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Real-world business tips from alumni

Former Concordians share their expertise and experience with grad students
February 5, 2014
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By Erik Leijon

Meet the Entrepreneur speakers Shawn Maloney (upper right corner): “You don’t need to have a certain type of mind to start a business.”


The transition from classroom to workforce preys on the minds of many graduate students — which is why several successful Concordia graduates are returning to campus to offer their advice.

Minda Miloff, MA (educational technology) 09, and Shawn Maloney, GrCert (business administration) 10, initially provided mentorship last November, at the GradProSkills Speed Networking event.

This term, the two former Concordians picked up where they left off.

Time management tips from an expert

In January, Miloff hosted a workshop called “About Time: Tick Tock, Tick Tock” in the GradProSkills Wellness and Life Balance series. Her discussion covered a topic every grad student can relate to: time management.

It’s a subject Miloff knows well. As a certified professional coach, she helps clients improve their personal and professional lives, which can range from assisting them through significant life transitions to finding ways to boost their productivity.

“I think effectively managing time can be a challenge for anyone,” she says. “I really wanted people to understand the real obstacles that can get in the way of being able to effectively use your time.”

According to Miloff, that can take some serious thought. “Part of it requires thinking about the circumstances that prevent you from using time well, but it’s also about personally defining what it means to be effective.”

Vitaly Terekhov, PhD (economics) 12, and Gerry Bush, BEng 78, PhD (engineering) 87, have also hosted workshops emphasizing communication skills. Still to come is a workshop by Patrick Daniel, BComm (accounting) 98, GrDip 00, tackling the theme of “Life After Grad School: What to Expect and How to Beat the Odds” (March 26), and a career panel exploring “Graduate Degrees Beyond the Academy” (March 4) with Vila Woo, BFA (art education) 98, GrDip 99, MA (art education) 06; José Ernesto Peláez, MBA (business administration) 09; Orzugul Komolova, MA (ed. tech.) 13; and Tarek Riman, GrDip 11.

How to succeed in business

Malony is also offering grad students more tips and insight on how to get ahead. On Friday, March 7, he will be hosting a workshop in this term’s Meet the Entrepreneur series, which offers grad students a chance to tap directly into real-world business experience.

Other upcoming Meet the Entrepreneur speakers include Bruno Fernandes, founder of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu school Gracie Barra Montreal and a former medical professor in McGill University’s Department of Ophthalmology and Pathology (February 14), and Lorne Granofsky, an “accidental entrepreneur” and niche marketer who specializes in B2B communications (February 28).

There will also be Maxime Armstrong, vice-president and co-founder of Santé pluridisciplinaire en entreprise (March 7); Ozgur Gurtuna, Concordia grad and president of the renewable energy and aerospace company Turquoise Technology Solutions Inc. (March 21); and Simon Davari, Concordia grad and founder of the boutique firm SdM Chartered Professional Accountants Inc. (April 4).

Maloney — who holds a PhD from McGill University as well as Concordia credentials — is founder and president of Journal Prep, an online service that provides editing and peer reviews for academic papers. The idea for the company came to him during his university days, when classmates for whom English was a second language asked for editing help.

He says his alma mater encouraged him to experiment. “The business administration program broke down the mental barriers I had about starting a business.”

In his March 6 workshop, Maloney will explore what he learned along the way. “The idea will be to demystify entrepreneurship. You don’t need to have a certain type of mind to start a business — it’s accessible to anyone.”

Experience has taught Maloney to identify viable business schemes. It’s a lesson he’s keen to share.

“I plan on talking about ways that people can test their ideas to see if they’re valuable without spending a lot of money,” he says.

Both graduate and undergraduates can pick up advice from Concordia alumni at GradProSkills workshops. If you’re a grad student, register through the MyConcordia portal. Interested undergrads should email gradproskills@concordia.ca.

The next Meet the Entrepreneur workshop features Bruno Fernandes, founder of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu school Gracie Barra Montreal. It takes place on Friday, February 14 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in room 2.210 of the John Molson School of Business (MB) Building (1450 Guy St.) on the Sir George Williams Campus. Admission is free; registration is required.

Shawn Maloney will speak on Friday, March 7 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in room 2.210 of the John Molson School of Business (MB) Building (1450 Guy St.) on the Sir George Williams Campus. Admission is free; registration is required. See the full Meet the Entrepreneur series schedule.



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