JMSB competes for the future 

By Laurie Zack

Dean Sharma Magnifying glass

Dean Sharma

Dean Sanjay Sharma gave a presentation to the Board of Governors on Jan. 17 called “Competing for the Future” in which he framed the priorities of the John Molson School of Business.

Sharma shared a new mission statement being considered by the school: “Educate managers with excellence in traditional knowledge and the ability to manage responsibly in future complex global business environments.” The business school intends to be ranked as one of the top five in Canada and among the top 100 internationally.

“I am leading a strategic planning initiative for the faculty that involves all the departments, as well as support staff and students,” Sharma explained. “I hope to have the process completed in two months and endorsed by the faculty.”

Business schools have gone global, and Concordia is no exception. Enrolment figures show a 15 per cent increase in international students in 2007-08. Between 20 and 25 per cent of the current enrolment are international students.

Sharma is determined to capitalize on this trend with speakers and visiting lecturers, the integration of global business in the core curriculum, global co-op internships, a global business major for BComm and MBA students, and an MSc and PhD stream in global business. Online delivery of courses and more international partnerships are other potential strategies.

Closer to home, other curriculum initiatives being developed involve Master of Engineering students taking our special Graduate Certificate in Business Administration for Engineers; students in the medical sciences at McGill taking our Graduate Certificate in Business Administration for Non-Commerce Students; a partnership with Ryerson University in Toronto to offer our MBA in Investment Management; and an agreement with State University of New York Plattsburgh, through which students in the Master of Liberal Studies program can register for our MBA program.

To better attract and retain faculty talent, the JMSB is taking a page from Arts and Science by establishing Dean’s Awards in research, teaching and service in fall 2008. The School is also looking at establishing research clusters based on distinctive competence areas.

The 36 per cent jump in undergraduate enrolment in the fall of 2007 is exciting, but presents a challenge. Meeting the space needs of a growing student body until the move to the new JMSB building in the summer of 2009 is a major concern.

Another challenge is keeping a respectable student-professor ratio in the second largest business school in the country. At the moment, the faculty contingent is lower than many mid-size business schools. The ratio of full-time faculty is crucial in maintaining AACSB accreditation.

In answer to a question, Sharma told the Board that he recognizes the value of putting real-world executives in the classroom, but academically qualified faculty are needed to create new knowledge. He sees a growing role for these experienced business people as speakers and visiting lecturers in the executive programs.


Concordia University