Before McGill turns 200, the Desautels Faculty celebrated exciting milestones of its own: 50 years of MBA success in 2015 and 100 years of BCom impact in 2020. In between, the Faculty continued to reach new heights with the launch of the highly ranked Master of Management in Finance and Analytics programs, the Bensadoun School of Retail Management, a new thought leadership publication called Delve, and the free online McGill Personal Finance Essentials course. The Faculty also expanded its physical footprint with the opening of the Donald E. Armstrong building to house the MBA and specialized masters programs.
2015 – IMPACT MAKERS: 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of our MBA program
In May 2015, over 250 MBA alumni from around the world returned to campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our MBA program. The weekend featured a cocktail in the future home of the MBA (the McGill Bookstore at the time), a gala dinner, and a day-long conference of panel discussions and plenaries with leading business thinkers such as Hubert T. Lacroix, MBA’81, President and CEO, CBC/Radio- Canada; Inez Jabalpurwala, MBA’00, President and CEO, Brain Canada Foundation; and John Clinton, Chair and CEO, Edelman Public Relations Canada.
After 2,000 votes were cast, a trio of distinguished alumni took home the title of Top MBA Impact Maker at the gala: Seymour Schulich, MBA’65, entrepreneur, philanthropist and author; Bertrand Cesvet, MBA’88, Executive Chairman and Senior Partner, Sid Lee; and, the 2013 Hult Prize team.
Read more in the McGill Reporter: Desautels celebrates 50 years of MBA impact
2015 – New Rhodes Scholar is Joanna Klimczak, BCom’2014
Joanna Klimczak, a graduate student in McGill’s International Management Program, is the Desautels Faculty of Management’s newest Rhodes Scholar.
“Words cannot describe how grateful I am, as these opportunities and support contributed to my Rhodes Scholarship. This scholarship will provide me with the chance to work with future world leaders to advance our projects and make a positive difference in the world.”
Read more in the McGill Reporter: Two more for the Rhodes from McGill
2015 – Our Future Honours Our History: Donald E. Armstrong Building
Top Impact Maker Seymour Schulich, proposes that the new MBA Building be named in honour of Professor Donald E. Armstrong, PhD’54 (1925-2011), founder of our MBA.
Professor Don Armstrong, PhD’54 (1925-2011), contributed greatly to the University as a teacher, mentor, and leader and is remembered fondly by all who benefited from his wisdom. As founding Director of the Graduate School of Business, he launched McGill’s MBA program in 1963. Professor Armstrong insisted that our MBA be interdisciplinary from day one and that its teachers include both talented academics and seasoned business professionals.
Naming the new home of the MBA in honour of Professor Armstrong is a fitting tribute, given his role in designing, leading and shaping McGill’s MBA program. Now the Donald E. Armstrong Building will catapult the MBA program forward for the next 50 years.
2015-2020– Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean
A mathematics-trained professor, Dr. Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou taught finance at ESSEC Business School in Paris and George Washington University in Washington, D.C., before accepting the position of Dean at the Desautels Faculty of Management. Under her leadership, Desautels has solidified its position as a world-class business school with a growing international footprint and a wealth of experiential learning opportunities.
Dr. Bajeux-Besnainou led the Faculty through a successful MBA redesign, the development of several specialized master’s programs, and the launch of the Bensadoun School of Retail Management. She expanded the Faculty’s physical footprint with the opening of the Donald E. Armstrong building, with its $17.6-million renovations funded entirely through hundreds of alumni donations in a McGill first. She also spearheaded a faculty recruitment initiative resulting in the hiring of 49 new full-time professors. In 2020, Dr. Bajeux-Besnainou accepted a new role as Dean of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie-Mellon University.
2016 – Launch of new MMF Program
In response to the need for a program that integrates advanced financial concepts and quantitative methods with real-world business practices, the Desautels Faculty of Management launched the Master of Management in Finance (MMF) in February. As a pre-experience, 12-month program, the MMF welcomed its first cohort in the summer of 2016.
Read more in The McGill Reporter: Desautels welcomes new cohort of Masters of Management in Finance
May 2017 – $25 Million from the Bensadoun Family Foundation
Thanks to a $25 million gift from the Bensadoun Family Foundation, announced in May 2017, McGill begins work on developing the Bensadoun School of Retail Management: an inter-disciplinary, state-of-the-art school dedicated to all facets of the retail industry.
In 2018, the Bronfman Building includes an addition to the Ground Floor with the new Bensadoun School of Retail Management.
November 2017 – Launch of the McGill International Portfolio Challenge (MIPC)
The McGill International Portfolio Challenge (MIPC) is the pioneer of case competitions that target pensions, innovative portfolio design, and institutional asset management. The ultimate goal of MIPC is to design creative solutions for underfunded pensions by bringing key industry leaders together with the bright young minds of future investment managers.
Read more in the McGill Reporter: Students to the rescue of a U.S. pension system in peril
Read more in Desautels News: Desautels inaugurates world’s first pension portfolio challenge
2018 – Launch of new MMA Program
In response to the growing needs of organisations (for profit, non-profit, governmental) for business analytics, the Desautels Faculty of Management launched the Master of Management in Analytics (MMA) program in January of 2018.
The MMA degree is a pre-experience, twelve-month specialized program in the evolving field of management analytics. The MMA welcomed its first cohort in the summer of 2018.
Read more in Desautels News: MMA students find inspiration on inaugural Study Trip in San Francisco
2018 – New Donald E. Armstrong building open for students
The MBA & Specialized Masters programs move into the new Armstrong Building named for Professor Donald E. Armstrong, PhD’54 (1925-2011). The 48,666 sq. ft. expansion brings new dedicated teaching and learning spaces that benefit all in the Faculty.
While the building opened for students as of January 2018, the grand opening took place over May 25-27, 2018. Thanks to incredible donor support, Desautels has a new home for our Masters programs – and extra space for our BCom students.
Donors also created 34 new MBA awards for the #1 MBA Program in Canada and named more than 140 MBA Lockers. Hundreds of donors and alumni gathered to celebrate this success.
Now Desautels has a building and suite of awards that match our ambitions and accomplishments as a Faculty.
Read more in the McGill Reporter: Introducing Desautels’ new Donald E. Armstrong Building
June 2018 – Desautels is granted EQUIS re-accreditation
The European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) Accreditation Board rendered its decision to re-accredit the Desautels Faculty of Management for a five-year period – the maximum term granted by the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) through EQUIS.
September 2019 – Delve Thought Leadership
Founded in 2019, Delve is the official thought leadership publication of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management.
Under the direction of Professor Saku Mantere, inaugural Editor-in-Chief, Delve features the latest in management thinking that stretches perspectives, sparks new ideas, and brings clarity to decision-makers at all levels and across sectors.
Readers, viewers, and listeners can access expert analysis and insight into today’s most important management challenges through articles and curated exchanges between Desautels and industry leaders.
Read more in Desautels News:
Access management insights with Delve
Delve partners with World Economic Forum
November 2019 – McGill Personal Finance Essentials
In collaboration with RBC Future Launch and The Globe and Mail, the McGill Personal Finance Essentials program—offered in English and French—is divided into eight 15- to 25-minute learning modules, each taught by a Desautels faculty member in a video lecture.
Read more in Desautels News
June 2020 – Bringing the vision of the Bensadoun School of Retail Management to life
We are reaching the final stages of building the BSRM’s physical infrastructure within the Bronfman Building. Among the facilities will be the new McGill Retail Innovation Lab—a 2,300 square-foot multi-sensorial space where students, researchers and industry partners will explore diverse aspects of a retail operation including consumer behaviour, customer segmentation, data analysis, engagement and sustainability.
In terms of academic programming, we launched a BCom Concentration in Retail Management and a PhD in Retail Management. We recently received government approval to launch a new Master of Management in Retailing, designed from the perspective of the customer journey and experience.
August 2020 – Desautels appoints its first Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
To help the Faculty be more collaborative, accountable and transparent in our approach to equity, diversity and inclusion, this appointment will facilitate collaboration across our community to drive necessary organizational change.
Read more in the McGill Reporter: Desautels appoints new Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
September 2020 – Made For tomorrow: Launch of BCom100 Campaign
In 2021, McGill will celebrate its 200th anniversary. To set the stage for another 200 years of impact, the University has launched its Made by McGill campaign with a goal of raising $2 billion. Before McGill turns 200, Desautels will celebrate an exciting milestone this year: 100 years since our first class of BCom students graduated and went out into the world to leave their mark. To celebrate 100 years of impact and lay a foundation for the next 100, Desautels is launching the BCom100 Campaign with the slogan “Made for Tomorrow.” William Shatner (BCom’52) generously donated his talent by narrating our BCom campaign kick-off video.
November 2020 – Desautels celebrates 15th anniversary of historic $22-million gift
In 2005, Dr. Marcel Desautels made the largest donation to a Canadian business or management faculty in history. His game-changing $22-million gift to name the Desautels Faculty of Management has equipped the Faculty to breathe new life into its world-class programs, talent, and facilities.
Read more in McGill Alumni News
November 2020 – Launch of new MMR program
The Bensadoun School of Retail Management opened admissions for a unique Master of Management in Retailing (MMR) designed to equip students with the tools they need to thrive in the rapidly evolving post-COVID retail industry. The MMR combines analytics, sustainability, creativity and management to prepare students to become retail leaders of the future.
The MMR gives students the tools they need to respond to, and predict, the rapidly changing and increasingly complex global business environment. The program accelerates the technology, systems and analytics needed not only to prepare students to play a part in the future of retail, but to help redefine it. With a focus on sustainable consumption and healthier societies, the program takes an integrated approach to retail management spanning the life cycle of retail from ideation to distribution.
Read more in the McGill Reporter: As the retail industry evolves, so too does retail education
2020 Notable Alumni
Elizabeth Chima, BCom’20
Elizabeth was the valedictorian for the Faculty last year after graduating with a BCom Double Major in Finance and International Management.
Elizabeth is now a Corporate Banking Analyst with HSBC. She worked extensively with the Desautels Management Achievement Awards and Desautels Women in Business during her time at McGill.
Read more in McGill Reporter: Conversations with valedictorians: Elizabeth Chima
January 2021 – Opening of the Retail Innovation Lab
McGill University and Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. announce their partnership in the launch of a retail innovation lab at the Bensadoun School of Retail Management—a live testing ground for innovative and frictionless technologies that address the retail sector’s challenges of the future. In a joint effort to transform customer experience at a critical time for retailers, a world-class university and a global retailer are coming together to create one of North America’s first live, open laboratory stores. The lab will also allow McGill students to deepen their knowledge through on-site experiential learning in an innovative commercial environment.
The Bensadoun News: McGill University and Alimentation Couche-Tard launch unique laboratory store to propel retail industry and customers into the future
The McGill Reporter: The future of shopping is here: McGill launches frictionless laboratory store
The McGill Reporter: The future of retail: Retail Innovation Lab at Bensadoun School of Retail Management officially inaugurated by Quebec minister
2021 – Notable students & alumni
Sean McNally, BCom’21
Sean was the valedictorian for the Faculty at the Spring 2021 Virtual Convocation, after graduating with a BCom in Investment Management.
Sean is now in a management consulting role at Oliver Wyman in Montreal.
Read more in McGill Reporter: Conversations with valedictorians: Sean McNally, Desautels Faculty of Management
Bachelor of Commerce student, Desautels Faculty of Management
CEO of PennyDrops and recipient of the Greville-Smith Scholarship
Read more in McGill Giving: Made to do good
Jasmine (Peiran) Jiang
Student in the Master of Management in Analytics program
Recipient of the Levy Family Leadership MMA Award
Read more in McGill Giving: Made to map outbreaks
July 2021 – Launch of the Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management (GCHM)
The new Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management (GCHM) is a collaborative initiative between McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. The GCHM program is designed to train physicians and other healthcare professionals in the skills needed to make effective decisions and succeed in leadership roles. Offered entirely online using a flexible, part-time delivery format, healthcare workers will be able to participate in the GCHM without pausing their careers. The curriculum, taught by a team of seasoned McGill professors and healthcare leaders, is designed to address the key competencies of the Leader Role outlined in the CANMEDS educational framework of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Read more in the McGill Reporter: Prognosis: The future is bright for the next generation of healthcare leaders
August 2021 – Yolande E. Chan, Dean
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Dr. Yolande E. Chan has spent the past 30 years in Kingston, Ontario, where until recently, she served as Associate Dean of Research, PhD and MSc Programs, and the E. Marie Shantz Chair of Digital Technology at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. Now, she brings her considerable talents and experience to McGill for a five-year, renewable term as Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Management.
Her research focuses on innovation, knowledge strategy, digital strategy and business-IT alignment. Committed to advancing institutional priorities in the area of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), Prof. Chan co-chaired a 2017 university-wide review of racism, diversity and inclusion at Queen’s.
Prof. Chan is a leader in the global information systems community, serving from 2006 to 2009 as Secretary of the Association for Information Systems, and currently co-chairing the 2021 Americas Conference on Information Systems.
Prof. Chan earned a Ph.D. from Western University’s Ivey Business School, an M.Phil. in Management Studies from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Read more in the McGill Reporter: A Conversation with Yolande E. Chan, Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Management
September 2021 – Introducing the Lewtas Experiential Learning Office
Thanks to the generosity of Don Lewtas (BCom’75), students will soon benefit from the Lewtas Experiential Learning Office.
In collaboration with Desautels Career Management, the new Office will help students connect with companies and campus departments that can provide on-the-job experience in their respective fields of study. It will also serve as a main point of contact between faculty instructors and business leaders who are looking to recruit student talent.
Read more in Desautels News: The Lewtas Experiential Learning Office will enhance educational opportunities at Desautels
November 2021 – Inauguration of the Retail Innovation Lab by the Quebec Minister of the Economy
The Retail Innovation Lab at McGill University in partnership with Alimentation Couche-Tard has been officially inaugurated by Lucie Lecours, Quebec’s Minister of the Economy. As the first of its kind in the world dedicated to on-the-ground simulation research for retail technology, the lab represents monumental progress and future growth for the Bensadoun School of Retail Management and its industry collaborators.
Read more in the McGill Reporter: The future of retail: Retail Innovation Lab at Bensadoun School of Retail Management officially inaugurated by Quebec minister
February 2022 – Desautels alumnus David Laidley donates $5 million to create the Laidley Centre for Business Ethics
Endowed by the gift of $5 million by alumnus David Laidley (BCom’67), the Desautels Faculty of Management announced the Laidley Centre for Business Ethics. On November 14, 2022, the Laidley Centre for Business Ethics hosted students, faculty, staff, donors, alumni and friends of McGill Desautels for the official launch of the Centre.
The Laidley Centre for Business Ethics will serve as a hub for McGill researchers across disciplines, from law and religion to economics and engineering, to work toward solutions for the most pressing ethical issues of our time.
Read more in Desautels News: Laidley Centre for Business Ethics will help foster ethical leaders for the challenges of the future
May 2022 – McGill University launches the Sustainable Growth Initiative (SGI)
McGill University is proud to announce the launch of the Sustainable Growth Initiative (SGI), a new hub anchored at the Desautels Faculty of Management dedicated to providing businesses with actionable solutions for building a more sustainable economy. Through research-to-action projects, engagement workshops, global student competitions, thought leadership and education, this innovative cross-faculty venture will address some of the key challenges businesses face every day.
The initiative will benefit from over $1.4 million in initial support from its founding partners: global alternative asset manager Power Sustainable, international management and holding company Power Corporation of Canada, institutional investor Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and global smart and sustainable mobility solutions leader Alstom, as well as individual donors.