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UFred students and professor recognized at the Small Business Institute 38th Annual Conference

The Sandermoen School of Business at the University of Fredericton certainly made waves at the Small Business Institute (SBI) 38th Annual Conference.

A group of four students, as well as a professor and another student, had their work accepted by the SBI for presentation at the SBI’s Annual Conference.

The four students, Matthew Worden, Hélène Parent, Jeff Rogers and Mark Stroombergen, submitted a project to the SBI called “Brand Extension Marketing Plan for The Safe Home Radon Detection Kit” that they had completed as part of the EMBA course Strategic Marketing Planning.

All four are from diverse professional and geographic backgrounds.

“It [our diverse background] helps to flesh out the ideas,” said Matthew Worden, who is a Maître’D and Sommelier as well as the Restaurant Operations Instructor at Conestoga College in Waterloo, Ont.

“All of us do have probably 10 plus years of senior management experience. The professors say the reason they teach at this program is because they learn from us as well.”

The four collaborated using UFred’s state-of-the-art student room (Cisco WebEx) to connect over the internet and continued to send each other documents as the project progressed.

“It was the right mix and people just wanted to make it happen – that was a magic team,” said Hélène Parent, the Manager of Operational Directives at the Canadian Coast Guard in Ottawa.

“I love the course,” she added. “The freedom of online works really well. I was able to transfer the knowledge very quickly into my current position. The MBA gave me the knowledge to marry my operational background as a Navigational Officer with the business side.”

Parent is almost finished her degree, with only her integration project left to complete, but even students who aren’t as far along in the program are finding similar success as a result of their studies.

“My experience is what has been pushing me through,” said Jeff Rogers, who is a Works Controller for Transportation and Public Works in Halifax. “It will give me the extra level of postsecondary education that most institutions are looking for.”

The project itself has boosted the student’s professional life. Worden has directly applied principles he learned through the experience.

“It alerted my attention. I run a restaurant in a college setting and it opened my eyes to approaches I’d never thought about. There were a few things I was able to extend into the brand we already have,” he said.

Not only do students collaborate on projects, but professors who often see their potential, work closely with them as well.

Dr. Blake Escudier saw the potential in his student, Blair Lipsett.

“After I submitted my first written assignment to him, before I got my mark he sent me a personal email and asked if I’d be interested in writing a paper with him,” Lipsett said.

Dr. Escudier said Lipsett’s writing stood out so he wanted to work with him. The two collaborated on their paper, “Creating an Experiential Program: Center for Commercial Entrepreneurship of Invasive Species.”

“When he sent me the final paper I was really proud to have my name on it,” Lipsett said. “That it was going to be presented at a conference by a professor who is widely regarded in that field.”

The paper has had such success that Dr. Escudier is encouraging Lipsett to pursue a doctorate degree, an undertaking Lipsett won’t commit to before he finishes with his MBA.

“I’ve been very happy with everything at UFred from day one. Everyone has been really welcoming and encouraging. I’ve been actively saying to others, ‘if you want to do it, this is a great way to do it.’”

The Small Business Institute 38th Annual Conference took place in Las Vegas in mid-February, where the group received 3rd Place in the Project of the Year Competition for Graduate Business Planning.

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