Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form


Smith School of Business unveils new Global Master of Management Analytics

Online and in-person format brings world-class training in the management of data analytics to the global workforce.

Outstanding business strategy and data analytics education will be accessible to the world with the introduction of the Smith School of Business Global Master of Management Analytics (GMMA).

[Global Master of Management Analytics]

The new online and in-person format builds on the highly successful Toronto-based Master of Management Analytics (MMA), blending virtual team-based learning with immersive international residential sessions in Toronto, Europe and Asia. Designed for working professionals from across Canada and around the world, students will graduate from the 12-month program with a deep understanding of how to use data analytics to solve business challenges, and lead high-performance teams through complex projects. 

Offers of admission to the new program may be made only after the university’s quality assurance processes are complete and the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance has approved the program.

“The smart management of data is the next revolution in business,” says Yuri Levin, Executive Director, Analytics and AI, at Smith School of Business. “Teaching our students how to unleash the potential of data as part of a business strategy gives them and the organizations they represent a competitive advantage.”

The Global Master of Management Analytics was designed in consultation with the MMA program advisory board, which includes global business leaders such as Sarah Davis, president, Loblaw Companies; Michael Zerbs, chief technology officer, Scotiabank; Lori Bieda, head of the Analytics Centre of Excellence, BMO; and Gary Kearns, executive vice president, Mastercard.

“Our advisory board recognizes the growing talent gap of managers who can make business decisions with data,” says David Saunders, Dean, Smith School of Business. “As a global leader in teaching the management of data analytics and artificial intelligence, we want to ensure that this program is available to students anywhere in the world.”

Smith is known for its agility in developing programs that effectively respond to market needs. The school launched the Toronto-based MMA in 2013, which has since quadrupled in size due to high demand. In 2018, Smith welcomed its inaugural class of the Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence, which exceeded its enrollment target by 60 per cent.

The GMMA combines online learning and four in-person residential sessions in major global business centres hosted by SmithToronto, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School Executive Education, and Mannheim Business School. Classes, collaboration and course work will be managed through Smith’s new mobile-friendly virtual SmithLearning platform. Students will have 24-hour access to support to enable international participation. Faculty from Smith, partner schools, as well as industry specialists and practitioners, will teach the program.

Applications are currently being accepted. The first class is currently scheduled to begin in May 2019. Learn more at smithqueens.com/mma.

Virtual exhibit examines the digital future

Showcasing innovative Queen's technology projects that could change the way we live.

Close-up of hands using computer (courtesy of Glenn Cartens Peters, Unsplash)

Last fall, experts and audience members gathered at Queen’s University to discuss the future of research, knowledge sharing, and the student learning experience in the digital age at the first-ever Principal’s Symposium.

Hosted by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, and emceed by CBC Radio’s Nora Young, the symposium examined advances in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and data governance, as well as how ongoing digital transformation is influencing post-secondary students, Indigenous communities, and people in developed and developing countries.

“The speakers and panelists at our symposium shared a broad and detailed picture of how digital innovation is reshaping learning and discovery both here in Canada and abroad,” says Principal Woolf. “With their insights in mind, as well as those being revealed by researchers and students at Queen’s, we can build upon our institution’s digital framework and take advantage of the opportunities future technologies will surely present.”

The symposium also marked the launch of a supporting virtual exhibit – Imagining Our Digital Future – to highlight digital planning initiatives currently underway at Queen’s and in the Kingston community.

“For decades, Queen’s faculty and students have been leveraging technologies to advance learning and research,” says Principal Woolf. “Technological innovation will continue to change how we live, so our ongoing exploration of this new frontier is not only important, but essential to the future of knowledge, truth, and healthy societal progress. Sharing our ideas and efforts across disciplines will help us stay concerted in our efforts to create an open, inclusive, collaborative, and innovative digital future.”

The virtual exhibit features over 40 digital technology projects happening at Queen’s and in Kingston that have the potential to impact our daily lives, and create previously unimaginable learning and research opportunities across the disciplines – with plans to showcase new projects on an ongoing basis.

Currently, featured projects include everything from “smart” surgical instruments that will help doctors more efficiently remove cancerous tumours and state-of-the-art camera technology used for analyzing human movement, to online database technology used to help preserve Indigenous heritage and art or reunite communities with their history. There are also projects focused on augmented reality and VR simulators, ambient and artificial intelligence, astroparticle physics research, archaeology, surveillance, and more.

Faculty, staff, students, and Kingston community members engaged in interesting digital initiatives are welcomed to submit their project for possible inclusion in the virtual exhibit. Contact the virtual exhibit curators using the online form.

Ignition Week to celebrate new innovation space at Mitchell Hall

Entrepreneurship event marks opening of the Rose Innovation Hub.

SparQ Studios Makerspace inside the Rose Innovation Hub
The Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre's SparQ Studios Makerspace inside the new Rose Innovation Hub.

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) will celebrate the opening of the Rose Innovation Hub at Mitchell Hall with the first-ever Ignition Week – five days of activities for the Queen’s and Kingston community members interested in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“This new facility in Mitchell Hall will allow the DDQIC to strengthen the university’s support of student design and experiential-learning, and foster ideas with incubation and acceleration opportunities,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “Exploring the entrepreneurial spirit at Ignition Week will be a fitting way to celebrate the Rose Innovation Hub’s opening, as it captures the essence of our greater pursuit: ideas, innovation, and invention.”

Running Jan. 14-18, Ignition Week’s program will feature sessions on e-commerce, innovation and invention, social entrepreneurship, and more. Established entrepreneurs, including many from start-ups founded by past and present Queen’s students, will also be on hand for lectures, panel discussions, and networking and recruitment sessions.

“Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is critical to getting the most out of higher education,” says Greg Bavington, Executive Director of DDQIC, and Special Advisor to the Provost on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “In today’s rapidly changing markets, with evolving realities around steady and predictable careers, an entrepreneurial education can help students apply their knowledge and skill sets in new ways, to better understand and solve real-world problems, and to value teamwork, risk and resilience.”

Ignition Week events will take place throughout the Rose Innovation Hub facilities to showcase its new spaces, including the event commons, 10 new group rooms for early-stage innovators, the LinQLab workshop space with modern multimedia capabilities, and the SparQ Studios makerspace – equipped with 3D scanners, 3D printers, laser cutting, wood and metal working, and more.

“From fundraising and planning to construction project management, the Queen’s community worked for years to make a home for innovation on campus a reality,” says Mr. Bavington. “Throughout this process, we have seen a pent-up energy and demand among entrepreneurs at Queen’s to put the Rose Innovation Hub to work supporting ventures that go beyond campus to create a societal impact. We’re excited to now be able to welcome students, staff, faculty, and the Kingston community into just such a space.”

As part of Mitchell Hall, DDQIC will now be housed alongside a number of campus services and initiatives at Queen’s, enhancing potential for new collaborations, connections, and opportunities. Located at the corner of Union and Division streets on the former site of the Physical Education Centre, Mitchell Hall was made possible through over $50 million in philanthropic support. The federal and Ontario governments also contributed $22 million to the project.

Learn more about Mitchell Hall and all of its current and future tenants, on the website. The building’s formal opening ceremonies will be held on March 30.

The Conversation: The group dynamics that make terrorist teams work

[Twin Towers memorial]
The terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 resulted in the deaths of close to 3,000 people and injured 6,000. (Photo by James McCann/Unsplash)

Acts of terrorism are harrowing and can cause extensive damage and tragic deaths, and they have been occurring with alarming frequency over the last decade.

[The Conversation]On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida executed a series of co-ordinated attacks against the United States, killing close to 3,000 people and injuring over 6,000. On March 11, 2004, an extremist Islamist group bombed four commuter trains in Madrid during morning rush hour, killing 191 people and injuring another 2,000. On July 7, 2005, Islamist suicide bombers attacked London’s public transport system, killing 52 people and injuring more than 700 others. The list goes on.

From 2000-2016, global deaths from terrorism increased eight-fold. Seventy-seven countries experienced at least one death due to terrorism in 2016, more than any year since 2000.

Scholars, governments and analysts have spent a lot of time exploring individual motivations of terrorists. However, terrorist activities are typically performed by groups, not isolated individuals. Examining the role of team dynamics in terrorist activities can elucidate how terrorist teams radicalize, organize and make decisions.

There is a common misconception in the West that leaders of al-Qaida and, more recently, Daesh (ISIS) are recruiting and brainwashing people into giving up their lives to establish a new political order. This is an incorrect model that has been vastly exaggerated in the media, based on a western understanding of leadership.

My recent research with Guihyun Park of Singapore Management University seeks to provide a better understanding of what motivates terrorist teams and how they make their decisions. How do terrorist teams combine their local identity with a global mission? How do they organize themselves and co-ordinate attacks in the presence of this fluidity, yet maintain a high level of cohesiveness?

Islamist terrorist teams

Conceptualizing terrorist teams as loosely coupled structures can help us answer these questions. The term loosely coupled systems refers to structures in which the entire system represents a holistic unit, while still preserving the unique identity of the components that make up the entire system.

In other words, team members enjoy a great deal of autonomy, without losing sight of the objectives of the team as a whole. Terrorist teams as systems demonstrate both loose vertical coupling — self-management — and loose horizontal coupling — little interdependence between team members.

Loosely coupled systems bear a number of advantages: they allow individuals to retain their own identity and self-determination; they are highly effective at sensing and responding to changes or opportunities in the environment; and they are better able to respond to breakdowns in the subcomponents of the system.

Our research focused on extremist Islamist terrorist attacks from the last 15 years and built on previous work conducted with researcher John R. Hollenbeck. Drawing on the theories of American organizational scholar Karl Weick, we looked at the literature on group behaviour and team decision-making and leveraged the theories of “loose coupling” in terrorist teams.

Random leadership

An emergent rather than top-down leadership structure is a defining structural feature of extremist Islamist terrorist teams. Scott Atran and Marc Sageman’s analysis of the March 11, 2004, Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people and injured another 2,000 shows how random the leadership structure was among the affiliated terrorist network.

The individuals that gravitated toward a leadership role in the network simply emerged as being the most effective in facilitating the logistics and communication demands of the group. The social system determines the objectives and missions, not the individual leaders.

The strength of terrorist teams does not reside in their leaders, but rather in their complexity. Despite a high degree of familiarity among some team members, connections among the larger network are typically quite loose.

In the case of the terror attacks on four commuter trains in Madrid, a diverse group of individuals was ultimately involved, from the Islamist terrorist team that carried out the attacks and its wider social support network, to petty criminals, Spanish miners and two police informants.

[Soldiers in Budapest]
A pair of armed soldiers patrol the streets of a tourist area in downtown Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Vlad Tchompalov/Unsplash)

Implications for counterterrorism efforts

The fluid nature of terrorists teams, together with their lack of a traditional leader, make their activities hard to combat. Loosely coupled terrorist teams have a tremendous ability to adapt to local circumstances.

For example, prior to the 2004 Madrid train bombings, Spanish authorities knew the terrorist group involved had been discussing and praising extremist operations worldwide. They also knew the same group had voiced their intent to conduct their own attack on Spanish soil. However, because no ties to al-Qaida could be established, none of the team members were brought in and detained. This suggests that counterterrorism efforts should focus less on external ties to terrorist organizations and more on the actual operations of the terrorist teams.

Leveraging the advantages of loose coupling

The ways in which terrorist teams organized themselves represent one of the best examples we’ve seen of loose coupling. Many of these same principles can be applied to organizations seeking to be more agile and innovative.

An organization, for instance, could assemble a team that has no formal leader. Team members would step up, but then also step back when they may not be the best individual to lead the group in a particular initiative. Establishing fluid boundaries, which let in resources and information from outside the group, could also prove effective, as well as bringing together people from different parts of the organization.

Thankfully, the majority of terrorist teams fail. They either disband before they launch an attack, are discovered during preparations, or the attack itself is not successful. That said, violent group actions have had a profound effect on our world over the last 15 years. Thus, their impact cannot be evaluated by looking at the successes or failures of individual teams, but rather the potential success of the combined attacks.The Conversation


Matthias Spitzmuller is an associate professor at the Smith School of Business and Toller Family Fellow of Organizational Behaviour

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

The Conversation: Have we reached Peak Car?

[Cars lined up on a street]
Cars clogging downtown streets is a common sight in any North American city. (Photo by Nabeel Syed/Unsplash)

General Motors has announced it’s shuttering five production facilities and killing six vehicle platforms by the end of 2019 as it reallocates resources towards self-driving technologies and electric vehicles.

The announcements should come as a surprise to no one, as they echo a similar announcement made by Ford earlier this year that it will exit all car production other than Mustang within two years.

[The Conversation]Why the sudden attitude adjustment toward cars? Well, both firms cite a focus on trucks, SUVs and crossovers. OK, sure — that’s what more people are buying when they buy a vehicle today. But there is a broader and more long-term element to this discussion.

Have we reached Peak Car?

Many may remember the dialogue associated with Peak Oil, or the idea that we had reached or would soon reach the peak production levels of oil around the globe.

Such forecasts and predictions were likely related to price run-ups on commodity and investment strategies in the oil industry. However, new exploration discoveries and extraction technologies ultimately mean we are a long way from running out of oil. While we may still hit peak production in the near future, it is more likely due to a decreasing need as society moves to alternative energy sources.

But what about cars? North American car production hit 17.5 million vehicles in 2016, and dropped marginally to 17.2 million in 2017. Interesting, but perhaps not significant.

More telling are changes in driver behaviour. In North America, for example, fewer teens are getting driver’s licences. In 1983, 92 per cent of teens were licensed, while by 2014, that number had dropped to 77 per cent. In Germany, the number of new licences issued to drivers aged 17 to 25 has dropped by 300,000 over the last 10 years.

[Cars in a parking lot]
Cars fill a parking lot. Has North America reached Peak Car? (Photo by Ryan Searle/Unsplash)

The future is driverless

Factor in ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, the comprehensive cost of vehicle ownership and more effective public transportation (everywhere but Canada) and we get a sense of some of the reasons for these evolving automotive strategies.

Most significant, however, is the evolution of self-driving technology. Picture this scenario:

Julie is an ER doctor at the local hospital, on the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift. She jumps in the family car at 6:30 a.m. and is at the hospital by 6:50 a.m.

After dropping Julie off, the car then heads home, arriving in time to take Julie’s two children to their high school; one of them tosses their hockey equipment in the back of the car. The car then returns home to take Julie’s husband to the law office where he starts work at 9 a.m.

The car then swings by the school to take Julie’s daughter to hockey practice at 2:30 p.m., and then returns to the hospital to pick Julie up. And so on.The technology to support the scenario above exists now, and will result in reduced car ownership through a more economical and efficient approach to managing cars, whether accessed through independent household ownership or fleet membership.

As it is today, a family like Julie’s would need two or possibly three vehicles, and those vehicles would largely sit still most of the day. Tomorrow, the family could be down to one vehicle, possibly an SUV for the hockey gear. What happens when families or groups of people further pool their assets for more ride-sharing or increased capacity?

Fewer cars on the road within a decade

We are moving from a do-it-yourself (DIY) transportation economy to a sharing or do-it-for-me (DIFM) economy. Many of us won’t like it — I honestly like to drive — but the numbers and the technology are there.

As safety technologies improve and societal paradigms shift, this evolution will gather momentum. Based on the young driver statistics above, it seems reasonable to anticipate a reduction in cars per capita of 20 to 30 per cent in the next decade.

Unions at GM and Ford are justifiably unhappy, but they shouldn’t be surprised. It is quite possible that we have reached Peak Car in North America and Europe.

Companies that want to succeed in this new environment will need to be different, and especially better in some way. If car volumes drop by 30 per cent over the next 10 years, there better be something special about the car company that hopes to survive, let alone prosper — like better technology, better comfort or better service.

If current trends continue, we can anticipate more shutdown announcements — like GM’s — from car companies and parts suppliers, as there won’t be room for all of them.The Conversation


Barry Cross is an assistant professor in the Smith School of Business at Queen's University He is an expert and thought leader in innovation, execution and operations strategy. 

The Conversation provides news and views from the academic and research community. Queen’s University is a founding partner. Queen’s researchers, faculty, and students are regular contributors. 

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Queen's remembers Jeff McGill

One mark of a great professor is how much he or she gives back to colleagues, students, and others. In that regard, Jeff McGill was simply outstanding.

[Professor Emeritus Jeff McGill]
Professor Emeritus Jeff McGill

“Jeff was a mentor to many, he gave back as an editor of academic journals and he had a significant impact in making (Smith School of Business) a leader in analytics,” Professor Emeritus Brent Gallupe,, said in remembering his friend and colleague. “We were very fortunate to have him at the school.”

A longtime Smith faculty member and Professor Emeritus, Jeff McGill passed away at his home in Kingston on Aug. 10 surrounded by family. He was 68.

McGill joined Smith in 1993 as an assistant professor. His area of research was dynamic pricing and revenue management. Essentially the study of selling the right product to the right people at the right time and the right price, revenue management has in recent years become a popular topic in business. Yet in the 1990s, it was still something new. McGill was an early expert, notably in the area of transportation and airline pricing.

“A lot of people consider him a pioneer in the field,” said Yuri Levin, Executive Director of Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at Smith.

In 2013, Levin and McGill led the launch of the Master of Management Analytics program. “Analytics is really starting to brand the school. Without Jeff’s support and influence, the analytics program here would have had a much slower start,” Gallupe said.

McGill’s work was recognized by his peers many times. Among his awards: the 2008 Research Historical Prize in Revenue Management and Pricing from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS). In 2013 McGill, Levin and fellow Smith professor Mikhail Nediak were awarded the INFORMS Practice Prize in Revenue Management and Pricing.

McGill’s work was also recognized at Smith. In 2008, he received the school’s Research Achievement Award.

Despite his accolades, McGill was a modest man. “He did not brag. He was passionate about the profession and the school, and he showed a great deal of respect to his colleagues, particularly younger colleagues,” Levin said.

Deputy Provost Teri Shearer remembers McGill for his generosity to others, devotion to friends and for his leadership in management science at Smith. “He was very community minded and he put the group ahead of himself,” Shearer said.

Gallupe recalls his sense of humour, always delivered with “a smile and twinkle in his eyes.” Outside work, McGill enjoyed golfing and playing poker with friends. “He was just a good person,” Gallupe said.

Jeffrey McGill was born Nov. 1, 1949 in Montreal. After graduating with a BSc in physics from Bishop’s University in 1970, he took a job in new product development at Domtar in Montreal. Three years later, he went to work in operations research at CN Rail, while getting his MSc in mathematics from Concordia University.

McGill began teaching in 1979, first at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and the University of British Columbia (where he received his PhD in management science in 1990), then at the University of Denver.

One student McGill made a lasting impression on was Kam Moud (MSc’04), now managing director with AIG in New York City. The two met during one of the school’s information sessions. Moud had just moved to Canada from Sweden and was thinking of returning to school. McGill encouraged him to apply to the Master of Science in Management program, and over the next several years, “he took me under his wing and gave me a lot of guidance,” Moud said, adding McGill was as helpful to other students as well.

Upon graduation Moud thought he’d like to one day repay McGill for all his help. He did just that three years ago, creating a scholarship in McGill’s name.

Today, the Jeff McGill Graduate Fellowship is awarded to an international student on the basis of academic excellence enrolled in the MSc or PhD management science programs. Said Moud: “In your life there are people whose support makes a real difference to you, and you end up somewhere better for it. For me, Jeff became one of those people.


Smith expert sees positives for Canadian economy in 2019

The Canadian economy will remain upbeat in 2019, despite falling oil prices and rising interest rates.

That’s the prediction Evan Dudley, Associate Professor of Finance at Smith School of Business, made Thursday at the school’s annual Business Forecast Luncheon.

[Evan Dudley, Business Forecast Luncheon]
Evan Dudley, Associate Professor of Finance at Smith School of Business, makes a presentation during Thursday's Business Forecast Luncheon. (Supplied Photo)

“The economy is pretty much at full capacity right now,” he says. “But it’s still going to grow.”

Real gross domestic product will rise two per cent nationwide in 2019 — the same as this year he says. Record-low unemployment of 5.8 per cent in October will fall to 5.75 per cent by October next year.

Deficit spending remains an important economic stimulator.

“Neither Canada nor the U.S. seem interested in lowering their deficits,” Dr. Dudley says. “That’s why I still see room to grow, even though the economy is already doing really well.”

Ongoing worldwide demand for Canadian fuel, minerals and other resources will also contribute to growth.

After raising interest rates three times in the last year, the Bank of Canada will hike rates just twice next year (by 25 basis points each time), he predicts.

“It’s going to err on the side of caution as long as oil prices remain low,” Dr. Dudley says.

The central bank won’t be as aggressive on rates as the U.S. Federal Reserve. As a result, the Canadian dollar will slide to 70 cents against its American counterpart by next December. (It’s 75 cents now.)

Inflation, which stood at 2.4 per cent in October, will slow to two per cent next year. The prime interest rate will reach 4.45 per cent by next December, up from 3.95 per cent now.

Rising wages, falling home prices and Canadians’ recent tendency to spend with debt signal an end to the current growth cycle. But Dr. Dudley anticipates a gradual slowdown rather than a sharp fall into recession.

He also doesn’t believe the recent fall in oil prices will trigger a nationwide downturn. When oil fell in the past, so did the Canadian dollar. But that isn’t happening now, Dudley says.

“It tells me the Canadian economy has diversified away from the oilsands,” which makes up around 1.9 per cent of GDP, he explains.

Smith’s Business Forecast Luncheon at the Four Points by Sheraton in downtown Kingston drew more than 200 local business and government leaders. Speakers included Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson and Smith professors Kathryn Brohman and Ken Wong.

Dr. Brohman discussed her research into organizational “cost of execution,” the subject of her upcoming book, Shift: A New Mindset for Sustainable Execution.

Only 40 per cent of organizations successfully deliver on strategy, according to a 2012 survey. Why so low? Dr. Brohman determined to find out, studied hundreds of firms and uncovered 12 common barriers. They include poor prioritization, technology gaps, complacency and a silo mentality among employees.

One interesting observation that she noted: “People are extremely resourceful at finding ways to overcome execution barriers to achieve aggressive short-term goals.”

But sometimes long-term goals are sacrificed in the process.

Her book contains a tool used by more than 750 companies to identify execution barriers. It can also determine how much poor execution costs individual firms.

“A high cost of execution can result in a decrease in long-term performance,” she says.

The subject of strategy also came up when Mayor Paterson took to the stage for a fireside chat led by Professor Wong.

Paterson discussed his “smart growth” vision to tackle issues such as employment, transit, economic development, and, perhaps most important, housing. As of October, the city’s rental vacancy rate was just 0.6 per cent, the lowest in Ontario and well below the city’s 10-year average of 1.6 per cent.

Smart growth will allow Kingston to “achieve a number of goals all at the same time,” the mayor said.

Paterson said he believes that smaller cities like Kingston can have an advantage over major cities as they can more easily “co-ordinate strategy and bring everyone around the table” to get things done. As an example, he cited the popular Kingston Penitentiary tours, which required co-ordinated effort by the city, Corrections Canada and the St. Lawrence Parks Commission to get off the ground.

Wong asked the mayor about potential cuts to municipal funding as the Ontario government looks to cut its deficit.

Paterson said he would like to see Ontario loosen certain regulations that, “restrict the creativity the city can have.”

As an example, he cited development that, even after municipal approval, is sometimes held up for years by provincial authority.

“If the government can let us be more flexible we can do a lot more with the dollars that we have,” he says.

Kingston’s economy will have grown 1.9 per cent in 2018, with unemployment at 5.5 per cent, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

“Kingston is becoming more attractive for students, retirees and also increasingly for professionals as new companies establish themselves here,” Dr. Dudley says. 

A hall of fame career for Stephen Smith

[Stephen Smith at Goodes Hall]
In 2015, Queen’s University announced the naming of the Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business in recognition of his historic $50-million donation to the business school. (Photo by Suzy Lamont/Queen's Alumni Review)

Stephen Smith is being inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

The hall recently announced that Smith will enter the hall in June as part of the class of 2019.

Smith (Sc’72, LLD’17) is co-founder, chairman, and CEO of First National Financial Corporation and one of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs.

He’s also known for his philanthropy and is a longtime supporter of Queen’s.

In 2015, Queen’s University announced the naming of the Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business in recognition of his historic $50-million donation to the business school.

“It’s really an honour for me to be part of the hall of fame along with so many great nation builders,” Smith says. “People who are business leaders know the challenges of setting up businesses and running them. So that makes this recognition quite gratifying.”

The hall of fame is a who’s who of legendary Canadian executives past and present – from Samuel Bronfman (Seagram Company) and Joseph-Armand Bombardier (Bombardier Inc.), to Heather Reisman (Indigo), Guy Laliberté (Cirque du Soleil), and Jim Pattison (Jim Pattison Group). It started in 1979. Inductees become Companions of the Order of the Business Hall of Fame.

Smith’s significant contribution to business began in 1988 when he and Moray Tawse founded First National Financial in Toronto. Their goal was to create value in mortgage lending, and they introduced several innovations to the market. Among these were various securitization techniques to finance mortgage assets.

Another innovation was through information technology. First National’s proprietary underwriting system, called Merlin, was Canada’s first web-based, real-time broker information system. It created a paperless 24/7 management platform for mortgage brokers.

“In many ways, First National is the original fintech,” Smith said. “We just didn’t call it fintech back then.”

Today, First National is Canada’s largest non-bank mortgage lender. It employs approximately 950 people across the country and has more than $100 billion in mortgages under administration.

Smith has expanded his financial industry investments over the years. He is chairman of Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Company, which he owns in partnership with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. He is also the largest shareholder in Equitable Bank, the country’s ninth largest bank. He recently co-founded Peloton Capital Management, a private equity firm.

“We’re honoured to have Stephen Smith as a companion in the Canadian Business Hall of Fame,” said David Denison, Chancellor of the Order of the Business Hall of Fame. “Mr. Smith’s achievements and contributions to the business community are immense.”

Denison added that Smith has also proven “a tireless supporter of Canadian culture through his philanthropic efforts and dedication to social causes.” These include support and involvement with the arts, history and charities. In 2012 he was given the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to Canada.

Smith received his Queen’s degree in engineering, but his success came in the world of business, which inspired his transformational gift to the business school.

Smith has expressed a desire to direct his philanthropy to education, which he says has the power to transform lives.

“I think a lot of the wealth in Canada is in the human capital that we have, and that comes from a great educational system,” he says.

Stephen Smith will be inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame at a ceremony June 19 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre alongside three other business leaders: Claude Lamoureux, retired president and CEO of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan; Clarence Louie, chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band; and Annette Verschuren, chair and CEO of NRStor Inc. 

This story originally appeared on the Smith School of Business website.

Incentives for health

Queen’s Health Policy Council to examine state of preventative medicine in Canada.

Incentives for Health icon

Members of the Queen’s University Health Policy Council (QHPC) will soon gather at the Queen’s School of Policy Studies to discuss how Canada’s medical system increasingly rewards healthcare providers for services to treat illness or injury, at the expense of better-quality preventative medicine.

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, the QHPC will host Queen’s students, academics, and healthcare professionals at Incentives for Health – a series of panel discussions and keynote talks examining this and related issues, including the future of funding, hospital-based care, and health maintenance.

“Evidence suggests that 75 per cent of population health is attributable to social determinants like education, personal and financial security, employment and working conditions, healthy child development, gender, and culture,” says David Walker, Executive Director of the Queen’s School of Policy Studies and QHPC member. “Yet, most of the available funding is directed into healthcare services tailored toward treatment. We want to explore this imbalance and how changes to incentives could affect healthcare productivity, and ultimately improve the health of Canadians.”

Dr. Walker is set to open the day’s discussions with an introduction of the QHPC, its members, and its purpose. Formed in 2016 by several individuals at, or closely associated with, Queen’s, the council set out to discuss, develop, and disseminate useful policy options to both decision-makers and students of health policy.

“The QHPC is a multidisciplinary group that includes many of Canada’s top health policy and medical minds,” says Dr. Walker. “Its breadth of expertise encompasses everything from economics and public health, to emergency and family medicine, veteran’s health, government policy, health administration, and more, well-positioning us to offer comprehensive reviews and recommendations on issues affecting the Canadian healthcare system.”

Numerous Queen’s experts sit on the QHPC with Dr. Walker, including:

  • Don Drummond (Policy Studies)
  • Ian Gilron (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences)
  • Michael Green (Family Medicine)
  • Kieran Moore (Family Medicine; KFLA Medical Officer of Health)
  • John Muscedere (Critical Care Medicine; President, Canadian Frailty Network)
  • David Pedlar (Rehabilitation Therapy)
  • Richard Reznick (Dean, Health Sciences)
  • Chris Simpson (Vice-Dean, Medicine)
  • Duncan Sinclair (Dean emeritus, Faculty of Arts and Science, Medicine)
  • Ruth Wilson (Family Medicine)

The council also includes representatives from medical organizations, government funding agencies, public health organizations and others. Many QHPC members have contributed significantly to health policy development, with far-reaching impacts on health services restructuring, primary care reform, provincial healthcare strategy, and medical leadership.

“Health reform in Canada is an intricate task with a lot of moving parts,” says Dr. Walker. “Through collaborations like the QHPC, we can create a visible and respected forum for health policy discussion, and seek to advance our knowledge, learning, and implementation of strategies that will continue to improve the overall health of our communities.”

You can learn more about the QHPC’s work by visiting the website, and about some of their policy positions on the Queen’s Policy Blog.

Update (10 am, Nov. 19, 2018): Registration for Incentives for Health is now closed, as all seats have been filled.

Introducing our new faculty members: Ricard Gil

Ricard Gil is a faculty member in Smith School of Business.

This profile is part of a series highlighting some of the new faculty members who have recently joined the Queen's community. The university is currently in the midst of the principal's faculty renewal plans, which will see 200 new faculty members hired over five years. 

Ricard Gil (Smith School of Business) sat down with the Gazette to talk about his experience so far. Dr. Gil is an associate professor of business economics.

[Queen's University Ricard Gil Smith School of Business]
Ricard Gil is a faculty member in Smith School of Business. (University Communications)
Fast Facts about Dr. Gil

Department: Smith School of Business

Hometown: Barcelona, Spain

Alma mater: Harvard University (post-doctoral fellowship), University of Chicago (PhD), Universitat Pompeu Fabra (undergraduate)

Research area: Organizational economics

Hobbies include: European football, Netflix (House of Cards), food, sports

Dr. Gil’s web bio
Tell us a bit about your academic journey.
I completed my PhD at the University of Chicago. My first job was at University of California in Santa Cruz – which was a lovely place to be, at least for a little while. I recommend Northern California to everyone.
While at UCSC, I took a one-year hiatus to complete a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Business School. I was offered tenure at Santa Cruz, but made what might be considered an unconventional decision…I instead took an offer without tenure at John Hopkins University. I was single and young back then, so it made sense at the time.
In between, I took a year off and visited the MIT Sloan School of Management and the department of management at the London School of Economics.
Hopkins was a good experience as I had never taught in graduate programs before. I also met my wife and started my family in Baltimore.
I have lived in three different time zones since moving to North America – it has been an interesting journey so far!
What are you researching right now?
My scope of research has to do with firm behaviour. It’s all about governance.
The idea is, for very simple transactions like you and I going to the grocery store…there’s no governance for that. Why? Because it is very simple. You go to the store, you buy a product, they give you a receipt which is a contract that states if the product is not in good condition you can bring it back.
The world is not always characterized by these very simple transactions – especially when you have firm to firm, firm to government, or government to individual relationships. The complexities can come from the fact there are more than two parties involved, or how to define the limitations and the contributions of each party. You need to establish a good governance model in these cases.
I study how transaction characteristics drive the adoption of different governance models. I have studied it in the airline, movie, and TV industries…and I once even studied dry cleaning.
[Queen's University Ricard Gil Smith School of Business]
Dr. Gil demonstrates the demand and supply curve. From his career, it is clear his knowledge has been in high demand - he has taught and researched at five universities, including Queen's. (University Communications)
How did you decide this was what interested you, and that you wanted to research it?
You are basically able to observe the same sort of transaction, under the same circumstances, and understand why the diversity of governance models happens. I find that interesting.
I always thought that, through the study of many years, one comes out with many questions which others might not be reflecting on. I like to communicate those.
If I get to shake students out of their comfort zone and make them think in a way that is not conventional, it’s a good day. That’s what keeps it interesting.
What do you do for fun?
I am a soccer fan – I root for Barcelona. I like sports in general – European football tends to drive my weekend.
I like to travel. I watch a lot of movies and shows – not as much as I used to, with young kids I don’t travel as much anymore, and don’t get to watch movies in-flight. Having said that, I just finished the latest season of House of Cards. I am always looking for new shows.
How did you decide Queen’s was the right fit for you?
While I was at Hopkins, I came to Queen’s for a research seminar. I met some people and liked my experience here. There was a job opening a few months later and some of the people I met encouraged me to apply.
Kingston seemed more attractive than Baltimore, and the university’s student profile made it seem like a pretty good deal. So my family moved to Kingston in May – mainly to avoid moving during winter! My wife is happy, my four-year-old is enjoying his school, and our nine-month-old doesn’t seem to mind.
I am looking forward to teaching next year once it is determined who I am teaching. I hear very good things about Smith undergraduates.
In the meantime, I am helping the school with some committee work, getting ready for winter, and conducting some research and supporting my colleagues’ research. And I am once again navigating the bureaucracy to obtain Canadian permanent residency – I currently hold Spanish and U.S. citizenship.


Subscribe to RSS - Business