Sobey School of Business

Sobey School of Business MBA ranks #8 in the world for sustainability


The Sobey School of Business is eighth in the world for sustainability, according to the recently released Corporate Knights Better World MBA ranking.

The eight place finish marks the highest ranking yet for the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University. The school attributes its success to the way sustainable development and ethics are deeply embedded in its courses, the strong ethnic and gender diversity of its student and faculty, and the faculty’s extensive research on sustainability themes. Corporate Knights assessed 141 business schools across 25 countries for its rankings.

“Placed as we are here on the east coast of Canada, the impacts of climate change are strongly felt. At the same time, our province is a leader in immigration, and has a deep history in co-operative and alternate business models. We understand how important sustainability must be in business today,” noted Dean Harjeet Bhabra. “We are proud of our faculty’s strengths in international research and ethics, and the growing expertise in social enterprise development at Saint Mary’s, which have helped us achieve this recognition.”

The Sobey MBA program ranked second in Canada, with Schulich, at York University, placing first nationally. Warwick University in Exeter, UK, was ranked first in the world
Corporate Knights introduced two new metrics to this year’s ranking: the gender and racial diversity of graduate business department faculty. Such diversity can influence student perception of what leadership looks like, and means that business schools can model meaningful standards for more diverse corporate boards and management.

According to Corporate Knights, The University of Connecticut's School of Business and the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax led the way on racial diversity with 51 percent of faculty identified as visible minorities.

Participating schools were graded on five indicators: the number of institutes and centres dedicated to sustainable development; the percentage of core courses that integrate sustainable development; faculty research publications and citations on sustainable development themes; and faculty gender and racial diversity.

In 2014, the Sobey school’s faculty unanimously voted to become signatories to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative (PRME). A central part of this commitment is a pledge to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

For Saint Mary’s and the Sobey School, the ranking was helped by research and work conducted through the school’s centres: the Atlantic Research Group on Economics of Immigration, Aging and Diversity, the new International Centre for Co-operative Management, the Centre for Leadership Excellence, the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services, and the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives.

See Corporate Knights' full top 40 here.

Spark Zone recognized as World’s Best in Entrepreneurship Skills


The Spark Zone, a sandbox to foster social innovations and business ideas, has been recognized as the world’s best in enterprise and entrepreneurship skill-building.

The staff of the Spark Zone accepted the award in Houston, Texas from the International Education Business Partnership Network. The IPN Global Best Awards was held October 17 through 19 at the Houston Space Centre.

“This award recognizes Spark Zone’s success in supporting students to learn about entrepreneurship through not only academics but also by introducing them to our great mentors and networks,” noted Jason Turner, Spark Zone manager. “This global award is an endorsement of our ability to guide students in creating viable businesses. We are really proud of the programs and initiatives we’ve introduced in Nova Scotia’s post-secondary institutions.”

Spark Zone is a partnership between Saint Mary's University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Nova Scotia Community College, Mount Saint Vincent University, the Atlantic School of Theology and University of King's College, with Saint Mary's serving as the host institution. The Spark Zone is funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

“Nova Scotia’s unique mix of industry and academia, and the ease with which the two come together, is what makes our innovation story compelling,” said Hon. Labi Kousoulis, Minister, Labour and Advanced Education. “The Spark Zone is a great example of innovation in action, and I’m pleased to see it recognized internationally for its leadership.”

The Global Best Award submissions are evaluated on how well the programs deliver the following criteria:

• Enhanced employability

• Extent of experiential learning

• Knowledge transfer of employability skills

• Youth involvement in design and operation of the partnership

• Replicability of the partnership

• Recognition of excellence

The competition includes other entrepreneurship centres and service providers from across the world with winners from six regions attending the conference.

About the Spark Zone

Utilizing physical and virtual spaces, The Spark Zone brings together students and community members to create, develop and ultimately launch business ideas and social innovations. Partners at Saint Mary’s University, NSCAD University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia Community College, University of King’s College, and the Atlantic School of Theology provide opportunities for people to connect and then nurture those connections as ideas become reality.

Another successful South Shore Tour for the Sobey School of Business

Top business students from Saint Mary’s University recently met with business leaders from Nova Scotia’s South Shore to discuss opportunities for collaboration and employment.

Thirty-nine students from Sobey School’s graduate business programs toured Lunenburg and Bridgewater on Friday, Sept. 28, visiting 22 companies and attending information sessions. The businesses met with students and had the opportunity to see how an innovative intern or new graduate could help their bottom line or grow their business. 

“This tour is a direct expression of our commitment to making an impact on the prosperity of this province,” said Dr. Harjeet Bhabra, dean of the Sobey School of Business. “At the same time, it helps our students build the ability to recognize opportunities that they otherwise might miss. And it helps connect the work of the university with more of the province.”

The businesses taking part in the tour include:

  • Aqualitas

  • ABCO

  • CO3 & Mashup Labs

  • Freemans Lumber

  • Hawboldt Industries

  • Heart to Hand

  • Lunenburg Industrial Foundry and Engineering (LIFE)

  • Michelin

  • Ocean Gear

  • Old Town Boat Works

  • Petite Riviere Winery

  • Port Mersey Commercial Park

  • Pro-Oceanus

  • RPS Composites

  • Sattlers Stained Glass

  • South Shore Tourism Co-op

  • Stelia

  • Terra Beata

  • Van Dyk’s Health Juice Products Ltd.

  • Westcote Pottery

“The South Shore Corporate Tour reveals the opportunities available in Queens County and along the South Shore through our innovative businesses and the superb lifestyle we enjoy,” said David Dagley, Mayor of Region of Queens Municipality. “We are pleased to welcome them to the South Shore, and proud to showcase our community.”

The Saint Mary’s students involved come from Sobey School graduate programs including the Master of Business Administration (MBA); the Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and the Master of Finance.

The South Shore Tour is an initiative between South Shore businesses and Saint Mary’s University. The tour is coordinated by the Graduate Career Services office of the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s, and is in its second year.

Saint Mary’s students make their first venture capital investment in international travel start-up

Saint Mary’s University’s Venture Grade Fund, a student-raised and led venture capital fund, is making its first investment, $15,000 to travel start-up Trip Ninja.

Trip Ninja is a travel-planning software for use by online travel retailers such as Expedia or Priceline. When retail customers are booking plane trips to several different places, Trip Ninja helps online travel retailers find the best price. This multi-destination platform finds the best way to book the trip, whether travellers are flexible in their route or if they need to visit destinations in a particular order.

“It has been great working with Saint Mary’s University’s Venture Grade Fund, and seeing the confidence they have in our product,” said Trip Ninja Co-Founder, Andres Collart. “Saint Mary’s has helped us through reviewing aspects of our business with their MBA students who have a firm grasp on entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s been great working with an organization who is committed to helping start-ups and entrepreneurs have success.” 

The Saint Mary’s University Venture Grade Fund is a student-raised and run venture capital fund and the first student-raised venture capital investment fund in Canada in which the students raise the capital. Their fund is operating at about $200,000 currently.

The team seems to have chosen well as the fledgling travel tech company has attracted notable local, national and international investors, including East Valley Ventures, Innovacorp and other investors experienced in the travel industry. Innovacorp is also a supporter of Saint Mary’s University’s Venture Grade Fund’s assessment of Trip Ninja, and provided Venture Grade with half the capital required for their investment.

The team’s faculty advisor and mentor is venture capital expert and SMU professor, Dr. Ellen Farrell.

“This is a win-win-win situation,” said Farrell. “Venture Grade’s donors and partners like Innovacorp get to offer students an unparalleled experiential education experience, the students get the benefit of raising the capital and conducting due diligence, and the start-up spends the investment thus supporting their business.”

Should the company experience a successful exit, meaning if they are purchased for a large sum, the investors, including Venture Grade, will receive a payout scaled to the purchase. Any returns made on Venture Grade’s investments are returned to Venture Grade, the student fund.

The fund was started by students of Dr. Ellen Farrell at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University in fall 2016, with a connection to Silicon Valley’s C100 group, Boston’s Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England, and initial support from Innovacorp. It has expanded to include members at other Atlantic universities including Acadia University, Dalhousie University, and Memorial University.

“Sobey School of Business and Saint Mary’s University are proud to offer students the opportunity to experience the risks and rewards of investing,” said Dr. Harjeet Bhabra, dean of the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University.

“With the School’s strengths in finance and entrepreneurship, the Venture Grade Fund could only have been created here. We’re proud to continue making an impact on our region and on the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”