Tyler Campbell, MPA(M) 2016, Director Children and Social Services for City of Greater Sudbury contacted his professor for program evaluation asking if she could offer an in-service to some of the employees of the City. Dr. Kaireen Chaytor agreed and headed off to Sudbury to give a course. Participants developed evaluation frameworks for the various initiatives they are undertaking. The visit included sessions with all managers on building evaluation capacity and an evaluation culture. It’s a wonderful example of the implementation and impact of the education gained by our on-line students – the impact often invisible to us – both as individuals and as an institution.
“Once we start on the learning path, the addiction to knowledge acquisition takes over. Life-long learning becomes embedded in everything we do…. Acquiring knowledge is only the beginning of a journey. Sharing knowledge sustains us on the road ahead.
Tyler Saito, Class of 2016
Tyler Saito, Director, Wealth Management Business Solutions at Coast Capital Wealth Management crossed the stage in 2016 to receive his MBA(FS). In a July 2017 virtual interview with CEGE Connection, Tyler shared his thoughts on the idea of “Deeper Learning” as presented by Martine Durier-Copp and Joyline Makani’s award-winning research. A recent MBA(FS) grad, Tyler outlined his next steps within the context of this research:
Reconnecting with friends and family. They were an invaluable support and encouragement all through my years of study. As well, I am committed to utilizing and mastering what I have learned in my chosen career path with Coast Capital Financial Management, an organization that reflects my values and gives a purpose to work. I enjoy engaging in community endeavours and have used my Dal experience to coach little league fast-pitch and establish a communication strategy within this dedicated organization. Acquiring knowledge is only the beginning of a journey. Sharing knowledge sustains us on the road ahead.
Fast forward to 2019. In a following up interview with CEGE Connection, Tyler spoke of his commitment of reconnecting with family and friends, sharing knowledge and engaging in community endeavours.
Since graduating, my family became my focus. My wife and children gave me their full support during the time that I was involved in professional development. They kept me grounded.
Summer has come and I am right in the middle of softball season with my girls. Both of my girls play fastpitch. It is an exciting time. I have enjoyed being their coach, for at least one of them, over the past four years. Being a coach of a softball team has given me an extraordinary opportunity to foster sportsmanship, collaboration and discipline, values that will build resilience as these children grow into adulthood. Simple acts like sitting with the team before and after the game and sharing how they felt during the game or practice helps them bond and trust each other, knowing that they are in a safe environment. While the focus of the team is playing a game, I have learned that one of the keys of keeping kids in the game is helping them make great friends and gain a sense of belonging.
With warmer weather, I am back to cycling and running outdoors. Last year I was able to complete two triathlons and two Gran Fondos. When I am putting in a couple hours of running or cycling, it gives me time to think and mentally reset a bit. It is also nice that these activities are excellent enablers of disconnecting from electronics and just focusing on breathing and moving. There is an interesting sense of camaraderie among cyclists and among runners. We are all out to beat our own times and efforts. Neither activity ever gets any easier with time, you just get a little faster.
Editor’s Note: Tyler’s commitment to sharing knowledge and research is evident on Global News Morning, Money Matters. Check out Tyler’s recommended “Summer Financial Reads to Help Your Bank Account.”
“Most people would rather die than think and many do.”
Ever since the ancient Greeks refused to do any work and sat around discussing where we came from to modern times, where the Brain asked his e’er unanswered question, “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?“, mankind (and apparently, mousekind) has pondered the vicissitudes of life. Where did we come from? Why are we here? How come the “Snuggie” exists?
These are the questions that have plagued us since the beginning. After centuries of pondering these conundrums and after multiple methods of experimentation, someone invented something called a thought experiment, defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as “devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things.”
I was first introduced to thought experiments through Farnham Street, a regular blog that encourages people to think outside their normal thought processes. (There is a clear line to the MBA here, as the author regularly references Charlie Munger, a student of multiple disciplines and long-time business partner of Warren Buffet.) It was this blog that also introduced me to the book, The Pig That Wants to be Eaten by Julian Baggini.
Aptly subtitled “100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher”, Baggini’s book explores unique moral and ethical questions, some of which are so bizarre that one fully expects Rod Serling to appear at any moment. The experiments are brief, about a page in length each, and allow for rumination or discussion (try reading one at the dinner table…mostly blank stares) Each thought experiment is then followed up by Baggini’s input and opinion. (Baggini is the co-founder of the Philosopher’s Magazine, so he has plenty of input to offer.)
Some of the experiments are based in the classics, like Racing Tortoises, which is based on Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare. In this experiment, the basic principles of physics are on trial. How is it possible that Achilles could lose a foot race to a tortoise? Do we apply logic and the immutable laws of physics or rely on experiences and fanciful notion of what could be?
Other experiments are based on more recent ideas, such as The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten, which is loosely based on Douglas Adams’ The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Here the thought is: is it morally wrong to eat meat and, if so, if there was a genetically modified animal that wanted to be eaten, is it still wrong to eat it? If we refuse to eat it, we are denying the pig’s sole desire in life. Is it wrong to deprive him/her of that? (I’m sure PETA would have an opinion on this question!)
There is also a throwback to Star Trek in Beam Me Up… where a lawsuit is pending against a company that builds transporters. The lawsuit claims that a person is not actually transported but is killed in the process and a clone arrives at the destination in their place. This experiment explores the fact that a person’s mind and soul are continuous and more important than their bodies and the body is merely a container. That being said, if a person’s body is entirely irrelevant and only the continuation of soul and mind are important, can murder exist?
Baggini references The Matrix [I am a Brain] and Minority Report [Pre-emptive Justice] and touches on current subjects like terrorism [The Torture Option] and war [No One Wins]. The book is not difficult to read and provides entertaining and thought-provoking questions and encourages the reader to adopt a unique perspective. Also, because of the layout, the book does not need to be read cover to cover. It can be picked up when convenient as each experiment stands on its own. If you are new to philosophy or just want some short, entertaining experiments to work through, The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten may be a good place to start.
“Imagination without reason is mere fancy, while reason without imagination is sterile.”
Scott Coghill MBA(FS) 2016, Senior Manager, Commercial Banking and Real Estate at National Bank of Canada, delivers innovative financing and investment solutions for growing businesses. Working with the Specialized Lending Sector, Scott is responsible for the maintenance, growth and development of the Commercial Real Estate sector in Southwestern Ontario. Scott has graciously agreed to be a repeat contributor on CFAME Connection.
We have entered a pivotal time in the evolution of financial services. The advent of myriad technologies, the unprecedented pace of change, non-traditional and traditional competition, the regulatory environment, increasing consumer expectations of value, ease, and simplification, global and localized economic influencers – the list goes on. All represent a plethora of headwinds that afford a heightened urgency to think deeply about our business, move quickly, and pivot readily, while necessitating agility in our approach. The financial services industry is navigating these headwinds concurrent to striving to win for our clients today, digitizing and leveraging technologies to enhance our client experience and deliver cost efficiencies in the near term, while also fundamentally rethinking financial services for the future. As a realistic optimist – a very exciting as well as a somewhat unnerving time!
I highly value my experiences within the Dal MBA program and consider my investment central to enabling me to actively and positively engage in the industry transformation currently taking place. The program effectively strengthened my perspective, tuned my business acumen, and set the tone for the magnitude of change that I would ultimately be leading through.
How did the MBA influence my choices and decisions?
Building from my undergrad, the MBA enabled me to think more broadly, to take a wide lens to issues, while also strengthening my perspective and resourcefulness to engage in ongoing issues and opportunities present in today’s business environment. The opportunity to study, while working full time, (and parenting full time!) stretched me personally and professionally as I worked to manage the demands of my three parallel, competing realities.
Managing this complexity provided the impetus to broaden my capacity and demonstrated the value of adaptability as a core capability in my long-term development. Fundamental to today’s business environment is the ability to readily adapt to rapidly changing work. An essential capability as we look at the heightened importance of systematic horizontal integration and collaborative, fast paced, functional work environments.
The Dal MBA program also instilled a confidence that has fueled my curiosity and enabled me to more readily expose my vulnerabilities; never easy, but essential to long term personal and professional growth. Trusting the Dal MBA as my foundation, I have more easily stepped out of my areas of specialization into other parts of the business to broaden my experiences – trusting that I have the tools and foundation to enable me to positively impact the role and business in which I have transitioned.
How would you encourage others to seek more education?
Formal education is one lever for development – a lever that has always been extremely important to me personally. Peers, new work, mentors, classes, courses, experiences – there are many development tactics to consider. I suggest the first development step for anyone is to take the time to understand yourself. How well do you know yourself? Your interests? Strengths? Opportunities? Blind spots? Motivations? Take the time to reflect, ask for feedback, understand where you want to develop, and then be strategic about honing in on the areas that will support your overall development plan and journey. I have always focused on capabilities for my development, not roles, as the speed of change is reshaping everything we know. It is highly likely that your 2 or 3 out role target may not exist when you are looking for it.
Ultimately, education comes through many places. I am currently 15 years into my career and 12 years into a family life with 3 children – you quickly realize that the learning journey never ends! With the pace of change of today’s world, I find I am constantly learning both formally and informally. I am currently completing my CSC (why not!), taking a Data Science course, and completing a Lean project for a LSS designation. I am also working on many cross-functional projects that, in their own, foster unique development opportunities. Personally, my spouse and children are endlessly integrating the ‘internet of things’ into our home and routines, sharing apps and technologies fascinating in which to participate. In the end, simply being curious and engaging in the ongoing changes around me.
It is rewarding to embrace opportunities to continuously develop and grow. The world is an amazing place and, to think I am just scratching the surface of fully understanding my family, my work, my environment, and my passion, is an exhilarating feeling. Dal helped instill this in me.
I just love this quote from Stephen Hawking always reminding me to engage, embrace, and be curious:
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
Richard (Rick) Atherton MBA(FS) 2016 is Senior Director, Senior Director, Operations Enablement and Integration, CB Operation, RBC. He is dedicated to the development, communication and integration of change leadership strategies supporting transformational initiatives across RBC Canadian Banking Operations. His mission is to enable effective and sustainable change to improve productivity, drive engagement, and deliver operational efficiencies. Rick has graciously agreed to be a repeat contributor on CFAME Connection.
Steen Madsen, Investment Advisor, RBC Dominion Securities graduated in the MBA (FS) Class of 2016. In a recent virtual interview with CFAME Connection, Steen reflected on his academic journey, offering profound insight into the opportunities and challenges facing those involved in life-long learning.
To be honest, I had the thought of attaining an MBA for 20 years – a bucket list item if you want to call it! The MBA (FS) program offered rich academic content with a high degree of real-world learning supporting the entire program. I wanted education that went beyond my industry, which would allow me to explore other career opportunities beyond banking.
As Rick Nason would say, I embraced the spirit of emergence when I decided to enroll in the MBA(FS). Working within banking and wealth management roles, requires that I must continually adapt to a changing environment both in the market place and within an evolving organization. Studying alongside other industry participants provided new perspectives which inspired me to move forward personally as well as professionally.
Timing the markets or attempting to time the markets is never a proven success; however, I believe that life goals in relation to timing is crucial. For me, it was the right time to take that next-step towards an MBA. Having career and life experience when I entered the MBA(FS) program broadened my learning capacity, positioning me to legitimately contribute within an academic environment. My favorite part of the MBA (FS) program was the intensives. In those three or four days, I learned alongside other industry-experienced students committed to life-long learning
For someone just starting the MBA program, time management will be critical. Use your existing scheduling skills to their fullest and learn to block chunks of time to get the work load and studying done. Use this time wisely, not only to achieve a mark, but to gain knowledge. Integrating an academic journey into the reality of family life and career responsibilities requires a thoughtful approach. The first step starts with a scheduling dynamic that is backed by family permission to spend the hours to get each course done. When I started the program, my daughter was 3 years old; when I graduated, she had turned seven. This meant that her entire memory and impression of her Dad throughtout that time was of me studying in my home office. During those years, there was a shift in philosophy of what is important, that learning for the sake of acquiring knowledge was the ultimate goal.
When I received the letter of acceptance, “congratulations, you’re in.” I bought a Dal sweatshirt. I wore that same sweatshirt for each and every intensive exam, the entire length of the program (4 years), kind of like a lucky charm. Hah, it worked! Believe it or not, I wasn’t the only one to do that!
My next challenge is back to studying. This time a must because it is my insurance licensing which will be a small part of my wealth management business going forward. I still balance work hours with family life because my kids are 8 and 11 and between homework-help and activities there is little time other than the odd NFL game or UFC fight to watch. I really enjoy being a Dad and the time I spend with my children is a blessing. I appreciate every moment – they are only young once!