Beedie Newsroom » Simon Fraser University Faculty of Business Administration at Simon Fraser University Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:11:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ian McCarthy ranked among Top 50 Professors on Twitter Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:11:43 +0000 McCarthy_Ian_crop

Ian McCarthy, associate dean of graduate programs at the Beedie School of Business.

Ian McCarthy, associate dean of graduate programs at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, has for the second year in a row been included on a prestigious list of the top 50 professors using Twitter.  

McCarthy’s inclusion in the Leadership section of the LDRLB Top 50 Professors on Twitter sees him named alongside some of the most influential academics who are active on social media today.

The LDRLB list honours the top 50 professors on Twitter in three categories; Leadership, Innovation, and Strategy, as well as giving honorable mentions to five professors who do not fulfill the criteria of the three main categories.

LDRLB is an online think tank that shares insights from research on leadership, innovation, and strategy. The Top 50 Professors on Twitter list recognizes those professors who consistently build upon their body of knowledge and further the goal of evidence-based leadership through the use of Twitter.

McCarthy’s inclusion in the list sees him ranked alongside distinguished luminaries from institutions such as Harvard University, Stanford University, London Business School and the University of Oxford.

“It is a great honour to be selected for this list for the second year in a row,” said McCarthy, who is also Professor and Canada Research Chair in Technology & Operations Management at the Beedie School of Business. “Social media plays a prominent role in my academic research, not only in terms of studies on the subject, but also in broadcasting my research to a wider audience.”

The top 50 professors were selected through a combination of recommendations from past winners and new nominations. The field was then further narrowed through the use of prominent social media metric Klout’s scores instead of follower count.

By using Klout – which measures influence through data compiled through selected media channels, such as unique mentions and Facebook comments and likes – as opposed to the number of followers each professor has, LDRLB aimed to reward those professors who focus their influence on smaller fields as much as those tweeting about more mainstream subjects.

To view the full Top 50 Professors on Twitter list, visit

To follow more Beedie School of Business faculty on social media, visit

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Georgia Straight: Vancouver student entrepreneurs learn new ways to launch ventures Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:13:07 +0000 Lubik_Sarah (20)fin

Sarah Lubik, lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at the Beedie School of Business.

The following is an excerpt from the full article published in the Georgia Straight on August 20, 2014, and features comment from Beedie School of Business lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation Sarah Lubik.


A small pop-up shop on the edge of Chinatown seems like an unusual location for a post-secondary business-education class. But here at 434 Columbia Street between Pender and Hastings on a Sunday afternoon, Emily Carr University of Art + Design master’s students Andreas Eiken and Maia Rowan are teaching more than a dozen undergrads.

Half are from their institution and half are from SFU’s Beedie School of Business. The undergrads are hunched over laptops, chatting in groups, sitting near a sewing machine, or being filmed for a documentary.

In an interview outside the store, Eiken explains that five groups of design and business students are working here for a week trying to sell products, most of which were created to promote greater sustainability.

“There’s a kit to help people learn about how to repair their clothes themselves,” he says. “Another project is to help people do laundry while travelling so…people won’t bring as much stuff with them. There’s an app to help people connect with the community.”

Another product, called the Box Band, secures home-cooked food in containers that don’t leak. A product called Jayde enables single-use bathroom products to be composted rather than sent to landfills.

Rowan points out that design and business students worked collaboratively at the outset, rather than coming up with ideas separately.

“They did their research together,” she says. “They generated ideas around what their product would be and also looked into what the business model would be to get those products into the world.”

It’s part of the platFORM program bringing together Emily Carr and SFU students—one of many imaginative postsecondary initiatives advancing entrepreneurship across the Lower Mainland.

Whether it’s learning about the “lean launchpad” movement for startups at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, enrolling in a 10-week accelerated venture program at the B.C. Institute of Technology, or taking part-time courses at Langara College on owning a business, there’s a plethora of educational opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs.

Sometimes the students come from abroad. In October, for instance, Douglas College will host 10 young people from Zambia who will learn entrepreneurial skills. It’s part of the college’s Zambia Global Leadership Program, which also offers Douglas students a chance to do three-month practicums in the southern African country.

Sarah Lubik, a lecturer in entrepreneurship and innovation at the Beedie School, tells the Straight by phone that SFU is emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach to education in this area. The platFORM program is just one example.

Lubik, also SFU’s director of technology entrepreneurship, mentions that the school is close to gaining final approval for a grad certificate for postdocs and PhD students in science-and-technology commercialization. This fall, SFU will introduce a 200-level introductory course on entrepreneurship and innovation that will open upper-division classes to everyone from every faculty. It will emphasize team-based approaches to bringing together people from different disciplines.

“The reason I keep saying ‘team’,” she says, “is because traditionally, business schools have tried to teach entrepreneurship to business students, not realizing that as soon as you get out into the real world, you’re going to be working with people who don’t speak that language—who are completely different from you, who speak science or speak engineering or what have you. Not having any real experience at working with those kind of people doesn’t give you a realistic experience.”

Lubik, who’s involved in a diving-related startup, points out that you don’t have to take courses in business fundamentals—such as economics, managerial finance, or accounting—to learn about entrepreneurship at SFU.

She adds that students can study marketing, project management, product development, and resourcing skills, including where to obtain financial help. While economic factors influence some students to want to launch their own companies, she says others draw inspiration from famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg.

“When we’re talking about entrepreneurship at SFU, we’re not just talking about starting your own business,” Lubik states. “We’re talking about whether you want to be an innovator in a big company, whether you want to start your own business, whether you want to start a not-for-profit, whether you want to be some sort of change maker—environmental or social change maker. We want to make sure our students have the tools to tackle whatever is their burning desire.”

To read the article in full, visit the Georgia Straight website.

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24 Hours Toronto: Specialized MBAs on the rise Mon, 11 Aug 2014 17:51:04 +0000 Daniel Shapiro, dean of the Beedie School of Business, teaching the Americas MBA for Executives cohort.

Daniel Shapiro, dean of the Beedie School of Business, teaching the Americas MBA for Executives cohort.

The following is an excerpt from the full article published in 24 Hours Toronto on August 11, 2014, and features comment from Beedie School of Business associate dean Ian McCarthy.


Specialized Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programs allow students to study in a “Silicon Valley culture” but as the number of specializations grows, it’s important to consider whether the credential you’re considering is simply a fad or if it will survive the litmus test.

“Business schools around the world are trying to distinguish themselves with specialized MBAs but you have to be careful which program you choose,” says Ian McCarthy, associate dean of graduate programs, Beedie School of Business at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University.

“I think there’s going to be a big burst of innovation with lots of specialist programs coming up but I think there will also be a big failure rate as they work out which ones the market really wants.”

McCarthy points to Beedie’s management of technology MBA as an example of a program with staying power. The first of its kind in Canada, it offers business and management education within the framework of technology/ biotechnology organizations.

The bulk of specialized MBAs focus on either an industry or a topic and if you’re certain of the direction you plan to take upon graduation, one may fit the bill. Some are even tailored to meet the needs of a corporation, including Beedie’s Teck graduate business program. “Teck is one of the world’s largest mining corporations,” McCarthy says. “All the classes are focused on learning outcomes related to people in that organization and the industry they work in.”

To read the article in full, visit the Toronto 24 Hours website.

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Remembering Alan Rugman, 1945-2014 Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:40:29 +0000 Alan RugmanIt is with great sadness that we announce that Professor Alan Rugman passed away on the morning of July 8, 2014, after a brief battle with cancer.

Alan Rugman was an outstanding academic and a leading figure in both International Business and Strategic Management. His research has had a profound impact on how both academics and practitioners around the world think about international business.

Born in England in 1945, Alan came to Canada to do his PhD in economics at Simon Fraser University. He had a great deal of affection for both his alma mater and the city of Vancouver, where he married his beloved wife Helen. He became a Canadian citizen in 1973.

Simon Fraser University honoured him with an Outstanding Alumni Award in 2010, an award he was deeply proud of. At the most recent Academy of International Business meetings in Vancouver, he often referred to the time that he and Helen spent here.

Alan went on to a most distinguished academic career. At the time of his death he was Head of International Business & Strategy at the Henley Business School at the University of Reading, and a founding fellow of the John Dunning Centre for International Business. Previously he held the L. Leslie Waters Chair of International Business at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, 2001-2009. He was Thames Water Fellow in Strategic Management at Templeton College, University of Oxford from 1998-2001.

However, he began his academic career in Canada where he held tenured positions at the University of Toronto from 1987-1998, Dalhousie University from 1979-1987, and the University of Winnipeg from 1970-1978. He has also been a visiting professor at Columbia Business School, London Business School, Harvard University, U.C.L.A., M.I.T., Warwick Business School, and the University of Paris-La Sorbonne.

Alan was an outstanding academic, and one of the founding fathers of what is today called international business. At the time of his graduation from SFU, the field of international business as we know it today did not really exist. Alan was an early proponent of Internalisation Theory, which along with the Eclectic Paradigm, formed the basis of theories of foreign direct investment. He developed these ideas in the 1970s, where he worked closely with other pioneers in this field, including Mark Casson, Peter Buckley and John Dunning.

In 1981 Rugman published one the seminal works on the theory, Inside the Multinationals: The Economics of Internal Markets (Columbia University Press, reissued in 2006). In this book Rugman first postulated the framework that underpins his thinking on multinational enterprise activity. He devoted much of his academic career to the Academy of International Business and served as its President from 2004-6. He was also Dean of the Fellows of the Academy (2011-2014).

His later academic work built up on these early seminal contributions, developing practical means to apply them to strategic management and studies of competitiveness of firms and countries. In a 20-year collaborative partnership with Alain Verbeke from the University of Calgary, they proposed a number of innovative approaches to understanding the consequences and implications of multinational enterprises, both for firms and countries, and the limits of globalization. The common feature of much of his later work was to translate complex economic reasoning into simple frameworks and models, making them easily accessible to a larger, non-specialist audience.

Over his career Alan published over 400 articles dealing with the economic, managerial, and strategic aspects of multinational enterprises and with trade and investment policy. These contributions make him one of the ten most cited scholars in the field of International Business worldwide.

He had a particular impact on Canadian public policy, having served as external advisor to two Canadian prime ministers on issues of trade, FDI and international competitiveness, and in such capacity advised on the negotiation and adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He believed strongly in the benefits of free trade and participated actively in the policy debate within Canada between pro- and anti-free trade advocates.

He will be remembered as a valued colleague and friend. International business scholars will remember him as intensely passionate with a love of debate, often undertaken with his characteristic caustic wit. He was also very kind and generous with his time, particularly for young scholars. His students and others have often noted that he was one of the few eminent scholars who were consistently approachable: he listened to their presentations, communicated with them and provided valuable feedback. He was a warm and gentle individual who treated all who approached him with respect and kindness. He is survived by his wife, Helen, and their son, Andrew.

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Globe and Mail: Departing dean reflects on his legacy Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:38:50 +0000 Daniel Shapiro, dean of the Beedie School of Business.

Daniel Shapiro, dean of the Beedie School of Business.

The following article was published in the Globe and Mail on July 28, 2014.

When Ryan Beedie and his father, Keith, donated $22-million in 2011 to Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., the family name went on the university’s business school. But the money went to people-related initiatives at the school, including scholarships, support for student competitions and faculty salaries.

Mr. Beedie, president of Beedie Development Group, said the gift had “no strings attached” and credits outgoing dean Daniel Shapiro for shaping the dispersal of funds over an eight-year period.

“He was the one to take these resources and shepherd them and decide how to allocate them,” says Mr. Beedie, who earned his undergraduate degree from SFU.

“It was his vision for the school,” he adds, of Dr. Shapiro. “We had to have that confidence in him, which we had in spades.”

The dean, who just announced he will wrap up a six-year term (including one year as interim dean) at the end of August, cites the Beedie donation as the most significant milestone of his tenure.

“That’s mostly because it has brought us to the public’s attention,” says Dr. Shapiro. “Students started to point it out when they went to competitions. They always felt that people [had] treated them differently because they were from a school that didn’t have a name.”

Some of the donation went to create a program of “Beedie ambassadors” for 15 top undergraduates a year to attend conferences and community events and meet local leaders. Other funds paid for student attendance at competitions. In addition, $5-million was earmarked for a new student-run investment fund, one of the largest in Canada.

In initiatives unrelated to the donation, Dr. Shapiro expanded the school’s international footprint with increased opportunities to study abroad and a new executive MBA developed in partnership with counterpart institutions in the United States, Mexico and Brazil. Participants study at their home institution before completing the degree in intensive residency sessions at each of the other three schools.

He also oversaw the development of an executive MBA in aboriginal business and leadership that teaches core business concepts while recognizing the role of traditional aboriginal knowledge in decision making.

At 67, Dr. Shapiro says he did not want another five-year term and, though offered a contract extension, chose not to take it. He will remain on the faculty, where he will pursue his interests in Asia-Pacific issues and his work, as chairman, with the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries in Development, set up to help developing countries rich in resources to promote sustainable growth and reduce poverty.

His successor is Blaize Horner Reich, RBC Professor of Technology and Innovation at the school, who will serve an interim 15-month term to December of 2015. A university-led search for a new dean will begin shortly, according to a school spokesman.

As a donor, Mr. Beedie says he is delighted about his family’s role in raising the school’s profile. “There is not a week that goes by where I don’t see an ad or billboard or an interview in the paper,” he says. “I had this wow moment. Is this for real? Did we really do this?”

Read the full article at the Globe and Mail website.

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Affirmative Action elicits bias in pro equality Caucasians: study Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:04:00 +0000 Brent McFerran, assistant professor, Beedie School of Business.

Brent McFerran, assistant professor, Beedie School of Business.

New research from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of Affirmative Action (AA) exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

The study found that while Caucasians who are against AA show bias towards Whites, those with ideological beliefs in favour of it are actually biased against their own race.

The paper, “What makes Affirmative Action-based hiring decisions seem (un)fair? A test of an ideological explanation for fairness judgments”, was co-authored by Brent McFerran, SFU’s Beedie School of Business; Jun Gu, Monash University; Karl Aquino, University of British Columbia; and Tai Gyu Kim, Korea University.

It was published in the July 2014 edition of the Journal of Organizational Behaviour.

The researchers studied the reactions of nearly 1,000 Caucasians to a situation where a less qualified African American candidate was hired over an Asian or Caucasian candidate, both equally qualified.

In order to ensure the results were not dependent upon contextual circumstances, three varied job types were used in the experiment: a university professor, a policeman, and a sales representative.

The results show that Caucasians who were ideologically opposed to AA judged the hiring decision as less fair when the Caucasian candidate was passed over in favour of a less qualified Black candidate than when a qualified Asian candidate was rejected.

Surprisingly, however, the study also revealed that Caucasians who strongly endorsed AA judged it less fair when the Asian candidate was passed over for the job than when the Caucasian was rejected.

“The research shows that Whites’ reaction to Affirmative Action is not solely based on the principles of meritocracy, but also on the adversely affected person’s race and the evaluator’s ideological beliefs,” says study co-author Brent McFerran.

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Undergraduate Alumni Impact Award honours engaged alumna Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:00:54 +0000 Jasmine Cumberland, winner of the 2014 Beedie Undergraduate Alumni Impact Award.

Jasmine Cumberland, winner of the 2014 Beedie Undergraduate Alumni Impact Award.

In 2014, the Beedie School of Business introduced a new award honouring its undergraduate alumni for their excellence in leadership and their contributions to the social, educational, and economic well being of current Beedie students or alumni.

Each year, the Beedie Undergraduate Alumni Impact Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who is highly engaged in the Beedie community, volunteering their time, talent, and resources to enrich the lives of undergraduate students or alumni.

The inaugural recipient of the Beedie Undergraduate Alumni Impact Award, Jasmine Cumberland, was not only actively engaged as a Beedie student, but has carried this sense of engagement with her since graduating from the BBA program.

As a student, Cumberland participated in the JDC West Business Competition, the largest business case competition in Western Canada, co-captaining the 2007 team to first place and the title of School of the Year.

Since graduating, she has ensured that her experience benefits the next generation of competitors, coaching the Beedie team in 2010 and 2011. She also acted as a member of the JDC West Board of Directors from 2011 to 2013, initially as board member, and then as chair of the board, where she developed new initiatives and strategies to ensure the longevity of the competition.

Recently, her contributions to the SFU alumni community saw her elected to the  SFU Alumni Association Board of Directors, where she helps support the vision and mission of the SFU Alumni Association.

Cumberland is currently a senior recruiter at Target Canada, where she established the company’s undergraduate internship program in Western Canada, and led the development of its first nationwide co-op program.

“I remain involved in the Beedie community because I took so much away from my experiences as a student both in and out of the classroom that I want current students to have the opportunity to develop throughout their academic careers as well,” says Cumberland. “I continue to take so much from my ongoing involvement, especially in meeting students to better understand how I can help from an employer perspective.”

The deadline for nominations for the 2015 BBA Alumni Impact Award is October 19. Visit for more information.

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NBC News: Even One Woman on the Board Makes a Difference Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:35:42 +0000 Beedie School of Business professor Judy Zaichkowsky.

Beedie School of Business professor Judy Zaichkowsky.

The following article about Beedie School of Business professor Judy Zaichkowsy’s research was published by NBC News on July 21, 2014.


A woman’s place is in the boardroom — if you want a better-run business, that is.

Corporate boards with greater gender diversity function better, and it takes just one woman to make a difference. While earlier research suggested that it takes a few women in the boardroom to move the needle, a new study shows that even the presence of a single female board member has a positive impact, especially in male-dominated industries.

“There’s been this number out there that you need three women on the board to make a difference. What I find is you don’t need three,” said Judy Zaichkowsky, marketing professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and author of the new research. “The idea that you need to have this big critical mass is not shown out in the data,” she said.

Zaichkowsky looked at corporate governance rankings of large, publicly traded Canadian companies over an eight-year period and found that while more female board members correlated with a higher ranking, companies started to see benefits as soon as they added their first woman to the board.

The “critical mass” idea came from the theory that a single female board member would be perceived as a token with little ability to affect change, but women today who make it to the upper echelons of corporate power don’t see themselves that way, said Shirley Davis, a consultant who works on global workforce and talent management strategies.

“Being a strong female leader in that boardroom is going to give them license to speak up more,” she said. “Women will talk out loud about how they feel about things.”

Zaichkowsky found that the impact was greatest in male-dominated sectors like mining and energy. She speculated that women make boards function better because they focus more on details and push their fellow members to do the same. “I think people pay more attention when it’s a diverse group,” she said.

In both 2011 and 2013, about 40 percent of Canadian Financial Post 500 companies had no women board directors, according to Catalyst Canada. In the U.S., one-tenth of Fortune 500 companies had no women on their boards in 2012 and 2013.

“One of the key attributes boards need to look for is women who ask really good questions,” said Jim Alampi, CEO of executive leadership firm Alampi & Associates, who suggested women are more willing to ask questions and challenge the status quo.

“Even if she doesn’t think of herself as breaking new ground … she’s going to ask questions men stopped asking years ago or wouldn’t think to ask,” he said.

Eric C. Peterson, a senior consultant at Cook Ross, said even one woman on a board could change the communication dynamic among board members for the better. “People are less inclined to use shorthand to say what’s on their mind,” he said.

“It allows you to see the larger picture, including the larger marketplace,” Peterson said. “You tend to see things happening out there in the marketplace that a homogeneous board might not see.”

Since women wield serious personal and household buying power, their perspectives as consumers add value to boardroom discussions, said Ron Parker, president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council. “They bring insights that an all-male board would not have.”

Read the full article at the NBC News website.

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Beedie Prof. Nilesh Saraf awarded prestigious research paper honour Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:00:52 +0000 Saraf Nilesh

Beedie School of Business Associate Professor Nilesh Saraf.

A research paper by Beedie School of Business Associate Professor Nilesh Saraf has been recognized as one of the best and most highly cited research papers published in management journals in the last 15 years.

Saraf’s paper, “Assimilation of enterprise systems: the effect of institutional pressures and the mediating role of top management”, was chosen by Emerald Group Publishing for their prestigious Citations of Excellence award.

The annual Citations of Excellence award is traditionally presented to the top 50 papers published in the top 300 management journals in the world. Between them, these journals, which include Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, and the Academy of Management Journal, publish some 15,000 articles each year.

The award rewards authors of exceptional papers covered in the extensive Emerald Management Reviews database. Winners receive an official certificate and logo to display on their work, and past winners have also found the award useful for research funding

Instead of issuing the usual annual award in 2014, Emerald Group Publishing opted to commemorate some of the best and most highly cited Citations of Excellence award winners from the past 15 years. They selected 35 out of the 750 previous winning papers during this period, including Saraf’s study.

“It is a tremendous honour to receive this award for our paper highlighting the complexity of adopting large business software systems,” said Saraf. “Given that award committees typically consider whether an academic paper addresses research questions relevant to practitioners, as well as the extent to which the research has stimulated deeper investigation by other scholars, this award serves as further validation of the research.”

Saraf’s paper, which investigates the assimilation of enterprise systems in the post-implementation period within organizations, previously won the Citations of Excellence award in 2011.

The study was co-authored by Huigang Liang, Yajiong Xue, and Qing Hu, all at Florida Atlantic University at the time of publication, and was published in MIS Quarterly in 2007.

Emerald Management Reviews is a vast database of over a quarter of a million article abstracts, from 1988 to 2013, taken from the top 300 management publications worldwide, as selected by an independent accreditation board of industry experts.

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Blaize Horner Reich appointed dean of SFU’s Beedie School of Business Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:01:00 +0000 Dr. Blaize Horner Reich, RBC Professor of Technology and Innovation at the Beedie School of Business.

Dr. Blaize Horner Reich, RBC Professor of Technology and Innovation at the Beedie School of Business.

Professor Blaize Horner Reich has been appointed dean of Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, beginning her new role September 1.

Dr. Reich, the School’s RBC Professor of Technology and Innovation, will succeed current dean Daniel Shapiro, who is completing his term in this role.

Dr. Reich is an internationally recognized expert in IT governance and technology-based organizational transformation. She worked as an industry consultant in both Asia and Canada before joining the Beedie School of Business in 1991.

She has made many contributions to business within Canada, serving as academic leader for the national Business Technology Management (BTM) program and as board member of the CIO Association of Canada, the Information and Communications Technology Council and the Canadian Women in Technology.

In 2012, Dr. Reich was honoured as a recipient of Business in Vancouver’s Influential Women in Business Awards.

“Business school research and teaching can make a significant contribution to BC and Canada’s success in a global environment,” says Dr. Reich. “The Beedie School of Business is playing an important leadership role in many of the emerging areas, including sustainability, technology, globalization and entrepreneurship.”

“I’m honoured to succeed Professor Shapiro. He grew and established Beedie as one of the top business schools in Canada during his tenure, and I intend to build upon the solid foundations he laid for the School’s continuing success.”

Professor Shapiro was appointed dean of the Beedie School of Business in 2009, successfully developing the School’s strategic focus on globalization and emerging markets; innovation and technology; and governance and sustainability.

In 2011 he oversaw the largest gift in the School’s history: a $22 million endowment from alumnus Ryan Beedie and his father, Keith. Consequently, SFU’s Faculty of Business was renamed the Beedie School of Business.

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Globe and Mail: Beedie study shows mixed-sex boards are better governed Thu, 03 Jul 2014 16:46:58 +0000 Beedie School of Business professor Judy Zaichkowsky.

Beedie School of Business professor Judy Zaichkowsky.

The following article was published in the Globe and Mail on July 2, 2014.


Adding even a single woman to a board of directors leads to better corporate governance practices without requiring a critical mass of several women, according to a new study by a researcher at Simon Fraser University.

A report by business professor Judith Zaichkowsky concludes companies with even one woman on their boards of directors have stronger corporate governance ratings than those with no women. Companies with at least three women rank even higher depending on specific industry sectors, the study says.

Prof. Zaichkowsky said her findings suggest the presence of women on a board encourages a greater focus on board practices and behaviours related to good governance, even when they are a lone voice. She said the trend has been consistent in annual data she examined back to 2004.

While some academics and shareholder advocates have cited the merits of having a critical mass of at least three women on a board, Prof. Zaichkowsky said in an interview that companies should not conclude there is no merit in just adding a single woman if they have none.

“If you’re a company with a board of six or seven people and some outsider is telling you half of your board members need to be female, what are you going to say? Absolutely not? So that’s why I say it’s better to nudge in with one.”

The report, published in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, found significant improvement in scores with one women, especially in traditionally male-dominated industries such as energy and mining where there appeared to be the most correlation.

“To call for quotas of three or more women to be on boards of directors of these industries, for which the total number of board seats averages about nine, is perhaps asking too much,” the report concludes. “At this point in time, one woman on these boards may be all it takes to provide a better governed and maybe an even more stable company.”

The report examines how companies in the S&P/TSX composite index scored in The Globe and Mail’s annual Board Games ranking of corporate governance practices between 2004 and 2012. The Globe ranking looks at dozens of factors related to corporate governance practices in areas such as board composition, share ownership, compensation, disclosure and shareholder rights.

Prof. Zaichkowsky subtracted marks that were awarded on a question assessing whether there are women on the board so the marks would not be factored into the totals and skew the results.

The results showed a correlation between more women and better governance scores both overall, and when companies were sorted by size to control for the likelihood that larger companies could have more sophisticated governance practices, she said.

The presence of women on the board could be a signal that a company cares more about good corporate governance in many respects, and the presence of women is a result of that diligence, rather than the cause of the better governance. But Prof. Zaichkowsky said she believes it is equally logical to conclude instead that women are having an influence on the behaviour of the group.

“If you think about a group of males, and does their behaviour change when a female comes in – do they behave better – I think so,” she said.

She said her research did not find a correlation between the number of women on boards and financial performance, and also did not show a correlation between women and higher rankings in an assessment of corporate social responsibility done annually by Corporate Knights magazine. There was not a big enough group of companies to look at individual industries for CSR trends.

View the article on the Globe and Mail website.

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24 Hours: Lieke ten Brummelhuis on World Cup watching in the workplace Thu, 03 Jul 2014 00:24:50 +0000 Beedie School of Business assistant professor Lieke ten Brummelhuis.

Beedie School of Business assistant professor Lieke ten Brummelhuis.

The following article was published in 24 Hours on Tuesday, 1 July 2014.

Watching the World Cup may not be as bad for business as one would assume, according to a professor at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.

The World Cup games have been taking place during the day in Vancouver and recently news reports saying City of Vancouver staff were watching the matches made headlines.

Professor Lieke ten Brummelhuis said although it depends on the job, it may be in the best interest of employers to allow employees to watch soccer as it can help build a sense of teamwork.

“If you watch it together with co-workers it could create a group feeling or some bonding,” said ten Brummelhuis. “Losing a game together might actually create some bonding, too.”

She said employees may also be more productive after taking a break to watch the game, or be grateful to the employer and work harder.

But she said it doesn’t work for every job.

“If you’re waiting in an emergency room, you’d rather have your physician be there,” she said.

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BBA graduate Amit Bhagat: Community engagement enriches lives Mon, 30 Jun 2014 16:00:54 +0000 Amit Bhagat

Beedie School of Business graduate Amit Bhagat.

The following story was published by SFU News on June 10, 2014.

Amit Bhagat, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration, can look back on his SFU journey knowing that his community engagement has helped enrich many people’s lives — both close to home, and as far afield as Africa.

Bhagat is a board member of the TELUS Vancouver Community Board, a social initiative that puts financial decision-making for community projects in the hands of local leaders who best know their communities.

His role includes responsibility for reviewing grant applications for initiatives that are often geared towards helping at-risk youth, and ensuring such projects have a lasting impact on society.

As the youngest board member – by some 20 to 30 years – he found the experience invaluable to both his personal and professional development.

“It’s a very rewarding role — the applications have to be socially and technologically innovative so I learn a lot from reviewing them,” says Bhagat.

“I have been exposed to some top individuals from the local business community on the board, including vice-presidents of TELUS, and former NHL players. It’s been an amazing experience.”

Bhagat landed the position based on his experience with social entrepreneurship at SFU, where he chaired the SFU Social Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Under his watch the competition, which tasks student teams with raising funds to generate social impact in their communities, raised more than $8,000 for aspiring African entrepreneurs.

“I have been passionate about social entrepreneurship since starting my degree, and I’m very glad to have been granted opportunities through SFU to turn this passion into real-world results,” he says.

Aside from social entrepreneurship, Bhagat’s talent has seen him make a lasting impact on a number of SFU initiatives, including leading the Beedie School of Business’ 2013 JDC West team to the title of Academic School of the Year.

As the team’s co-captain, Bhagat helped restructure the entire preparation process, from recruitment through to training for the prestigious competition, which is Western Canada’s largest student-run, business-case competition.

“The experience taught me how to motivate a large team and solve conflicts. On a 50-person team there are going to be issues, so keeping everyone calm kept us on the road to victory.”

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AIB 2014 Annual Meeting: The war for talent Thu, 26 Jun 2014 00:04:07 +0000 Attracting and retaining talent has forever been an issue for organizations, yet new research suggests the competition to attract talent will reach unprecedented levels in the near future. Indeed, a 2012 study by global consulting firm McKinsey, found that that one of the biggest employment trends in coming decades will be a shortage of high-skill, college-educated workers for all advanced economies.

Mila Lazarova, associate professor, international business at the Beedie School of Business, chaired a fascinating session on this subject on the third day of the Academy of International Business (AIB) 2014 Annual Meeting.

The discussion was part of the Scholars Meet Practice track sessions at the event, and featured a panel of experts from both industry and academia sharing knowledge and research on the topic of how to attract and retain talent in the global business market today.

The panel consisted of academics Pawan Budhwar, Aston University, Paula Caligiuri, Northeastern University, and Rosalie Tung, Beedie School of Business and incoming President-Elect of the AIB. Meanwhile, the practitioners’ perspective was represented by Jeff Zhu, of Chinese multinational software engineering provider Neusoft.

As a rapidly expanding organization, Neusoft has utilized some innovative recruitment strategies over the last 15 years, Zhu explained. When he joined the organization in 2005 it employed 6,000 people, but by 2011 this had increased to over 21,000.

“The challenge is that the world is looking at us,” said Zhu. “Globalization brings massive amounts of opportunity to the Chinese IT market, but also creates intensive demand for IT talents.”

Neusoft boasts an annual attrition rate of only four per cent in their workforce – less than half of the national average in China. In order to retain their employees, and to attract the right kind of new talent, Neusoft employs some unusual techniques, Zhu revealed.

The company has owned its own private university in China for nearly fifteen years now, from which it employs between 1,000-2,000 graduates each year; approximately 20-30 percent of the graduating class. It then puts these fresh graduates through intensive training programs after they begin employment, with innovative management structures in place to ensure that employees remain engaged, and that the best talent is recognized and rewarded.

Although Neusoft is not as competitive with its compensation package as its competitors, it prides itself on its employee engagement initiatives, which include recreational facilities on campus and a wide range of staff clubs and initiatives. Zhu believes that these, in addition to the training and close personal attention from management – who are referred to as “teachers” rather than managers –are the reasons that employees rate the organization so highly in employee satisfaction.

The revelations about Neusoft’s employment strategy clearly stimulated the audience, resulting in numerous questions, including whether purchasing a university was a strategic move and how expensive it was to run – to which Zhu replied that the university is a foundation for the business, and although it is not core business, it does turn a marginal profit, accounting for approximately two percent of Neusoft’s revenue.

Budwar followed with a reflection of the war for talent in India. He explained that the extremely complex business context in the country – its very diverse nature, and the lack of one distinct Indian culture – provides unique challenges for foreign organizations entering the country.

As well, there are unique challenges for employers – the country has a very young population, and although it has many graduates, almost 80 percent of them are unemployable after finishing university, and require further training to bring them up to a level where they can contribute.

He noted that many companies are pursuing new initiatives to improve their recruitment in the country, and that there is great potential for research to be conducted on the subject, but that at present there was little research underway.

Finally, Caligiuri presented the findings of her research on the war for talent in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. The study, conducted in participation with Ernst and Young, revealed that a talent shortage was a leading risk for organizations in the BRIC countries – with one third of CEOs of organizations having to cancel planned initiatives due to lack of talent.

The study, which surveyed 1109 skilled professionals whose talents were in demand in the four nations, revealed that these employees viewed their careers as very important to them – but that they cared far less about which organizations their careers took them to.

“Across all four countries, we found that an organization’s reputation was the main driver for skilled employees when choosing where to work,” said Caligiuri. “But when it came to job satisfaction, organizational reputation was the least important factor – meaning that an organization’s reputation has little effect on an employee’s job satisfaction.”

For more information on the AIB 2014 Annual Meeting, visit

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AIB 2014 Annual Meeting: How do MNEs overcome distrust and build legitimacy in host countries? Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:57:52 +0000 Foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly that from emerging markets such as China, has rocketed in recent years. Almost ten years ago Chinese outward investment was negligible, yet last year over $100 billion was invested. Yet with much distrust existing in the countries that are the beneficiaries of the investment, MNEs are increasingly looking to take action in order to get stakeholders onside.

Daniel Shapiro, Dean of the Beedie School of Business, chaired an engaging opening session at the Academy of International Business (AIB) 2014 Annual Meeting between a panel of experts from both academia and industry on the topic of how multi-national enterprises can overcome distrust and build legitimacy in their host countries.

The panel consisted of distinguished academics Marshall Meyer, University of Pennsylvania, Steve Globerman, Western Washington University, and Karl Savant, Columbia University. Meanwhile, the practitioner point of view in the discussion was represented by Wei Shao, National Practice Group Co-Leader for China at global law firm Dentons Canada.

Shao opened the session with an overview of Chinese investment in Canada since 2005, noting that China has invested some $42 billion in that period, the majority of which is concentrated in the energy sector, covering all ten provinces and two territories.

He revealed that in discussions with Chinese clients, they generally view Canada as being under strong influence from the USA, but that Canada is considered a safe country to invest in, particularly in the energy sector, with liquid natural gas likely to prove popular in the future.

Savant then offered his opinion on the issue, noting that though the panel discussion is supposed to concern MNEs from all countries, the reaction to Chinese outward investment has generated intense interest around the world and means that much of the focus on the issue concerns China.

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and Chinese government policy dictate much of China’s outward investment, he commented, and in turn generate concerns in host countries, in particular, fear of unfair competition and the concern that Chinese SOEs pursue objectives that are not commercial, under instruction from their government.

In order to deal with these challenges, he noted that China has already taken steps by negotiating bilateral investment treaties with the US and Canada, and is in the process of doing so with the EU.

Meyer followed by discussing some of the difficulties Chinese firms have in operating within their own borders, citing the example of Chinese trucks hauling goods costing more than trucks in the US do for similar distances, despite wages in the US being far higher.

Problems such as this, caused by poor infrastructure, he said have caused domestic Chinese firms to develop their own domestic logistics platform, wherein they push manufacturing to the periphery and focus on design, logistics and distribution. By doing so they open up their business to investment, a phenomenon he labeled, “going out by going in”.

He cited an example of a Chinese company that assembled a database of the quality of water in Chinese homes, but instead of monetizing it for themselves, made it publicly available in order to create a market domestically. He then compared this with the hypothetical example of a Chinese organization going into another country and creating a database of water supplies, concluding that there would be a public outcry if this occurred.

Finally, Globerman posed the question as to why state control of outward investment is a big deal, claiming that he had yet to hear a good reason for this common conception. He said that SOEs attempting to enter a country merely provides the government with an excuse to delay or discourage that investment, and that SOEs often have to jump through more hoops than a domestic investor would.

Indeed, he pointed out that state-owned FDI often inflates the selling price of assets, which benefits the host country and can provide benefits for social issues in the host country. The only loser in that scenario is the foreign investor, which has to pay a price above market value for the investment.

In closing, Shapiro commented that the contextual issues suggest that more thought is required as to whether treaties or formal negotiations are sufficient to solve the issue of building legitimacy.

He also noted the specific issues that arise when investing in the natural resource industries, and the future of the Chinese economy. “As time goes on, and the Chinese economy matures and becomes driven by innovative products – which many people will see globally are designed to solve social problems – will any of these legitimacy issues simply disappear as we move to commercially viable products?” he concluded.

For more information on the AIB 2014 Annual Meeting, visit

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Daniel Shapiro awarded AIB International Educator of the Year Tue, 24 Jun 2014 16:00:22 +0000

Daniel Shapiro, Dean of the Beedie School of Business.

Daniel Shapiro, Dean of Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, has been honoured with the Academy of International Business (AIB) Fellows’ International Educator of the Year Award.

The International Educator of the Year Award recognizes deans and educational leaders who have created or grown outstanding international business programs; recruited and supported international business faculty members in their contributions to teaching and research; and provided students with unique international business experiences.

The award was presented to Professor Shapiro on Monday, June 23 at the opening plenary session of the AIB 2014 Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, B.C., and hosted by SFU’s Beedie School of Business.

Professor Shapiro has worked for over thirty years as an educator and researcher. He was appointed Dean of the Beedie School of Business in 2009, and has since successfully developed a strategic position for the School with an emphasis on globalization, emerging markets and entrepreneurship.

In 2011 he oversaw the largest gift in the school’s history, which resulted in SFU’s Faculty of Business being renamed the Beedie School of Business.

He was instrumental in launching a number of international-focused initiatives at the school, including the Americas MBA for Executives, an innovative MBA program delivered in partnership with business schools in the USA, Mexico and Brazil.

As well, he helped develop the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development, an independent international institute that seeks to improve governance of extractive sectors in developing countries.

“I am extremely pleased to receive this award, both personally, and as a tribute to the internationally-focused education and research for which the Beedie School of Business is renowned,” said Professor Shapiro.

The Academy of International Business is the leading association of scholars and specialists in the field of international business.

The AIB 2014 Annual Meeting runs from June 23 to 26, and welcomes over 1,000 of the world’s leading academics to Vancouver to share innovative research that will have a direct impact on business practices and government policy.

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Alumni systemize coaching culture in Beedie JDC West team Mon, 09 Jun 2014 16:40:18 +0000 Sean and Maney

Maney Grewal (left) and Sean Peters, co-head coaches of the Beedie School of Business JDC West team from 2012-2013.

As the largest student-run business case competition in Western Canada, JDC West serves to provide teams of students from top business schools with case competition experience. Yet despite a proud history that had seen the Beedie School of Business crowned School of the Year in the 2007 competition, standards had slipped so far that Beedie teams did not place in a single category in 2012. Clearly, something had to change.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Beedie has just followed up its 2013 Academic School of the Year title with a bronze medal in the same category. This remarkable turnaround is the result of a targeted effort to improve the JDC West coaching structure – one that has Beedie alumni so engaged as coaches that the system is now the envy of competing schools.

The turnaround began in summer 2012, as 2013 team co-captains Amit Bhagat and Joel Thom sought to ensure that the team did not suffer a repeat of the disappointing 2012 competition. They approached both Rosanne Wan, manager of student engagement and recruitment at the Beedie School of Business, and Jasmine Cumberland, a Beedie alumna who had captained the team to the School of the Year title in 2007, and who held a place on the JDC West board.

Agreeing that the competition provided opportunities for alumni coaches that were not being exploited, Wan and Cumberland decided that a new coaching strategy was necessary. The first step was to find head coaches that recognized the potential of both the competition, and the Beedie students themselves – a step that was completed with the appointment of Sean Peters and Maney Grewal as co-head coaches.

Peters, a social entrepreneur who helped co-found RADIUS, the Beedie School of Business’ social innovation lab and venture incubator, had for the previous year split his time between Atlanta and Vancouver when coaching the business strategy-focused JDC West teams. Grewal meanwhile was a CPA, who had coached the finance Beedie teams at JDC West.

The difference in their respective experience with case competitions could not have been greater. While Peters was heavily involved as a student in student clubs and case competitions without competing at JDC West, Grewal was less so, only broadening his experience in his fourth year when he signed on for the JDC West team. Yet the pair are now kindred spirits – not only firm friends, but also united in a vision for the evolution of the Beedie JDC West team.

“We wanted to instill a culture of excellence in coaching,” says Peters. “The competition had increased dramatically since we competed as students, but Beedie has the talent to be at the top end. As incredibly proud alumni, we wanted to make sure that our students were living up to expectations.”

“We wanted the team to have an expectation to do better,” adds Grewal. “Just being at the competition is not enough. We wanted them to have the mindset that they are there to win.”

The new strategy involved rebuilding the coaching structure from the ground up. Where previously there was one coach for each individual team, there are now also two assistant coaches. This not only ensures that the fifteen hours per week training time is not the sole responsibility of one person, but also provides training for alumni not quite ready to take on the role of coach.

It also relied heavily on engaging alumni and the wider community to donate their time as coaches. Wan, Peters and Grewal exhausted their own networks bringing in not only Beedie alumni, but also industry professionals identified for specific coaching roles.

Their hard work paid off. While the 2012 team had only 11 coaches, by 2014 this number had increased to 40 – almost a one-to-one ratio of students and coaches.

“At the competition this year a student from another school remarked how amazing it would be to have the same number of coaches as students,” says 2014 co-captain Simone Foreman. “When they stated that this would be impossible to achieve, I had to restrain myself from saying that Beedie had already done so.”

Other revolutions in the coaching structure included the establishment of a coaching advisory board, and the introduction of a coaching orientation session, to ensure that all coaches utilize a universal language, and a new draft system where individual coaches pick their students following a two-day tryout. Boot camps were also introduced, with experts brought in to assist teams that were struggling with their training.

These innovations amounted to what Wan describes as: “The systemization of a customizable training experience for our students.”

The results are self-evident. Not only is the Beedie team achieving success, but word has also spread among the alumni community that coaching is a rewarding experience – one that is worth the substantial commitment of time.

“Two years ago we had a tough time getting coaches – we had to leverage our networks to find amazing coaches that weren’t utilized in the past,” says Grewal. “This year we had coaches asking to come back next year before the competition had even finished. That has never happened before.”

With their two-year term now finished, Peters and Grewal have taken steps to ensure that the transition for incoming head coaches Erica Rizzo and Pam Hernandez will be smooth. Both Hernandez and Rizzo have experience as coaches already, and Peters and Grewal are confident that their journey as head coaches will be as rewarding as their own.

“It’s like coaching a little league team,” says Peters. “You see the students go from down there to up here. JDC West is, for me, the most important student competition in western Canada. It’s incredibly rewarding to see Beedie perform so well. But we are just part of a larger team – everyone involved deserves the credit.”

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Globe and Mail: New strategies to recruit women pay dividends Tue, 27 May 2014 18:32:06 +0000 The following is an excerpt from the full article published in the Globe and Mail on May 23, 2014.


Men typically outnumber women in full-time MBA programs – a gender imbalance that has some Canadian business schools rethinking their pitch to top female candidates.

With new strategies, including one-on-one recruitment, partnerships with women leadership organizations and donor-funded awards, schools hope to foster academically strong classrooms with a diversity of gender, culture and employment experience.

Some efforts are paying dividends, though school officials and women’s advocates admit more work lies ahead to achieve gender parity.

Queen’s School of Business in Kingston has adopted several female-friendly initiatives, with women now 42 per cent of the current class compared to 25 per cent in 2012. Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business in Burnaby, B.C., with new scholarships and outreach, reports that women, at 52 per cent, outnumber men in the full-time MBA program for the first time this year…

As more women take the graduate management admission test (GMAT) – 42.5 per cent of test takers compared to 38 per cent in 2003-04 – the proportion of them in full-time MBA programs has climbed, typically, to between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the class.

But some hurdles –the MBA degree’s reputation, family obligations, financial concerns and, surprisingly, low self-confidence – are not easily removed.

“The cliché is that an MBA can be quite competitive, cut-throat and appealing to a kind of Gordon Gekko,” says Jeff Nehajowich, manager of graduate programs at Beedie, of the “greed is good” character in Wall Street. “We are so far from that,” he adds, citing a “culture of collaboration” among students and with professors.

In 2011, while MBA candidates at Beedie, Alannah Cervenko and Alice Longhurst founded the Graduate Women’s Business Council, a student-led initiative to provide extracurricular skills training and networking opportunities for female classmates.

“I can’t tell you how supportive they [Beedie officials] were from the top down,” says Ms. Cervenko, now a senior communications specialist at Teck Resources. This year, through a partnership between Beedie and the Women’s Executive Network, she successfully applied to be mentored by a “top 100” female business leader and receive three days of training from the organization.

Leah DiRenzo, senior manager of mentoring programs for the network, says she is encouraged by recent school initiatives. “Just as with board diversity, it is something that should have been looked at a long time ago,” she says. “It is imperative they are doing it now.”

Read the full article on the Globe and Mail website.

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RADIUS venture go2gether launches pilot with Vancity Thu, 15 May 2014 17:27:32 +0000 high-res-alice crop

Beedie School of Business alumna Alice Park, CEO and co-founder of go2gether.

Real-time carpooling app go2gether, a client of The Beedie School of Business’ social innovation venture incubator RADIUS, has secured an eight-month pilot contract with Vancity credit union.

go2gether is a social enterprise that utilizes a web application to provide an automated carpool matching service, saving users money and reducing climate impact. Through the agreement, Vancity employees will use go2gether to create carpools to work, meetings, training events, and other travel.

By utilizing go2gether’s carpooling service, Vancity employees will also engage with each other while traveling, increasing social connection among the organization’s 2,500 employees.

“Not only is Vancity go2gether’s first enterprise client, but its values and corporate mission are very much aligned with our own,” said SFU Beedie School of Business alumna Alice Park, CEO and co-founder of go2gether. “We are pleased to support Vancity’s efforts to reduce its CO2 emissions through employee commuting.”

Park co-founded go2gether as a student at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. After graduating she participated in the SFU Venture Connection entrepreneurship incubator before joining the first RADIUS cohort in November 2013. In February 2014 go2gether announced that SFU had signed an agreement making it the venture’s first institutional client.

“Through this pilot scheme with Vancity we plan to learn more about the key factors that make this new relationship an unconditional success,” said Park. “Through those lessons, we intend to expand to serve more businesses across the lower mainland.”

Launched in spring 2013, RADIUS (RADical Ideas, Useful to Society) is an innovation lab and venture incubator at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. It seeks to change business education and launch high-impact solutions to social challenges.

“Vancity is a company that has consistently recognized excellence and innovation in purpose-based business,” said Donovan Woollard, Director of RADIUS Ventures. “Partnering with go2gether is another example of Vancity’s commitment to social business.”

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Vancouver Sun: Secrets to building business in China Tue, 13 May 2014 19:10:27 +0000 Huge potential for B.C. companies that are willing to invest the time and adapt to culture differences.

Beedie School of Business professor Rosalie Tung.

Beedie School of Business professor Rosalie Tung.

The following article was published in the Vancouver Sun on May 9, 2014, and features comment from Beedie School of Business Professor Rosalie Tung.

By Jim Morris.

The prospect of doing business in China, and potentially gaining a share of such a huge market, can create kid-in-a-candy store enthusiasm for some executives.

The head of a Vancouver-based biochemical company says opportunities do exist in China for B.C.-based businesses. But Neil Belenkie warns before anyone can taste success in the Chinese market they must learn patience, do their homework and adapt to a different business culture.

“I did a lot of research into why deals fell apart (in China) before I went and tried to do ours,” said Belenkie, chief executive officer of Sirona Biochem Corp. “My opinion is deals have fallen apart because people had unrealistic expectations of how deals needed to be structured.

“You have to manage your expectations based on how we do business in our culture versus how they do business in their culture. If you can’t accept the way business is being run in China … you’re going to be leaving yourself open and creating additional risks.”

Last August, Sirona Biochem announced it had completed an exclusive licensing agreement with Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals of China. Sirona Biochem will provide an exclusive licence to Wanbang to develop and commercialize Sirona’s anti-diabetic SGLT2 inhibitor in China. In exchange, Wanbang will provide royalty payments for product sales in China and milestone payments of up to US$9.5 million.

Belenkie said reaching the “pretty big and long-term deal” took seven trips to China over an 18-month period. He hired his own translators to help with the negotiations and learned the importance of building personal relationships with the people he was doing business with.

“I made sure I understood all the cultural norms across the board,” he said. “Then I made sure I never gave up on the things that were important to us.

“I was very clear on how I represented our values and our goals. Having met a lot of different Chinese companies I found the ones that were the best cultural fit. I was respectful and I knew what different things meant as they were introduced into either the negotiations or as part of the discussions.”

According to provincial government statistics, Mainland China was ranked as the number two destination for B.C. origin exports in 2013. In total, 16.6 per cent of B.C. commodity exports where shipped to China.

Topping the list of B.C. goods heading to China was $1.4 billion worth of lumber. Next was chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate at $1.3 billion, followed by coal ($1.2 billion) and copper ores ($822 million).

The top imports from China into Canada include automatic data processing machines ($5.3 billion), telephones ($5 billion), motor vehicle parts ($1.2 billion) and toys ($1 billion).

Belenkie said China’s size and growth potential offers plenty of opportunities for B.C. businesses.

“There is no question that it may not be the highest dollar volume economy yet, but it’s certainly the largest growth opportunity for a target economy to get involved in,” he said.

“China has to be on your radar if you’re going to go international because it has the biggest upside.”

Rosalie Tung, a professor of international business at the Simon Fraser Beedie School of Business, said taking a North American mindset into negotiations with a Chinese company can be problematic.

“We are making assumptions about other people based on what we assume others to be like here,” said Tung, who was the co-author of a paper on Sino-Western business negotiations.

One example is the signing of a contact. A western businessman might consider a legal document sacrosanct.

“In Asia … a legal document is treated as more of an organic document,” said Tung. “If conditions should change, there is an expectation that the terms will change as well.”

Doing business in China usually involves many dinners and social evenings to build a personal relationship.

“The relationship takes time to develop,” said Tung. “Once people do know you, things do move a lot more smoothly.”

Companies should also look to make long-term investments.

“If a Vancouver company wants to go in there and make a quick buck, that may not be a sound strategy,” said Tung.

Belenkie said being Canadian does have advantages.

“They love Canadians,” he said. “The Canadian brand is trustworthy and it’s synonymous with quality. When you bring that brand it automatically means you can charge a premium for something over what the Chinese would normally purchase if it’s made in China.

“It doesn’t mean you can charge more in China than you would charge for the same product here in Vancouver. But if they are making it over there, they may be able to manufacture it more cheaply so you can maintain the margin and still make lots of money in a larger marketplace and grow the business.”

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Call for Nominations for 2014 SFU Nancy McKinstry Awards for Leadership in Diversity Tue, 06 May 2014 18:34:32 +0000 Dr. Nancy McKinstry

Dr. Nancy McKinstry

The 2014 SFU Nancy McKinstry Awards for Leadership in Diversity is issuing a call for nominations for the Corporate Diversity Award. The award recognizes a company that excels in the area of diversity, with nominations open to all companies with operations in British Columbia.

The winner of the Corporate Diversity Award will be announced at the awards breakfast on Wednesday, September 17, 2014. Nominations and finalists will be confidentially held and resubmitted with future nominations for a period of two years.

This year, applications are encouraged from small to medium-sized companies who have set themselves apart with their own unique diversity programs. These applications may qualify for an Exemplary Initiative Diversity Award.

Nominees will be measured against the nomination criteria by the Awards Selection Committee, appointed by the University. Nominees are encouraged to provide examples of their accomplishments or Key Performance Indicators for the Objectives listed in the nomination criteria.

Senior management from the winning organization will be provided with an opportunity to speak about their successes at the awards breakfast, where a graduate student entrance award designed to support the diversity and efforts of the SFU Beedie School of Business will also be awarded. Any proceeds from the event are directed to the Nancy McKinstry Endowment that supports this award.

Deadline: The nomination deadline is Friday, July 18, 2014.

Event Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014, at SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business.

Please submit your nomination package to:

Elaine Lo
Nancy McKinstry Awards Nominations Committee Manager
Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University
500 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC  V6C 1W6
Phone: 778-782-9459 | Email:

Sponsorship: A limited number of sponsorship opportunities exist for the awards. Please contact Elaine Lo at the above contact information.

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Rare 1900’s share certificates donated to SFU’s Beedie School of Business Thu, 01 May 2014 17:04:29 +0000 DeBeers

A rare collection of historical business share certificates has been donated to the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University by former member of the Canadian Senate Jack Austin.

Resembling sheets of antique postage stamps or engravers’ art, the collection, which will be displayed at the Segal Graduate School of Business in downtown Vancouver, is a snapshot of global business at the turn of the 20th century.

The certificates – 24 in total – show global business isn’t a recent phenomenon. They were issued – many in English – by the Chinese Government of 1913, British Canadian Lumber, 1911, and the City of Moscow, from pre-Tsarist Russia, 1908.

Austin says the collection represents two themes: globalization, and capital markets. They illustrate stories of both success and failure, in a period of history where revolutions, war and global economic integration impacted upon companies’ well being.

“These certificates are an excellent reminder to today’s generation of investors to be careful with their investments,” said Austin. “As we have moved to electronic anonymity since the 1980s, many share certificates have become collectors’ items. They could be either simply or beautifully designed, and many are a virtual work of art.”

Austin’s passion for collecting share certificates was ignited early in his career, when practicing as a commercial lawyer in the 1950s. He represented companies primarily in the energy resource sector, and specialized in securities, trades, property and commercial law.

“We are extremely grateful to Jack Austin for this generous donation of certificates, which are not only of historical significance, but also have artistic merit,” said Daniel Shapiro, Dean of the Beedie School of Business. “The certificates will be proudly displayed at our Segal Graduate School, and will serve as a reminder to our students and faculty of the foundations upon which today’s financial markets were built.”

Jack Austin was a member of the Senate of Canada for 32 years, representing British Columbia. He has championed stronger relations between Canada and Asia since 1971, when as deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Resources he was part of the first Canadian trade mission to China.

He served as president of the Canada China Business Council for seven years and co-chair of the Canada China Legislative Association for five. He was instrumental in establishing the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in 1984 and in creating an endowment for the foundation in 2005.

The Beedie School of Business has a long-standing relationship with Austin, and hosts the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies in partnership with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. The Centre was named to recognize Austin’s exceptional contribution to Canada-Asia relations.

For more information about the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies, visit

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Beedie Talks: MBAs learning over lunch Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:32:31 +0000 By Tako Young.

On a typical weekday lunchtime, one can expect waves of MBA students at the Beedie School of Business to flood out of the lecture room to take a well-deserved lunch break. Recently, however, scores of eager students have stayed put in the classroom to continue their learning experience – this time to glean knowledge from their own classmates.

MBA students at the Beedie School of Business have introduced a series of lunchtime lectures to learn about their peers' personal work experience in a wide range of industries.

MBA students at the Beedie School of Business have introduced a series of lunchtime lectures to learn about their peers’ personal work experience in a wide range of industries.

Inspired by the popular TED conference, which this year made Vancouver its new home, the Beedie MBA students have introduced a series of lunchtime lectures, delivered by the students about a range of industries in which they have personal experience.

The series of organized, interactive sessions has been taking place every Thursday at the Segal Graduate School since March 2014, and is the brainchild of current MBA student Anil Patel.

Patel realized that he had been learning about different industries from his classmates since the MBA cohort first gathered in September 2013. With each student possessing an average of over five years’ of professional experience prior to starting their MBA, he decided he wanted to formalize the learning procedure, providing the opportunity for everyone to learn from their peers’ experience.

“After gaining bits and pieces of knowledge from my classmates, an idea of sharing applicable knowledge with a bigger crowd burst forth in my mind,” says Patel. “My peers from school have extremely diverse backgrounds – from automotive industry to working as a librarian to being a travel insider.”

These “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” lectures were initially intended solely for the current MBA cohort. Word soon spread, however, and the lectures now welcome a mixture of students from both the MBA and the MOT MBA programs, with even some Beedie faculty in attendance.

“These TED-style entertaining and informative talks take place during lunch breaks, so they aren’t extracurricular burdens on top of our already-intensive schedule,” says Patel. “Even though you might not be necessarily interested in a certain topic beforehand, you still learn something by listening to the speakers.”

One of the speakers, Saleem Husain, whose background in structural engineering provided the basis for his talk, opted to focus on how project management is applied to the engineering industry.

Starting his session with an intriguing video about an airplane crash that occurred in 1988, Husain grabbed the class’ attention by revealing that the cause of the accident was a tiny hairline crack in the plane’s fuselage. This revelation consequently resulted in an engaging session with a multitude of questions from the audience.

“It was this very video that helped me discover my passion for engineering, and it was very refreshing to go through it again,” says Husain. “Sharing our professional backgrounds and life experiences in this intimate setting helps strengthen the bond of friendship amongst the cohort, and provides a lot of inside industry advice that we would never otherwise have the chance to learn.”

For more information on the Beedie School of Business full-time MBA, visit

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Peter Diamandis on incentive prizes driving an era of abundance Tue, 15 Apr 2014 23:32:44 +0000 SpaceShipOne, the first private craft capable of ascending to 100km above the Earth’s surface, was the winner of an incentive competition by Diamandis' XPRIZE Foundation.

SpaceShipOne, the first private craft capable of ascending to 100km above the Earth’s surface, was the winner of an incentive competition by Diamandis’ XPRIZE Foundation.

Over the last 100 years, mankind has benefited from unprecedented exponential leaps in technology – and with the increasing use of incentive prizes to drive these radical breakthroughs, we can look forward to an era of abundance in the years to come.

This was the message delivered by Peter Diamandis, founder of the XPRIZE Foundation, and co-founder of Singularity University, in a special lecture for Beedie School of Business students and faculty at the Segal Graduate School on Monday April 14.

As the world experiences a period of rapid growth in areas such as 3D printing, robotics and computer processing power, these advances will benefit communities around the world in solving problems such as hunger and drought. Diamandis cited several examples of rapid growth to illustrate these exponential advances, such as the recent $2 billion acquisition by Facebook of Occulus VR – a company that two years ago was launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise initial funds.

“It is predicted that in ten years’ time, 40 percent of the Future 500 companies will be those who do not currently exist,” he says. “The scale at which you can create wealth and change is incredible.”

With such incredible advances in technology occurring all the time, Diamandis is a proponent of crowd sourcing and incentivizing to drive the process.

As such, his XPRIZE Foundation designs and launches large incentive competitions to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity – with its most famous outcome so far undoubtedly the venture that resulted in spaceflight no longer being the exclusive realm of governments, SpaceShipOne.

Having dreamt of becoming an astronaut since he was a child, Diamandis used incentive prizes to inspire a private team to build and launch a spacecraft capable of ascending to 100km above the Earth’s surface. The technology has ultimately proven to be the basis for commercial space travel packages offered by Virgin.

“The day before something is truly a breakthrough it is a crazy idea,” says Diamandis. “If it wasn’t a crazy idea, it wouldn’t be a breakthrough – it would be an incremental improvement. I ask CEOs all the time whether they are trying crazy ideas. If they are not, then they are driving themselves towards only incremental improvements.”

Diamandis has set his sights on inspiring some ambitious breakthroughs – ones that could be widely deemed impossible. He has launched competitions to develop open source software that can take a child from illiteracy to reading, writing and numeracy coding within two years, as well as to develop a product that can capture the CO2 from a smoke stack and turn it into a valuable product that is economically viable.

“I believe any challenge can be attacked with an incentive prize,” he says. “We recently launched a competition to build a handheld tricorder that can diagnose illnesses. We had 33 teams from around the world enter it. The beauty of it is that I don’t need to know who they are. I don’t need to know whether they are qualified. They just have to do it.”

For more information on Peter Diamandis visit or visit for information on XPRIZE.

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President’s Dream Colloquium: Robert Miller on indigenous economic development Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:51:10 +0000 Taking steps towards economic development in indigenous communities would appear to be solely beneficial to all concerned. Yet often when the subject is raised, many of those concerned have reservations. Why would something with implicit positive connotations raise such doubts?

Robert Miller, Professor of Law at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, discussed this conundrum in the final installment of the President’s Dream Colloquium on Entrepreneurship, a series of free public lectures intended to create an interdisciplinary forum for dialogue between faculty members, students and diverse community groups.

In addition to his lecture as part of the President’s Dream Colloquium on Entrepreneurship, Miller held a similar session exclusively for Beedie faculty and staff at the Segal Graduate School, which involved a dialogue and breakout sessions that resulted in lively discussion on the topic.

An expert in civil procedure, federal Indian law, American Indians and international law, American Indian economic development and Native American natural resources, Miller is also an enrolled citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, and a member of the Oregon Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network (ONABEN).

Opening the lecture, “The Role of Entrepreneurship in Achieving Sovereignty for Indigenous Peoples”, Miller explained that although he was an expert in US Indigenous peoples, rather than Canadian, much of his knowledge was directly transferrable.

It is nigh on impossible to talk about Indigenous economic development in the US without someone arguing that such a thing is anti-Indian culture. In order to win the doubters over, Miller explained that you must address their concerns head on.

“Of course economic activities have impacts – but if we can no longer afford to live on our reservations because we are too poor, have no housing, and no access to quality education, then what does that do to the native culture,” he asked. “If your middle class families cannot live on your reservation, they are going to live in Vancouver, or Phoenix, for example. How does that help the tribal community improve itself and perpetuate itself?”

Citing the statistic that 86% of Indian reservations have no bank facilities within 100 miles – meaning many are unable to open even a basic chequing account – Miller stressed that work is needed to ensure Indigenous peoples have the platform to develop their economies.

“I think doing nothing is literally worse than working towards creating economies on our reservations,” he said. That Is not selling out, but not doing so is injuring your own economy by making it not possible to live on your own reservation.”

To this end, Miller went on to examine recent developments surrounding Indigenous entrepreneurship and explored potential benefits and impacts of Indigenous entrepreneurship on Indigenous communities and cultures.

For more information on the President’s Dream Colloquium on Entrepreneurship, including all web recordings of the lectures, visit

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AQ Magazine: Aboriginal Leadership Tue, 08 Apr 2014 23:42:10 +0000 The following article was published in the April 2014 issue of SFU’s AQ Magazine.

By Diane Luckow.

Vancouver-based Taseko Mines has long proposed a $1.5 billion open-pit gold and copper mine in B.C.’s Cariboo. But the company continues to encounter significant opposition from the region’s First Nations, and the project’s future continues to hang in the balance.

That doesn’t surprise Mark Selman.

“They’ve chosen not to work with First Nations,” says Selman, director of SFU’s new Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership (EMBA ABL) at the Beedie School of Business.

At stake is the world’s 10th-largest undeveloped gold-copper deposit and billions in economic opportunity for both B.C. and First Nations. It’s one example among many of how B.C. companies continue to lose time and money in failed attempts to force through projects that ignore First Nations concerns about the impact on their livelihoods and traditions.

“This is an important economic issue in B.C.,” says Selman. “Major projects won’t go ahead if relations with First Nations aren’t sorted out. And First Nations won’t be capable of benefitting from the new opportunities they’re facing if they don’t have advanced business skills to build businesses and manage investments.”

Cue the Beedie School’s novel EMBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership, Canada’s first credited MBA program for established Aboriginal leaders, entrepreneurs, and others working with Aboriginal communities.

“This program responds to this change in B.C.’s business environment,” says Selman, who spent eight years pondering the project’s potential. “First Nations are getting access to resources they never had in the past. They have money to invest, and opportunities, and businesses are realizing that in terms of managing their risks, they need to work with First Nations.”

What’s more, B.C.’s First Nations communities are growing twice as fast as other communities. And the average age of their members is just 24, compared with 42 years for the general population.

While the EMBA ABL includes the core concepts and knowledge embedded in a traditional MBA, it also recognizes that traditional Aboriginal protocols and knowledge play a significant role in Aboriginal leadership and decision-making.

As in other EMBA programs offered at Beedie, a limited number of people who lack a formal degree or professional designation may be admitted if they have other outstanding qualifications, such as exceptional leadership experience.

“First Nations people haven’t been well treated by the education system,” says Selman. “We need to take into account people’s experience in managerial and other leadership roles to assess whether this is the right program for them.”

The 33-month part-time program’s first class of 27 students started in fall 2012 and included two non-Aboriginal students. Since then, four students have bowed out, leaving just one non-Aboriginal student, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, former mayor of West Vancouver. Selman expects the $52,000 program to attract more non-Aboriginals in future cohorts.

“There has been a lot of interest from people working with major companies in Aboriginal relations.”

Goldsmith-Jones is now a consultant who helps businesses understand local and regional public policy. She enrolled in the program because she had always wanted to take an MBA, and the original and frontier aspect of the EMBA ABL appealed to her.

While she is learning the skills she needs to integrate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal business interests, there has also been another interesting lesson.

“To be in the minority is a first for someone like me, and it has been a very rich personal journey,” she says.

The current cohort’s 23 students range in age from 29 to 60, with an average age of 45. They hail from First Nations in B.C., Yukon, and Alberta, including Tahltan Territory in northern B.C., the local Squamish Nation, Haida from Haida Gwaii, and Dene in Yukon. Selman likens the group to a class of international students, with a lot of different cultures in play.

“The cultural diversity among B.C.’s First Nations is comparable to Europe, if you compare language, culture, and traditions,” says Selman. “As well, these students have lived in very different circumstances. Some are part of very traditional communities, some grew up in an urban environment, and some were adopted into non-Aboriginal families. And that diversity carries into their occupations.”

The group includes leaders and senior administrators in governance, health, education, social service, and Aboriginal economic development, as well as independent business owners and corporate employees.

Haida student Patricia Moore, 38, is economic development planner for the Old Massett Village Council on the archipelago previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, off B.C.’s north coast. Passionate about higher learning, Moore joined the program to improve her business skills (she already has a B.Comm.) and, more importantly, to network with other First Nations professionals. Ultimately, she wants to figure out First Nations’ place in today’s business world.

“How do we transition from what we’ve historically done to integrate into mainstream business?” she asks.

“Listening to other students and learning how they amalgamate their culture into business models with others has given me a different approach.”

Selman says others in the class echo Moore’s concerns. They’re all seeking a pathway between adopting Western ways and renewing traditional knowledge and ways of thinking that have guided their communities for thousands of years.

Developing a program that addresses these interests without compromising classic MBA content has been an interesting journey for Selman and other faculty in the program.

There were challenges not only in developing course content and case studies, but also in orienting faculty members who had little experience working with First Nations people and little familiarity with their varied cultural backgrounds.

But if anyone could pull it off, it was Selman. Back in the 1990s, he developed customized SFU EMBA programs for large resource companies such as Cominco and Alcan. He learned a lot about altering programs to meet the needs of a particular audience and delivering programs in intensive blocks of time.

Then, in 2002 Milton Wong, SFU’s chancellor at the time and an Alcan board member, asked if Selman would help Alcan repair its damaged relationship with the Haisla First Nation. That request began Selman’s eight-year relationship with the Haisla as he helped them to develop capacity-building programs to support their economic aspirations. Not surprisingly, other B.C. First Nations also approached him for assistance.

His deep involvement in these remote communities over the ensuing years revealed how much they need advanced business education and their difficulties in accessing it.

“It also made me aware of the economic drivers around the province that involve First Nations much more than people in Vancouver realize,” he says.

His experience in creating distance EMBA programs, coupled with his knowledge of First Nations cultures and challenges, gave him the unique skills – and the moxy – to design the specialized EMBA ABL and promote its need within the Beedie School of Business.

“No one said no,” recalls Selman, “but everyone was skeptical that we could pull it off, or that there were enough interested and qualified people to make it feasible. Some people are still skeptical, but Dean Danny Shapiro championed it and allocated the budget required to develop it.”

Once Selman received approval from Shapiro, he sought guidance from Dr. Michelle Corfield, chair of the legislature for the Ucluelet First Nation, former vice-president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, and a Beedie School executive-in-residence. He also established an Aboriginal advisory group to review decisions and ensure the program truly addresses the interests of First Nations.

To further support the program and make the new students feel welcome, the school even borrowed First Nations art from the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art to decorate its walls.

Overall, the first cohort of students is impressed with the results.

“I like the values from the First Nations component that are applied in the course,” says Sheryl Fisher, an independent business consultant from the Squamish First Nation. “Respect and values are very important to First Nations, and I think it’s important just to get that out to the external business world. They have to understand our cultural values and how important mutual respect is.”

The program has attracted some outstanding instructors from the SFU faculty, as well as University of Arizona professor Stephen Cornell, co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. He taught a short course in fall 2013 based on his extensive research into indigenous economic development. And Sarah Morales, a Coast Salish professor at the University of Ottawa, taught a course on policy and governance in First Nations organizations.

Last July, the non-profit Industry Council for Aboriginal Business gave the program its seal of approval, awarding Selman its Aboriginal Business Champion award for his leadership and best practices in Aboriginal engagement and business relationship development. And BC Business magazine proclaimed the program one of B.C.’s 10 most significant innovations last year.

“What it says to me is they recognize this was something that was needed, that was significant, and that was going to make a difference in the province,” says Selman. Creating the program and seeing its effect on the students, faculty, and school is  tremendously gratifying.”

“If we can’t do better at helping First Nations people benefit from the opportunities that are coming along, then we’ll pay a huge price in terms of welfare and other social costs, and we won’t have development going ahead in some cases where it could go ahead,” he says.

“SFU, because of this program, is in the forefront of addressing the challenge, and I’m proud of that. Significantly this program builds on SFU’s strength in delivering executive MBAs and provides an established and widely recognized credential to successful students. As somebody who develops programs, I consider it to be my greatest accomplishment.”

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Geek Speak: Chantelle Buffie, cofounder of FIXO Tue, 08 Apr 2014 16:00:10 +0000 The following article was published by the Georgia Straight on April 4, 2014 and features an interview with Beedie School of Business BBA student Chantelle Buffie.

By Stephen Hui.

If you’re a tenant, how do you contact your landlord? Simon Fraser University business student Chantelle Buffie is hoping that you’ll soon be using FIXO.

A 24-year-old Surrey resident, Buffie is one of the undergraduates selected for the 2014 cohort of The Next 36 entrepreneurship program in Toronto. She will graduate from SFU in June.

Buffie cofounded FIXO with a student at the University of British Columbia and another at the University of Toronto. The startup’s product is an application that facilitates communication between residential property managers and tenants. A prototype app is in the iTunes Store, with a launch expected in May. Web and Android interfaces are also planned.

In March, FIXO won the top spot in the newcomer category of the entrepreneurship competition at the 2014 National Business and Technology Conference in Toronto. Buffie was named Enactus Canada’s 2013 HSBC Woman Leader of Tomorrow.

The Georgia Straight reached Buffie by phone in Vancouver.

What led to the development of FIXO?

It was a combination of things. For myself, personally, I’m interested in the future to own and manage properties. So, I was looking for a tool that eventually in the future I could potentially use for my properties. For Jon [Yam], my cofounder, and Armin [Mahmoudi], my other one, they’re both tenants, so they have experience on the tenant side and with some of the problems that we’re looking to address. So, it came out of personal interest and talking to other tenants, building managers, private landlords as well.

What’s wrong with having a simple email list?

The problem with simple email lists is all emails get cluttered. For instance, if a tenant wants to contact a property manager, a lot of times they get lost in all the other emails that property managers get. There’s not a simple kind of categorization for property management companies. A lot of property management companies that we’ve spoken to still use Excel, still use simple email folders to organize all their communications.

When a tenant communicates with them, there’s a lot of times when they have to forward it off to different parties as well. When they do have to forward it off, it’s difficult for property managers to keep track of, “Okay, now this update has happened, now I have to relay it back to tenants.” We want to create a more streamlined process where property managers are able to keep their tenants informed a lot more easier, so they don’t become dissatisfied.

Tell me how tenants would use this.

It’s pretty easy. There’s four different features to it. Right now, a feature that we’re focusing on is submitting electronic maintenance requests. Let’s say a tenant has an issue in their unit or their home, they would pull out the application, they would take a picture of it and write a quick description, and it would be sent off to the property manager.

Another feature is the ability for property managers to send out electronic building notices. Right now, there’s still a lot of paper notices that go around, that get slipped underneath doorways, or posted in elevators. Building managers or even security guards have to walk around to each individual unit from time to time.

What’s the business model?

Property management companies would pay for the service. There would be both a mobile and a web component to it. It would be starting off at $1 per unit per month, and the more volume of units they have, the less it would be.

What kind of interest have you had from property management companies?

We’ve gotten quite a bit of interest in terms of testing with us. Right now, we’re still in the prototype phase. At the end of April, we’ll be testing with a University of Toronto student residence, out in the East, just because student residences are a hotbed for the demographics that we’re looking to target as well.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I will actually be moving to Toronto at the end of this month to be completing the [Next 36] program until about mid August. Depending where the venture goes, I’ll be looking to continue on with it after the program.

Do you have any advice for other business students getting involved with a startup?

First is to just to do it, because there’s really no risk right now as a student. A lot of times, the people that you reach out to, the people that you talk to, they’re more than willing to help because you are a student. So, definitely leveraging that is a great tool to have. That would be my top one.

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Beedie alumnus Milun Tesovic named on BC Business 30 Under 30 Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:02:34 +0000 Beedie School of Business alumnus Milun Tesovic, co-founder of, the most comprehensive database of music lyrics in the world, has been named one of BC Business’ 30 Under 30.

The BC Business 30 Under 30 celebrates the province’s top young businessmen and women who excel in their respective industries, give back to their community, and who will lead business in the province in the future.

A serial entrepreneur since his early teens, Tesovic co-founded MetroLeap Media Inc., the parent company of MetroLyrics, in 2006 along with Beedie executive MBA alumnus Alan Juristovski. MetroLyrics was acquired by CBS Interactive Music Group in 2011, and now has a database of over one million songs and 20,000 artists.

Since the acquisition, Tesovic has remained with the company as General Manager, implementing innovative lyrics applications and services that appeal to the site’s large user base. He has also maintained an interest in entrepreneurship, advising and investing in a number of startups.

In 2008, he was named SFU Student Entrepreneur of the Year, gaining entry for MetroLeap Media Inc. as the inaugural client in SFU’s Venture Connection’s early-stage incubator, VentureLabs.

Tesovic will be a guest at the BC Business 30 Under 30 reception, to be held from 5.30 to 7.30pm on April 30. For more information on the BC Business 30 Under 30, visit, or read the BC Business profile of Milun Tesovic.

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Beedie Group celebrates 60 years in business Fri, 04 Apr 2014 22:01:57 +0000 Family that runs B.C.’s largest industrial property developer are also front-rank philanthropists.

The following story was published in the Vancouver Sun on April 4, 2014.

By Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun

There’s a grand frivolity in contemplating that The Beedie Group — the province’s largest industrial property developer with a gazillion in assets — might not exist today if the coin company patriarch Keith Beedie flipped in the air one day in 1968 had not landed heads.

Tails and it would be bankruptcy, heads and Beedie would make what seemed to sensible people at the time a hopeless attempt to save a busted company.

And today as he contemplates the company’s 60th anniversary in business, that coin toss signifies how the margin between success and failure is sometimes separated only by a whim.

“That’s how I did it,” said Beedie, 87, in his office at the company’s Burnaby headquarters. “Tossed a coin.”

Heavily in debt to the bank and his subtrades, Beedie found himself stuck in 1968 with homes he had built on spec but couldn’t sell due to a downturn in the housing market.

Then he discovered an employee had been embezzling the accounts and the combination of it all led his chartered accountant to advise him to seek bankruptcy, something he was reluctant to do.

“He was a good friend and he said ‘you need to go bankrupt because you are bankrupt’. I said ‘OK I’ll flip a coin and see.’”

Getting the go-ahead from the Gods, he went to the bank and the subtrades and pleaded for more time and within a year, as the housing market recovered, he had rescued himself.

“I paid everyone I owed and gave the subtrades seven-per-cent interest,” said Beedie, chairman and CEO of The Beedie Group.

Today the company is run by his son, Ryan, 46, who was appointed president by his father in 2001.

“My dad is amazing. I joined the company in 1993 and was running the development side in my 20s and then he made me president,” said Ryan Beedie.

“This business has been his baby from the beginning and he’s devoted his life to it. He’s been a good dad to me but he’s not Mr. Family Man. He gave me a lot of authority at a young age but his priority has always been his business, and that’s just the way it is,” he said.

Since he became president the company has grown 10 times in value and revenue and has expanded its operations into Alberta.

Its industrial portfolio now amounts to 8 million square feet of developed industrial space and a hefty land base for future developments.

Three years ago Ryan Beedie set up a multi-family residential division, Beedie Living, moving the company back into the residential market after decades of only developing and building industrial properties.

Beedie Living — in partnership with Anthem Properties — is now developing Station Square, a five-tower highrise residential-commercial complex on nine acres in Metrotown that will be worth in excess of a billion dollars when completed sometime around 2020.

“That’s our biggest development to date. For me, I just want to make my dad proud of what we are doing. We’re not going to be the biggest residential builder by any means, but I’d like to be a force in that space,” said Beedie.

As the big decisions are made between father and son, the company has a nimbleness not found in public companies of similar size burdened with a board of directors.

“If we like something it’s boom, let’s go. I don’t have to care about quarterly reports and we are able to look at things on a long-term time horizon. We made an acquisition two years ago with a return on investment in the short term that isn’t great. But we know in 15 years there’s a tremendous value that’s going to be unlocked,” he said.

Ten years ago it was the “boom, let’s go” that pitched them into an enterprise that would put them in the public eye — the decision to buy the Vancouver Canucks with partners Tom Gaglardi and Francesco Aquilini.

“When the opportunity came to invest in a group to buy the team, I took it to my dad and he got all excited. He is a big hockey fan and had hardly missed a home game in 40 years. So I looked at it and it made some sense, so we ended up on a journey that didn’t work out,” said Beedie.

The Canucks ended up in the hands of Aquilini. Beedie and Gaglardi sued Aquilini, claiming he had violated their partnership agreement, but their high profile case was lost in B.C. Supreme Court.

“I’m at peace with it all now and for me, I think it’s good it didn’t happen,” said Beedie. “But I’m glad Tom has since bought the Dallas Stars (hockey team).”

Three years ago Keith and Ryan Beedie were again in the headlines, this time for making a $22-million donation to Simon Fraser University’s business school. It put them into the front rank of B.C. philanthropists and the school was renamed the Beedie School of Business.

“There isn’t a day goes by when I don’t pinch myself and think ‘wow, how lucky we are to have done this.’” said Ryan Beedie, who received an undergraduate business degree from SFU.

“I see ads in the paper for the Beedie School of Business and it’s wonderful to know we have invested in scholarships and bursaries that will give some students the chance to get the education I received, but could afford,” he said.

Daniel Shapiro, dean of the Beedie School of Business, said the $22-million gift was “transformative.”

“I was dean before we received this so I have seen first-hand the difference it has made,” said Shapiro. “Putting a name on the business school has transformed how we think of ourselves and how the world thinks of us.”

The money was designated for faculty recruitment and retention and to provide bursaries and scholarships for students. “It has helped us remain competitive with the salary structure of larger and better-endowed business schools and helped maintain a faculty that is of high quality,” he said.

“It’s also helping us recruit students who otherwise would not be able to come.”

The donation might never have been made had Ryan Beedie not read an article in Canadian Business by businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich.

“He said there’s a lot of wealthy people in Canada who say they give a lot of money to charity but really, when you look at it, they don’t.”

Both Keith and Ryan Beedie have supported many charities over the years, giving donations to various Metro Vancouver hospitals and such causes as the CKNW Orphan’s Fund. Keith, from his own foundation, had given $1.4 million to build a woman’s softball pitch at SFU.

But Ryan Beedie found Schulich’s words a challenge.

“Reading that article I thought ‘he’s right,’ we should do something significant and maybe others will see they can do it, too. That donation will have a long-term impact — it’s not just a gesture,” he said.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life and it’s a motivator for me in business. We’ve been very fortunate but my life’s the same as it was 10 years ago. We want to build the business and reinvest in the business but the more you make the more you can give back.”

So how much has The Beedie Group given back?

“Over $30 million, but don’t tell my dad.”

To read the full article, visit

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Pride and purchases: Do these designer pants make my head look fat? Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:16:56 +0000 Beedie study finds dark side to rewarding ourselves with luxury goods.

The following article was published by on March 31, 2014.

By Misty Harris, Postmedia News.

Beedie School of Business assistant professor Brent McFerran's research examines consumer emotion before and after high-end goods are acquired.

Beedie School of Business assistant professor Brent McFerran.

Though it’s no surprise pride is linked to luxury purchases, a new Canadian study finds the emotion takes on very different forms before and after high-end goods are acquired.

While feelings of authentic pride — the type linked with accomplishment — were found to drive desire for such products, it was hubristic pride — the type linked with snobbery — that consumers actually experienced post-purchase. Furthermore, outsiders interpreted the display of designer brands as arrogant, even though they’d seek out similarly luxe goodies to reward themselves for a job well done.

The study has multimillion-dollar implications for marketers, not to mention any future decisions you may make between a Rolex and a Swatch.

“People report feeling more egotistical, more arrogant, more snobby as a result of wearing and displaying these brands, even though that’s not what motivated the purchase in the first place,” said lead author Brent McFerran, assistant professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.

The study draws on seven experiments with more than 900 people, and is believed to be the first research of its kind to demonstrate two facets of pride in consumption.

For example, when people were primed to feel a sense of achievement, they were much likelier to want luxury-branded items than people who had their egos pumped up. And in another experiment, higher levels of accomplishment-related pride were likewise associated with increased desire for designer products.

By contrast, when people pondered luxury possessions they already owned, they felt more hubris but not more accomplished. Moreover, they assessed other people who bought luxury brands as more snobbish than deserving.

“We’ll often judge others more harshly for the same behaviours that, given the same situation, we might find ourselves doing,” said McFerran.

The implication for marketers is that they could hit pay dirt by positioning luxury products as signposts of accomplishment (for example, Rolex’s “A crown for every achievement” campaign) versus signposts of status (Versace ads juxtaposing the owners of designer goods with manservants).

“If we make people feel arrogant, conceited, snobby, they don’t want luxury brands — or at least less so,” said McFerran. “When DO they want luxury brands? When they feel the other side of pride: a sense of achievement, and of being fulfilled. It’s a much more motivating state.”

For consumers, the picture is more complex.

On the one hand, the study identifies a dark side of accomplishment-related pride when it comes to purchasing behaviour. That is, that it can result in the kind of vanity that wreaks havoc on relationships, mental health and social behaviour.

On the other, McFerran said consumers may consciously recognize that luxury items imply that they’re big-headed and unapproachable, but in fact want to convey this impression because it signals power — even at the cost of people liking them.

The study, co-authored by The University of British Columbia’s Karl Aquino and Jessica Tracy, will appear in a future issue of the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

View the article in its entirety at

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