KINGSTON, ON – Mar. 25, 2013 – Throughout much of the month of March, Commerce students exercised their entrepreneurial chops in support of a good cause. The annual Queen’s Micro-Credit Challenge is a student-run micro-financing initiative that gives budding entrepreneurs experience in running their own businesses, with profits from these ventures benefitting Kiva, which offers micro-loans to entrepreneurs in developing nations. 

Teams create and operate their businesses for one week, using $100 provided by the Commerce Society as start-up capital. More than 25 students from various faculties participated, fielding eight teams who had access to QSB faculty mentors to help guide their efforts. 

This year’s winning enterprise is Knots for Kiva, led by Kathy Sihavong (ArtSci’16), Jenna Ellis (ArtSci’16), and Sarah Chin (Con-ed’16), mentored by Jean Paul de Silva, MBA’10, Founder and Managing Director of Social Focus Consulting.

They produced hand-made charm bracelets from string and common items provided by sponsor Canadian Tire.  By integrating social entrepreneurship and sustainable practices into their business project, Knots For Kiva successfully raised more than $650 in profits.

Tags: Announcements,Bachelor of Commerce,Events,QSB Home — Tanya Ligthart @ 11:35 am
Speakers Tania Carnegie, Joyce Sou of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, Norm Tasevski of Venture Deli, and Adam Spence of the MaRS Centre’s Social Venture Exchange Project.

Speakers Tania Carnegie, Joyce Sou of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing,
Norm Tasevski of Venture Deli, and Adam Spence of the MaRS Centre’s Social Venture Exchange Project

KINGSTON, ON – Mar. 16, 2013 – A full weekend of speaker presentations and discussions on social innovation attracted 45 Queen’s Commerce, MBA, Arts & Science, and Policy Studies students to the inaugural Social Innovation Bootcamp at Goodes Hall on March 15 and 16.

The bootcamp, hosted by the QSB Centre for Responsible Leadership, was designed to teach students how to drive social change in their careers and in society using tools for social innovation central to both social intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship.

The Centre brought together a roster ­­­of nine inspirational speakers including Tania Carnegie, Executive Director, Community Leadership at KPMG, Russ McLeod, Chief Operations Director of Me to We, and Andreas Souvaliotis, Founder of AIRMILES for Social Change.

The Centre intends to continue to convene events around the topic of social enterprise, an emergent field that speaks to students’ growing interest in finding innovative ways to put their business acumen towards social good.

Tags: Announcements,Centres,Events,MBA,QSB Home — Tanya Ligthart @ 12:01 pm
A lot of juice and cola was consumed in the 54 hours students had to develop a business from scratch.

A lot of juice and cola was consumed in the 54 hours students had to develop a business from scratch.

KINGSTON, ON – Mar. 3, 2013 - Students from across Ontario and Quebec descended on Queen’s to attend the inaugural Queen’s Startup Summit, March 1 to 3. In the space of 54 intense and exhilarating hours, delegates pitched and fleshed out their business ideas in the hopes of snagging cash prizes totalling $8,000.

The Summit was organized by 3rd-year commerce students Richelle Ji and Jordan Han along with a team of engineering, computer science, arts and science, and commerce students at Queen’s. It was modelled on the world-wide phenomenon Startup Weekend that has been offered in 100 countries since its 2007 inception. Queen’s Startup Summit is an outlet for students to collaborate, innovate, and try their hand at starting a business, all in a risk-free environment.

Attending the Queen’s Summit were 81 delegates from Queen’s, McGill, Waterloo and U of T representing a mix of disciplines and backgrounds. The weekend kicked off with Listn co-founders Matt Rabinovitch and Mike Schmidt’s highly motivating presentation before delegates pitched their initial ideas to the full group. Ideas were then voted on and delegates joined teams which sparked their interest, with each team comprising a mix of generalists (with business, marketing, PR or other expertise), graphic designers, and web developers. Teams worked throughout the weekend to develop their concepts with the help of roving mentors who offered their feedback.

Following the final pitches on Sunday afternoon, the judges delivered their verdict:

* $5,000 was awarded to “Drip,” a social application that tracks users’ blood donations, books future donation appointments, and offers a friends leaderboard that “gamifies” and promotes blood donations.

* $2,000 prize went to “Nightlife,” a social application that shows events taking place at local bars and clubs and also tracks whether the user’s friends are in the vicinity.

* $1,000 was awarded to “Backtrack,” an application that compiles information from multiple sources, features and social media on the user’s smart phone to document the user’s activities over a specific period of time.

Visit for more information.

Tags: Announcements,Bachelor of Commerce,Events,QSB Home — Tanya Ligthart @ 4:33 pm

Olympic hurdler and Right To Play Ambassador Perdita Felicien was the keynote speaker at the Gala

Feb. 14, 2013 – Kingston Teamwork and return on investment are concepts Queen’s full-time MBA students understand all too well. When the Class of 2013 was looking for a charity to support, they employed some of the tools they’ve learned in the program to select Right To Play as its charity of choice.

“Right To Play was a great fit,” explains Mitch Gudgeon, the initiative’s head chair. “Its focus on teamwork, sports and play aligns with the Queen’s MBA team-based approach. We understand the benefits and values children learn when they’re put in an environment that facilitates play. We were also impressed with Right To Play’s low administration costs (15% versus up to 60% compared to other charities).”

With the due diligence phase complete, a 17-member organizing committee kicked into action. First up was a combo Kingston Frontenacs hockey game and disco skating night at the K-Rock Centre on Feb. 1. The event raised $1,200 (thanks to the Frontenacs’ contribution of half of each ticket’s price) and brought out 120 students, faculty and staff. By exercising their finely honed organizational, marketing and communications skills, the committee pulled out all the stops for the Gala held on Feb. 9 at the Ambassador Conference Resort Hotel. Keynote speaker Perdita Felicien, a member of Canada’s Olympic track and field team, gave a powerful speech that brought the crowd of 130 to their feet. “Your darkest hour does not define you: Rebuild!” and “Surround yourself with excellence” were just two of her inspirational messages.

A silent auction comprised of items donated by members of the QSB and local Kingston community raised nearly $2,000, bringing the overall total to $10,000 to benefit Right To Play. Sponsors and donors included Continental Corp, Molson Canadian, Gananoque Brewing Co., Pelee Island Winery and Vineland Estate Winery.

“This was a tremendous experience for all who got involved,” says co-chair Lindsey Lachance. “We learned a lot in the process, but the most important outcome will be helping spread the joy of play and the many values that come with it to children around the world.”

“We’re hoping that next year’s class will pick up the baton and run with this so that our philanthropic initiative will become a legacy project that makes a difference for years to come,” says co-chair David Sinkinson.

Tags: Announcements,Events,MBA,QSB Home — admin @ 12:30 pm

QEC top prize presented by David Warshafsky, QEC Co-chair (left) and judge Bob Shoniker, BCom’69, MBA’70, (right) to the MouseHouse winning team from the University of Chicago. Bob’s MBA’70 class has directed their class gift to support QEC.

Feb. 12, 2013 – Kingston Goodes Hall was often filled to capacity with delegates and competitors attending Commerce Society-run conferences and competitions at the start of the winter term. These events attracted business students from across Canada and around the world. They also provide invaluable leadership experience for undergraduate students responsible for all aspects of these major events, including marketing, financial management, sponsor solicitation, communications and logistics.

Impressive attendance numbers and the enthusiasm of the participants made for a highly successful slate of events, summarized below.

ICBC—The Inter-Collegiate Business Competition’s 35th anniversary took place Jan. 3-5. See Jan. 16 News Blog item.

Q3C—At the Queen’s Commerce Corporate Challenge on Jan. 10-12, competitors tackled cases on topics ranging from marketing summer blockbusters like the Harry Potter and Transformer films to online strategic decision-making for the New York Times. Speakers included Miscia Zhang from Oliver Wyman; Erin Flemming and Albert Altinonante from Chubb Insurance; and Matthew McWhirter and Chris Ho from Deloitte Consulting.

QMAC—Queen’s Marketing Association Conference (Jan. 10-13) marked its 28th anniversary with the theme, “Transforming Consumer Value: Transcending Expectations Across Synergized Marketing Platforms.” Speakers included Michael Samoszewski, Director of Coca-Cola; Michael Yue, Account Executive at Google Canada; Annie Young-Scrivner, President and EVP of Starbucks; and Kevin Banderk, CEO of Koodo Mobile. Other highlights were the Colgate-Palmolive & Unilever mini-case challenge and the final round of the Labatt QMAC Challenge. The conference attracted 86 delegates across several Queen’s faculties as well as 44 external delegates from 16 other Canadian universities.

QCIB—Queen’s Conference on International Business welcomed 84 delegates from 14 Canadian and international universities at its 6th annual event held in Toronto Jan. 17-20. The theme, “Seizing Opportunities in a Global Marketplace,” attracted students from UBC to Newfoundland’s Memorial University, Japan’s Rikkyo University and the University of Western Australia. The Chubb Insurance Case Simulation, held at St. Lawrence Market, used real-time market data to facilitate time-sensitive decision-making. Other highlights included a case competition hosted by KPMG and presentations by such industry leaders as Pat Bolland (Sun News Network host), Ali Velshi (Chief Business Correspondent, CNN), Phillip Crawley (CEO and Publisher, The Globe and Mail) and Aron Gampel (Vice-President and Deputy Chief Economist, Scotiabank.)

QEC—Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition celebrated its 25th anniversary Jan. 17-19, by welcoming back its founder, Meredith Van Binsbergen, and the inaugural winner, Gerald Risk, BCom’90 graduates. Both spoke at the gala, sharing their memories of QEC’s somewhat humble beginnings and congratulating organizers on having expanded the competition’s reach to 18 teams from around the world, including Australia, Bangladesh and Hong Kong. More than 20 judges, many with strong ties to QSB, sat in judgment of 20-minute venture capital pitches by competitors vying for a share of $25,000 in prizes. The top prize of $15,000 was won by MouseHouse, a team from the University of Chicago. Their application enables researchers to track experimental data, health and complex breeding schemes of laboratory mice.

QSIC—Queen’s Sports Industry Conference brought together student delegates from across North America at its Jan. 24-26 event in Kingston. Standout speakers included Terry Evanshen, CFL Hall of Famer and motivational speaker; Mark Ditmars, VP Corporate Partnerships, Toronto Blue Jays/Rogers Sports and Entertainment; and Jonathan Savage, VP Product, Score Media Ventures.

David McConomy, Ross Kelly (Comm’13) and Julie Carty shamelessly solicit donations to get sprung from jail.

Kingston – Jan. 16, 2013 Student, faculty and staff jailbirds were behind bars in the BMO Atrium of Goodes Hall until bailed out by generous supporters who contributed in person and online. By the end of the afternoon, $10,000 had been raised! All proceeds are being donated to the Canadian Cancer Society to support its mission to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life for people living with cancer. This second annual Jail-N-Bail event was organized by the Commerce Society’s Outreach Commission.

Jailbirds included Prof. Kate Rowbotham, Commerce Office stalwart Julie Carty and Prof. David McConomy, as well as numerous Commerce students who were nominated by their peers for a variety of offences (e.g. stealing leftover conference food; overusing gold face paint). There was an outpouring of support for Prof. McConomy – more than $2,000 was raised in his name.

Online donations are still being accepted. You can choose to support specific individuals or contribute to the event as a whole.

Click here to check out the Jail-N-Bail Facebook page

2013 Event to be the Most International Ever

Coach Shai Dubey, Josh Hutchings, James Kesten, Lindsey Lachance, Matthew Parker-Jones and Michal Dabrowski.

From January 6 to 11, Queen’s School of Business will join 35 schools from around the world in Montreal at the John Molson MBA International Case Competition. The competition, the oldest and largest of its kind in the world, is organized by MBA students from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

This year’s event will have the greatest number of international competitors in the competition’s history. In addition to the seven American and 12 Canadian universities participating, there will be 17 International schools from 14 countries and five continents. Australia, Egypt and South Africa will be represented for the first time.

Queen’s School of Business will be sending their five best case-cracking MBA candidates who will, over six days, tackle seven business case studies, including one “live” case study. The live case will see a surprise company present a problem they are currently facing to the teams, who will then present their solutions. The teams will compete to take home the Concordia Cup and up to $10,000 in prize money.

This year’s organizers have brought the business and academic worlds closer by recruiting 350 volunteers from Montreal’s universities and over 250 judges from the Montreal business community.

QSB has five full-time MBA students representing Queen’s at the competition; Josh Hutchings, James Kesten, Lindsey Lachance, Matthew Parker-Jones and Michal Dabrowski. Shai Dubey, the program Director will be their coach for the week.

Tags: Events,MBA,QSB Home — admin @ 4:45 pm

Economic growth must come from the private sector in 2013; Kingston faces significant economic challenges

Panellists Gary Bissonette, Robbie Mitchnick, Lynnette Purda, and Barry Cross

December 11, 2012 – KINGSTON, ON – Expect low economic growth and approach financial markets with caution, advised Queen’s School of Business faculty at the 31st annual Business Forecast Lunch held today in Kingston, Ontario.

Despite these cautions, the panel was optimistic that inflation, interest rates and unemployment levels will not rise. Operationally, they suggested that a slower economy is the ideal time to push organizations to the next level of growth. In Kingston, despite growing municipal economic challenges, there are signs of investment in the local economy. The panel made recommendations for the City to consider as a way forward.

Looking back at 2012, the panel’s forecast was remarkably accurate. Panelists’ predictions that the Canadian dollar would remain at par with the U.S., interest rates would be flat and the unemployment rate would hover near seven per cent hit the mark this year. The only exception was the panel’s overly optimistic estimate of GDP growth, which can be attributed to the weakness in Canada’s economic growth rate in the third quarter of 2011.

A summary of each panelist’s 2013 forecast is included below.

Macroeconomic Outlook

“Since the 2007 financial crisis, Canada has proudly reported the resilience of its economy and its financial sector,” explained Lynnette Purda, Associate Professor of Finance. “But five years of being ‘better than average’ still takes a toll when the average is low.”

Professor Purda reported that despite our national strengths, ongoing sluggishness in the world economy has reduced Canada’s exports and limited the country’s ability to grow at home. Combining this limited growth in the private sector with cuts to public spending has resulted in weak economic growth with no sign of immediate improvement.

Weak economic performance year after year has impacted the consumer as well. “Consumer confidence levels are still well below 2007 levels and an increasing proportion of Canadians are reporting significant money worries,” said Professor Purda.

There are a few bright spots in the economic outlook, however, with inflation, interest rates and unemployment all being forecast to remain near their current low levels.

“In 2013, economic growth must come from the private sector,” said Professor Purda. “The higher demand for auto sales south of the border has resulted in investment in Ontario’s automotive industry and there are some promising signs that additional investment is being made in Kingston and Ontario.”

The BFL panel predicts that GDP growth in 2013 will hover just below two per cent, and this modest growth will lead to fewer pressures on inflation and interest rates.

Financial Markets and Investment Outlook

“2012 was another challenging year for investors,” said Robbie Mitchnick, CEO of the Queen’s University Investment Counsel (QUIC) and a fourth year Commerce student at Queen’s School of Business. QUIC manages a $600,000 investment portfolio that has outperformed the TSX by 14 per cent since its inception in 2010.

In a recap of the market performance for 2012, Mitchnick reported that global headwinds  from Europe to the U.S. and China  all conspired to stunt economic growth and dampen investor appetite for risk. In Canada, weakening demand for metals and worsening fundamentals in the oil market collectively weighed down returns on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Mitchnick also reported that the U.S. markets outperformed Canada, having rallied from a considerable low at year-end 2011, while in Europe, select assets delivered excellent returns.

Turning to the investment outlook for 2013, QUIC foresees that troubled public sector balance sheets, stretched monetary policy and private sector de-leveraging will present structural headwinds.

“The threat of plunging over the ‘fiscal cliff’ is small, but very real,” Robbie Mitchnick explained. “If that happens, the consequences would be calamitous for the markets.”

In terms of the Eurozone crisis, the spotlight will turn to Spain and France. “Bullish investor sentiment has steadily trended upwards,” Mitchnick explained. “Even at seemingly low valuation levels, the market may be getting ahead of itself.”

Strategic Outlook: Great Companies Succeed in Tough Economies

“For many firms, a challenging economy is the time to take on a conservative strategy, and effectively ‘lay low’ while the business environment improves,” said Operations Management Professor Barry Cross.

In his presentation, Cross advocated the opposite approach for 2013. “A tough economy is the best time to lay the foundation for growth and push the organization into what’s next.”

Professor Cross advocated that leaders focus on three incremental changes in 2013 to help differentiate their organizations. First, organizations should ask themselves: “Who is the customer?” This starts with fine-tuning an understanding of who its valuable customers are, what they want and why they do business with the organization. “Narrow down that focus in the interest of enabling operations to serve those customers more effectively,” said Cross. “We fail when we try to be all things to all people.”

Next, it’s time to tune up the engine. Slower times present opportunities to rationalize product and service lines and eliminate those that do not contribute. “Focus on fewer products and services that people really want,” said Cross. In terms of aligning the organizational team to the strategy, Cross suggests that the leadership ensure the team understands the needs of the customer, deals with underperformers and eliminates distractions and excuses to better enable people to do their jobs.

And finally, Professor Cross asked businesses to do one remarkable thing in 2013, such as ramping up corporate philanthropy, tackling a tough operational challenge, or uniting the team to accomplish something in the community. “We don’t always appreciate that company culture starts with leadership and our behaviour,” said Professor Cross. “Etching one stretch objective in stone, and then making it happen is a significant step towards creating a winning attitude around the workplace.”

Local Outlook

Kingston’s non-commercial services base has enabled the community to absorb the shocks of the financial crisis. But Gary Bissonette, Assistant Professor of Business wonders whether an over-reliance on this sector will continue to provide a relatively stable market environment or expose the city to a greater risk of stagnation.

“Near-term forecasts for Kingston’s economy indicate that the city is in for a period of relative anemic growth,” said Bissonette. Job growth is projected to be relatively flat for the next three years, with a growing concern that new jobs will be created in the part-time and casual workforce sector. Population growth for the Greater Kingston Area is expected to be flat as well, with much of this growth in retirement and near-retirement age groups.

Looking forward, Bissonette identified seven key economic challenges that Kingston will need to wrestle with:

• The “agility deficit” in which the City’s over-dependence on non-commercial services becomes a potential liability.
• A capital crunch as Kingston looks for the funds to pay for new municipal infrastructure and maintenance requirements.
• A continued appetite for higher levels of municipal spending with current budget “savings” achieved largely by spending deferrals or one-time reductions rather than fundamental changes to operations.
• Rising consumer debt levels may curtail anticipated retail sales growth.
• The “branch market mentality” stemming from global consolidation by multi-nationals and foreign direct investment into Canada, which impact Canada’s control over its economy.
• A possible reduction in the local tourism trade, reflecting a reduction in overall tourism activity for Canada, as a whole.
• The aging population, migration of young professionals and low immigration will result in continued workforce challenges for Kingston.

Bissonette suggested several solutions for an initial response strategy from the City, including setting and supporting both financially and structurally  defined “clusters of attractiveness” that differentiates Kingston from competitive regions. He concluded that Kingston needs to put economic agility back on its radar.

“The Kingston Economic Development Corporation is our community’s research and development arm, yet we spend only one per cent of our municipal budget supporting new initiatives for economic growth,” said Bissonette. “Additional research and development resources are essential.”

The Business Forecast Lunch was founded by Queen’s School of Business professor emeritus Merv Daub to establish an important link between the School and the Kingston business community.


About Queen’s School of Business
Queen’s School of Business is one of the world’s premier business schools — renowned for exceptional programs, outstanding faculty and research, and the quality of its graduates. Canadian executives regard Queen’s as Canada’s most innovative business school, offering students academic excellence and a superior overall experience. Queen’s School of Business — where Canada’s first Commerce program was launched in 1919 — is located at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. The School also delivers programs at locations across Canada, as well in the U.S. and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region.

For more information, please contact Queen’s School of Business:
Amber Wallace: 613.533.3151 /
Andrea Strike: 613.533.3129 /

Delegates at QBET 2012

Nov. 29 – Kingston Every year, once mid-terms are out of the way, ComSoc reps are in high gear, getting ready to present six conferences and competitions in November. These events attract business students from across Canada and around the world. They also provide invaluable leadership experience for undergraduate students responsible for all aspects of these major events, including marketing, financial management, securing sponsorhships, communications and logistics.

Judging from the attendance numbers and enthusiasm of the participants, each of the following events were highly successful.

• QBET—Queen’s Conference on the Business Environment Today was held Nov. 1-4. Highlights included presentations from John Stackhouse, BCom’85, Editor-in-Chief of The Globe and Mail, Shane Skillen, President of Hotspex, and Karen Stinz, Toronto Transit Commission Chair. A business forecasting simulation sponsored by Potentia demonstrated the pitfalls that arise when trying to make forecasts in an unpredictable business environment. A ‘Merger Mystery’ provided a simulation of mergers and acquisitions in the mining industry in Africa and was sponsored by IAMGOLD.

• QBFFI—Queen’s Business Forum on the Fashion Industry (Nov. 1-3) operated under the theme “Business Translated: Walking the World’s Runway.” Speakers included Harry Taylor, COO at Mark’s Work Wearhouse; Laura deCarufel, ELLE Canada’s Executive Editor; and Jillian Lookwood, BCom’10, of Faulhaber PR.

• QLEAD—Queen’s Leadership, Excellence and Development Conference ran from Nov. 10 – 13 when ComSoc organizers welcomed 120 high school students from across Canada who were interested in developing their leadership potential under this year’s theme “Aspire to Inspire.” Keynote presenters included Anthony Lacavera, Chairman and CEO of Globalive Communications and Wind Mobile, and Ken Wong, Distinguished Professor of Marketing at QSB, among others.

• QWIL—Queen’s Women in Leadership Conference offered the theme, “Flaunt Ambition” at its 16th annual conference from Nov. 8 – 11. With 85 delegates from across Canada, this year’s event attracted the conference’s highest turnout ever. Speakers included Catherine Murray, co-host of BNN’s Market Sense; Marilyn Monk, EVP, Clinical, at the Hospital for Sick Children; Sherri Brillon, CFO of Encana; Lauren Friese, Founder of TalentEgg; and Sue Thomson, VP of Marketing at Moxie’s restaurants.

• QFAC—Queen’s Finance Association Conference took place Nov. 15 – 18 at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel. Canada’s first student-run conference focused on finance and capital markets offered a full complement of activities. Speakers included Scott Lawrence, VP Head of Relationships Investments at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; Peter Dowse, a Partner at Ironbridge Equity Partners, and Evan Siddall, from the Bank of Canada. The inaugural QFAC Stock Pitch Competition enabled participants to showcase their equity research and stock-picking skills. Four QFAC finalists were flown to New York where Michael Karp, Comm’15, captured first place.

• DECA Queen’s Invitational Conference—More than 150 students from business schools across Canada descended on Goodes Hall from Nov. 16 – 18 for two days of business simulations and case competitions. Keynote speakers were Bobby Umar, President of Raeallan, and Ray Zahab, Founder of impossible2Possible.

Nov. 2, 2012 – Kingston Former colleagues, friends and family of the late Frank Collom (who passed away in 2005) gathered to mark the dedication of a classroom named in his memory. Donor Paul Pancham, BCom’89, MD’94, paid tribute to Prof. Collom in his remarks that recognized the pivotal role the former chair of the Commerce program had played in Paul’s success in pursuing a medical career. Paul also lauded his parents—his father, retired Queen’s professor Dr. Soni Pancham, and his mother Ira—who joined him in contributing to the Goodes Hall expansion. In recognition of their generosity, a classroom was named in their honour. A plaque notes that the Pancham Family Classroom is dedicated to the memory of Prof. Collom.

The photo shows Paul with Pat Collom, Frank’s widow, outside the Pancham Family Classroom. The pair are holding chalk in a light hearted nod to Frank’s idiosyncratic penchant for shocking his students by chewing on chalk during his lectures.

Tags: Announcements,Events,QSB Home — admin @ 3:47 pm
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