Let’s meet...our new faculty!

There have been a number of additions to the Alberta School of Business community since remote work began in 2020.

It’s been a while since we’ve all been on campus together. In that time, there have been some changes to the Alberta School of Business. As the new school year begins, let’s take the time to get to know some of the recent additions to our community.

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Kent Rondeau, associate professor:

What is your favourite class to teach?

SEM 311: Managing the Workforce in Canada. (I am so privileged to work with so many engaged, young people who are just starting out their careers as HR professionals).

If you weren't an academic, what would you do?

If I were unable to teach and had the talent and the youth, I would want to be a professional baseball player.

Do you have any hidden talents?

No hidden talents...but my wife tells me I am able to make myself entirely invisible when there is work to be done around the house.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I love to fish with my brothers and sisters, hanging out at our family cabin in Northern Saskatchewan.

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Mohamad Soltani, assistant professor:

What do you do in your spare time?

If I am not cooking, I am probably enjoying an outdoor activity.

What is your favourite dish?

I like any kind of authentic cuisine, from Indian to Middle Eastern to Mediterranean to Mexican!

If you weren't an academic, what would you do? 

I would own a café and spend most of my time there hosting my guests!

What is your favourite class to teach? 

Since I joined the Alberta School of Business, I have taught multiple sessions of Predictive Business Analytics to undergraduate and MBA students. I have really enjoyed teaching this course because the topics that we cover in the class are widely applicable in practice and huge interest among the students makes this class very interactive. Next semester, I will teach Operations Management to MBA students. I look forward to teaching this class as I believe the topics covered in this course are in close proximity to the daily life experiences of our students, and thus students can learn from each other by sharing their own experiences and observations with the class. Of course, I will learn a lot from them as well.

What do you enjoy about Edmonton?

I really enjoyed biking around the Edmonton River Valley this past summer.

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Param Pal Singh Chhabra, assistant professor:

What is your area of expertise?

Operations Management and Business Analytics.

If you weren't an academic, what would you do?

Aerospace Engineer. I am one and have worked in the Aerospace field for quite some time designing aero structures and aero engines.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I started my career as a scientist in the Indian Defense Research agency, subsequently worked for large private companies in the aerospace field, and now joined academics. I earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a master's degree in aerospace engineering, and I am in the process of earning a Ph.D. degree in operations management. I took a break from work and earned a degree before making each career shift.

What is your favourite dish? 

My favourite is Indian Punjabi cuisine, but I can eat anything that I find tasty!

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Runjing Lu, assistant professor:

What is your area of expertise?

Empirical finance, labour economics, political economics.

If you weren't an academic, what would you be?

I'd be an illustrator!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I'm a painter.

What do you enjoy about Edmonton?

I most enjoy the parks and trails of Edmonton.

Can you tell me about your research?

Most recently, I've studied how behavioural and political factors influence asset prices, worker productivity, as well as household and firm decisions.

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Leo Wong, associate professor:

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I like to play board games with my kids!

Do you have any favourite travel destinations? 

I've been fortunate to travel to many countries for work or volunteering. I particularly enjoy Japan, but nothing beats the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in our own backyard.

Do you play an instrument? 

No, sadly not yet. It's on my bucket list...one day!

Do you have a favourite dish? 

Maybe ramen, or jambalaya.

Tell me about your family.

I've been married for 12 wonderful years, and we are lucky to have two healthy kids who keep us entertained and busy.

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Vishal Baloria, associate professor:

What is your area of expertise?

My research develops a fuller understanding of the extent to which political incentives affect the decisions of corporate managers and capital market participants. My current research projects focus on three interrelated actors: politicians, regulators and the media.

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time? My eight-month-old infant does not permit us to have any spare time.

If you weren't an academic, what would you do?

Prior to my academic career, I worked as a CPA in audit and taxation roles. I found the work very worthwhile so I'd probably still be working in accounting in some capacity although I'd probably have ventured out to an emerging area such as ESG reporting or FinTech.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I am not much of a cook but I have been told I make a mean taco. 

What is something people don't know about you?

You wouldn't know this from the state of my office but I am a neat freak at home.

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Jeff Herzog, assistant lecturer:

If you weren't an academic, what would you do?

Realistically, I would probably still be working at a public practice accounting firm. However, if we are playing make-believe, I would be a paleontologist or a zookeeper. 

Do you have any hidden talents?

I'm pretty gymnastics-y. Walking around on my hands is usually a crowd-pleaser.  

What is your favourite dish?

Tiramisu.

What do you enjoy most about Edmonton? 

Probably the greenery. I grew up on the prairies, so being surrounded by trees is a nice change.

Is there anything else you want to share with our community?

Feel free to add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Instagram under the handle @jeffthecpa.

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Ike Nwaka, assistant lecturer:

What is your favourite class to teach?

Before joining the Alberta School of Business, I taught economics for business management and data analysis to undergraduate and graduate students. I am currently teaching economic foundations (microeconomics), energy industries and markets to MBA and undergraduate students. I am enjoying these courses. It is fascinating to find active and engaging students — especially the MBAs who are ready to discuss core topical and emerging issues in business.  I am enjoying every bit of it! 

What do you do in your spare time?

I spend my spare in my small home garden. I also enjoy listening to motivational speakers or singing.

If you weren't an academic, what would you do?

Maybe I would be a gospel minister or a social worker. 

Is there anything else about your research you would like to share?

I am also exploring the impact pathways between socioeconomic insecurities (food insecurity, inequality, poverty, unemployment, migration and vulnerable employments), climate variability and drivers of conflict in Africa. I am also investigating the impacts of trade policies and social progress on vulnerable employments (self-employment, informal employments, entrepreneurs) in developing countries (especially in Africa). 

 

Other faculty members who started in the Alberta School of Business in 2020 include Hosein Zare and Wenjie Chen.

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