A Message from Dean Conway

February 25, 2011

Dear Friends of OSB,

The year 2010 represented two significant milestones in the life of the Odette School of Business (OSB).  First, it was ten years ago that the School was named the Louis and Edmond Odette School of Business in recognition of the significant support Louis and Edmond Odette provided the School—and, importantly, still do.  Second, it has now been forty-five years since business was made a Faculty within the University of Windsor (and fifty-five since the first B.Comm. was graduated by our mother institution, Assumption College).

Throughout its history, the School has been blessed with great graduates who have taken a keen interest in the development of the next generations of graduates.  And, many non-graduates have also taken pride in being supporters of, and participants in, School activities. In this letter I would like to provide a small update on the School.  While the emphasis is recent, it is with full awareness that the present is possible because of great leadership and support in earlier decades.

Over the past five years the School has remade its B.Comm. and MBA programs as part of Odette Experience initiative.  Also as part of the latter, SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) Windsor was founded, CBAR (the Centre for Business Advancement and Research) was created, AIESEC Windsor was re-established, and the Odette Debate Club’s activities were greatly expanded (as they were named the Peddie Debate Team after their new mentor).

On the administrative/facilities side the Odette Career Advancement and Placement Services Office was established on the third floor of the Odette Building, the world class Odette Financial Markets Lab was established on the second floor, and a state-of-the-art class for video feedback on presentations, interviews, and group process was also established on the third floor.  The Michael Zin B.Comm Meeting Room was created as a large study space for B.Comm. students on the first floor of the Odette Building and the MBA Corporate Centre was created for similar reasons for the MBAs on the third floor. The house at 360 Sunset Ave., renovated and donated to the School by the Odettes, has been dedicated as the Odette Centre for Entrepreneurial Activities.  We are currently designing a new suite of spaces on the second floor to bring together the various elements of student services. As the next step in facilities development, we expect to be converting the current Bookstore to an Institute for Innovation and Transition as a major part of a larger University initiative to bring together key actors from the University, community, province, and country into an economic development Cluster.

While the School is just coming to the close of a very successful first 60 years, many have worked hard to enrich the brand and its promise over the past few years--with results. For example, Odette became the seventh Canadian business school, and first in over ten years, invited to become a member of GMAC (Graduate Management Admissions Council) and was featured this past November at an industry symposium held at the Darden Graduate School of Management, at University of Virginia, celebrating innovation in MBA programs.  As many of you know, achieving accreditation by AACSB International has been one of the key objectives for a number of years.  In 2007 our initial candidacy application was approved by AACSB, in 2009 our application to be considered for initial accreditation was approved, our accreditation plan was accepted last Spring, and we just filed our first update on that plan.

Our students have become highly visible in the community and in the country.  For example, the Peddie Debate team has been to Bates College, University of Chicago, and NYU recently, and will be off to Stanford to compete next week—this activity results from Odette being the only non-American school ever invited to become a member of the American Parliamentary Debating Association.  Our SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) teams qualified for, and then won, the first two rounds at the 2010 national SIFE championships in Calgary before losing to a team from Ryerson in the final round.  And, our Commerce Society and MBA Society members have becomes well-known in the community, especially for leading a variety of philanthropic projects for not-for-profit organizations in need of support—e.g., our MBAs just delivered a $3,000 cheque to the Windsor Regional Hospital as a result of a “Hats On for Health care” event they ran last week on campus.

Odette faculty members have also been attracting a lot of attention.  Andrew Templer was named the winner of the 2011 national HR Academic of the Year Summit Award by the Human Resources Professional Association of Canada.  And, Gerry Kerr and Francine Schlosser will head up and host the 2011 annual conference of the Canadian Council of Small Business and Entrepreneurship here in Windsor later this year.

An additional key ingredient of the Odette Experience has been business leaders, a number of them alumni, coming to the School as guest lecturers, usually as executives-in-residence-for-a-day.  This program started two years ago with alumna Ida Goodreau (B.Comm’81, MBA’86), who shared her experience with various CEO roles in and out of the health industry—with Mark O’Connell (BComm ’94 and MBA ’95), becoming the latest of these this Winter as he shared his strategy for Interac, the company he currently heads up. My calendar indicates we had 45 different industry guests as speakers this past year.  Three of the special guest lecture events over the past 8 months included authors of recent books:  Jason Clemens (BComm’94, MBA’97) whose Canada’s Century: Moving out of America’s Shadow outlined his analysis of why Canada will outshine the U.S. in the 21st century; Frank Casey and Gatri Kachroo whose Nobody Would Listen told their story of chasing down Bernie Madoff; and Les Dakens whose Switchpoints tells the story of culture change at CN as a model for a fast track to business success.

If you haven’t been back to visit the School in a while, please visit. While much has stayed the same, much also changes as we evolve to attempt to do an ever better job of developing young leaders to make Canada the winner Jason Clemens predicts.

Please stay in touch and don’t hesitate to pass along any advice you may have.

With best regards,

Dean's Signature
Dr. H. Allan Conway