“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
Let’s face it. People are tired. In many communities across Canada we have had a week of added restrictions, and the holiday season we were allowing ourselves to believe might be a version of “normal” slipping from sight.
One very real challenge with change leadership is that the silence of resignation, and the flat responses of apathy, can be mistaken for change adoption. This is particularly valid when we are interacting primarily through channels that do not provide the full context that “the whites of their eyes” might provide.
So, this week’s homework, leaders, is to just say yes. Not “yes but”, not “maybe just give me three alternatives and a recommendation”, just “yes”. There is nothing more energizing in a workplace than the support that comes from a calm and confident “yes”. And if you are really feeling the moment “Yes, what a great idea”, “Yes, how can I help?”, “Yes, and what else have you been thinking about?”. For the elite players out there, ready to level up, try it at home too!
I just can’t wait to hear your stories of discovery and adventure that arise from just saying “yes”. ‘
#saturdaymorningmusings #leadership #storytelling #justsayyes #changefatigue #resilienceatwork #success #unleashthepotential
I was recently interviewed for a Dal Magazine article about moving my undergraduate course to a virtual environment. At the time, I was reflecting about the beginnings of the MBA (Financial Services) Program. I started teaching in the program in 1999 and at the time there was no such thing as BrightSpace. We did not have webpages where students could post questions or comments. We did not have course videos. We had lesson notes, but they were in paper form only. Students would fax in their assignments. We had a “discussion space” kind of thing, where students could post questions to me and I could post them back, but it was really no more than a Listserv.
I think of where we are today with completely virtual classes within the MBA (Financial Services/ Leadership) Program. We have remarkable technology that we use now in terms of videos and quizzes and interactive tools . My ability to successfully move COMM 1010 (Business in A Global Context), my first year undergraduate class to an online environment was due to the fact that I had spent 20 plus years teaching in the MBA (FS/L) Program.
There is so much that has changed in those 20 years, but not the nature of the students. Our students are adaptable, flexible, and smart. They know how to use technology and they know how to use it to their advantage. I hope you enjoy the article as it gives me hope. When I think about our undergraduate and our graduate students, I know they will thrive and grow in any environment in which they find themselves. My hope is that if we can excel at teaching online it will open us up to even greater possibilities and greater opportunities for all our programs
Excerpt from the DALMAGAZINE: Shifting Gears
How can we best prime students for life as business professionals? That’s the underlying objective in Carolan McLarney’s Business in a Global Context course, a large first-year class aimed at undergraduate students interested in business.
While the answer to the question naturally shifts from year to year as the world itself changes, 2020 brought about a more dramatic upheaval than most as the pandemic battered economies and reshaped the way business is done. Remote work became the norm for many businesses and organizations, a trend that seems to have stuck is some cases even after restrictions loosened and a way of working that could become the new normal in the event of future outbreaks.
Dr. McLarney says her course this fall provides an opportunity for students to hone their digital savvy to meet the needs of this new era, given that—like most other courses at Dal—it’s being taught entirely online. “If anybody can work anywhere in the world now, then if you are exceptionally good at doing remote work, the possibilities for you as an employee are endless,” says Dr. McLarney. “That’s what we’ll be trying to teach them.”
Adapting a course for hundreds of students, including a large contingent of international students positioned in different countries and time zones, was no small feat. Dr. McLarney made a point of incorporating both synchronous (happening at a specific time) and asynchronous (can be accessed anytime) elements into the course to allow students flexibility. She holds two live synchronous lectures each Thursday, which are then made available as recordings. Students are divided into smaller groups for tutorials, which this year are pre-recorded and available each Friday. And rather than office hours, students book individual appointments.
“I think in a way this move to online is going to make us much better for every student,” she says. “I speak very quickly, and for students whose first language isn’t English, I think it can be a little overwhelming. So, wouldn’t it be great if you could just go back a few frames or go forward or pause and make some notes? This will probably make my course much more accessible.”
What won’t change are expectations of students. They’ll still be required to give presentations, do group work, take part in a business simulation, present themselves professionally, and complete assignments on time—only now, they’ll do so virtually. Even an annual networking event that’s organized in partnership with Dal’s Management Career Services is moving online, with students being offered opportunities to drop into different rooms and meet representatives from various companies.
If this fall is done well across the university, Dr. McLarney says, it could reveal a major opportunity to grow Dal’s student population and equalize education. “If we get very good at this, then we can reach parts of the world and portions of the population who don’t have access to education,” she says. “Wouldn’t that be just remarkable?”
“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”
Alan Turing, Computing machinery and intelligence
Ada Choy, Head of Asia Wealth Business Implementation at HSBC, crossed the virtual state to receive her MBA(FS) in October 2020. CEGE Connection reached out to Ada to discuss her thoughts as she takes on new challenges and opportunities.
Thinking back in 2014, with the aim to compete with others in my organization, I enrolled in the Dalhousie MBA FS program.
Throughout my MBA journey, there were many surprises that added depth and breadth to my learning experience. I discovered new knowledge that I could apply at work immediately. Insights from my professors as well as the interactions and different perspectives of my classmates, contributed to adding dimensions in my outlook and personal goals. I thought differently, more strategically in the ways of working and collaborating. In addition to that, my academic journey helped me to compete differently in my organization, moving to more advanced roles, year after year.
However, I must admit there were tough times, jiggling between work, time zone differences, and family life. To exacerbate the situation, I had to take a year off due to a health problem. There were times when I really wanted to give up. Despite all the challenges, the warmest care from the remarkable CEGE staff, professors, classmates, the online capability, and the flexibility of the Dalhousie MBA(FS) program provided the best fit to my situation, all of which inspired me to complete my graduate degree.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all the CEGE staff, especially Sarah, Michelle, Rebecca, and Professor McLarney for all your care and support during the toughest time of my life! Also, to all my lovely classmates, it has been wonderful meeting all of you. Thank you for accommodating my time zone in all the group works. My deepest and sincere thanks to all!
My Next Blue Ocean Strategy is to discover more about wine. There is a saying that the essential guide to wine is “Think, Taste, Drink & Feel, how we explore undiscovered treasures, enjoy great food and wine, and experience the wine lifestyle.” Wine and the MBA are two separate things, but to me, it is a perfect match that will open my mind even more!
I wish all of you every success in your future endeavours. Please keep in touch! Congratulations again to all the 2020 Dal Graduates!
Editor’s Note: CEGE Connection is thrilled that Ada Choy has agreed to be a repeat contributor on CEGE Connection.
“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.”
Arthur O’Shaughnessy, Poems of Arthur O’Shaughnessy
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Laurence Binyon – September 1914
Completing my MBA has always been a goal of mine however, over the years there were conflicting priorities that seemed to continuously push this dream to the bottom of the pile. After my undergrad, I focused, like many, on putting more money into my bank account than I was taking out. As time went by, my emphasis shifted to establishing a career versus maintaining a job. The thought of going back to school drifted further down my priority list. During this time, I had two other passions that kept me very busy. My favourite, of course, was building my beautiful family, including my children of now 14 and 12 years of age. The other, was competing at a competitive level in the sport of curling, which I have done since a was a young girl. When the thought of pursuing an MBA crossed my mind, I questioned when and how I would fit the demands of a robust academic undertaking into what already seemed an aggressive schedule?
It wasn’t until I was working at the bank that my goal of an MBA came up in casual conversation with my manager, a dear friend and great mentor to me. She challenged me to consider my options and opened my eyes to the value that an MBA would give me on a professional level as well as the personal feeling of accomplishment. Within six months, I applied to the DAL program and received my acceptance, giving little consideration on how I would integrate studies into my schedule. It was a leap of faith that, in the end, taught me that being busy is just a frame of mind.
My time at DAL taught me many things but time management stands out beyond any others. I learned to be selfish with my schedule, efficient with administrative tasks and productive at a very early hour! It also taught me to stop and enjoy the little things along the way. As strange as it sounds, I valued the time with my husband and children more and felt that I gave them more of ‘me’ during our time together because I knew that there was less of it to go around. My children reminded me of this very important lesson and even when deadlines became tight, I knew I was deviating too far when they came to sit on the floor in my office. No words were usually spoken but I knew that I needed to walk away and be Mom and not student for a while.
Looking back, I am happy that my life delayed my pursuit of an MBA for a few reasons. Although throughout the program I said many times that I wished I had started sooner, I feel the experience I had from my career made my journey more fulfilling. I was able to relate to the material better; I was able to put the learnings into action at work; and I felt that I cared more about studying than I did throughout my Undergrad – what I difference that made! I also think that my maturity is what made it possible to complete my MBA without sacrificing any of the passions I had in my life. I continued to develop my career, I was available for my family and I still competed at a National level in curling.
Above all, having the ability to share the experience with my children made waiting worthwhile. We had ups and downs of course but seeing how my journey has impacted on how they view schoolwork, time management and prioritization in general, are invaluable lessons that are difficult to teach without going through the experience of my MBA. I was proud to walk across the stage, knowing my children were in the audience, recognizing that they felt the same pride and honour – something I hope they never forget.
Heather Heggestad, MBA Class of 2019 is Vice President, Equipment Finance at RBC.
Editors Note: From CEGE Connection Archives, this post was originally published on February 18, 2020.
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
Vincent Van Gogh
On November 1, 2020, CEGE Connection celebrates our fourth anniversary of bringing together a virtual community that thrives on the exchange of knowledge and experiences. The momentum continues as we head into our fifth year of existence. Over the past four years, CEGE Connection launched dialogues that served as catalysts for deeper conversations. A special thanks to our alumni community for engaging and sharing their insights.
There are many more discussions waiting for us in the upcoming year. We enjoy sharing stories of graduates. We also want to have repeat contributors to discuss current thoughts regarding leadership, communication, governance, and information management. Please let us know if you are interested in joining CEGE Connection: Year 5, The Continuing Journey.
Michelle & Rebecca and the CEGE Team