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Being a master’s or PhD student at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) means spending a lot of time researching and writing. But it also means contending with presentations, conferences and more.
That’s why the Annual Graduate Research Exposition (AGRE) aims to expose students to the social side of business research.
“The main goal is to give our graduate students an opportunity to present their work to the broader community,” says Linda Dyer, co-organizer of the AGRE and professor and chair of the Department of Management at JMSB.
“If they want to get their research out, they need to do it in a way that people will find accessible and engaging.”
Dyer adds that a lot of modern-day issues students see in their textbooks or come across while browsing the internet will be brought to life during this event.
Each year, approximately 25 to 30 students participate in the exposition — presenting their posters and research in the atrium of the Molson Building (MB).
The event, now in its ninth year, began after Dyer and some of her marketing colleagues witnessed a need for students to practise pitching themselves to business and academic communities.
Past research has touched on a breadth of topics — everything from the business relevance of planting trees in British Columbia, to the relationship between hockey and the stock market, to an analysis of coffee shop atmospherics.
Dyer says it’s easy for grad students to get wrapped up in the scholarly nature of their topics and end up writing for experts only.
“This event encourages them to focus on the applied nature of what they’re studying and its relevance to practice. So, no jargon.”
Students prepare for the AGRE by attending a workshop with a graphic designer to learn what makes a poster interesting. They’re also coached on the importance of using plain language when talking about their research.
And though it’s not the focus of the event, there is an element of competition. Judges from companies such as Bombardier Aerospace, KPMG and DeSerres choose winners based on the relevance of their research, poster quality and the students' answers to their questions.
Researchers receive points for content, practical significance, aesthetics and explanation. Prizes ranging from $200 to more than $1,000 are presented at the end of the evening. All students who visit the expo can cast a vote for the Popular Choice award.
“Many judges come back in subsequent years because they really enjoy seeing what our students are doing,” Dyer says.
The AGRE is also social — something Dyer believes is important for researchers. Following the presentations and awards, there is a reception to further allow students to network with peers, faculty members and visitors from the business community.
The John Molson School of Business Graduate Research Exhibition takes place Thursday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. in the atrium of the John Molson Building (1450 Guy).