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A Western Canadian business school dean is heading east to take up the reins at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business in Hamilton, Ont.
For his new post, which takes effect Jan. 1, Leonard Waverman says he hopes to draw on his experience as dean of the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, where he is wrapping up a four-year stint.
“What I have learned from Haskayne is that the best thing to do is to develop that [game-plan] with the faculty, students and stakeholders,” forgoing preconceived notions, he says.
For example, he says that when he arrived at the Calgary school in 2008, there was no talk of creating the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business, now integral to the school’s strategy to develop a curriculum for a new generation of ethical business leaders.
“It [the centre] just developed with lots of discussions about what we are good at and what is our DNA,” says Prof. Waverman. “It will be a similar discussion [at DeGroote] about what is our competitive advantage and what do we bring that is unique to the world.”
He says DeGroote is known for its co-operative MBA program, which includes four academic semesters and three 4-month work terms, and its focus on experiential learning opportunities for students.
He comes to a school of 65 faculty and more than 2,500 students that has been without a permanent dean since 2010, when bitter infighting led to the resignation of former business executive Paul Bates (who remains on faculty).
Prof. Waverman says such “unfortunate circumstances” are not unique to DeGroote, noting he arrived at Haskayne after a great deal of turnover that made him the fifth dean in 10 years.
“Experience does give you a number of things and one of them is humility,” he says wryly. “As dean, you are one person and if you don’t have engagement and everyone working together then you can’t do anything.”
He predicts “there are lots of good ideas that will well up from people.”
At Haskayne, with a faculty of 200 and 3,000 students, Jim Dewald has been appointed interim dean pending the arrival of Prof. Waverman’s successor in July.
Prof. Dewald is an associate professor in strategy and global management and director of real estate and entrepreneurial studies at the school. Haskayne officials say he will continue with the strategic plan put in place by the outgoing dean, including the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business and several other centres.
Finance lab at Ryerson
One is a bank and one is a business school but they share similar interests in spite of their institutional differences.
That’s one reason why National Bank of Canada has decided to donate $330,000 over seven years to Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management for a dedicated lab with 12 Bloomberg financial data terminals, putting students and faculty on the same footing as finance professionals.
“They are not as big [in name] as Rotman or Schulich,” says Pat Minicucci, senior vice-present of personal and commercial banking at National Bank, a reference to better-known business schools at the University of Toronto and York University, respectively. The same holds true, he says, for his bank, which ranks 6th among Canadian banks in assets. “We are not one of the Big 5 Banks; we are the smallest of the big Canadian banks,” he says.
Mr. Minicucci also sees similarities between his bank and the Rogers school in serving an ethnically-diverse market in the Toronto area, a view shared by Rogers dean Ken Jones.
“Like National Bank, we are making our mark,” he says. “We are the business school that serves the needs, and connects with, the Toronto business community and serves the needs of the first- and second-generation [immigrants], the new Toronto,” says Prof. Jones.
With more than 9,000 undergraduate business students (as well as graduate students), Rogers plans to open a new school of accounting and finance next year – another draw for National Bank.
Across Canada, a growing number of business schools have received donor gifts for dedicated financial labs and trading rooms.
With its bank donation, Rogers has set up a dedicated lab to house the terminals that enable students and faculty to analyze real-time financial market data and place trades on the electronic trading platform. Users will also have access to historical information, research and other tools for analyzing financial trends.
“It is all about data and the ability to analyze data,” says Prof. Jones. “This gives us a state-of-the-art system from a user’s point of view.”
Mr. Minicucci says the relationship with Rogers – his bank also works with a number of other business schools in Canada – creates opportunities to connect with young graduates as potential future bankers.
“It is a great fit,” he says of the donation to Rogers.
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