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Drawing inspiration from John Molson’s 11th Annual Graduate Research Exposition

Grad Research Lens series
December 4, 2019
By Chris Wise

Grad Research Lens is a series of blogposts on the various areas of exploration and examination by students in John Molson's research-based graduate programs.

JMSB 2019 Annual Graduate Research Exposition

Research being conducted by students in John Molson’s research-based graduate programs was on display this past November 14th.  The 11th Annual Graduate Research Exposition (AGRE), which takes place in November each year, showcases the research-in-progress of students from the MSc and PhD departments. Event participants compete to present the most compelling poster and arguments on their particular area of exploration.

“The AGRE is a stimulating public forum that highlights the innovativeness, the scholarly qualities, and the practical significance of research at JMSB,” says Linda Dyer, Professor in the Department of Management, as well as co-coordinator for the exposition.

This year’s event began with a public viewing of the exposition posters in the atrium of the Molson Building from 1:00 to 5:30 pm, allowing the John Molson and wider Concordia community to discover what graduate students are uncovering in their work. The event is of particular interest to undergraduate students wondering what kind of research their graduate counterparts are conducting and whether they would be interested in pursuing graduate research themselves.

“I was able to showcase how my research contributes to the real business world, while gaining feedback and interacting with industry experts. There is no better way to promote the relationship between industry and academia, and to direct the focus of our research from basic to applicative!” (Karen Naaman, PhD candidate)

At 4:00pm, the judges began evaluating the posters on several criteria, including clarity, significance and aesthetic quality, as well as the students’ ability to present their work and answer questions about the findings and their implications. The 24 judges represent the Montreal business community, from CEOs, administrators and middle managers from large organizations to consultants, owner-managers from small and medium-sized enterprises in a variety of sectors, as well as Concordia alumni. Ultimately, the judges and any other observers vote for the poster they believe makes the most interesting and promising contribution.

Dominique Vincent, MBA ’95 and one of this year’s judges, was thrilled by the event: “An idea that is well thought out is an idea that can be easily explained! This competition is so valuable for students as it helps them gain focus while learning from outsiders who challenge their methodology and the pros and cons of the elements they may or may not have integrated. For me, it is a treat to attend as I get to meet interesting people, learn new things but most of all discover trends and areas of interests to the leaders of tomorrow.”

Participating researchers received a lot of support leading up to the event. Aside from the support of their research supervisors, participants attended preparatory workshops, offered by the John Molson Centre for Instructional Technology, on honing their presentation skills, as well as on graphic design and effective communication for their posters

“Preparing for and participating in the AGRE has been one of the best experiences of my life. It helped me improve my presentation skills and make valuable connections by giving me the opportunity to share my work and receive feedback from students, academics, employers, and the community.” (Sarah Rahimi, MSc Management candidate)

JMSB 2019 Annual Graduate Research Exposition

Following the vote at 5:30pm, the exposition winners were announced at an awards reception on the 9th floor. Award categories, attributed separately to PhD and MSc students, include Best Poster, Runner Up and Popular Choice categories, with prizes ranging from $200 to $600. What’s more, the winning PhD student poster is awarded an additional $800 for travel funding, permitting the researcher to present at external conferences. This helps the student disseminate their research and broadens the reputation of John Molson research.

“The research presented touched upon many important and relevant issues to the business community. I was impressed by the quality of the research on display, as well as the professionalism of the students who were more than ready to answer any tough questions. It was a delight to meet the students who demonstrated not only a thorough knowledge in their field, but also a passion for the research they were conducting.” (Charles Bierbrier, MBA ’03, JMSB Entrepreneur-in-Residence and event judge)


And the winners are…

Amongst the MSc students:

  • Best poster: Philippe Wodnicki (Darlene Walsh, Supervisor) for Can I? Will I? Depletion, Self-Efficacy, and Health-Related Behaviours
  • Runner-up: Jie Yang (Lea Katsanis, Supervisor) for Can You Resist Temptation? The Potential of One-Stop Online Purchasing
  • Popular choice (tie): Arash Heshmati (Rob Nason, Supervisor) for Brighten Up the Darks; Dealing With Dark Personalities in the Organization AND Sarah Rahimi (Kathleen Boies, Supervisor), How the Gender Composition of Industries Influences the CEO Compensation Gap

For the PhD students:

  • Best poster: Nura Jabagi (Anne-Marie Croteau, Supervisor) for Supporting Gig-Workers: Time to Build Better Algorithms
  • Runner-up: Hamid Shirdastian (Michel Laroche, Supervisor) for How Can Uber Alter the Destinations?
  • Popular choice: Karen Naaman (Michel Magnan, Supervisor) for Say-on-Pay?! Is it promoting unethical non-GAAP Reporting?
AGRE_2019_4_940x554 Ulrike de Brentani, Linda Dyer, Philippe Wodnicki, Hamid Shirdastian, Karen Naaman, Nura Jabagi, Sarah Rahimi, Arash Heshmati, Joel Bothello and Caroline Roux

Congratulations to this year’s winners! Of course, it was not only the winners who took something away from the event; the experience of performing under pressure at the exposition also helps prepare all the participants for when they will have to defend their thesis at the end of the program.

“As one of the participants in AGRE 11, I felt excited about crafting my maiden academic poster. This research exposition provided an amazing platform to showcase the theoretical and practical implications of our research to industry experts and academics from different domains. We received good insights based on their excellent reviews.” (Mithun Shrivastava, MSc Marketing candidate)

The Annual Graduate Research Exposition offers a chance for students to consider and articulate the business implications of their research, all while bringing practitioners closer to new sources of knowledge. According to Dyer, the AGRE “plays a vital role in addressing the gap between current research and current practice by bridging the boundary between the academic and the practitioner environments.” Therefore, the event is significant not only as a learning event for graduate students in John Molson research-based programs, but also fosters a connection between John Molson research and the wider business community.

This year’s Best PhD Poster winner, Nura Jabagi, sums up the benefits of such an event: “The AGRE gives business students an opportunity to reach one our most important audiences: industry practitioners. For me, the AGRE is as much about sharing my research with practitioners, as it is about gaining their insights into how my research fits with, or challenges, their business experiences. These valuable conversations help to improve my research, and its impact, and often inspire new research ideas!”

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