A year in review: 2021

As 2021 comes to a close and we approach 2022, we take a look back at some of the top stories of the past year.

2021 was a challenging year, but from leadership and entrepreneurship to student, faculty and alumni excellence, our community continues to change the way the world does business. So before we say goodbye to 2021 and officially welcome 2022, let’s take a look back at some of the stories from 2021 that interested us, informed us and moved us.  


On October 1, 2021, the bachelor of commerce program began accepting applications to its first cohort of direct entry students from high school! In its first month, there were over 900 high school applicants and offers were made to 398 students (with a minimum high school average of 87 per cent).

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Building a place to stay

Puneeta McBryan, BCom ‘12 is the executive director of the Downtown Business Association. She spoke about how investing in innovation is a key strategy in building a sustainable and resilient downtown core that prioritizes inclusive and equitable spaces for everyone.

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Previously serving as vice dean from 2017-2021, on July 1, Kyle Murray became dean of the Alberta School of Business for a two-year term. We got to know a bit more about him, including his first memory at the U of A (playing basketball in the summer camps on campus in high school), his favourite hobby (science fiction!) and who he would invite to dinner (his grandparents). Oh, and he makes a great cherry pie!

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When Larry Harris, ‘99 MBA, was laid off from his job in June 2020 as part of ongoing budget cuts to post-secondary institutions in Alberta, he decided to try his hand at one of his longtime passions: baking. Now, Harris and his family own Bonne Vie Bakery — a thriving microbakery in Edmonton—and this past year he competed on season four of the Great Canadian Baking Show.

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There have been a number of additions to the Alberta School of Business community since remote work began in 2020. We took the time to get to know our newest faculty members, including Kent Rondeau, Mohamad Soltani, Param Pal Singh Chhabra, Runjing Lu, Leo Wong, Vishal Baloria, Jeff Herzog, Ike Nwaka, Hosein Zare and Wenjie Chen.

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phd student receives prestigious scholarship

Alberta School of Business PhD student Kylie Heales was selected as a recipient of the 2021 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship. She is among 15 doctoral researchers from across Canada to be selected for the prestigious scholarship. Heales was among 643 applicants for the leadership program and was one of 36 finalists selected for individual interviews. She was selected as the Mary-Jean Mitchell Green | Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, the foundation’s first named scholarship.

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women mentoring women:

We reached out to women from the Alberta School of Business community to discuss the mentorship they have received from other women, and the positive impact it has had on their lives. Maria David-Evans learned that “It’s OK to wear pink,” Hanna Daniel’s mother told her to “have faith in something bigger than yourself,” and Marcela Mandeville was taught to “surround yourself with people you admire and who will help you grow as a person.”

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After over a year of remote work, many organizations began to plan a return to office life this summer. We spoke to Rick Brick, associate executive professor in the department of strategy, entrepreneurship and management at the Alberta School of Business for his perspective.

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The Alberta School of Business loves to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our business students, faculty, alumni and staff, and October was no exception. Dr. Tim Hannigan, Dr. Chris Steele, Dr. Madeline Toubiana and Dr. Ke Wang were awarded tenure; Nicole Janssen, ‘02 BCom, co-CEO of AltaML, was selected as the recipient of the Emerging Entrepreneur Award at the Alberta Women Entrepreneurs 2021 Awards; Omer Syed, Ishan Arora, Carla Hinojosa Deza and Dhairya Varaiya placed second at the Junior Division of Alberta International Case Competition in October; and more.

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