very first Doctor of Business Administration! “I am happy to have been part of the AU community for this journey, “says Janet. “The support from my supervisors, other faculty, and fellow students was critical at all stages of this long process. I am happy to be finished, of course, and looking forward to what’s to come.” Janet’s external supervisor was Dr. Albert Mills from Saint Mary’s University, while her internal supervisor was Dr. Kam Jugdev. Also on her committee were Dr. Bev Getzlaf from AU and Dr. Mary Runte from the University of Lethbridge. Her external examiner was Dr. Kiran Mirchandani from the University of Toronto.

Congratulations, Dr. Porter!

A new way of thinking about ‘retirement’ DBA student Richard (Rick) Vaillancourt envisions retirement as the beginning of not just one new career, but two!


ick Vaillancourt has already reached the pinnacle of his career. He is nothing less than the CEO of a Canadian financial institution. He has put in the years of long days and hard work, earning his way up from the role of assistant manager at a bank in the 1970s to director of human resources, then senior vice president, COO and finally in 2006, to CEO of New Brunswick-based OMISTA Credit Union, a four branch full-service credit union located in Moncton, Fredericton and Oromocto. The thing about reaching a career pinnacle is that the achievement comes with even

arduous endeavor in addition to his regular responsibilities, Rick was also working on his DBA at AU. And, incredibly, the reason he enrolled in the program in 2009 was to prepare for his retirement in 2016. “I’m a CEO of a financial institution and my life is crazy busy at times,” says Rick. “But I can’t see just going from that to doing nothing. I might be OK retiring for a week or two but I’d be bored out of my mind for longer.” Instead of cruises in the Caribbean or quiet days sitting on the front porch of his home, Rick envisions retirement as the beginning of not just one new career, but perhaps two.

“I’m CEO of a financial institution and my life is crazy busy at times. But I can’t see going from that to doing nothing.” more hard work and demands. As CEO, Rick is responsible for the management of all his credit union’s operations and dealings. In 2010, he led his credit union through a successful merger with two other credit unions that resulted in an empowered organization with $280 million in assets and 80 employees. And while he was working on that

in Information Technology Management from Athabasca in 2005. But he knew that in order to teach at a university level, he’d need a doctorate degree as well, which is why he enrolled in the first intake of the DBA program, becoming the oldest student in the first cohort.

Although one of the main reasons he chose Athabasca was because of its flexibility, which allowed him to continue with his high-demanding job full-time while still studying, he was “I’ve done some teaching in the past, mostly in the technology also attracted to the program and human resources area at the because of its strong focus on community college level but I’d practice. Above all, as with so like to consider teaching at the many leaders and visionaries, university level. Also, I’d like to Rick has a deep commitment to work as a consultant to the credit helping his industry grow and union sector,” he says. improve. Having a lifelong passion “It is more practitioner for learning, Rick had oriented than other programs, already completed an MBA looking at things that can be

practically applied in the business environment,” he says. “We still study a lot of theory but we don’t work to develop new theories. We work on how theoretical approaches can be practically applied—so it holds more meaning to me. It is more hands-on, more useful. It’s what I wanted.” It’s also what he wanted for his research subject. It had to be something that he knew would have practical and constructive applications. He zeroed his research in on Credit Union Mergers: Psychological Contracts & Organizational Trust. “The human capital side of mergers involves trust. I’m specifically looking at both organizational trust within our credit union system continued on page 21



Call of the wild: DBA student p Nadine Robinson learns the basics of tracking from the master himself ... and passes them along to you!



or many of us, being continually connected to media and technology means we’re losing our connection to the natural world. Perhaps this is why we find ourselves yearning to spend more time outside, and why television shows like Mantracker are more popular than ever. The face of Mantracker in its first six seasons was veteran tracker Terry Grant, described by Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) student Nadine Robinson as “100 percent cowboy.” In 2009, Nadine’s interest in the show led her to wonder if Terry had ever considered writing a book to

share his tracking expertise. Her friend Lawrence Foster, Mantracker’s chase supervisor and cameraman, set up a meeting between Terry and Nadine where she pitched the idea of writing a tracking guide together. “I told him if he could explain tracking to me, I could write the book so that everyone could understand it.” Nadine soon found herself flying from her home in Sault Ste. Marie to Terry’s ranch in High River, Alberta, to spend a week learning the basics of tracking from the master himself. “It was eye-opening,” she says. “He notices so much more than the average person,

and he showed me how to pay attention to the world around me. Anywhere you go with Terry, he points out what trackers call sign—clues like tracks, trails and scat. He taught me how to look and see again.”

“I told him if he could explain tracking to me, I could write the book so that everyone could understand it.” Over the next three years, Nadine worked with Terry to research and write Mantracking: The Ultimate

Guide to Tracking Man or Beast now on sale at www. The 224page richly photographed book includes chapters on everything from the use of tracking in search and rescue operations to interpreting signs in a variety of weather conditions and terrain. A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON OUR SURROUNDINGS

Nadine says that anyone reading the book will gain a heightened appreciation of their environment. “Learning about tracking changes the way you look at the world. You realize you are always leaving a sign of your presence and that there are signs of others—humans and animals—all around us.” This happens, she says, both in the bush and in the city. Learning to track brings a new level of appreciation

outdoors, and she hopes that Mantracking might play a similar role for young people. “One motivation for this project was my concern about the number of hours kids spend in front of screens—television, computer, smartphone, whatever. I’d rather that kids focus on the screen door as they head outside.” But she also knows it’s just

“Learning about tracking changes the way you look at the world. You realize you are always leaving a sign of your presence ... ” as important for adults to reconnect with the natural world. “Being outdoors is the best way to metaphorically and physically ground yourself.

sounds like the curriculum for a business program. “I basically needed to learn everything, from e-commerce, distribution and partnerships to marketing, production, printing, and sales.” LIFE BEYOND THE BOOK

Co-writing and selfpublishing the book has been an ambitious undertaking. But it’s even more remarkable when you consider that Nadine has also been studying towards her DBA at Athabasca University, teaching part-time at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, writing a column for a local paper and raising two children. “I figure I’m working the equivalent of two-and-a-half full-time jobs,” she says. It’s been a lot of work. But she says that opening the box of newly printed books was a

very gratifying experience. “I felt validated. I felt honoured that Terry allowed me to share his vast experience with the world. When I opened up that box and saw our names on the cover, I couldn’t help but think—finally!” You can buy your copy of Mantracking: The Ultimate Guide to Tracking Man or Beast online at www. A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to Scouts Canada.

ens book with TV’s ‘Mantracker’ to being in nature, and it offers fascinating insight into everyday urban life. Nadine can now quickly identify the direction of her mailman’s steps by the colour of the grass, and she can tell whether her garbage can was knocked over by a raccoon or by a cat. GROUNDED IN THE NATURAL WORLD

For Nadine, writing the book to share Terry’s four decades of expertise as a tracker was also a way to promote her views on importance of getting outside and respecting the environment. She remembers reading a book as a child that inspired her love of the

When you’re tracking, you simply can’t walk at the same speed as you would downtown. You’re forced to take your time. In getting outdoors and slowing down, I believe we’ll all be inspired to take better care of our green spaces.” SELF-PUBLISHING 101

While writing Mantracking, Nadine and Terry were offered a book deal by a Canadian publisher. They turned down the offer as it would not enable them to share some of the book’s proceeds with Scouts Canada. In the end, they decided to self-publish, and Nadine’s description of the experience

Nadine has also been studying toward her DBA, teaching part-time at Algoma College in Sault Ste. Marie, writing a column for a local paper, and raising two children.



The power of perception Dr. Mihail Cocosila explores why new technologies are accepted—or not


r. Mihail Cocosila is keenly interested in how our perception of new information technologies influences whether we will choose to use them. “In so many workplaces, there is a sound business case for employees to adopt new tools and technologies. But if people have negative perceptions about those technologies, they will be reluctant to use the new tools – and the technology won’t have the promised transformative effect.” Much of his research is centred on the health care sector, and he’s conducted extensive research on doctors’ perceptions of electronic health records and nurses’ views on mobile devices. “Some physicians and nurses may focus on the potential risks of adopting a new technology,” he says. “Whether or not it is true, they may believe that the new system is complicated and timeconsuming to learn. On the other hand, some health care workers will see that the technology will be very useful in their jobs. Perceptions about technology play a key role in whether or not it can be successfully deployed.” He points out that, according to some research studies, Canadian health care workers seem far less likely than those in other developed countries to use electronic health records (among industrialized nations, we reportedly rank last). While there are many reasons for this, addressing the perceived risks in shifting to

“It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true,” once remarked Henry Kissinger. This observation that perception is reality is very familiar to Dr. Mihail Cocosila, Associate Professor of Management Science and e-Commerce. 20 WINTER / SPRING 2013 AUBUSINESSNEWS

... according to some research studies, Canadian health care workers seem far less likely ... to use electronic health records ... electronic health records could play a significant role in adopting the technology, improving efficiency, and eliminating error in health provision. Dr. Cocosila is currently working on a multi-disciplinary project with field health care workers in Zambia to assess their perceptions of the usefulness of mobile devices for transmitting qualitative information to a central database. Again, the hope is that by understanding how health care workers perceive the technology, stakeholders can implement changes to reduce perceived risks and highlight the benefits. “My goal is to enrich our practical knowledge and improve our understanding of how people perceive technology,” he says. “This type of research offers a quantitative, scientifically based, framework for assessing the positive and negative factors that influence the adoption of technology. Developers, marketers

and managers are all interested in this information about what’s working – and what’s not.” His research also has the potential to help the health care sector find more efficient and cost-effective ways of treating patients. Some current projects in health promotion and preventive medicine in the UK, Australia and South Africa, for example, are experimenting with whether sending individuals regular text messages to gently remind them of healthy lifestyle choices leads to better health outcomes.

“My goal is to enrich our practical knowledge and improve our understanding of how people perceive technology ...” Dr. Cocosila has investigated some of these projects to find out how patients and consumers in general feel about receiving these messages. After all, if people perceive that the messages are not important, they are less likely to pay attention to them and follow through on the positive actions. “Participants had positive perceptions about the attractiveness of this method of communication,” he says. “However, some considered the messages a waste of time, while others spoke of the potential social embarrassment of receiving them.”

he also worked for many years in the Faculty of Transports conducting research on management issues in the automotive industry. It was while studying on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1998 at Ferris State University in Michigan that he found himself increasingly intrigued by the emerging possibilities of the web and the potential applications of information technology to various industries. Dr. Cocosila began pursuing new areas of research, and in 2007, he received his second PhD (in business administration) from McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business. It is perhaps entirely fitting that someone so fascinated by our perceptions of new technology should find himself a professor at Athabasca, an institution at the forefront of interactive, online education. Dr. Cocosila teaches a wide range of subjects at the university – from undergrad courses on quantitative approaches to decision-making to graduate-level seminars on risk management and information security. And what is his own perception of teaching in an online environment? Overwhelmingly positive. He speaks highly of students’ participation in online forums and class discussions and says that just as health care is moving to a patient-centric view, education is moving to a student-centric approach. “Technology can facilitate this approach by enriching interactions between people. But you also can’t overlook the essential role of enjoyment and aesthetics in determining whether people have positive or negative views of technology.”

While Dr. Cocosila is making a name for himself in the intersection of health care and technology, he wasn’t always working in this field. He received a PhD in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania, where

Rick Vaillancourt, continued from page 17 and their role in the success or failures of mergers and acquisitions,” says Rick. “Even before applying to the DBA, I’d thought about this subject because in my work, I am involved in mergers. I’ve worked in other credit unions that were involved in mergers that were very successful. I’ve also seen mergers that were not successful. With a background in human resources, I really believe in people and that they are the drivers of success. I think organizational trust is a major factor. I’m looking at whether or not employees hold

trust in their senior leaders, or leaders feeling they’re trusted and have buy in from the employees, contributes to the success or failure of a merger. My premise is that it does and if employees truly believe and trust their leaders and buy into

it, they will generate the success of that merger. But if they aren’t kept informed or don’t support the merger, I think it’s ultimately going to fail.” While in his preliminary review of existing research, he has found there is plenty

“I’m looking at whether or not employees having trust in their senior leaders, or leaders feeling they’re trusted and have buy in from their employees, contributes to the success or failure of a merger. My premise is that it does ...”

out there on the issue of organizational trust in general, he hasn’t found any work specifically looking at psychological contracts and trust in relation to credit unions. “The findings of my research will hopefully benefit some other credit unions when they’re considering mergers and I’m willing to share my information with anybody who thinks they can benefit from it,” says Rick. He expects to complete the program in 2013, which will give him plenty of time, he says, to prepare for his postretirement career interests. AUBUSINESSNEWS WINTER / SPRING 2013 21


Faculty Notes News bites from AU Faculty of Business professors and academic coaches over the past six months. Current faculty notes are published every month at

Athabasca University (AU) is one of four researchintensive, publicly funded institutions of the Province of Alberta, reporting to the government through the Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. AU is also accredited in the United States by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).



is part of a team of seven researchers awarded a 12-month grant by the Grand Challenges Canada, Stars in Global Health program. Team members hail from Cavendish University of Zambia, the Ministry of Health in Zambia, the University of Alberta and, of course, AU. Their research project, entitled “The effect of ICT devices on community health services in Zambia,” started in Nov 2012. Dr. Cocosila presented “Consumer perceptions of the adoption of electronic personal health records: An empirical investigation,” co-authored with Dr. Norm Archer of McMaster U, at AMCIS 2012 in Seattle, WA. KAY DEVINE, PHD PROGRAM DIRECTOR, DBA , PROFESSOR, ORGANIZATIONAL ANALYSIS

and colleagues Karen Hunter (University of Lethbridge), and Andrew Luchak (University of Alberta) presented “Limiting facades of conformity and its impact: The role of supportive employment relationships” at the Academy of Management’s annual meeting in Boston, MA last August. KAM JUGDEV, PHD, PMP PROFESSOR, PROJECT MANAGEMENT & STRATEGY and colleague Dr. Gita Mahur have a paper in press called “Bridging situated learning theory to the

resource-based view of project management,” to be published in the International Journal of Managing Projects in Business. Dr. Jugdev, Dr. Mahur, and Dr. Tak Fung have another paper in press entitled, “Project management assets and project management performance outcomes: Exploratory factor analysis,”to be published in the Management Research Review. Dr. Jugdev presented “Project management: The seesaw balance between control and cooperation” at the American Society for Engineering Management Conference in October 2012. She was track chair for the Project Management and Engineering Management Education and Training sessions at the conference as well. ANSHUMAN KHARE, PHD PROFESSOR, OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT presented “The emerging influence of mobile technology in supply chain management in India: An exploratory study,” (co-authored by Dr. Terry Beckman and Arpita Khare) at the Third Asian Business & Management Conference in Osaka, Japan. While there, he spoke to business faculty and students at Kyoto University and Doshisha University on Green Supply Chain. Dr. Khare took part in a brainstorming session on new fields of research with other researchers from Germany and Canada at a research colloquium in Toronto organized by the Alexander Humboldt Foundation (Germany) and the

German Embassy. He presented his research, “Sustainable energy planning: Creating low energy cities” in the section Spotlight on Current Research: Interdisciplinary Workshops with Presentations by Humboldt Alumni. He also chaired a session on Environment and Energy in the section, Spotlight on Current Research: Interdisciplinary Workshops with Presentations by Early Career Researchers. Dr. Khare was reviewer for about 40 of the papers submitted by early career researchers, and structured the Environment and Energy session. SHAUN MCQUITTY, PHD PROFESSOR, MARKETING and colleague Marco Wolfe published “Understanding the do-ityourself consumer: DIY motivations and outcomes” in the Academy of Marketing Science Review . Their paper “Circumventing traditional markets: The marketplace motivations and outcome values of consumers’ DIY behaviors” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. Dr. McQuitty collaborated with Harry Taut and Pookie Sautter on “Emotional information management and emotional appeals,” published in the Journal of Advertising. DR. SIMON SIGUÉ, PHD PROFESSOR, MARKETING along with colleagues Dr. Shaun McQuitty and Guiomar Martín-Herrán had the paper, “Offensive versus defensive marketing:

publications grants conferences awards more What is the optimal spending allocation?” published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing. JANICE THOMAS, PHD PROFESSOR, PROJECT MANAGEMENT presented her most recent findings from “Examining project management implementations as management innovation”—a joint research project with Svetlana Cicmil of the University of the West of Englancer and Stella George of Athabasca University—to the biannual PMI Research Conference in Limerick, Ireland. SID HUFF, PHD ACADEMIC COACH, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT published: “Coordination in co-located agile software development projects,” in the Journal of Systems and Software with coauthors Diane Strode, Beverley Hope and Sebastian Link; “Validation of an instrument to measure the service-channel fit of electronic banking services,” in the proceedings of the 2012 European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) with co-authors Hartmut Hoehle and Viswanath Venkatesh; and “Three decades of research on consumer adoption and utilization of electronic banking 2 channels: A literature analysis,” in Decision Support Systems with o-authors Hartmut Hoehle and Eusebio Scornavacca. He also co-authored, with Haibo Yang and Mary Tate, a chapter for Cloud Computing Service and Deployment Models:

Online Centre for Corporate Stewardship (OCCS) hosts Resource Efficient Cities Symposium Drs. Anshuman Khare and Terry Beckman co-hosted the Resource Efficient Cities Symposium under the auspices of the Alexander von Humboldt Network for Cities and Climate Change, an international network of individuals involved in research, administration, and policy formulation for cities around the world. The event

was supported by the Humboldt Foundation Liaison office in Canada, the German-Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research, the OCCS, and NABI. Symposium attendees were decision makers from local municipalities as well as researchers, policy makers and interested citizens. They heard how cities might physically re-

form themselves to adapt to a low carbon economy, how the Dutch city of Arnhem aspires to be energy-neutral by 2050, and how a new a new modelling approach could help transporation planners reduce air emissions. The symposium wrapped up with an interactive session on successfully introducing new technologies to cities. “It is our hope that this symposium will lead to further research and discussion - and better yet, action, around the world,” says Dr. Khare. Full details, including presentations, are available at

Dr. Anshuman Khare welcomed St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse introduced the symposium attendees

Faculty Notes continued

Layers and Management, by A. Bento and A. Aggarwal (eds.), entitled,“Managing the cloud for information systems agility.” Dr. Huff also presented “A taxonomy of dependencies in agile software development,” with Diane Strode at the 2012 Australasian Conference on Information Systems, and won third place in the best paper competition. OLIVER MACK, PHD ACADEMIC COACH, OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT presented “PMOs as executive board level partners for restructuring and strategic initiatives” at the International PMO Summit, in Berlin, Germany. and “Next generation management

consulting – combining systemic consulting with expert consulting in new ways” at the SySt Business Conference for Systemic Structural Constellations in Munich, Germany. Along with restructuring expert, Dr. Michael Paul, Dr. Mack published a series of three articles “Projects – a topic for supervisory board members?” in the journal Aufsichtsrat aktuell. THOMAS MENGEL, PHD, PMP ACADEMIC COACH, PROJECT MANAGEMENT has been awarded the Alan G. Ross Award for Writing Excellence by the Financial Management Institute of Canada (FMI*IGF). This award was for his article “High

potential can be deceiving – Using the Reiss Motivation Profile® in HR and leadership development,” published in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of the FMI*IGF Journal. Dr. Mengel presented “Comparing Lawrence’s 4-drive theory with Reiss’s 16 basic desires” at the Global Conference of World Society of Motivation Scientists and Professionals. He also presented “Project team building for excellence – Motivation based composition and development of an ‘Excellent Performance Team’” at ProjectWorld & Business Analyst World, Atlantic Canada and “Getting the right people on the bus’ – Personality profiles in career and leadership development” at Building Bridges, the 2012 Atlantic Human Resources Conference. AUBUSINESSNEWS WINTER / SPRING 2013 23


Leadership and Management Development program updates A Winning Program The Canadian Gaming Centre of Excellence and AU’s Faculty of Business partnered to create a certificate program for empoyees taking on managerial responsibilities in the gaming industry in Canada.

Leadership Certificate program, people were going to the U.S. for any kind of gaming expertise development.”

Nevada, Reno is considering accepting credits from it. “This is the first national level program of The Gaming Leadership Certificate its kind in Canada and we are able to offer it program is a blend of AU’s customized because of Athabasca’s flexibility, support LMD courses and CGCE courses. The first and expertise,” says Judith. “We are changing cohort is already putting lessons learned to the landscape.” work in the field, taking their management expertise to the next level and advancing their careers. The program is proving to be a win-win-win for individuals, their Whether leadership is teachable is a employers, and the industry. “Athabasca hot-button topic in the business world. offered the flexibility we needed as well Academic coach Angela Workman-Stark as the high-level strategic perspective we believes so, and approaches the subject by were looking for,” says Judith. “Equally important, they worked with us to make the focusing on the human element. case studies relevant to our industry, with situations our people would actually face.”

The Leadership Challenge

Judith Hayes, director of the Canadian Gaming Centre of Excellence


ow do you bring an academic/ strategic lens to leadership in an industry that doesn’t easily lend itself to existing university programs and that has two very different management streams rising through the ranks? On the one hand are employees with years of on-the-ground experience and on the other are new MBA hires parachuted in from different industries who know little about the 24/7, fastpaced gaming and casino business. This was the challenge facing Judith Hayes, director of the Canadian Gaming Centre of Excellence (CGCE) when she reached out to Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business. “The gaming and casino industry is unique. It’s also huge. We have 135,000 employees from coast to coast but until we partnered with Athabasca University to create the online Gaming 24 WINTER / SPRING 2013 AUBUSINESSNEWS

This his is the first national level evel program p of its kind in Canada ....We are changing the landscape.

In addition to tailoring human resources and ethics/social responsibility case studies to specific gaming issues and concerns, Athabasca’s online change management simulation tool has also proven to be particularly impactful. “Our people love it and were actually surprised that decisions they thought were so right were actually so wrong,” says Judith. “One of them went back in several times to change the scenario and leadership level decision so they could get the full effect. It’s changing their approach to decision making for the better. That has been really powerful.” Though still in its early stages, the certificate is already gaining notice from the broader industry. The University of

Angela Workman-Stark, PhD, academic coach for The Leadership Challenge


eadership and what it can mean for organizations is a hot topic, one that Angela Workman-Stark is passionate about. A 20-year veteran of the RCMP, she helped lead the iconic organization’s strategic transformation. And she brings that experience and passion to LMD. “Leadership is about visioning, inspiring, encouraging— all critical elements to making a genuine change and achieving objectives. It’s the human dimension and it’s often not given the attention it deserves, but it’s absolutely necessary to allow organizations to innovate and allow creativity and engage employees.”

Demand for online LMD courses is heating up!

After a few years of slowly building interest, suddenly we have several large new clients either already on board or exploring course possibilities. Several new courses are in development with several more on the calendar for development later this year. One of the most exciting developments is a grant from the National Research Council to develop 14 new courses around productivity improvement. Angela has developed her four-week Leadership and Management Development course—The Leadership Challenge—into foundational building blocks, starting with the fundamentals and core characteristics of a good leader—trust, integrity, honesty—and how those characteristics contribute to better outputs, better productivity, a better environment.

... vvisioning, inspiring, encouraging—all critical enc elements to making a genuine change ...

The course then moves through the arc of leadership: setting a vision, charting a course, inspiring and encouraging people to achieve organizational objectives. Coursework is interactive, case studies ensure that participants are applying theory, and the final assignment is a work or action plan that extends the learning into work life in a real, ongoing way. “Now what are you going to do with what you learned? What areas are you going to focus on? What gaps do you still need to close? Students address all of these questions,” says Angela. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of the program is the diagnostic it provides to show people where they are and where they need to be. Angela shares the story of one student in particular. “He was an entrepreneur, run off his feet, trying to grow his business and establish the right culture and work ethic and drive creativity. He really got engaged in the leadership discussions, how he’d like to grow as an individual, recognizing that type of change comes from within. The course inspired him to enroll in Athabasca’s MBA program. I can’t tell you how rewarding that is.”

LMD courses developed to date ENTREPRENEURSHIP


Aligning Entrepreneurial and Personal Visions: Daring to Dream

Negotiations and Conflict Resolution

Planning Entrepreneurial and Small Business Ventures: Designing the Dream Managing Entrepreneurial and Small Business Ventures: Directing the Dream

GENERAL MANAGEMENT Economics of Everyday Life Mastering Investment Strategies

Engaging Staff for High Performance Intro to Strategic Management Project Management Series (three)


Technology and Innovation

Coaching for High Performance

Balanced Scorecard in Operations Management

Ethics and Decision Making in Complex Situations Introduction to Strategic Human Resources Management (for non HR managers) Leading and Managing through Organizational Change The Leadership Challenge—Exploring the Leader Within

Productivity Series (14 courses) Transforming Knowledge into Products and Services Performance Based Management and Budgeting ... more to come ...

SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS Green Supply Chain Outsourcing and Logistics Strategic Supply Chain Management

Leadership and Management Development Jessica Butts, Corporate Relations Manager Phone 780-459-1144 or Toll Free at 1-800-561-4650 Email:



AU’s Faculty of Business joins the ‘Apple on Campus’ program Get a great price on your next Mac computer and at the same time give back to your school


thabasca University has joined forces with Apple to create the AUFB ‘Apple on Campus’ program for the Faculty of Business. With Apple on Campus, students and alumni are able to purchase Mac computers at excellent student rates. You can shop the AU Apple on Campus store at to receive exclusive student pricing on Macs as well as free shipping to your doorstep.* In addition, 2% of all sales generated through AU’s

Apple on Campus store will be returned to AU for a Faculty of Business student bursary—so you get a great deal and get to help a fellow student in need. The online store is a fully secure site, accessible 24 hours per day, seven days per week. If you have questions, feel free to call the friendly Apple experts at 1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800-692-7753) to get the answers you are looking for. If you are an international student, you can make your purchase and take advantage of AU’s participation in the Apple on Campus program by calling 1-800-MY-APPLE as well. *Preferred pricing is on computers only, but the 2% rebate to the AUFB bursary applies to all sales. Free shipping is available to Canadian shipping addresses only.

Graduate Students We have put together four options which meet the technical requirements for the MBA and DBA programs. Or you can shop for various products to suit your individual needs.

Undergraduate Students You certainly qualify for AU student pricing on Macs, but unfortunately not all AU undergraduate courses will run properly on Apple products. Check with the Student Support Centre when you register.

Dr. Tilly Jensen, continued from page 14 organizations interested in using it as a professional development tool. If all goes according to plan, Jensen intends to direct her one-third share of any royalties to the Faculty of Business, earmarking the funds for developing innovative technology in other courses. And while she acknowledges that a project like this is a lot of hard work, she says there is so much potential to put


innovative ideas into practice and that the results are worth it. She speaks from experience, having developed a very successful online case study tool that enables students to apply and integrate their accounting knowledge. “It proved so popular that students approached the developer asking for a second case study to be created,” she says. “And of the 1700 students in my class, more than half of those who completed the course

finished the two case studies, even though they only received credit for one. They did it because they enjoyed it.” What this shows is that learning doesn’t have to take place at the expense of enjoyment. Students will

choose to immerse themselves in course material if they feel connected to it and they are involved in the learning process—proving that engaging, interactive online technology has a crucial role to play in education.

“What this shows is that learning doesn’t have to take place at the expense of enjoyment.”

Athabasca University

Faculty of Business MacBook Pro with 13-inch Retina display Over 4 million pixels. Under 3.6 pounds. It’s impressive by any measure.

The all-new 13-inch MacBook Pro features a stunning Retina display with over 4 million pixels. An advanced all-flash architecture and the latest Intel dual-core processors and graphics make everything amazingly fast. It has OS X Mountain Lion, the latest release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system. And the incredibly compact design measures just 0.75 inch thin and weighs only 3.57 pounds.1

The Athabasca University Faculty of Business proudly participates in the Apple on Campus Program. Students, faculty and staff can save on a Mac with Apple education pricing. Visit our custom Apple online store at 1

Actual size and weight vary by configuration and manufacturing process. TM and © 2013 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.

Athabasca University Faculty of Business



International MBA elective in residence focuses on

German ‘Mittelstand,’ Innovation, & Technology Reported by Drs. Anshuman Khare & Udo Mildenberger, who wish to acknowledge the support of the Germany Consulate in Vancouver and the German-Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research in Edmonton. These organizations provided information materials on doing business and making investments in Germany.


he in-residence elective, Doing Business in Germany, was held for the fifth time in 10 years Heidelberg, Germany from July 22 to 27, 2012. Seventeen participants —three academics and 14 students—started gathering in beautiful Heidelberg well in advance of the course. They had all been preparing online for several weeks, and met in person for the first time on Saturday evening for dinner at the oldest student pub in Heidelberg, “Zum Roten Ochsen.” This offered a perfect setting to get to know each other and put faces to names. The elective formally kicked off on Sunday with an introduction and background information from Dr. Anshuman Khare. Dr. Klaus Bellmann, the academic lead for the course, introduced students to Germany, the state of Baden Württemberg and Heidelberg (in that order), before going into life in the region. After lunch, the group walked Heidelberg’s Hauptstrasse (main street) to Heidelberg Castle, where a guide joined them for an entertaining and informative tour of the castle and old city. The group found the lives of students in Heidelberg before World War I quite interesting-- the idea of student jails especially drew many curious remarks. The guide told them that, in former times, it was a ‘must’ for students to spend some days in the student jail called Studentenkarzer. Later, students gathered at “Zum Güldenen Schaf ” to listen to Dr. Jochen Wittmann from Porsche AG. They were joined by Dr. Jan Wirsam from Ricoh, who is now involved with our program as a course reviewer and coach. Dr. Wittmann introduced the topic


“Doing Business in Germany” and shared some thoughts on how business is conducted in Germany before starting an informative discussion on the German automotive industry, its future, the place of Porsche in the industry and its future plans in the EU, in North America and in emerging markets like China and India. He fielded many questions and freely talked with the students on the strategies of automobile manufacturers in Germany, with specific reference to Porsche. Conversations carried on late into the night, mainly focusing on the German target to put a million electric cars on the road by 2020 and Dr. Wittmann’s comment that German manufacturers were “focusing on the safety features of the automobile instead of limiting speed.” Early Monday morning, students Dave Rebbitt and Ryan Yamniuk introduced the day’s theme: alternative and renewable energy. On the agenda were trips to trips to MVVEnergie and MVV-Umwelt. Students were met by MVV-Energie’s project lead from Plymouth (UK), where MVV has recently launched an international project. The presenter was keen on showcasing the success

informative presentation, students had a chance to explore JUWI’s e-Mobility Centre and hear about the company’s e-Mobility initiative. A guided tour of JUWI’s wind farm followed. The guide was happy to answer questions as we walked through the fields towards one of the giant windmills. None of the students had been inside a windmill before, and not many thought they could take the trip to the top, even in an elevator. Climbing the stairs seemed out of the question! Students were especially attracted to the business model of JUWI, a very successful and young company. According to Mich Beale, “...seeing the innovation at work in Germany was a great experience! The alternative energy investment in Germany is astonishing, and the behind the scenes tours we received at some of these facilities were priceless. . . .the opportunity to see how businesses in Germany have succeeded through innovation has started the wheels in my own thinking - I can’t wait to

Dr. Jochen Wittman from Porsche AG introduced ‘Doing Business in Germany’ and discussed the German automotive industry, its future, Porsche’s place in the industry, and its future plans . . . of MVV and its performance as an energy company. Students were later given a tour of the (smelly) incineration plant with guides who explained the process and patiently answered questions. The next stop was JUWI. After an

use some of their ideas here.” Luis Rodrigues Cotto had similar feelings: “renewable energy is something that has to be taken seriously and looking at how Germany has developed, and continues to develop in this field, is very encouraging for the world.”

As Tuesday’s focus was on finance and investment, the group travelled to the financial hub of Germany: Frankfurt. Mick Beale, Wayne Dosman and Jean-François Vézina introduced the two organizations we were going to visit: the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE) and the European Central Bank (ECB). After arriving at the FSE and going through some serious security checks, we found ourselves in a comfortable conference room in Deutsche Börse (the company that operates the FSE). Our presenter opened with some questions to test the knowledge of the group, who were very well prepared, so he moved on to the history of the FSE, how it functions, and how trading takes place. Afterward, the group was taken to the trading floor gallery and given a demonstration of the FSE’s trading software, Xetra. Students were surprised at the quiet trading floor, which had only a handful of people working. Also interesting was how the TV stations were telecasting live from the stock exchange with just one person who played the role of presenter and also handled the TV camera(s). After a leisurely walk through the financial district of Frankfurt and a quick lunch, the group arrived at the European Central Bank. A senior diplomat of the ECB’s International Division introduced the group to the ECB, its role in setting monetary policy, its relationship with economic policy and the Euro system. The discussions then shifted to the present day debt crisis facing the EU. The students were informed of possible reasons behind the crisis as well as what steps are now being planned to control it and and avoid such a situation in the future. The speaker emphasized that ECB’s main goal was providing the EU with currency stability. It emerged that there is no laid down regulation on how a country could leave the monetary union, as was reported in the press about Greece’s intent. The speaker explained it would be detrimental to the economy of any country to leave the monetary union. An excited group returned from Frankfurt and discussions continued over dinner about where the EU was headed and what lessons were there for Canada. Dr. Bellmann

provided a critical commentary on the day’s presentations, while Drs. Mildenberger and Khare also shared their observations. Students were unanimous about the day’s value and strongly recommended these visits be included in future offerings of the elective. On Wednesday, Brandon Bromley, Carlos Mesa and Cheryl Osawabine led the morning session with a short overview of small and medium enterprises (the Mittelstand) and the role they play in the German economy. They briefly introduced Fuchs Petrolub AG and Rudolph Wild (the holding company of Deutsche Si-Si Werke) before the group set off to visit these sites. The tour of Fuchs Petrolub AG started with a quick introduction to the company and its operations in Europe. Fuchs is an independent lubricant manufacturer, and is

Rudolph Wild GmbH. Wild is a very successful SME in the flavor creation business and is known globally for its products. Wild’s main businesses are natural ingredients, consumer products and process technologies / machineries. The group was welcomed by the managing director of Deutsche Si-Si Werke, who presented on Wild’s history, corporate strategy, brand and performance, products and international markets. He identified expansion, sustainability, innovation, availability and diversification as five thrust areas of their future strategy. Packaging was also highlighted as one of their core successful products. A guided tour of the Capri-Sonne (packaged juice) plant was part of the day’s activities. Wayne Dosman captured it well when he said that the school “truly was a journey

“...seeing the innovation at work in Germany was a great experience! The alternative energy investment in Germany is astonishing, and the behind-the-scenes tours we received at some of these facilities were priceless ...” student Mick Beale part of the chemical industry instead of petroleum as many would believe. One of the company’s vice-presidents introduced the students to Fuchs’ performance, its international presence, its products and its people. Students were especially interested in knowing how the company maintains growth in times of financial instability. A good question and answer session took place on Fuchs Petrolub’s growth, its international presence and strategy, approach to warehousing and logistics, and research and development. The session was followed by a tour of Fuchs’ development, production, warehousing, and product testing facilities in Mannheim. To illustrate how much Fuchs is involved in various industries, it was pointed out that, on an average, Fuchs products (lubricants and greases) can be found in 88 places in a modern car. Afterward, the group moved to Eppelheim for a visit to another German ‘Mittelstand,’

l-r: Dr. Jochen Wittmann of Porcshe, windmill tour at JUWI, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange

of discovering the rich historic roots of Germany’s global “Mittelstand” corporations and the financial and economic challenges they face going forward. I couldn’t imagine a more interesting or timely economy to study.” Karol Becker said, “I found the visits to Fuchs Petrolub and Wild to be particularly interesting as these organizations exemplify precision focus towards the achievement of their organizational strategy through the leveraging of their core capabilities. The visits provided insights that can immediately be applied in my business operations in North America.” Mel MacGregor summed up the atmosphere: “Walking into the auditorium of Deutsche SiSi-Werke (a.k.a. WILD) was a marketer’s dream: colorful products, beautiful merchandising displays, samples, SWAG, food, drinks, and air conditioning (!), followed by a flashy presentation. It was like being a participant in a taste-testing focus group!” The day ended with a guided tour of “Kloster Neuburg” (a Benedictine monastery near Heidelberg) and its brewery. Our guide, a Benedictine Monk, explained that life was all about finding a balance between our spiritual and economic lives. The monastery produces a number of different varieties of beer— Brother Bruno presented the students with five for tasting, each with different level of alcohol, while explaining the production process. It was a very relaxing way to end the day. Later that evening, the group was joined at dinner by Dr. Oliver Mack, who coaches AUBUSINESSNEWS WINTER / SPRING 2013 29


International elective (Germany)—continued Operations Management and supervises applied projects in our MBA program. On Thursday, Karol Becker, Chris Lowe and Luis Rodriguez Cotto introduced the manufacturing sector in Germany. They presented a profile of the John Deere company and its Mannheim plant, which was the site of the group’s next visit. At John Deere the first session was an introduction to the company’s history, markets and products, partners, and manufacturing strength, followed by a very interesting plant visit. We were then joined by a representative from the Works Council who discussed the German labor management model, “co-determination” with the group, which led to a good discussion on labor management challenges in a financially unstable environment. The speaker emphasized that the unions believe in a “better, not cheaper” manufacturing philosophy. He also explained the structure of unions in Germany, differentiating between

l-r: MVV-Energie, John Deere, JUWI trade unions, work councils, shop stewards, and enterprise representatives on supervisory boards. The role of the European Works Council was also discussed. The day ended with workshops to close Wednesday and Thursday’s site visits. Drs. Bellmann and Khare put the site visits in context of the main objectives of the inresidence electives. Focusing on international success and technology-driven small businesses showcased the strong points of the German economy and industry. It was clear that Germany enjoys an edge over others when it comes to the use of technology in its manufacturing industry. Its industries are globally competitive and well prepared to handle ups and downs of business. Global recession has brought the best out of them and they all indicated that growth was their main goal. However, for ‘Mittelstand’ there are challenges in moving to emerging markets, succession planning, and maintaining and improving productivity. Dr. Mildenberger put these challenges in context by linking current successes to German history. Friday’s focus was health care, introduced by Neil Falk, Mel MacGregor and Andrew Weir, along with Dr. Bellman. Speakers were from 30 WINTER / SPRING 2013 AUBUSINESSNEWS

I found the visits to Fuchs Petrolub and Wild to be particularly interesting as these organizations exemplify precision focus towards the achievement of their organizational strategy through the leveraging of their core capabilities. The visits provided insights that can immediately be applied in my business operations in North America.” - student Karol Becker SRH Hochschule Heidelberg, Boehringer Ingelheim and Board of Medical Profession Heidelberg. Guided by Dr. Mildenberger, the students were exposed to many interesting ideas arounds such topics as risk assessment and mitigation systems, quality management, ethical and pricing dilemmas of pharmaceutical companies in the EU in times of financial crisis, and the complex issue of hospital remuneration. The observation of one of the speakers—that crisis times are a good opportunity to discuss and try to resolve

do not go on site (to Germany) you really cannot feel it.” Luis Rodriguez Cotto pointed out [the] “trip to Germany helped me to gain insight into how different industries operate in their respective fields. Not by just doing research, but by actually gaining first hand interaction; and hence experience on the industries included in the course.” Brandon Bromley says, “I found the elective to be an outstanding educational experience as it gave me the insight to a fascinating country and culture that I couldn’t have learned from a textbook.” Karol Becker notes that “the structure of the program, including background information provided by AUMBA instructors and students, presentations by guest speakers and especially the site tours, provided comprehensive insight to not only German culture but to the differences and similarities between the German and North American approach to business strategy and execution.”

difficult issues—presented a very positive way to look at things during difficult times. Mel “... studying international MacGregor felt “Dr. Baller [from the Board business is like a pipe organ of Medical Profession Heidelberg] was a fantastic presenter. He was so excited to be concert. You can read about it or speaking to our group … that his enthusiasm even listen to a recording, but if and energy captivated us and made the hour pass in mere minutes.” you do not go on site ... you really In the concluding session, facilitated by cannot feel it.” - student Dave Rebbitt Dr. Anshuman Khare, students talked about what was of value to them during the week Chris Lowe has similar feelings about the and shared their most precious experiences. in-residence school and the program as a For the academics, it was valuable feedback whole – “After experiencing the AU MBA on which they hope to build for future inresidence and international electives. program the perfect culmination to the Dave Rebbitt felt “German businesses use content was the RDBG in residence elective. smart risk sharing or transfer in their business I was immersed in a wide cross section of models that stress quality and efficiency to business/organizations/ and history which differentiate their product on a global market. provided a plethora of interaction with These factors also were key in building a strong brand and capturing market share.” He adds, “… studying international business is like a pipe organ concert. You can read about it or even listen to a recording, but if you Knights’ Feast at Burg Guttenburg

Germany continued

applicable correspondents in the various industries in Germany. After the experience with my fellow classmates I would suggest more than one in-residence elective based on this trip!” Cheryl Osawabine felt that the in-residence elective was a “once in a lifetime experience ... and provided a real perspective of business operations and was culturally appropriate.” Ryan Yamniuk says “... being exposed to the primary industries within Germany has provided me with a whole new educated outlook that will stick with me for years to come.” After the closing session, the group visited Burg Guttenburg. The present owner of the castle gave the group a guided tour and explained the history of the place—it has been in the hands of the same family for 17 generations. After the tour, the Knight’s Feast from medieval ages followed. Students participated in food testing for poison and other fun activities best seen from the pictures! Mel MacGregor reflected on the cultural and historical aspects of the visit ... “Who would have thought that we’d be pretzel sampling and beer tasting at a monastery with Brother Bruno? Or being toured through a castle (Burg Guttenberg) by the owner, whose kids happen to be the seventeenth generation of the family to live there?” She adds, “It was a super successful class! The hotel was fabulous - great location, excellent amenities, superb breakfasts - and the company visits were top-notch. We covered a lot of topics in a short time frame and met a ton of neat folks in the process.”

NEW six credit MBA electives in residence I

n this ever-changing world, AU’s Faculty of Business is constantly working to be in the forefront of empowering students as well as the organizations they work for with leading-edge knowledge, opportunities, and flexibility to help them succeed. So there’s

quickly, to providing more international curriculum, to fulfilling student demand,” says AUFB’s Dean, Dr. Alex Kondra, who was personally involved in developing the elective with its author and coach, Alan Franklin. But more importantly, the course’s subject is intense,

This will help students graduate more quickly and, more importantly, allow students to delve more deeply into complex topics than could be managed previously within an eight-week course. always something new creating excitement in the Faculty—but this year that excitement is more palpable than ever. Not only does AUFB now offer two routes to an MBA degree—a coursebased route and an applied project route—but last year, it introduced a new 10-week, sixcredit elective, in addition to the traditional eight-week, threecredit elective. This will help students graduate more quickly and, more importantly, allow students to delve more deeply into complex topics than could be managed previously within an eight-week course. Taking it up a notch, the faculty has introduced two more 10-week electives and is reviewing an existing course (Supply Chain Management) for expansion into the longer format. One of these, International Business – Understanding and Managing Legal Risks, is alone creating much of the buzz. “This course fulfills a lot of needs for our students and our program— from helping our students get through the program more

thorough and absolutely critical for any business leader in this internationalized business day and age. In fact, its addition to AU’s offerings could not have been more timely. Yes, the issues it covers have affected Canadian companies operating internationally for a long time, but all of these are increasingly intensified as the world becomes more and more interconnected. What’s more, while the Canadian government has been lax about

his current position as Director for the Institute for International Legal Studies, teaching programs for the University of London international LLB program, Franklin created the course with the insights of knowledge and real-life, on-the-ground experience. “The course deals with human rights issues, corruption and bribery, nationalization and expropriation, bilateral treaties, arbitration—all issues in the complex and volatile international environment more and more companies have to manage. A lot of companies have made mistakes that were entirely avoidable and a little knowledge could have saved them a lot of grief,” says Dr. Kondra. “Alan has put together weekly discussion questions and assignments that are very intriguing and provocative and will develop a lot of interesting and meaningful discussions every week.” By the time students complete the course, which begins this

One of these, International Business: Understanding and Managing Legal Risks, is alone creating much of the buzz. enforcement of corruption laws against Canadian companies abroad in the past, says Franklin, recent major corruption cases such as the one at SNC Lavalin could mean things are about to get a lot tougher. With extensive credentials in academia and in practice as a lawyer that include nine years as president of the Ability Group International, a large immigration firm in Toronto and

summer, they will understand the basics of international law, have the knowledge base and analytical tools to assess the risk factors involved in international investment and to implement various risk control techniques for reducing those risks. They will also have discussed and examined some of the most complex and difficult international social, economic, environmental and legal ... continued next page




Six credit electives,

continued from page 31

Taking your degree online is not a solitary experience. Get connected to your AU Faculty of Business student and alumni network ... it helps keep you motivated to complete your degree and builds your professional network.

Social media:, or search Athabasca University Bachelor of Commerce Athabasca University Bachelor of Management, search: Athabasca University Faculty of Business Athabasca University MBA

issues affecting the world and businesses today. “We worked for a long time with Alan on this course to get it into really good shape. I’m really happy with it and our associate dean is really happy with it,” says Dr. Kondra. “I do have a fairly strong law background from my education, so I have a basic understanding of some of what the course covers, and I can say this is a fundamental course for the students, in my opinion. This is a course I’d definitely want to take myself if I was a student.” SIX CREDIT, 10 WEEK ELECTIVES

In-person events:

Online news:

Last year, 380 AUFB students and alumni registered for Seasonal Cheer events, and roughly 360 more for other gettogethers across the country. Students also participated in case competitions, volunteered at MBA info sessions, and attended career seminars. Come out and meet some great people you have something in common with!

Every month we send all students and alumni an e-newsletter with all the latest news on our Faculty, including student and alumni career updates, events, scholarships, career opportunities, new courses and programs, and more! If you’re not getting this, email us at and we’ll make sure you do.

International Business: Understanding and Managing Legal Risks Jun 3 - Aug 9, 2013; in-residence July 29 - Aug 2 Advanced Strategic Management: Theory and Practice Sep 30 - Dec 6, 2013; in-residence Dec 2 - 6 Corporate Governance and Accountability Feb 3 - Apr 11, 2014; in residence Mar 3 - 7 Supply Chain Management Proposal to extend to six credits, 10 wks under consideration; in residence Mar 3 - 7

Questions, comments, ideas, suggestions, contributions?

Graduate Programs

Undergraduate Programs Tel. 780-459-1144 or 1-800-561-4650 Email: Tel. 780-675-6189 or 1-800-468-6531 Email:

301, 22 Sir Winston Churchill Avenue St. Albert, AB T8N 1B4

1 University Drive Athabasca, AB T9S 3A3

Send them to: Dawn McVittie, Editor

Marketing and Communications AU Faculty of Business 780-418-7559 or 1-800-561-4650 x 7559


Athabasca University Faculty of Business newsletter spring 2013