In a world as flattened and connected as ours is today, the potential impact of the individual has never been bigger. I think about this a lot as I reflect on the centennial of the Alberta School of Business this year. What started as three accounting students in 1916 has grown to 26,000 business graduates spread across 80 countries. What have these individuals contributed to their corners of the world?
The world has been wobbly in 2016, to say the least, with oil markets slumping, turmoil in Europe, a divided America, tragedy, fear and nativism spreading fast, a backlash against globalization. With that in mind, the impact of the individual has never been bigger, yes, but it’s also never been more important that it is for the betterment of all. I truly believe in the potential of business, trade and commerce to uplift the whole people—out of strife, out of poverty, out of despair.
Looking back at our legacy, I believe that the impact of our graduates, and thus of the School as a whole, has enriched the lives that our alumni have touched. The School has always been a place for people to start their careers, or to turn a corner with new perspectives, but, more than that, it has been a means of generating leaders from Alberta for the world. While the visions of deans before me have varied over the century, we’ve consistently imbued graduates with optimism and confidence, and sent them forward with an appetite for excellence.
In the coming years, we’ll continue to focus on excellence, on being even more relevant and impactful. We’ll build on four key strategic areas, which many of you have heard me mention before—leadership, entrepreneurship, energy and the environment, and international business—and graduate ever more agile business professionals for these uncertain times. And we at the School will also keep evolving, hence the new building project we hope to see realized in the next five to ten years. It’s about more than bricks and mortar; it’s about ensuring the continued relevance of your school and keeping our positive momentum going.
Another way we’re maintaining that momentum is with this very magazine. You’ll see it has been completely refashioned and refreshed with a contemporary design and voice. Inside, you’ll find a mix of stories inspired by members of the School’s family—faculty, students and alumni—that are relevant to your life today.
You’ll read about recovering from failure, about the intersections of business and health, and about starting a career in the throes of a recession. You will better understand the power of an education when you meet Bassel Fouad Sayegh, a Syrian refugee restarting his life on campus, and the power of outside forces on education when you learn about the evolution of a business school—our business school. Finally, we look decades beyond our centennial, with a humorous piece of science fiction that tries to imagine where modern advancements in technology, globalization and environmentalism will take the business world.
Of course, things being as they are, that’s impossible to know for sure. But I do know that any impact we’ve made here, at the Alberta School of Business, will have been a positive one. It’s a 100-year tradition.
Stanley A. Milner Professor and Dean,
Alberta School of Business