2020 Year in Review

A look back on the most significant stories from the Alberta School of Business.

A new year is upon us and we welcome 2021 with open arms. Goodbye 2020, it’s time for you to go!!

Before we move forward, though, let’s take a final moment to reflect on the past year. 2020 was a year unlike any other, a year filled with extraordinary disruption, distress, and tragedy. Yet despite the hardships, School of Business students, staff, faculty, and alumni persevered, demonstrating our fortitude and resilience as a community.

From our expertise in artificial intelligence, leadership, management, entrepreneurship and the economy, to the continued successes of our students and alumni, we continue to change the way the world does business.

With that in mind, here’s a look back at some of the stories from 2020 that interested us, informed us and moved us.

13. Commerce student sees caring as key for business 

BCom grad Kevin Zentner turned his academic career around by getting involved and working with people with disabilities. 


12. U of A economists see COVID-19 as a global problem in our backyard

From policy responses to implications on the global scale, researchers Randall Morck and Runjuan Liu are closely watching the consequences of an unprecedented pandemic. 


11. Pandemic increases importance of entrepreneurship and innovation 

Dean Joseph Doucet and professor Tony Briggs see long-term growth possibilities in the post-pandemic landscape. 


10. Innovative company creates ‘synthetic cities’ to help solve future problems before they happen 

Powered by MBA grad Myrna Bittner, RunWithIt Synthetics uses machine learning to help clients anticipate the complex reality their projects will operate in.


9. Research reveals which types of leaders are more likely to burn out 

Being too hands-off can be stressful for leaders as being too engaged, says professor Ian Gellatly.

woman leading meeting

8. Alumni Business Directory 

This year we launched a guide to businesses owned or operated by Alberta School of Business alumni.


7. A star on the court and in the classroom 

Golden Bears alumni and MBA student Brody Clarke was named the U of A’s top male Academic All-Canadian.


6. Opening Pandora’s box 

Professor Noah Castelo discusses the unintended consequences of our increasing reliance on artificial intelligence.


5. 2020 Holiday Gift Guide 

Shopping local became more important than ever in 2020, which is why we created this handy guide to support alumni-owned businesses across Alberta. 


4. School of Business announces new Assistant Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) 

Professor Michelle Inness will identify and promote practices and principles that celebrate equity, human rights, respect, and accountability.


3. Donald A. Wheaton receives 2020 Canadian Business Leadership Award

The distinguished award goes to individuals who have demonstrated leadership, business acumen and success, an entrepreneurial spirit, integrity, and a commitment to the community.

don wheaton sitting

2. Changing the Way We Do Business

Beginning in 2022, the Alberta School of Business will offer direct admission into the Bachelor of Commerce program to high school students.


1. U of A students tapped to help local small businesses go digital

Through a partnership with the City of Edmonton, students are helping small businesses in the city boost their online presence.


In January, we mourned the loss of PhD candidate Elnaz Nabiyi. One of ten members of the University of Alberta community to lose their lives on Flight PS752, Elnaz leaves behind her husband and fellow PhD candidate Javad Soleimani, as well as family, friends, colleagues, and supervisors within and without the Alberta School of Business. Elnaz will be remembered for her kindness, her intelligence, and her commitment to making the world a better place through her research and scholarship. She will be dearly missed.