Seasons Greetings! Wishing you the joy of family,
the warmth of friends and the gifts of laughter, peace, and love.
Seasons Greetings! Wishing you the joy of family,
the warmth of friends and the gifts of laughter, peace, and love.
“At the time, the only mention of banking in university curriculum was in macro economic course on Money and Banking. It focused primarily on monetary policy.” Rosaire Couturier
The MBA (FS) is the culmination of efforts to improve the professionalism in the banking profession which was the mandate of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. I came to the ICB from Academia (Associate Dean at Laval’s Faculty of Administrative Sciences). At the time, the only mention of banking in university curriculum was in macro economic course on Money and Banking. It focused primarily on monetary policy.
The absence of a university level domain of studies focusing on one of the key service sector of the Canadian economy needed to be addressed.
It took more than fifteen years to achieve what may reasonably be termed a breakthrough, and Dalhousie was the very first Canadian University to establish a graduate level degree program as part of the Faculty of Business curriculum. Professor Ray Klapstein championed the initiative through the university’s program approval process.
“Without the foresightedness of Prof Klapstein, the program would have been launched in partnership with the Manchester University’s Business school.”
At the time the ICB had invested in the development of industry specific course content with the help of university professors. The courses were part of the Professional Banking Management Program at the ICB comprising five courses and leading to the industry designation of Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers (FICB).
It took more then ten years before a university agreed to credit the Institute’s program towards a degree. The MBA (FS) was structured around core courses which the University offered in its regular MBA program and a specialisation which in this case could be credited for those who completed the FICB.
If I recall he had a semester (three months) to get it done and I would hold off signing with Manchester.
Without the foresightedness of Prof Klapstein, the program would have been launched in partnership with the Manchester University’s Business school. I was about to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to that effect when Professor Klapstein (who was aware of my on-going efforts to get ICB program credited by a (any) Canadian University without success) asked to see me and to delay signing up with Manchester because he felt he had a good chance of getting an MBA(FS) approved by the University. If I recall he had a semester (three months) to get it done and I would hold off signing with Manchester.
The rest is history and to my knowledge Dalhousie was the first University to offer a graduate degree in financial services in the world. Since then other have followed suite, for example, the MBA- FSI in Europe, a joint undertaking by the Vlerick Business School (Belgium and University of St Gallen (Switzerland) is in its 10th edition.
“The rest is history and to my knowledge Dalhousie was the first University to offer a graduate degree in financial services in the world.” Rosaire Couturier
“During our dinner conversation, he told me that the ICB was about to enter an agreement with a British school (the name of which I don’t remember) to establish an MBA program tailored for the banking industry. I got upset!” Ray Klapstein
In December, 1994, I was in Banff teaching the Law course in the Professional Banking Program for the Institute of Canadian Bankers. The Director of the program at the time, Jacques Vanier, came to introduce me to the class and open the course. He took me out for dinner at a restaurant in town. During our dinner conversation he told me that the ICB was about to enter an agreement with a British school (the name of which I don’t remember) to establish an MBA program tailored for the banking industry. I got upset! I asked why the Institute would do that with a non-Canadian university. He told me none were interested. I asked if Dalhousie had been considered. He told me that it had not been asked – apparently Rosaire Couturier, the Institute’s CEO (whom I’d met but hadn’t yet really gotten to know) had discussed it with Saint Mary’s (and others) and been rejected – apparently, the logic was that surely if Saint Mary’s wasn’t interested, Dalhousie wouldn’t be. I suggested that was an unfair conclusion, and said “let’s design a program right now.” We did, on the back of a paper placemat, while enjoying a glass of port. The design was simple – a full slate of Dalhousie core MBA courses with the ICB’s PBP courses treated as the electives, forming an MBA program with a specialization in banking.
“I suggested that was an unfair conclusion, and said “let’s design a program right now.” We did, on the back of a paper placemat, while enjoying a glass of port.”
I was just a lowly Associate Prof at the time, with no experience in designing and securing approval of a new program – naïve and ignorant. Given that, I resolved to present the concept to our President, Tom Traves (whom I had yet to meet), thinking if he thought it was a good idea, I’d work on it; if he didn’t, I wouldn’t waste my time and energy.
“When I was done, he pointed to the door. My first thought was that I was being told to get out…”
In early January, 1995, I made an appointment and went to see him. I introduced myself and told him I had an idea for a new MBA program. I told him about the ICB, and gave him the details about the nature and quality of the PBP, being careful to explain that it was designed as a set of MBA level courses, developed and delivered by top-notch and well qualified faculty members from a collection of Canadian university business schools. When I was done, he pointed to the door. My first thought was that I was being told to get out, but then he said “Do it. If you need anything from me, let me know.”
“Rosaire did, though, open a window – he said he’d delay signing the agreement with the British school for 3 months; if I could get the program approved at Dalhousie in that time, he’d sign with Dalhousie instead,”
With the President’s support in hand, I contacted Rosaire. He wasn’t enthused, but said he’d be willing to meet with me. I flew to the ICB’s head office in Montreal (at my own expense, I might add). I had a meeting with Rosaire and his No. 2 at the time, Peter Casquina. My personal conclusion resulting from that meeting was that they liked the idea, but didn’t believe it could be implemented, given the lengthy and detailed program approval processes at Canadian universities and the typical academic snobbery with which they viewed industry-based professional programs. Rosaire did, though, open a window – he said he’d delay signing the agreement with the British school for 3 months; if I could get the program approved at Dalhousie in that time, he’d sign with Dalhousie instead. He wished me good luck and asked me to keep him posted.
I came back to Dalhousie, called Tom Traves and updated him. He said WE are going to have to give this top priority and reminded me that he was there to help. I met with our Dean, Phil Rosson, and gave him the full story. He got excited and was immediately on board. We established a committee within the Business School, designed the program and its Dalhousie components, had internal subject-matter experts assess the PBP courses, and secured all the necessary approvals at the School and Faculty levels within the 3 months. But a lot remained to be done – a host of approvals within the University, plus MPHEC.
“Being emboldened, I then explained that we were going to need financial help from the ICB, given the course development costs we were facing. On the spot, he (Rosaire) said the ICB would help out with $10,000 per course.”
I contacted Rosaire and gave him a full progress report. He was obviously both pleased and impressed. He seemed to forget his 3 month deadline. He asked when final approval was expected. I told him that President Traves had told me that he was optimistic about completing the internal processes (including Senate approval) by the end of the summer. Rosaire was happy with that. Being emboldened, I then explained that we were going to need financial help from the ICB, given the course development costs we were facing. On the spot, he said the ICB would help out with $10,000 per course.
As they say, the rest is history. MPHEC approval came in the fall of 1995, and the first students entered the program in 1996. There were many other landmark achievements to come, but those are stories for another time.
I firmly believe that the reason this came to fruition the way it did is actually very simple: everyone involved believed in it and all involved (most notably Rosaire Couturier, Tom Traves, and Phil Rosson) were always as good as their word – commitments given were always commitments fulfilled.
“There were many other landmark achievements to come, but those are stories for another time.” Ray Klapstein
There are five elements of a short story: character, setting, plot, conflict, theme. I would like to add a sixth element: celebration.
This year, CFAME is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the MBA (FS). Graduates came together on November 30th to remember and reconnect. Many stories were told that night, but there was one narrative, shared by two men, that embodied the best of the five elements. Without these two men, there would be no celebration or memories, no reason to meet at 6100 University Avenue, Halifax and no MBA (FS) offered by Dalhousie University.
In upcoming posts, Ray Klapstein and Rosaire Couturier, will recount the genesis of the MBA(FS).
“I was just a lowly Associate Prof at the time, with no experience in designing and securing approval of a new program – naïve and ignorant. Given that, I resolved to present the concept to our President (Dalhousie), Tom Traves (whom I had yet to meet) …” Ray Klapstein
“It took more than fifteen years to achieve what may reasonably be termed a breakthrough, and Dalhousie was the very first Canadian University to establish a graduate level degree program as part of the Faculty of Business curriculum.” Rosaire Couturier
“Everyone involved believed in it and all involved (most notably Rosaire Couturier, Tom Traves, and Phil Rosson) were always as good as their word – commitments given were always commitments fulfilled.” Ray Klapstein
Next post: Before There were Students, there was an Idea
Branding is the art of engaging an individual in the emotional appeal of a name. “What’s in a Name?” is a fundamental question facing organizations seeking to differentiate their product or service. Selecting and maintaining a robust brand name, combines the disciplines of science and psychology, which work together to convey ideas such as excellence, trustworthiness, and integrity. A name carries an embedded promise that transcends the life-cycle of a product or service.
CFAME has the qualities of a resilient brand. But it has a history that only those who were at the beginning remember. Did you know that in 1996, CFAME was simply known as the MBA (Financial Services) office? It wasn’t until 2000, when the MBA (FS) team joined forces with the MPA(M) and MBA (IT) teams under one roof that a search for a new name began.
As Michelle recalls, “well, to be honest, we were always under one roof – but in different locations in the Faculty of Management building – so we needed a name to identify our new department. Because we were one of the only departments that offered off campus graduate programs, the name Office of External Graduate Programs (OEGP) came to life.”
Office of External Graduate Programs, as a brand, had a place for a time. Many graduated under the banner of OEGP. But times change and events create opportunities to revisit the name. Dalhousie had other programs that offered off-campus graduate programs. Even more challenging, OEGP was being confused with the Office of External Relations which offered non-graduate studies, workshops and professional education.
As the year 2005 approached, the quest for new name was launched. In March 2005, CFAME came into being. The Centre for Advanced Management Education was the outcome of a united decision of all stakeholders.
The idea of brand and names will continue to be a talking point going forward. There may come a day when CFAME’s name will encounter a new iteration. But until that time, what endures is a vibrant history that belong to all graduates.
Stay tuned for the next post: Commitments Given – Commitments Fulfilled
Derek Tay’s name comes with many titles – online curriculum designer, course manager and online content specialist, all of which confirm he is the technology wizard behind CFAME’s on-line delivery system. His ability to introduce and explain complex high-tech systems to others is recognised and appreciated by students and professors.
Technology has transformed CFAME’s delivery system. Many will recall sending in assignments via fax, courier and email. Now MBA students have the advantage of virtual classrooms, discussions, course dropboxes and progress reports via Brightspace. The latest innovations: profile enhancements and ePortfolio.
Derek explains how students use Brightspace to customize and share their information.
Like most online “communities” these days, Brightspace has a profile section where each community member (students in the case of Brightspace) are able to customize their personal information that is displayed to the other community members. This can easily be done by simply clicking their name in the right corner of the site and choosing profile. There are several items that can be changed and edited at the discretion of the learner.
There is also a location on Brightspace called ePortfolio. This is a bit more complicated than the Learner Profile. Here students can add details from specific classes to save for other classes. Additionally, they can share items from their ePortfolio with other members of the community not unlike one would share items from their Facebook page. The goal of this portion of Brightspace is to help foster Communities of Learners.
Based on current research, one of the main ways to improve student learning is to ensure that students feel that they are part of a community. ePortfolio strives to make that happen by providing another way for students to connect that is not entirely course related. The other advantage of ePortfolio is that it is cumulative over the student’s life at the university, which means items that are placed in it at the beginning of a program remain until they finish the program. This allows students to go back to critical items from previous classes and easily access them.
On a personal note, I enjoy helping students learn and explore new technology. I genuinely hope that my efforts make the student experience better and technology easy.
Michelle Hunter exemplifies the best of what CFAME offers students – a compassionate voice on the other side of the phone. At a recent 20th Anniversary celebration of the MBA (FS) program, Michelle received a special and well-deserved recognition for her contribution and commitment to the welfare of students. Anyone who embarks on the MBA journey appreciates how important it is to reach someone who can help them achieve a home-work-study balance. Michelle has been there for hundreds of CFAME students over the years. On a personal note, Michelle and I have been friends for 17 years. I am excited that we will be working together on the CFAME Connection project. Her knowledge and experience will give depth and breadth to the discussion.
In a recent interview, Michelle reflected on CFAME’s extraordinary legacy.
I have been with the Centre for Advanced Management Education for 17 years and this year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary for the MBA (FS) program; it has been a wonderful experience. Although the centre has had a few name changes; new programs added and some retired, some programs have undergone major re-design, and the delivery model has evolved significantly; relativity speaking – the students in the MBA (FS), MPA (M) and MIM have remained constant.
Students enrolled in one of the CFAME programs have made a choice to achieve a personal goal of earning a Master’s degree and when they do achieve this goal it is a very special accomplishment. I recall in the early days of the programs, returning to studies was not even a consideration for most of our students. Putting their careers on hold to go back to school was not realistic or feasible. Therefore, when Dalhousie provided them with the opportunity to earn a master degree while continuing to work toward furthering their careers, it was a goal that was now achievable.
It is wonderful to connect with the students in the program and to continue the connection after they graduate. The first initial conversation is typically when someone inquiries about applying to the program or after they have been accepted. We have a conversation about program planning or resources Dalhousie has to offer. It is a great feeling to know that I can assist someone, even the in smallest of ways, to achieve their goals. The thing I most enjoy about talking with our students is the personal connection: learning about their families, their careers, and how they are applying what they are learning in the program and implementing this new knowledge in their personal and professional lives.
It is an honour to work with the students, they inspire me – they are committed, goal oriented and dedicated to lifelong learning.
CFAME is marking the 20th anniversary of the MBA (Financial Services). We are celebrating!
The first event, held on October 19th at the Royal York Hotel, was an opportunity to reminisce and find out all that has happened to fellow graduates since those halcyon days of textbooks and intensives. Now we have taken the festivities home to Halifax.
Dr. Carolan McLarney has sent out a special invitation for all to join her in the celebration.
I hope this post on CFAME Connection finds you happy and healthy.
You may already be aware that we are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the MBA (Financial Services). It is so hard to believe that it has been twenty years (or that I am twenty years older). So much has happened in all of our lives that I am hoping you will be able to join me at the Halifax celebration on the 30th of November so we can reconnect.
I am really looking forward to touching base with each of you and catching up with all the things that have happened since we saw each other last.
You are invited to RSVP to email@example.com
See you very soon.
Dr. C. McLarney
Faculty of Management
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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
Have you ever been involved in a project or endeavour that came from an idea that arrives spontaneously and impromptu? Unplanned, with the added advantage of optimum timing? CFAME Connection is an outcome of such an occurrence.
March 2016, Martine Durier-Copp facilitated a Dalhousie presentation to potential MBA students at the Delta Hotel, Vancouver. This session provided an opportunity for graduates of the CFAME MBA (fs) to share their experiences and encourage others to join a robust academic program.
There is a singular connection that exists with CFAME graduates, whether they are freshly-minted 2016 graduates or whether they completed their MBA in the early days of the program. The memories are vibrant: reading late into the night, submitting an assignment a few minutes before the deadline, studying for an exam, the insightful intensives and the profound friendships made along the way. When graduates move on to new adventures, a lingering feeling akin to nostalgia follows them.
After the presentation, Martine and I headed out into the chilly Vancouver weather. Our conversation was stopped mid-stride when Mr. Peanut and his representative offered us a rose, a bag of peanuts and an opportunity to discuss marketing strategies, product placement, delivery systems and branding.
And that was the genesis of CFAME Connection. For in that short meeting, Martine and I came away with the same thought that we need to have meaningful discussions, even with Mr. Peanut. Martine looked at me and said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if the graduates had a forum to dialogue and reconnect?”
So here we are, a few months later, launching a place that fosters conversations. We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions. CFAME Connection is an expedition into uncharted territory. But as Ray Bradbury wrote many years ago, “First you jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.”