VOL. 4 ISSUE 1 SUMMER/FALL 2012
THE DOWNTOWN ISSUE LIVE, STUDY AND WORK IN THE CORE
MacEwan Universityâ€™s urban campus energizes downtown
CAPITAL IDEAS Researchers and local businesses connect at University-hosted forum
FAST LANE LEARNER Race-car driver takes marketing know-how to the track PM #40063489
COMMUNITY COLLABORATORS Why industry and academia are good neighbours
THE DOWNTOWN ISSUE LIVE, STUDY AND WORK IN THE CORE
GOOD FOR 14 BUSINESS
A Sustainable Conference
The downtown location of MacEwan University School of Business benefits students, faculty and the community
How this premier School of Business event connects students and industry leaders
Fast Lane Learning Becoming a race-car driver involves technical abilities and marketing know-how. Stefan Rzadzinski splits his time between the classroom and racetrack, perfecting both skills
Independence Abroad Spring School in Barcelona is personally fulfi lling for students – and a boost to their future job search
Edmonton’s Downtown University
Conversation is at the core of a MacEwan University School of Business forum that connects researchers with local businesses
A look inside MacEwan University’s City Centre Campus, which stretches across a six-block span on the former Canadian National rail yards
Meet three business people who know the value of a downtown university fi rsthand
Commerce professor Davar Rezania expands on an existing idea, while also teaching students the ability to inquire
TAKING BACK CONTROL
Two new faculty members bring their extensive onthe-job expertise to MacEwan University
Message From the Dean
Message from the Associate Dean
Graduate Profiles A Research Analyst and Head Golf Professional credit their time at MacEwan University for recent career success
Allard Chair Profile Sport and business defi ne Bill Comrie’s life. Now the retired CEO and hockey dad is sharing lessons learned with MacEwan University students
Exit Advice Strategies for small businesses looking to attract new talent
40 3 aspire
MacEwan University School of Business
FROM THE DEAN
Downtown Edmonton is energized. New developments are underway or on the horizon. Energy, vibrancy and the core of business are great words to describe an urban downtown, and they are also great words to describe a downtown university. MacEwan University has been a cornerstone of Edmonton’s downtown since its iconic clock tower was completed in 1993. As downtowns are seen as the centre for business, being located in the downtown core of Edmonton seems a natural fit for MacEwan University School of Business. Our students and faculty prove this point by building relationships with our community stakeholders. You will find MacEwan business students helping out at a local non-profits, or working on a class project that provides assistance and recommendations to an Edmonton-based corporation doing business globally. MacEwan’s mandate has always been to bring as much of the real world of business as possible into the classroom. This external focus gives our students a distinct advantage. Their interactions with the vibrant world of business around them gives them applied skills that allow them to ‘hit the ground running’ in their careers. John Haliburton of Sunlife Financial, quoted from the article “Industry Expertise” on page 24, sums this up well, “The closer the students are to businesses, the more often business leaders will come to the classroom. That will improve the whole experience. And the reverse is also true. [MacEwan students] help the downtown core with a higher caliber of part-time employees. The combination generates a better quality education. The students are more sought after.” School of Business faculty and students regularly partner with the business community, in the downtown core and beyond, working real life business cases, and providing fresh eyes to business problems. Faculty focus business skill-building with a foundation in ethical business practice and corporate social responsibility. An example is found on page 6 with the SIFE student team, combining community outreach with market research with the company “Baba’s Own”. This issue of Aspire is dedicated to downtown. More than a location, the energy and vibrancy of our core is something that is shared by business, students, faculty and residents. MacEwan University is, and will continue to be a big part of the energy that is downtown.
Elsie Elford, BA, LL.B Dean, School of Business
FROM THE ASSOCIATE DEAN Summer/Fall 2012 VOLUME 4 Issue 1 EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jana Clarke ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Joyce Byrne CONSULTING EDITOR Cailynn Klingbeil ART DIRECTOR Charles Burke ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR Andrea deBoer ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Colin Spence EDITORIAL ADVISORY Jana Clarke, Robert Dean, Mike Henry CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Eric Astley, Caroline Barlott, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Matt Hirji, Michelle Lindstrom, Robin Schroffel, Kelley Stark CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS Bluefish, Buffy Goodman, Ryan Hidson, Stephen Wan Aspire is published by MacEwan University School of Business to celebrate student, faculty and staff successes. Aspire is published by MacEwan University in conjunction with Venture Publishing Inc. If you would like to receive additional copies or be placed on the regular mailing list for ASPIRE, please contact: MacEwan University 10700 - 104 Avenue, Room 7-252 Edmonton, AB T5J 4S2 780.633.3785 Contents copyright 2012 by MacEwan University. No part of this publication should be reproduced without written permission. Canada Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement # 40063489. Return undeliverable mail to MacEwan University 10700 - 104 Avenue Edmonton, AB T5J 4S2
MacEwan University is Edmonton’s downtown university and our School of Business is a proud part of both. The future for our institution and the downtown community is extremely bright, with shared growth, revitalization and energy. The School of Business is our university’s window into the business community. This portal allows us to graduate business students who are well prepared to contribute relevant economic and social value to their community. This is still very much an Edmonton story as over 80 per cent of our students come from the Edmonton region and most choose to start their careers here – in their hometown. Our partnerships with Edmonton businesses help us maintain currency both in our curriculum and research projects. These partnerships take the form of business advisory committees, visiting speakers, work experience for students, applied business research projects involving our faculty and students, and student-employer events such as our Student Business Conference and employer mixers. This issue of Aspire highlights just a few of our students and faculty, and their work with the downtown business community. A special article on the Dr. Charles Allard Chair in Business describes how this year’s honoree, Dr. Bill Comrie (page 11), inspires our students as an entrepreneur and as a role model for commitment to community. You are most welcome to come visit our campus or contact us to learn more. Our contact information can be found on this page, with more information available at www.MacEwan.ca/business.
Mike Henry Associate Dean MacEwan University School of Business
MacEwan School of Business
By Alix Kemp | Photos By Jana Clarke and Stephen Wan
MacEwan SIFE Team Receives National Awards It’s been busy for the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) club at MacEwan University School of Business since starting in early 2011. The team got involved with St. Michael’s Health Group, a volunteer-based health-care organization in northeast Edmonton. St. Michael’s Health Group funds its operations in part through Baba’s Own Food Products, a line of hand-made perogies, cabbage rolls and other traditional Ukrainian foods. SIFE stepped in to help St. Michael’s and Baba’s Own with research and marketing by conducting two taste test and market research events, one at MacEwan University’s downtown campus and the other at City Centre Mall. Each tasting attracted about 300 to 400 hungry testers who filled out surveys about their shopping habits and perogy preferences. The group is also starting a financial literacy project, targeting middle-income students who lack the resources to manage their finances. The MacEwan University SIFE team also showed off their hard work in March at the SIFE regional competition held in Vancouver, and the national competition held in Calgary in May. While there’s certainly a competitive element, William Pasieka, President of the MacEwan University SIFE chapter, stresses the collaborative element of the events. “It’s a regional exposition, not a competition,” he says. “We’re not saying ‘Our projects are better than yours,’ it’s really [about] coming together in a collaborative effort and sharing our projects.” At the nationals in Calgary, the team was given the ‘Spirit’ award, and Faculty advisor Gordon Lucyk was awarded ‘Rookie Faculty of the Year.’
KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE: Students in the SIFE club (pictured above at a conference at MacEwan) participated in a regional exposition, where they shared projects with other SIFE chapters
A PRME Win! On May 7, five MacEwan University School of Business students, with faculty Dr. Leo Wong were awarded the second prize in the international PRME Leaders+20 competition. Caitlin Farrell, Rory Kirkpatrick, Cam McCoy, William Pasieka and Dan Scott won “The Danish Experience”, and will travel to Denmark as part of their award for their video submission. The PRME Leaders+20 competition is based on the United Nations Rio-20 agenda for sustainable development and the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). The aim of the competition is to prepare future generations as business leaders who can handle global challenges and provide community-based leadership. To view the video, and for more information, visit www.MacEwan.ca/business.
New Bachelor of Commerce Majors Offered Starting this fall, students in the MacEwan University School of Business Bachelor of Commerce program will have even more options. The school is introducing two new majors: Marketing and Human Resources Management. The Marketing major will give students the experience and education to launch into advertising, market research or public relations careers. Students can take courses in consumer behaviour, marketing metrics, international marketing and p.6
product management. In Human Resources Management, prospective HR managers and recruitment specialists study total compensation management, health safety and wellness, diversity and intercultural management, and pension and benefits plans. The two new majors build on the current Bachelor of Commerce programming, including Accounting, International Business, Management and Supply Chain Management Co-op. www.MacEwan.ca/business
Major Donation to Fund Speaker Series,Panel Discussions and More Certified Management Accountants (CMA) Alberta has entered into a five-year agreement with the MacEwan University Foundation, giving $125,000 to sponsor events and programs with the School of Business. CMA Alberta already funds the annual Alberta Board Governance Competition, but its donation to MacEwan University will provide coaches for two MacEwan University School of Business teams per year. It is also sponsoring an annual speaker series, as well as an annual “Who’s Hiring in Accounting” panel discussion and employment showcase.
Business Faculty Celebrated at MacEwan Day
OUTSTANDING TEAM AWARD: Asia Pacific and Globalization Review
Working Group (Members: Colin Macdonald, Dr. William Wei, Dr. Chaldeans Mensah, Candan Ilter, Nicolle Lemay, Albena Pergelova, Jimmy Woo, Presenter: Dr. Janet Paterson-Weir)
DISTINGUISHED TEACHING AWARD: Ryan Orchard,
Anne Marie Brose, Presenter: Dr. Janet Paterson-Weir
MacEwan University School of Business
OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD:
MacEwan University celebrated the 27th annual MacEwan Day on March 8, 2012, by remembering the university’s namesake, Dr. J.W. Grant MacEwan, and celebrating the achievements of staff and faculty. The MacEwan University School of Business made an impressive showing in the MacEwan Day awards. The School of Business’s working group for the Asia Pacific and Globalization Review, a peer-reviewed online journal that launched in November 2011, won the Outstanding Team MacEwan Day award. Victor Bilodeau and Gordon Lucyk, who co-teach the capstone course for the Bachelor of Commerce degree, were also winners. The course involves a marketing simulation about marketing granola in Germany, and earned them the MacEwan Day Award for Innovation. Kimberley Howard, a Project Co-ordinator with the School of Business, won the award for Outstanding Service, for her work setting up study tours in Brazil, China and India. Ryan Orchard, a Bachelor of Commerce instructor, was recognized with a Distinguished Teaching award. Sharon Schnell, an employee of MacEwan University for more than 35 years, received the Emeritus Award.
Michelle Andrews, Doreen Piehl, Janet Nichol, Presenter: Catheryn Heslep, Kimberley Howard, Veronique Khamly, Kerry Taylor
AWARD FOR INNOVATION:
Victor Bilodeau, Gordon Lucyk, Presenter: Dale Bayley
Busy Times for Campus Commerce Club MacEwan University’s Commerce Club had a busy winter semester this year. The club kicked off 2012 with Deloitte Presents: Step Into Your Future event, a seminar and mixer that took place on January 18 at the Crown Plaza Chateau Lacombe hotel in downtown Edmonton. Students attended a panel discussion with speakers including Steve Baker, the COO of Telus World of Science and Anne McLellan, the former Deputy Prime Minister. Students and panelists stuck around after the seminar for hors d’oeuvres and a chance to network. “It was a great opportunity for everybody to hear about the various paths you can take to be successful, as well as a chance to talk to the panelists one on one,” says Brett Farquharson, the Commerce Club’s president for the 2011-2012 school year. The Commerce Club also held its annual investment competition in February, sponsored by the Chartered Accountants of Alberta. Open to all MacEwan University students, each participant received $1 million worth of imaginary money to invest in real stocks. The goal was to earn the most profit in one month, with the winner taking home a PlayStation 3. Farquharson and the Commerce Club also organized MacEwan University’s team for an event called 5 Days for the Homeless. Four students slept outside on campus for five days, from March 11 to March 16, soliciting for donations of money and food. Together, they succeeded in raising $11,965 for the Youth Emergency Shelter Society.
PLANNING AHEAD: Deloitte Presents: Step Into Your Future event featured a seminar and mixer
(Left to right: Sarah Hoeksta, Hon. A Anne McLellan, Theresa Reichart, Brent Willett, Steve Baker, Tamara Hauglum, Brett Farguharson, Elsie Elford, Fabjola Gera)
New Accounting Club Launch The 2011-2012 school year was the first for a new MacEwan University School of Business Accounting Club, which launched in September. The club has a website (gmuac.com), which acts as a portal connecting accounting major students with events and professional associations. “It’s like a one-stop shop. Once you’re part of the accounting club, you’ve got the connection and you can find out about the designation, and find out about what events are going on,” says Natalie Chetcuti, the faculty advisor for both the Commerce Club and Accounting Club. p.8
The Accounting Club also hosted a tax clinic for low-income families and individuals at the Dickinsfield Amity House, a local non-profit that provides support services to the community. Because of overwhelming interest, the club held interviews to select 20 students, who received training from Canada Revenue Agency. Students assisted low-income families at Amity House by providing free income tax preparation. Plans are already underway to host a free tax clinic on campus for MacEwan University students next year. www.MacEwan.ca/business
Career Launch Made Easy
EMPLOYERS AND ALUMNI:
Golf Program Awards Coaches Nobody knows better the connection between golf and business than those in the MacEwan University School of Business Management Studies Golf Management program. The Golf program excelled this past season, winning three titles at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Golf Championship. MacEwan University took home top honours in the men’s and women’s championships and the women’s individual title. The University also won silver in the men’s individual tournament. With such top results, it’s no surprise that the instructors are excellent too. Jodi Campbell, an advisor in the Golf Management program, and Alan Riley, the Curriculum Co-ordinator, were both named the ACAC Golf Coaches of the Year.
Ron Hynes, Sherry Scott, Matthew Smallacombe
NEXT STEPS: An information and networking session, called The Launch helped students plan for the future
For students finishing up a degree or diploma program, figuring out what the next step should be can be nerve-wracking. That’s why MacEwan University’s Management Studies program hosted The Launch, an information and networking session for students in the third and fourth terms of the two-year Management Studies diploma. On March 27, students had the chance to speak with employers, representatives from MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Commerce program and the University’s Alumni group. “Some of our students do leave their diplomas and go into work, but we’re also seeing more of our students go on to further postsecondary,” says Raina Rudko, Program Chair for Management Studies. For that reason, it was important to present students with a range of possibilities at The Launch. Students attended two panels, one with former alumni from the Management Studies program, including Matthew Burnham, Nicole Tupechka and Jason Engelland, who are current Bachelor of Commerce students, and Ron Hynes, a Management Studies program graduate who now works at Flynn Canada. The second panel included human resources professionals from local businesses, including Ray Deane of Enterprise Holdings Inc., Sherry Scott of Edmonton Tourism and Matthew Smallacombe of West Edmonton Mall. The panels were followed up by a mixer that was attended by representatives from 13 local organizations including Telus, Nelson and Royal LePage. Rudko says the event was successful and another event is planned for next year.
MacEwan University School of Business
ACAC GOLF COACHES OF THE YEAR:
Jodi Campbell, Alan Riley
ON PAR: Students and instructors in the Golf management program
took top honours (Left to right: Jodi Campbell, Rachel Whyte, Megan Vermilllion, Alanna Jefferis, Sydney Johnson-Parker, Alan Riley)
Behind the Scenes at Supply Chain Week
Left to right: Jonathan Lam, Morven Burch, Xiang Liu, Megan Otteson, Chelsea Semeniuk
Students enrolled in the Supply Chain Management Co-op major at MacEwan University had the chance to mix and mingle with employers at Supply Chain Week. Organized by Co-op Education Advisor Enrico de Borja, the three-day event in September 2011 brought students together with about 20 local employers, including Ledcor, Ganotec/ Kiewit and Sysco. For the three days, students attended info sessions presented by employers hoping to recruit them for co-op opportunities. On Friday, students and employers attended two panel discussions. The first was a panel of five students and prospective employers who asked the students’ opinions on attracting and retaining young talent. The second panel was led by employers with co-op students asking the questions. Those led into a social mixer, complete with appetizers and a performance by a jazz trio. The event is an opportunity for employers to scout out promising students, while students get a glimpse into what employers are looking
Left to right: Enrico de Borja, Sergey Rozhdestvensky, Zana Rioux, Steven Laschowski
for in prospective co-op students. “For the employers, they’re like, ‘Enrico, point me to some of your stars,’ and I say, ‘They’re all stars. Hire them all,’” says de Borja, who describes Supply Chain Week as “a win-win for students and for employers.” It’s also a hands-on primer in networking, which de Borja says is a skill he encourages his students to develop. “As 70 to 80 per cent of jobs aren’t posted, it’s through who you know,” he says. Interacting with employers at the Supply Chain Week mixer helps students overcome any nervousness they may have, and hopefully prevents students from freezing up or getting anxious during job interviews.
Speaker Series Addresses International Business
David Dodge, former Governor of the Bank of Canada
MacEwan University School of Business and Bennett Jones LLP hosted the Plugged Into Business Speakers Series at the Robbins Health Learning Centre. On November 9, 2011, they presented “Doing Business There from Here,” a panel discussion about doing business internationally from an Edmonton base. The discussion was moderated by prominent local businessman and philanthropist Irving Kipnes, and the panelists were Bob Gomes, President and CEO of Stantec, Paul Douglas, President and CEO of PCL and Leo de Bever, CEO of AIMCo.
The panelists spoke about the importance of downtown revitalization in Edmonton and the important business role today’s students – tomorrow’s business leaders – have to play in Alberta and internationally. David Dodge, former Deputy Minister of Health, Governor of the Bank of Canada and the current chancellor of Queen’s University, spoke on May 1, 2012. In keeping with the theme of doing business at home and abroad, Dodge presented a speech titled “A Global Economic Outlook – Implications for Edmonton and Alberta.” www.MacEwan.ca/business
By Caroline Barlott
Sports and business define Bill Comrie’s life. Now the retired CEO and hockey dad is sharing lessons learned with MacEwan University students
W LESSONS LEARNED: As the 2012 Dr. Charles Allard Chair of Business, Bill Comrie shares his business experience with students
MacEwan University School of Business
hen Bill Comrie talks about giving up his draft into the NHL over 40 years ago he sounds nonchalant, as if it’s something that happens every day. It was 1969 and 19-year-old Comrie had been drafted to the Chicago Blackhawks. When Comrie’s father passed away suddenly, Comrie left his promising career to support his mother and younger brothers. “We didn’t have any money and when my dad died, my little brothers and my mother said, ‘You can’t go. You can’t leave,’ ” Comrie says. “So I stayed.” aspire
PHOTOS BY STEPHEN WAN
He gave up his spot in the NHL and took over his father’s business, a furniture store called Alberta Factory Sales. While Comrie’s career path veered in a different direction than he had expected, he quickly shifted all his energy into the store. He had a knack for business, including experience buying and selling cars, and he soon looked at ways to improve the store. Over the next 30 years, he grew the single 4,500-square-foot downtown Edmonton business, which averaged just a few customers a day, to an impressive retailer of household furniture, mattresses, appliances and home electronics. Alberta Factory Sales became Bill Comrie’s Furniture Warehouse and was renamed the Brick Warehouse, and later The Brick. When Comrie stepped down as The Brick’s CEO and chairman in 2004, the organization became an income trust with an initial public offering worth $400 million. Now Comrie, the 2012 Dr. Charles Allard Chair of Business, is sharing that story and many others with MacEwan students. The Dr. Charles Allard Chair is an honorary teaching position with the School of Business that recognizes a business person who has demonstrated remarkable business talent, skill and philanthropy. This is an apt description of Comrie, who is the 26th Allard Chair. As part of his new role, he attended a private dinner, which welcomed him as Allard chair, visited MacEwan University classrooms and students, presented the keynote speech at the Student Business Conference and participated in panel discussions. After a few months of engaging with MacEwan business students, Comrie, who
APT HONOUR: David Atkinson, MacEwan University President, and Elsie Elford, Dean of the School of Business honour Bill Comrie at the Chair in Business Luncheon
Gurney, School of Business faculty, says his students gained more than just an inside look at the business world from Comrie. They also learned the importance of community involvement, compassion and a desire to give back. “All of the hidden work that Bill does – including his work with the community, with charities and
length of service, meaning some longtime employees received $50,000. Comrie says he gave bonus cheques because he wanted to show appreciation for his employees in a concrete way. “The students felt and shared his emotions,” Gurney says. Comrie doesn’t just give back to his employees; he’s also a generous supporter of the community. His reason for giving back is simple: “I think that when you make money, [you have] an obligation to “All of the hidden work that Bill Comrie does is phenomenal, give back,” he says. Comrie’s volunteer and he tends to stay quiet about it. He’s very humble,” says positions include chairing the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation’s capital Bob Gurney, MacEwan University faculty. campaign in 1997, which raised $14 million for the establishment of the hospital. for his employees – is phenomenal, and holds an Honorary Degree of Doctor of He also helped raise over $45 million as he tends to stay quiet about it. He’s very Laws from the University of Alberta, says chair of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart humble,” Gurney says. he is impressed with the students’ desire Institute campaign. When speaking to Gurney’s class, Comrie for knowledge. Students are eager to hear And while Comrie retired as CEO of the had tears in his eyes while talking about a about his experiences and ask questions Brick eight years ago, he is still involved one-time bonus cheque he gave to all The on topics such as The Brick’s marketing with the company’s Sports Central Brick employees in 2004. The combined practices and techniques for distribution. program, which last year gave 11,000 In March, Comrie spoke to Bob Gurney’s total of the bonus was over $40 million pieces of sports equipment, including advanced leadership class of 40 students. and the individual amount depended on items such as hockey helmets, skates
LOCAL LEADER: Bill Comrie says MacEwan students are eager to ask questions and hear about his experience
and bicycles, to kids whose families couldn’t afford the gear. At the moment, the only Sports Central store where kids can receive donated sports equipment is located in Edmonton but Comrie says he would like to expand into other parts of the province because he believes sports positively impact kids’ lives. In fact, he credits his hockey career for his ability to create a strong team environment at The Brick. He played for the Moose Jaw Canucks and the Edmonton Oil Kings prior to being drafted into the NHL by the Chicago Blackhawks. “I wasn’t lucky enough to be able to go to university, but I was lucky enough to play hockey and it taught me the team concept. Not too many people make it individually; we need to work together,” he says. Comrie’s passion for hockey is still strong. He encouraged his four sons, Mike, Paul, Eric and Ty, to pursue the sport. (Comrie’s daughter Cathy works as a psychologist.) Mike and Paul played for the Oilers while Eric was a first-round MacEwan University School of Business
pick in the Western Junior Hockey League. Fourteen-year-old Ty plays for a team Comrie coaches. One of the stories Comrie shared with MacEwan University students is how his sons, Paul and Mike, made it to the NHL. Both boys played hockey growing up, but Comrie says both were smaller than the other players. “People often told them ‘There’s no way you’ll ever play junior hockey, no way you’ll ever play college hockey and you’ll never play in the NHL.’ But they both did all of that.” The Comrie boys adopted their dad’s strong work ethic and a positive, nothingstands-in-my-way attitude. “Bill is one of those people who has both a competitive spirit and strong values,” Gurney says. Those values helped Comrie succeed in business, even though some of his early marketing ideas were initially a source of amusement for others, such as the “Midnight Madness” sale. It was while at a busy late night drive-in movie that Comrie came up with the
idea for the sale. Customers could shop from midnight to 6 p.m. the next day on marked discounted items. While Comrie ran an ad in the newspaper and on the radio for the first sale, no one, including his partners in the business, thought it was a good idea. “They said, ‘Are you crazy? We can’t get more than one or two people during the day. How are we going to get anyone at midnight? ’ ” But the night of the sale, three hours before the doors were unlocked, Comrie looked outside and saw close to 1,000 people lined up. He called his two brothers and a friend to help and when the doors opened for the sale, people rushed in and inventory sold out. The furniture store made more money in two and a half hours than it had in the previous year. Comrie tells that story in classroom visits with MacEwan University students. “If you believe in yourself and you’re willing to work hard towards your dream, you can be successful,” he says. aspire
Premier School of Business event connects students and industry leaders By Kelley Stark
ore than 1,000 people gathered in downtown Edmonton for MacEwan Universityâ€™s annual Student Business Conference, on March 6, 2012. The conference, the premier event for MacEwan University School of Business, featured speeches and panel sessions with successful, local business leaders, and a career fair where students networked with industry and learned what jobs are out there when they finish school.
PHOTOS BY STEPHEN WAN
A SUSTAINABLE CONFERENCE
Attendance was high, with almost 950 students and an additional 150 speakers, staff and volunteers at this year’s conference. The speaker and panel sessions were well-attended and according to John Alexander, Project Co-ordinator for the conference, students were engaged throughout the day. “Tons of students walked into our career fair and stayed,” he says. The conference’s theme was sustainability – as it applies to green practices and sustainable business practices, too. Peter Thum, Founder of Ethos Water, was a fitting speaker for the topic. Thum, who led Ethos as its president through its acquisition by Starbucks in 2005, provided the morning’s keynote speech. Ethos was started in 2001, with the mission to address the world water crisis and help children get clean water. Thum shared with students stories from his time in Africa in 2008. While in Africa, Thum noticed a large amount of weaponry and saw firsthand how war had affected the continent. He was inspired and founded a business that melts guns down to make jewellery, then uses the profits from the jewellery to destroy even more guns.
Gary Inglis, one of the student co-ordinators of the conference, says Thum was an inspirational speaker. “Our theme was sustainability and I think Peter Thum did an amazing job of inspiring students to learn from every situation.” he says. “I found myself at the edge of my seat when Peter was speaking.” The afternoon keynote speaker, Bill Comrie, retired furniture business store CEO and hockey dad, was just as popular. He told the story of giving up a promising pro-hockey career to take over his late father’s failing furniture store. Comrie made an impression on Alysha Currie, another of the event’s co-ordinators. “Bill Comrie’s speech really showed the success that can come from hard work and determination,” she said. Victoria Forbes, a student who attended the conference, adds, “I was amazed at his rags to riches story in creating The Brick.” Not just students were inspired by Comrie’s speech, though. Alexander was touched when Comrie became emotional telling the story of how he personally gave out bonuses that totalled more than $40 million dollars to all of his employees, before retiring as chairman and CEO.
INDUSTRY INSIGHT Experts from industry shared their perspectives, including: • Benedict Dy, Director, Financial and Administrative Operations, Advanced Education and Technology for the Government of Alberta. Dy sat on the Career Opportunities in Accounting panel. He thinks it’s important for students to know “there is a strong demand for accountants in all sectors.” The panel members also gave students tips on what employers are looking for. • Jessica Culo, co-owner of 3 Express Employment Professionals. In the marketing session, she was surprised at one point to be asked a question by a “millennial” about views on possibly not pursuing social media networking. What she wanted students to learn was “the value of ‘old-fashioned’ relationship building and the importance of identifying a mentor for themselves.” • Todd Crawshaw, Director of Marketing and Sales for CKUA Radio Network. Crawshaw is a seasoned pro at this conference, having sat on the Marketing and Public Relations panel five times. That doesn’t mean he isn’t continuously surprised at the quality of questions the students are asking. This year he tackled the question of how to achieve balance between one’s personal and professional life. “There’s no magic recipe, nor is balance really an end result of destination – it’s a process that continuously evolves and changes,” he says. “I was happy that this crowd of future professionals was thinking about an oft-overlooked quality of life issue.”
ATTENTIVE AUDIENCE: (Left Page) Almost 950 students attended this year’s Student Business Conference, (This Page) Audience members listened to speakers including Peter Thum, Founder of Ethos Water
MacEwan University School of Business
for personality in someone In addition to the 12 speakrather than just credentials,” ers that spoke at the conference, she says. “If you’re a great perstudents also took part in panel “When we start to think about the son and you show them that sessions. There were eight difcommunity more than ourselves, we create you have the drive, they’ll be ferent panels, ranging from a better environment for everyone and it willing to train you.” Travel and Tourism to Supply The conference proved to be Chain Management and Interbecomes richer in the end,” says Gary Inglis, a success on all fronts. Students national Business. The panels a MacEwan University student and Student benefited from the speakers’ offered the opportunity for Business Conference Co-ordinator. knowledge and past experienstudents to learn from people ces, while the job fair provided working in industry right now, opportunity to see what kind as panel members willingly of jobs exist. For speakers at shared their experiences. “learned to think outside of the box.” He the event, the Student Business Conference For students, the chance to hear was a chance to see the calibre of students firsthand about the successes and journeys adds: “What I think the conference taught students was to stop thinking about the studying at MacEwan University: students of various business leaders was a high‘me’ and rather about the community. who will soon be working in the business light. “The presentations gave us an ideal world. When we start to think about the perspective of how the speakers became Conference attendee and student Shawn community more than ourselves, we successful in their careers. Hearing their Gander finished the busy day feeling create a better environment for everyone stories inspires and allows students to inspired, aware of the potential of him and and it becomes richer in the end.” become successful in their own careers,” his peers. “The business world is open, and For student Jordyn Pivarnyik, the takesays Shaun Abel, one of the student anyone – regardless of age, sex, religion, away from the conference will be helpful co-ordinators. to her future job search. “Most people look etc. – can make a mark,” he says. Inglis heard his peers say that they
COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS: (Clockwise) Students and industry leaders came together for a day of learning at the Student Business Conference including President David Atkinson, student co-ordinator Russel McQuatt, and businesses at the career fair
SPEAK UP Featured speakers had plenty to say: • Cam Linke Co-Founder of Startup Edmonton. Linke spoke about entrepreneurship and starting a business. Linke says the most important idea he wanted to get across to the business students was “there is no time like the present to go out and build what you’ve been dreaming of.” He was also pretty thrilled with the students themselves. “The energy from the students was really great and it was awesome to see a group of future leaders excited about learning and meeting new people,” he says. • Vivian Manasc, Architect and Senior Principal of Manasc Isaac. Manasc spoke about corporate social responsibility, sustainability and environmental responsibility, sustainable buildings and communities, and green real estate. Her words of advice for the students? “Good environmental practices are good business practices.” • Don Schepens from MacEwan University’s Human Resources department spoke to a full room about job searches and resumes. “It’s important to get out there and network and talk to people,” he told students. “It’s not so much who you know, it’s who knows about you. So the more networking you do, the better off you are going to be.” Schepens said students seemed surprised to find out how many jobs are out there waiting for them.
LOCAL LEARNERS: (Top) Bill Comrie with Dean, Elsie Elford, (Middle) conference attendees enjoyed conversation over lunch, (Bottom) and students and business leaders connecting at the career fair
MacEwan University School of Business
THE DOWNTOWN ISSUE
PHOTO: BLUEFISH STUDIOS
The downtown location of MacEwan University School of Business benefits students, faculty and the community
dmonton’s downtown is receiving renewed attention, with a number of planned projects set to revitalize the city’s core. But for faculty and students who attend MacEwan University, downtown is already the place to be. “It’s important for our business school to be downtown because we’re connected to businesses, and the people who live, work and play downtown,” says Mike Henry, Associate Dean of MacEwan University School of Business.
MacEwan University School of Business
THE DOWNTOWN ISSUE
PHOTO: DIGITAL ART IMAGING
Elsie Elford, Dean of MacEwan University School of Business, agrees that an urban campus – with its physical presence stretching across a six-block span in the city’s core – is good for many reasons, including partnerships with local business. And at MacEwan, such relationships have been growing for almost 20 years. “We’ve been a physical presence in the downtown since 1993,” Elford says. “Since that time, when we opened as a community college, and through our transition to college and now university, we’ve maintained very strong relationships with local businesses.” Downtown revitalization is a hot topic right now, with planned development in the area including a new hockey arena, Royal Alberta Museum and restoration of Jasper Avenue. While these projects are set to create a more vibrant downtown, Henry points to MacEwan University’s role in an earlier revitalization of downtown. He says that building MacEwan itself on the old CN rail yards, in partnership with the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta, marked the beginning of the revitalization of downtown in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. “The people who were leading MacEwan at the time were real visionaries and they said, ‘let’s build this downtown university’ and so they created this incredible community of learners here in 1993.” Over the past 20 years, MacEwan University and its faculty and students have formed many connections with the local community. Those connections will grow as downtown Edmonton does. “I think anytime you bring a group of younger generation people to an area you create a more dynamic life,” says Mayor Stephen Mandel, of MacEwan University’s role in Edmonton. “MacEwan University is really committed to downtown and to bringing thousands of younger generation people downtown and many hundreds of faculty. I think that in itself creates a dynamic of people doing things downtown.” In addition to bringing students and faculty downtown to work and study, MacEwan University also plays a role in the community through its career-focused business programming. “Our programs have internship or work experience components, so we have these relationships built with our business partners and they often welcome students into their offices for practical work experience,” Elford says. Students who complete a summer intern-ship may continue on with the company part-time during the school year, as it’s easy to commute between p.20
AT THE HEART: MacEwan University is, and will continue to be, a big part of the energy that exists downtown. Here, Edmonton’s future skyline is pictured, as part of a project commissioned by City Hall
campus and downtown offices. “That’s been going on for a long time and that’s why we’re well-known in the community and our students are well-known and our employment rates are so high,” Elford says. As students gain work experience in downtown offices, some business professionals also leave the office and come to MacEwan
MacEwan downtown and our students get the benefit of being part of that,” he says. Connecting business leaders and future business leaders at such discussions in just one way Edmonton’s downtown university is reaching out to the community. As MacEwan University transitions to a four-year degree-granting institute, Elford
MacEwan University has had a physical presence in downtown since 1993. Over the years, MacEwan University has built strong relationships with local businesses. University, to teach students. “We have dozens of practicing business professionals downtown, from accountants to lawyers to human resource professionals, who come and teach part-time with us. Our students get the benefit of these business practitioners with industry expertise teaching them,” Henry says. MacEwan University also partners with businesses in other ways. Henry cites a recent example: an inaugural speaker series that hosted big names, like former Bank of Canada Governor David A. Dodge. “That is possible because of our partnership with Bennett Jones LLP, a law firm that’s downtown, and we’re downtown. So Bennett Jones and its clients get the benefit of
says the partnerships and opportunities continue to grow. “We are establishing another level of engagement, in addition to employment, and that’s research,” she says. “We want to be able to engage the business community in another way now, to reach out and assist them more with their own issues and questions and need for information.” Partnerships with businesses are a win for all involved, as students gain research experience and the chance to interact with real businesses and help solve problems. At the same time, faculty complete applied scholarship and businesses benefit from the results and connections formed. “Whether it’s examining intergenerational workplaces, marketing www.MacEwan.ca/business
the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world. Since starting on campus in 2011, SIFE has attracted more than 30 students. One of the projects the SIFE club recently worked on was consulting work with a non-profit to help improve the organization’s mandate. An upcoming project will partner with businesses in the City Centre Mall, to help small companies be more efficient. “Students have the opportunity to apply the things that they’ve learned in a real world setting. They’re taking that classroom knowledge out into the real world,” Wong says. Wong believes those opportunities are only set to grow. “MacEwan University is embedded in the community, physically, but also through knowledge. I think there’s a huge potential that we’re just discovering and through more and more examples of our students getting out into the community, our faculty getting out into the community, we’re going to have a lot more. I think the ingredients are all here,” he says. MacEwan’s single sustainable campus
“As downtown revitalizes and brings in energy, you can also feel the energy on campus of our students,” says Mike Henry, Associate Dean of MacEwan University School of Business. campaigns, promotions or rebranding, there are so many issues out there that we feel our students can have real-life world experience by partnering with the local community,” Elford says. For Leo Wong, an Assistant Professor at MacEwan University’s School of Business, making the material taught in the classroom relevant to the local community is a regular part of his job. Wong describes a group project he led students through in a marketing course on consumer behavior, which enabled them to practice what they had been learning throughout the semester. “Students had to seek out local businesses and consult with them on how to improve their marketing from a consumer behavior perspective, particularly around their social responsibility,” he says. The project engaged students and the local business community, and Wong says the business community was responsive to students’ work. Outside the classroom, Wong continues to build community involvement among students. He’s an advisor with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a campus club that’s part of a global non-profit aiming to bring together MacEwan University School of Business
plan will further such community connections, as the operations of all four MacEwan campuses are consolidated downtown. While completion of the plan is at least a decade away, excitement about the initiative is already strong. “Our board has really embraced sustainability by saying let’s put all of our operations on one campus downtown. We’re making maximum use of public transit, with the LRT coming right to our doorsteps. It really is putting sustainability into practice and I think that it reflects what is happening downtown, with businesses, the city, and the province,” Henry says. “As downtown revitalizes and brings in energy, you can also feel the energy on campus from our students. As a business professional said to me not too long ago, ‘there’s a real buzz downtown about Edmonton’s potential.’ We’re a city that’s about to take major leaps in terms of our place in Western Canada and the world, and that’s emulating where our students are at – they’re about to take a major leap into their careers and into their lives.”
COMMUNITY ROOTS While downtown Edmonton has been home for MacEwan University since the City Centre Campus opened in 1993, MacEwan’s existence in Edmonton extends even further. MacEwan was founded in 1971 as Grant MacEwan Community College (GMCC), located in Scona Campus (Strathcona High School). Over the years MacEwan has operated out of various campuses, including the Jasper Place Campus in Edmonton’s west end in the 1970’s and the Mill Woods Campus, which opened in the city’s southeast in 1976. In 1988 the provincial government committed $100 million for the construction of MacEwan City Centre Campus. Construction began in 1991 on the north edge of downtown, on the former Canadian National rail yards. The downtown campus, which opened in 1993, took up four full city blocks and is a combination of angular concrete towers and three storey glass buildings. In 1999, GMCC was renamed Grant MacEwan College. According to an article published the year after the City Centre Campus was completed, building a downtown campus was an innovative project. In the Merit Contractors Association’s magazine Open Mind, MacEwan’s Vice-President of Administration, Barry Snowden, said the City Centre Campus was designed to be a neighbourhood of buildings that would be open and inviting to the community, rather than an intimidating institutional structure. In 2002 Alberta College became officially integrated with Grant MacEwan College, to become the college’s fourth campus (in addition to the Mill Woods Campus, City Centre Campus and Jasper Place Campus on Stony Plain Road and 156th Street). More development happened in the next few years: In 2004 MacEwan became an accredited degreegranting institution, in 2005 the student residence opened at the City Centre Campus and in 2007 the Robbins Health Learning Centre opened. In 2009 Grant MacEwan College became MacEwan University, Alberta’s sixth university. aspire
Downtown University MacEwan University’s urban campus is a great boon to local businesses and students alike
s i x- b l o c k s
111t h S t
The main buildings house classrooms, labs and study spaces. Additionally, the City Centre Campus also includes a sport and wellness centre, library, health learning centre and residence. MacEwan University offers: • Seven bachelor’s degrees • Three degree-transfer programs • Two applied bachelor’s degrees • More than 50 diploma and certificate programs and credit projects • Preparation for university and college, and English as a second language courses • Numerous professional development and customized learning courses and certificates p.22
MacEwan University’s student body includes:
19,500 credit students
international students and more than
The University is also busy with activities that happen outside the classroom, including lectures and presentations, conferences, scholarly activities and research showcases. www.MacEwan.ca/business
full- and part-time staff work at MacEwan University. DOWNTOWN ADVANTAGE
President David Atkinson discusses MacEwan University’s position
MacEwan University’s City Centre Campus stretches across a six-block span, from 105th Street to 111th Street. 10 5 t h S t
Since opening its doors in 1971, MacEwan has evolved from a community college to a degreegranting university. The school has operated at its current downtown location, on former Canadian National rail yards, since 1993.
2012 1971 Grant MacEwan Community College MacEwan University School of Business
On MacEwan University’s many roles: We drive the innovation agenda most by graduating students who can be part of that agenda. Our most important product is our students, and the customer is the world out there. I think of MacEwan University’s role as a stool that has three legs: We are a university, we are an undergraduate university and we are about providing our students with the best kind of learning experiences that are defined by providing not only outstanding instruction, but also a learning environment where students feel comfortable. Students at MacEwan are not intimidated. They get to know their faculty and they don’t feel isolated. On continuing education: Part of being an urban institution is reaching out and connecting with the community. One way we do this is through continuing education. We have 20,000 people who come to MacEwan University for some kind of programming, in addition to the 12,000 full-time equivalent students. We’re in downtown – a place where parking is accessible and it’s not difficult to get to. It’s an institution that is not intimidating and you can find pretty much any kind of programming here. We continue to strategize about what it means to be a city builder and to contribute to the life of the downtown core. On the role of the School of Business: Business schools are a window on the real world. If you look across North America right now, 20 per cent of all undergraduate enrollments are in business – that’s huge. If you look at business schools across the country you will find that their reputation is built as much on their relationship with the business community as it is on the students that they prepare for the business community. We will continue to listen to members of our business community, to talk with them, to interact with them. On the future: Everyone understands the future is bright and it’s exciting. Having been at a number of Canadian universities, I realize there is something extraordinary about MacEwan. There is an incredible positive energy here.
THE DOWNTOWN ISSUE
INDUSTRY Meet three business people who know the value of a downtown university firsthand By Eric Astley | Photos By Ryan Hidson
hile some of the benefits of what MacEwan University’s downtown campus brings to the city’s core are obvious – such as the social capital created by an enterprising and educated student body or the entertainment offered by the school’s various sports teams – MacEwan University’s enriching relationship with downtown Edmonton reaches far beyond this. Its impact on nearby businesses counts for a lot and below, three local business leaders explain what MacEwan University’s downtown location means to them.
“It’s a positive influence in our work environment to see people actively giving back to and influencing those joining our profession.”
RACHEL GOSSE, DELOITTE Rachel Gosse works as a Partner in Deloitte’s office in the City Centre mall, which picked up five prospective accountants from MacEwan University’s School of Business in its most recent round of hires. That works out to 21 per cent of all campus hires at Deloitte for the period. She says students from the school emphasize the attention faculty are able to pay to them because of MacEwan University’s small class sizes. Deloitte is also involved in teaching at MacEwan University, including an audit professional instructor. Gosse says this lets the company stay on top of the latest developments in the world of up-and-coming accountants. “It’s a positive influence in our work environment to see people actively giving back to and influencing those joining our profession,” she says. “We work closely with MacEwan University School of Business. Having people on campus also helps our awareness of changes in programs and issues facing the school or students. It adds an additional point of contact to our firm for the school.”
EXPERTISE “The closer the students are to businesses, the more often business leaders will come to the classroom as guest speakers. That will improve the whole experience.”
JOHN HALIBURTON, SUNLIFE FINANCIAL Everyone is in sales, to hear John Haliburton tell it. Haliburton, who spends his days recruiting salespeople for Sunlife Financial and his nights teaching at MacEwan University, says that sales skills are required for many aspects of day-to-day life. And he thinks MacEwan University does a better job of imparting those skills than most schools. The move to a single downtown campus, right next to many head offices, will pay dividends. “The closer the students are to businesses, the more often business leaders will come to the classroom as guest speakers. That will improve the whole experience,” he says. “And the reverse is also true. It will help the downtown core with a higher calibre of parttime employees. The combination will generate a better-quality education. The students will be more sought after by everybody.” Haliburton also appreciates MacEwan University’s tendency to hire faculty with business experience outside the ivory tower. “I thought I would be the oddity until I saw some of the instructors they had coming in that had amazing resumes out in private industry,” he says. When Haliburton’s role switches to recruiting salespeople for Sunlife, he makes sure the company is visible at campus job fairs. “We’re primarily at job fairs because it’s a source of talent,” Haliburton says. “MacEwan has a great number of students with business acumen – they’ve had other experiences, they’ve gone back to school. It’s a great source of potential managers and salespeople.” As for hiring, Haliburton says Sunlife looks for multiple qualities. “We look for people that are good at marketing themselves. They know they can help people. They want to learn. They want to have a career, but they also want to do something meaningful with their job,” he says. While it’s often students who rave about MacEwan University’s small class sizes, as both an instructor and employer, Haliburton does too. Students graduate with networks in place, thanks to the relationships that form with other students, faculty and the business leaders who come and speak to classes. “I think the small university experience at MacEwan University connects the students and develops life-long relationships,” he says. “The students are coming out with a strong relationship base.”
MacEwan University School of Business
THE DOWNTOWN ISSUE
“MacEwan University students have more one-on-one time with the instructors. They’re not afraid to come out and ask questions.”
DANIKA PACKWOOD, MNP Danika Packwood co-ordinates human capital for the accounting and consulting firm MNP. The company employs 200 financial professionals in its Edmonton offices, including several forensic financial specialists. As a MacEwan University grad twice over herself, she appreciates that students from the school who come to work at MNP, either in temporary work placements or full-time jobs after graduation, have learned their skills in small classes with a strong emphasis on real-world skills. “I have a soft spot for Grant MacEwan,” she says. “MacEwan University students are a little more hands-on, a little more technical, I think, because the classes are smaller. They have more one-on-one time with the instructors. They’re not afraid to come out and ask questions.” This year, MNP participated in the career fair at MacEwan University’s Student Business Conference at the Shaw Conference Centre, which helped the company reach out to more MacEwan University students. “We’ll continue to do that in the future,” Packwood says. “We were one of the only accounting firms there and it got our name out there, so that was good.” p.26
MacEwan University’s downtown location makes it easy for students to get to MNP’s office in the Bell Tower on 101 Street, since the two buildings are just four blocks apart. This also makes MacEwan University an attractive choice for MNP professional functions. Packwood rented the CN Conference room for intense sessions of accountant training, and she says MNP employees studying for the national accounting exam, the Uniform Evaluation test (UFE), often find somewhere quiet on campus to hit the books. “They hole up somewhere in groups of two or three,” she says. In addition to the central location, Packwood says it’s also quiet and conducive to studying and focusing, exactly what these young professionals need. With the coming arena, increased activity and openings on 104th Street and more LRT construction, Edmonton’s downtown is becoming more vibrant. MacEwan University’s move to a single, sustainable campus in the core of the city will both contribute to and capitalize on such upcoming activity. The school’s connection with local businesses will only grow more robust over time, creating a better educational experience for students and a boost in finding a job after graduation. www.MacEwan.ca/business
PHOTO: BUFFY GOODMAN
By Michelle Lindstrom
As MacEwan University Commerce professor Davar Rezania expands on an existing idea, heâ€™s simultaneously teaching his students the ability to inquire
inding out how project managers in Edmonton’s business community control their projects is of interest to Davar Rezania, MacEwan University’s Chair of the Bachelor of Commerce program and Project Management professor. “I was teaching project management and a section of that is control,” Rezania says. “I thought, ‘Why is it that we are not using the same theory that is used in managerial accounting in teaching project management?’ ” He split his class into four groups and each studied an existing company that used a different method to control their project. Rezania expanded on an existing idea from Harvard professor Robert Simons about the Levers of Control, which are four methods project managers use to manage and measure value of their projects: diagnostic systems, belief systems, boundary systems and interactive systems. Diagnostic control systems involve formal feedback systems that organizations use to monitor outcomes and recognize variance while belief systems show the values and direction senior managers want employees to embrace. Boundary systems tend to be embedded in standards of ethical behaviour and codes of conduct that enable people to do the right thing. And finally, interactive control systems involve repetitive management attention to factors that influence an organization’s strategy, including organizational attention and strategic issues. Rezania wanted to find out how management control systems, as described by Simons’ Levers of Control model, are used in the daily activities of a project, and then document how such systems translate into behaviour. From October to December of last year, Rezania and four senior business students developed the early phase of their project control study. Studies of control in projects mostly rely on comparing actual project times, costs and quality with planned times, costs and quantities. Instead, in late 2011, Rezania and one student researcher, Jodie Tang, used a narrative in their co-written paper, Project Control: a Day in the Life of a Project Manager, that was created from interviews with a project manager, to capture naturally-occurring instances of control systems in a project. The paper asks the research question, “How are management
MacEwan University School of Business
control systems deployed and used by projects in an organization?” They then showed how such systems translate into behaviours. The paper includes data from semi-structured interviews, which aimed to identify the roles of project managers and understand the logic behind their decisions and actions. It also presents an in-depth study of a project in the oil and gas construction industry, examining how the Levers of Control model is used in the day-to-day activities of the project. The paper was accepted by the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC) to be presented. Rezania hopes the study’s next phase will be completed in the next few months, and after that he plans to invite the business community to MacEwan to have a
which Rezania gained before he took a job at MacEwan University six years ago. Rezania hopes to develop further studies this fall with eight new IT case studies. He also wants to hire a few students, this time as research assistants, and has applied for a grant to do so. Rezania says such a research opportunity is important for undergraduate students, as research experience helps develop the ability to inquire. Instructors need to help students develop inquiring research skills by creating an environment in which they can experience it and get involved, Rezania says. “Even if it’s just a discussion about what we do, that will help them understand how knowledge is actually produced, created, and applied.” Rezania’s PhD relates to team performance,
By better understanding how projects are controlled, project management practices can improve. conversation about the results. “It’s a topic that people show an interest in because projects often run out of time and are over budget,” Rezania says, adding more than 50 per cent of IT projects fail completely, while construction projects are frequently over budget or deliver sub-par quality of goods. Management control systems help project managers to make decisions that lead to efficient and effective achievement of project goals. By better understanding how projects are controlled, project management knowledge will increase and project management practices can improve. Those changes will benefit any firms that use project management as a way to manage business. Rezania and his student team used data from four local case studies to determine how project managers actually control their project and which lever system they use, if any. The preliminary studies have found that project managers are indeed using all four control systems, something Rezania finds encouraging, but not completely surprising. “I was expecting to get that result because of my own background and reflecting on my own experience,” he says. That background includes eight years of IT project management experience,
which led to his involvement in a second study he is working on as a secondary researcher to Bob Gurney, a MacEwan Bachelor of Commerce Instructor. That study is based on the “psychological contract” between a coach and the team. It goes beyond any formal contracts but into the promises team members make and the relationship between fulfilling the psychological contract and a team’s performance. A third study that Rezania is part of is a collaboration of four faculty members regarding how business schools build the capacity to transfer knowledge. Last year they completed a study about how knowledge was transferred from consultants to projects teams. They’re now looking at a broader scope and how business schools are building capabilities to transfer managerial knowledge in general, transfer knowledge from the industry in the curriculum or simply transferring knowledge from instructors to students. It’s an ongoing process of teaching, researching and learning. “When our students have graduated, we can say our graduates have developed researcher skills,” says Rezania. “If we, ourselves, are not engaged in research then how can we get them engaged?”
START TALKING Conversation is at the core of a MacEwan University School of Business forum that connects researchers with local businesses
By Matt Hirji
he goal of a recent forum hosted at MacEwan University was simple: start a conversation between MacEwan University School of Business and businesses in Edmonton. This MacEwan University event, called the Business Research Information Exchange Forum (BRIEF), had more than 50 people share ideas and information about how academic research can be used to build better communities. MacEwan BRIEF took place at the University’s City Centre campus in mid-April and was the first event of its kind hosted by the School of Business. The full-day forum featured two keynote speakers, a panel discussion and several opportunities for the members of the business community in attendance to interact directly with the presenters and faculty at the University. For Davar Rezania, Chair of the Bachelor of Commerce program in MacEwan University School of Business, the forum is integral to the continued success of the business school. “The School of Business at MacEwan is a part of the community and we are always striving to engage with the business community here in Edmonton,” Rezania said. “One way we can reach that objective is to engage with the business community about our research.” Rezania said that the forum was about starting a conversation. “Let’s get feedback about the research’s relevance and interest. Let’s see if [business owners] have ideas about how to meet their needs with the research. We want to listen, have ears for their feedback and have a conversation with them.” The forum featured speeches from Khaled Elbeblawy, CFO of TAQA Arabia in Egypt, as well as a keynote speech from Victor Prybutok, a Professor and Associate Dean at the University of North Texas. Both Elbeblawy and Prybutok offered insight into how research can be used to create better local businesses. While Elbeblawy focused his
presentation on TAQA Arabia’s application of financial algorithms to optimize its business strategies, Prybutok took a distinctly different approach. Prybutok, drawing on his extensive knowledge on the topic, focused his discussion on the practical applications of technology to better understand why consumers make certain decisions – a concept that resonated with the forum’s attendees. In addition to international presentations, the BRIEF symposium had a distinctly local spotlight. Five faculty members from MacEwan University School of Business made presentations about their own areas of research. Topics ranged from a comparative study between Islamic and traditional banking systems to research on how to encourage consumers to purchase premium local food. One presentation offered insight into the benefits and drawbacks of being identified as a family business. Muhammad Hossain, a professor at MacEwan and one of the presenters at the forum, focused his discussion on using strategies of Islamic financing systems in western business practices. After the conclusion of the conference, he said that his research had been well received by many attendees. “I think it went very well. It went better than I could have ever expected,” Hossain said. “While we may not see immediate results, generally I’ve received quite a lot of feedback and additional questions from people that were at the conference. I think people are beginning to take more of an interest in my research. There will be a continued demand from the business community that is looking to gain knowledge from how financial systems are administered in different cultures. Having this conference was a way to share those things.” On paper, considering the success of the inaugural forum, it may www.MacEwan.ca/business
BUILDING BONDS: MacEwan BRIEF allowed opportunities for personal dialogue and networking between researchers and local business people
seem a given that university business faculties should interact with the businesses that put their research into practise. But according to Rezania, collaborative research forums between academia and local entrepreneurs are just not part of the business culture in North America. One of the reasons for the gap is that academic research, with its complex lanuage, can have the tendency to push non-academics away. “It’s a challenge throughout academia,” said Brad King, a Commerce instructor at MacEwan University and one of the organizers of BRIEF. “There is a noticeable gap between academic research and what is put into practise. What often fills that gap are consultants who are taking some research they are reading about and apply it to the practice while charging consulting fees. The academic community is seeing that and wanting to connect more directly with the business community to avoid situations where our research is lost in translation.” For King, the key to decreasing the distance between academia and the entrepreneurs that put research into practise is to start talking. He’s optimistic that if dialogue occurs between both groups, it will be beneficial not only for academic institutions and businesses, but for Edmonton as a whole. “Increasing MacEwan University School of Business
interaction and discussion between our faculty and local business is something that is of utmost importance. Having this forum is just another way for us to do that,” said King, who worked in the private sector for more than 25 years before becoming a full-time instructor at MacEwan University. Those conversations help to ensure the research that the faculty is completing is practical. “A way to determine that is to work with local business to get their feedback,” King says. “We want to have a conversation with [businesses] about what challenges they are facing now, and what opportunities they have right now that they would like to develop.” With an awareness of these challenges, MacEwan BRIEF allowed plenty of opportunities for personal dialogue and networking. It was a chance for researchers and entrepreneurs to interact, share and develop ideas. A major topic of conversation in those discussions was how research could be used to allow local companies to make strategic choices to become more competitive. As economies become more global, homegrown businesses are looking for an advantage over international competition – something the MacEwan University School of Business helps with.
“If we can help our local business community become more competitive by having better business practices based on knowledge gained from research, then that is a good thing for those businesses and the Edmonton community as a whole,” King said. In order to achieve this end result, there are plenty of hurdles that need to be overcome. The strong walls of traditional business practices must be broken down and, as Rezania notes, universities need to begin to offer value to the entrepreneurs that could potentially benefit from the vast array of research that business schools focus on. Rezania is the first to admit that the process to building stronger bonds with local businesses will take time. But considering the success of MacEwan BRIEF, he remains optimistic that the bonds will continue to develop. “The university is growing more and engagement with the business community should be growing along side it. It’s something that we want to foster more,” Rezania said. “Five years ago, we were really only a teaching university. This has changed dramatically. While we still teach, we are doing research. We have been really engaged with students, but now we would like to be a part of the business community outside our walls.” aspire
By Matt Hirji
Becoming a race-car driver involves technical abilities and marketing know-how. Stefan Rzadzinski splits his time between the classroom and racetrack, perfecting both skills p.32
urtling down a track in a car at more than 270 kilometres an hour would be far from relaxing for most people. But for Stefan Rzadzinski, an aspiring racecar driver from Edmonton, that’s when he’s entirely at ease. “When you are going really fast the car feels like an extension of yourself,” Rzadzinski says. “It’s almost like a spiritual experience. You are throwing it to the limit, and when you get to that point, the world slows down around you. Everything feels very smooth and calm, but the road is just rushing past you. You’re strapped into your seat, but it feels like you’re flying.”
Rzadzinski has always wanted to burn rubber. The 19-year-old Edmonton native, who took the winter 2012 semester off from his studies at MacEwan University School of Business to focus on his race-car driving career full-time, was attracted to the sport from an early age. The loud sounds, sharp smells and powerful adrenaline that is inherent in race-car driving first caught his interest when, as a child, he watched a car race on TV with his father. But it was only recently that Rzadzinski realized that he could make going zero to 60 in 2.8 seconds into a career. Now he’s making a run of it in the Star Mazda series – the high-speed training ground for open-wheel racing championships like IndyCar and Formula One. (Open-wheel or Formula cars feature wheels outside the car’s main body and are usually built specifically for racing.) “I knew from kindergarten that I wanted to be a race-car driver, and I’ve never changed that. A lot of six-year-olds have that dream. I just took it seriously,” Rzadzinski says. “In my teens I started to take it even more seriously. I knew if I was going to make that next step I was going to have to prepare for it. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I started to try to get sponsorship.” Finding funding, it turns out, is as much a part of open-wheel racing as turning the wheel. Each year, Rzadzinski must raise more than half a million dollars from sponsors to pay for his gas, travel expenses, and the salaries of his mechanics, among a long list of other expenses. Even tires, which cost $1,200 dollars each and are replaced every half
“You’re strapped into your seat, but it feels like you’re flying,” says Stefan Rzadzinski, a MacEwan University marketing student and race-car driver. hour of racing, must be budgeted for. Rzadzinski’s efforts to learn more about marketing himself and finding sponsorships led him to MacEwan University for a business degree. Through his studies, Rzadzinski has learned how he can market himself to corporate sponsors interested in his racing career. While he took last semester off, he’s returning to MacEwan this fall. He’s launched a Powered by Alberta business team and stays busy networking MacEwan University School of Business
with companies and talking to potential sponsors. “There are a lot of fast drivers out there, but it’s not a sport that is only based on racing talent because you have to find sponsorship. About 80 or 90 per cent of my job is finding the actual budget to race,” Rzadzinski says. “One of the reasons why I’m at MacEwan for business is to learn more about the business side of sport so that I might be able to get an edge on the competition on that side of things.”
But finding the funds to continue his racing career isn’t the only thing that Rzadzinski has to worry about. There’s the driving part too: Rzadzinski races a 250-horsepower, 1.3-litre race-car featured in the Star Mazda championship. It’s more than just gas, brake, left and right. Open-wheel racing has evolved into a highly technical sport that requires drivers to make snap decisions just to navigate their way around the track. Rzadzinski has achieved an IndyCar license, one that drivers must apply for, and is the first Albertan to do so. He competed in the Firestone Indy Lights races in Edmonton in 2011. So far, Rzadzinski has competed in 46 sanctioned races and claimed 19 podium finishes, six wins and five fastest laps. Races can be physically exhausting. As aspire
FAST LANE LEARNING
G-forces take a toll on the driver’s muscles, he or she must still remain mentally sharp to reach the finish line. To qualify for the IndyCar circuit – the pinnacle of the sport in North America – Rzadzinski will need to continually hone his technical abilities. He’ll also have to overcome any fear of speed. “Some of it comes from just saying that you are going to take a really fast corner and gun it without laying off the gas. It’s a big mental adjustment to push the car to that threshold limit. You may think there’s some risk involved in going at that speed, but you just have to suck it up, be brave and go for it. It’s part of the thrill,” he says. The road claiming the checkered flag at the Indianapolis 500 remains a long one p.34
for Rzadzinski, but that’s not slowing him down. Winning that race – and representing Edmonton on the big stage – is his ultimate goal. And with a little luck, combined with the determination and skill he’s already demonstrated, he may just be standing atop the podium with the best race-car drivers in the world one day. “It’s what I’m shooting for. It’s where I want to be. It would be a dream to get to that level,” Rzadzinski says. “But I have to be 100 per cent committed to it every day, otherwise I’m not giving myself a chance.” For now, the business student and race-car driver is pleased with his achievements so far. “I’m living a dream right now,” he says. “I’m still young and anything can happen.” www.macewan.ca/business
ABROAD Spring School in Barcelona is personally fulfilling for students – and a boost to their future job search By Robin Schroffel
nternational experience is one of the most valuable things a new graduate can have. And thanks to MacEwan University’s connections around the globe, more and more of its students are graduating with the experience of time spent overseas. But the international opportunities available to MacEwan University students don’t just come in the form of structured study tours. Spring school in Barcelona, Spain, provides a unique chance for students in the Bachelor of Commerce program to spend a month abroad attending a world-class institution – on their own terms. In 2012, 20 MacEwan University students flew to Barcelona to attend the Toulouse Business School – Barcelona Campus, one of only 57 schools worldwide to be awarded the Triple Crown accreditation of AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. The students, all third or fourth years with at least 60 credits and GPAs of 2.5 or higher, each chose one of three English-language master’s-level courses to take for transfer credit. The options were accounting, strategy and entrepreneurship. In addition, many opted to take a Spanish For Business Language course at no extra cost. The courses, which began May 1 and ended May 31, presented an incredible opportunity to experience education abroad, work closely with an international group of students, and be immersed in a foreign culture. John Alexander, a junior Project Co-ordinator with MacEwan University School of Business who graduated in 2011 with a BCom, was one of 12 students who took part in the spring school’s pilot program last year. No faculty accompanied the group, and the students were housed in off-campus flats in groups of four, each a short commute away from the other. As an avid independent traveller, Alexander says the spring school was a perfect fit for him and other students who may have had previous experience abroad or who may have clashed
with the more structured, supervised study-tour format. Unlike a study tour, in which most hours are scheduled and accounted for, the only commitments the Barcelona students had were to their course, which typically ran for three hours a day. Homework was done at the students’ convenience, and there was enough free time left over for short trips around Spain and into France and Italy for those who wanted to go. But despite the excitement of being in a new city, Alexander found that, rather than wishing he was on the beach instead of in class, he truly enjoyed the time spent at the business school. “It was a privilege to be in the classroom,” he says. Attending class in a foreign country was quite unlike the educational experience at home, according to Alexander. The system in Europe has long been of the “teacher lectures, student listens” variety, something business schools abroad are moving away from to some extent. The professors at the Toulouse Business School are brilliant, Alexander says, and that old-school approach can be both challenging and inspiring. “The teachers are a lot more forward and demanding of you over there. If they’re going to ask you a question, you’re not going to get away without answering it,” he says. For Alexander, who enjoys participating in class discussions, it was an ideal situation. He found that the dialogue between members of such an international group was particularly enlightening. “It’s very interesting being in a classroom with people from France and Serbia and Sweden and Finland who can all speak English relatively well, but who all have such different perspectives on things. A lot of that has to do with where they come from and what things are like back home,” Alexander says. Classroom discussions weren’t the only time the MacEwan University students interacted with their European classmates. The dozenwww.MacEwan.ca/business
Those international cultural experiences are more valuable than students may realize, says Kimberley Howard, a Project Manager at MacEwan University.
strong group, none of whom really knew each other before the spring school, not only became close friends with each other but with the rest of the students as well. Fridaynight flat hangouts with French classmates were commonplace, as were group outings to Barcelona’s beachfront. Those international cultural experiences are more valuable than students may realize, says Kimberley Howard, a Project Manager at MacEwan University who is responsible for organizing the spring school. “Employers consider it a huge advantage,” she says. One graduate’s India study-tour experience recently landed him a high-level position with Deloitte, and Howard explains that the Barcelona spring school offers similar benefits. “In addition to being an advantage for a career, it’s also very personally fulfilling for these students.” Alexander looks back on his time in the Barcelona spring school fondly, and encourages others to head abroad as a part of their MacEwan University experience. “I think I got a very good educational experience as well as certainly a cultural experience. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a challenge, who can appreciate higher education, and can appreciate independence.” MacEwan University School of Business
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE: John Alexander was one of 12 students who travelled to Barcelona last spring, where he took these photos
Michelle Malin, Instructor, Accounting and Taxation
PHOTO: BLUEFISH STUDIOS
Two new faculty members bring their extensive on-the-job expertise to MacEwan University
Taxes may seem like drudgery to many, but for MacEwan University instructor Michelle Malin, they’re a passion. Her enthusiasm for the intricacies of taxation benefits students in both the Bachelor of Commerce program at City Centre Campus and the Accounting and Strategic Measurement diploma program at South Campus. Malin’s interest in taxes began a few years into her professional career. After receiving a bachelor’s degree of commerce from the University of Alberta, a master’s in professional accounting from the University of Saskatchewan and a chartered accounting designation, Malin decided to specialize and entered the tax department at the public practice firm she was working for. “I really enjoy the way tax legislation is written,” she says. The complexity of tax – the tiny details, specific rules and minute bits of information – drew Malin in, and she takes pride in the fact that her chosen specialty helps others. “Everyone has to do tax to a certain extent because we all have to file tax returns. So it’s nice to be able to help people understand something they don’t, help them file tax returns, and maybe even help them save money by doing some tax planning.” Once becoming a specialist, Malin shared her expertise with others in the workplace by hosting in-house taxation seminars to provide income tax updates and training. She enjoyed it so much that she began moonlighting as a tax instructor for NAIT’s continuing education
program. “I was working all day in public practice and then teaching in the evenings at NAIT, one evening a week. That was my favourite day of the week.” Malin had found her calling, and joined MacEwan University in the spring of 2011. Her life experience working in accounting has given Malin ample material to share with students, and these examples help to bring a practical element to her classes. “I try to incorporate stories about clients that I’ve worked with into my teaching. Sometimes they’re funny, and they’re realistic stories about what students could be doing in a couple of years,” she says. Knowing the everyday happenings of the workplace doesn’t hurt, either: it’s one of the subjects Malin’s students pick her brain about the most. Malin went through the articling process at a large accounting firm and is able to explain what happens and tell students what they can expect. This past fall, Malin taught an introductory accounting course, along with an accounting information systems course. During the winter semester, she taught an introductory tax course and an auditing course. And over both semesters, she taught Accounting 162, a tax course on South Campus. Malin realizes tax can be a tricky subject, but she has her fingers crossed that her enthusiasm for the topic is infectious. “I hope the students in my tax class pick up on how much I like it and maybe that influences them to enjoy tax as well.”
FACULTY PROFILES Brad King, Instructor, Bachelor of Commerce program
NSIGHTS By Robin Schroffel
MacEwan University School of Business
ed with. Eventually, King relocated to Alberta to take a position as vice-president of finance with an Edmonton-based construction company. He spent 5 years in the role before deciding he was ready for a change – one that’s been a boon to MacEwan University students. Sharing his knowledge is a longtime interest of King’s: his first teaching gig came in 1989, not long after he first graduated. King always intended to teach full-time later in his career, and so he continued to instruct part-time before joining MacEwan University full-time this past fall. King brings years of expertise in the field and has some canny insights to pass onto students. “I know what students are going to be expected to do when they leave. In addition to just teaching them the material, I try to give them a sense of what the expectations are when they get an accounting job,” he says. King also makes a point to share insight into accounting career opportunities, and how best to take advantage of them. “There’s a high demand for accountants, and if you’re dedicated, you can advance fairly quickly compared to some other fields,” he says. But it takes focus, hard work and dedication to succeed. The courses at MacEwan University offer everything a prospective accountant needs, says King, provided the student is prepared to put his or her full effort into learning. “Students that pay attention and work hard at their courses and do well can go out into their first accounting job, contribute immediately and get noticed immediately,” he says.
PHOTO: BLUEFISH STUDIOS
Students who do continue on with accounting studies will likely be taught be Brad King, a MacEwan University instructor who teaches 300- and 400-level accounting courses at the City Centre Campus. Students in MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Commerce program graduate with all the skills necessary to hit the ground running in the workplace. It’s important to keep this message in mind, says King. “When they go to their first job, they have the most up-to-date accounting education and in many cases will be more up-to-date than some people they would work for,” he says. “They need to go out into the job knowing that they have the accounting knowledge and can contribute immediately, not to sit back and wait for someone to tell them what to do.” Taking a similarly proactive approach helped jump-start King’s own career 27 years ago. He was the newest accountant at one of the country’s largest forest products companies, and on his first day on the job, he caught a major mistake in an important financial statement. “I made an immediate contribution that was recognized and helped me for many years with that employer because they knew that I had the knowledge and could put it in practice,” he says. Confidence in himself and his abilities propelled King, a Certified General Accountant who holds a master’s degree from the University of Alberta, through the ranks. He advanced to become a divisional controller and finally an accounting manager with the same British Columbia forestry company he’d initially start-
Well Prepared The relationships formed at MacEwan University help grad navigate her dream job
PHOTO: BLUEFISH STUDIOS
By Robin Schroffel
Allison Graumann Bachelor of Commerce, Management major (2011) When Allison Graumann leaves her downtown office job at Leger Marketing, she’s always happy to run into one of her former MacEwan University instructors on the street. As a research analyst, she knows it’s not only the practical skills she learned in the classroom that got her where she is today; the relationships Graumann developed with her instructors have also played a huge role in her current success. “The biggest thing that you leave with from MacEwan is the relationships that you made with your instructors. They change your life, really. They remember your name, and genuinely care about you, and are so happy for the success that you’ve found,” she says. Graumann, 25, graduated from the Bachelor of Commerce program majoring in Management in April 2011. By September, she had landed a dream job. “I was one of the lucky ones,” she says. “Leger Marketing is a company I really wanted to work for.” For years, Graumann had seen the company’s name in the media as the source of data in political polls and other statistics. Today, she’s right in the middle of the action, creating questionnaires and breaking down data for clients who hire the company to conduct market research. The results enable companies to understand public perception of their brands, find out how new products are working for them, and other important information. Based on the findings, recommendations are made and changes enacted.
The education she received at MacEwan University has enabled Graumann to excel in her position. And she’s continually surprised and grateful for the way her degree has prepared her for the workforce. “Even a class like statistics, which many students don’t think they’ll ever use. It’s amazing to see how much of it you do actually use in the day-to-day world and in real life, and how much other companies rely on it,” she says. Technology, of course, plays a role in Graumann’s job, but it’s the foundation she received at MacEwan University that enables her to break things down into everyday language so her clients can understand what they’re looking at. “If I didn’t have the understanding that I do from MacEwan, I wouldn’t be able to have any depth to my reporting,” she says. And it’s not just her statistics background that’s helping her. The professional writing courses Graumann completed have given her a means to communicate successfully. “Not everyone understands statistics lingo,” she says. “Being able to write in layman’s terms is one of the most important things I learned.” Graumann’s new career is satisfying to her for a number of reasons, but most of all she appreciates the new insight it gives her into what’s going on in the city and around the world. “I’m learning things that I never knew before. I have a greater understanding of what’s happening in politics and in different business, and I have a better sense of Edmonton as a city and of its business side.”
Beyond Par Golf grad is swinging for career success, with coveted position at Highlands Golf Club
PHOTO: BLUEFISH STUDIOS
By Sandy Joe Karpetz
Landon Hargreaves Professional Golf Management (2006) Landon Hargreaves knew what path his career would take from an early age. Hargreaves, who boasted his first hole-in-one at age eight, didn’t hesitate when it came time to choose a post-secondary route: MacEwan University’s Professional Golf Management program was a natural fit. Now Hargreaves, 27, has achieved his coveted position as Head Golf Professional at Highlands Golf Club, located in the heart of Edmonton’s river valley. “I always wanted to come back here. This is where I grew up and my wife and I met here as well,” says Hargreaves, who took the position in January 2012. Prior to that, he was Assistant Golf Professional at the Edmonton Country Club for four years. Hargreaves graduated from MacEwan University with a professional golf management diploma in 2006. His top-of-the-class average led to multiple scholarships over the course of his education. In addition to his top GPA, Hargreaves was also actively involved in the student advisory committee for the Professional Golf Management program and helped plan the Tournament of Aces (now the Pro-Am), a MacEwan University fundraiser. When Hargreaves was enrolled at MacEwan University, the business school did not offer a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, so he continued his education at the University of Lethbridge. He continued working and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Management. “The schooling I did gave me everything I needed to be set in my career,” Hargreaves says. While he wishes he could have completed
MacEwan University School of Business
his entire degree at MacEwan University, he enjoyed his two years at the institute, especially the small class sizes. “Overall I really liked it. MacEwan has a good atmosphere; it’s not like being with 400 people in a class,” he says. Hargreaves’ memories of MacEwan University extend beyond the professional goals he has accomplished. “The biggest highlight would be that my (future) wife and I ran into each there and started dating,” Hargreaves says. “Other highlights would be the friends and relationships that I made while I was there, with both students and instructors. I am still in touch with a lot of them.” An average day in the life of Hargreaves includes tending to the 650 members of the Highlands Golf Club, as well as managing some 20 staff members. “Unfortunately the golf pro isn’t necessarily golfing everyday. It’s a lot of behind the scenes work; essentially it’s a business now,” he says. Not that that makes for a bogey of a job, though. “It’s nice to wake up and get here, the grass is freshly cut, there are birds chirping and a rabbit hopping around or a coyote on the first hole,” Hargreaves says. “If you’re having a rough day, you can step outside the pro shop and you’re right there in nature. It’s nice that way.” Hargreaves also has wisdom for future MacEwan University students interested in following a similar career path. “In terms of my career and where the golf industry is going, I think everyone will need a degree in order to get the bigger jobs out there,” he says. “It will only go more towards that in the future.”
Exit Advice By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth
THE RIGHT IMPRESSION Communication and visibility are key strategies for small businesses looking to attract new talent
PHOTO BY STEPHEN WAN
For many MacEwan University School of Business students, the prospect of finding a job – be it a co-op placement, summer work or permanent position – can be daunting. What most students don’t realize is the process can be equally challenging for an employer. Many small- and medium-sized businesses in Edmonton struggle when it comes to attracting star students. MacEwan University School of Business students and graduates offer a unique blend of academic credentials and hands-on training, making them ideal candidates for smaller companies that need employees to bring a variety of skills to a single position. Carmen Pollock is a recruiting manager at Office Team, a division of Robert Half International, and has placed many MacEwan University students and graduates. She says that companies appreciate how MacEwan University students can hit the ground running. “[MacEwan University programs] are very hands-on and have smaller class sizes, so the students not only get a lot of theory, but also a lot of practical application,” Pollock says.
1. Reach out to students in a variety of ways, including online job boards or career fairs MacEwan University’s Career Services offer tools for businesses to recruit prospective employees, including online job postings and various career fairs throughout the school year. In addition to these strategies, which can work particularly well for larger, well-known companies, there are practices small businesses can use in order to attract new talent.
2. Also engage on a personal level, such as presenting in a classroom, at the Student Business Conference or to on-campus clubs Human resources professional and MacEwan University HR Management instructor Don Schepens suggests small businesses p.42
can also reach out to students on a more personal level. “For a lot of students looking, it’s not about finding a job,” Schepens says. “It’s about finding the job.” Schepens advises companies to reach out on a personal level and find a way to speak directly to students. This could mean presenting information in the classroom, advising students on business skills at the Student Business Conference, or developing professional relationships with instructors – who can, in turn, advise students on job prospects.
3. Get involved with on-campus activities Employers can also approach on-campus clubs, such as the Human Resources Management Student Society, which runs mentorship programs and networking events to bring students and potential employers together.
4. Use social networking to help make your company visible to prospective employees Connecting with students doesn’t always have to involve a faceto-face interaction. Pollock offers a tip: use social networking. Social networking not only opens the lines of communication, but also tells students that your company is modern and ready to work with young people. “If a company has a Facebook page or LinkedIn page, students will automatically gravitate to those organizations,” Pollock says. Hiring students and recent graduates from MacEwan University School of Business can be immensely rewarding for both businesses and the students themselves. In this job market, the key is communication and visibility. “Networking is really important, but it’s not who you know,” Schepens says. “It’s who knows about you. www.MacEwan.ca/business
Published on Jun 19, 2012