As many of the us returning Management students know, the past year has brought about many changes for the management program. Last November, we welcomed our a new dean, Dr. Paul McElhone. For me and many other students, it was the first time we had an actual dean rather than just an acting dean. For those of you that attended the Faculty Mixer in the library basement, he was there serving up pizza and talking to students. I had the pleasure of interviewing him in the past week, and would like to share his words with you.
Emma Bott: What has been your previous experience?
Dr. McElhone: I’ve had many experiences. Just prior to coming to Concordia, I was at the University of Alberta for seventeen years. I was the Executive Director of the School of Retailing where I built a centre into a large recognizable centre at the University of Alberta. Connecting students, business, and academics.
Emma Bott: Why did you decide to become the Dean of Management?
Dr. McElhone: Opportunities to become a Dean do not always happen. Here was an opportunity to build something; build a program and make change. You want to leave a program better than you found it. I have had the opportunity to work with incredible people. The quality of the team I work with is incredible. That type of experience comes along once or twice in a career. I am blessed to be a part of it.
Emma Bott: What has been the most change you have implemented at Concordia in the Mihalcheon School of Management?
Dr. McElhone: There have been many changes to the Management Program. The biggest impact on students was changing to 132 credits to 120 credits. This brought many changes to the curriculum. Some of these changes have been to bring Concordia on par with the University of Alberta and MacEwan University. I want to uncover niche markets for students. Right now we are working on creating a minor in “Conflict Resolution.” In the next year or so we will be working with the Science Faculty to create double degree of 5 years in Management and Science.
Emma Bott: What advice do you have for Management students?
Dr. McElhone: Embrace change. Change is constant. I ask students to embrace change with the trust that changes are in their best interest. Become a three dimensional leader. Develop skills that will show you as a leader. Do anything to make you different: clubs, volunteer, coaching, church of worship. Employers will look for these qualities. They assume you have reached a certain level of academic standard. I recommend students develop their soft skills, such as public speaking, networking, and etiquette. Soft skills will give you confidence to deal with any business situation.
Emma Bott: How has the business world changed since you were an undergrad student?
Dr. McElhone: Business today is built on relationships and the ability to build and nurture quality relationships. When you strip away goods and services, what remains is a need to build these quality relationships.
Emma Bott: What are our plans for the Management Faculty here at Concordia?
Dr. McElhone: Ultimately, have the faculty recognized as an institution where students can develop niche talents to better prepare themselves for a very competitive and demanding business career.
In my opinion, Dr. McElhone has many plans for the bright future of the Mihalcheon school of Management. He gave some great advice that I hope all students, whether it be Management, Arts, or Science, take to heart for their future careers. He is a man who is genuinely passionate about creating a better Management Program here at Concordia. We are quite lucky to have a dean like him.
Thank you very much to Dr. McElhone for giving me the opportunity to interview you.