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The business of living and learning

Alum Edwin Ferrer will bring his strategic expertise to Winnipeg business symposium
August 15, 2016
By Susan Attafuah-Callender

Business analysts who attend an educational and training conference for project professionals in Winnipeg in November can look forward to some expert advice from a Concordia alumnus.

Edwin Ferrer, GrCert (bus. admin.) 12, MBA 16, will present his integrated strategic project management methodology, which pulls from knowledge gained both on the job and in the classroom, at the Project World*Business Analyst World (PW*BAW) Winnipeg 2016 conference.

“This conference joins people who belong to the same environment but usually work separately: project managers and business analysts,” Ferrer explains.

Edwin Ferrer “I’ve always been interested in leading and motivating people and teams in order to solve problems, develop plans and help companies grow,” says Edwin Ferrer, GrCert (bus. admin.) 12, MBA 16.

From November 8 to10, PW*BAW will host three full-day workshops and 22 symposia sessions featuring speakers like Ferrer. “It’s going to be a new challenge for me to speak in front of an audience this large,” he says.

Ferrer is a co-founder and chief strategy officer of ProVivox, a biotech startup that’s geared to helping cancer patients make better informed decisions about their health. “My contribution was to help commercialize patents and bring inventions to market in a shorter time,” he says. The startup has won multiple awards in Canada and the United States.

During graduate studies at Concordia, Ferrer gained public speaking experience as a teaching assistant. He hosted workshops for small groups of students and was the vice-president of Events for the John Molson Graduate Student Association (JMGSA) Speaker Series.

Every few months the JMGSA would invite a business leader to give a presentation, followed by audience questions and one-on-one networking.

The concept of the speaker series is similar to Ferrer’s upcoming symposium. Still, as Ferrer says: “I am excited, as this conference will be much bigger than the series.”

MBA course in action

The aim of Ferrer’s presentation will be to propose an integrated strategic project management methodology which he developed and wrote about for an MBA course while in the John Molson School of Business (JMSB).

Outside the business world, Ferrer’s methodology may seem complicated, yet it simply combines two time-tested approaches in business: strategic frameworks and project management. His concept breaks up companies’ biggest goals into small tasks that can be achieved effectively on the ground.

“Because strategy works at a much higher level, there is often a disconnect between what senior management is thinking and what is really being implemented,” he says Ferrer.

The methodology draws equally from Ferrer’s work experience and studies.

After earning a graduate certificate in business administration in 2012, Ferrer worked for both CGI Group Inc. Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique and CSC Computer Sciences Corporation in Montreal.            

“What I’ve seen while advising companies is that strategy often fails to be executed for the same reasons,” he says. “Usually it’s because of complexities in communication or the implementation itself is difficult to make a reality.”

He says he chose the John Molson MBA program “because of the perspective and skills it provides and because I was looking to take my education and my professional experience to the next level.” Ferrer adds, “Through my formal business training I came up with this integrated methodology.”

He continued growing his professional portfolio throughout his graduate studies by working with the International Community Outreach Program. Along with a team of volunteers, he organized their first business-social case competition, which provided business solutions to a non-governmental organization overseas.

Ferrer worked for a year at Concordia’s Small Business Consulting Bureau, which helps Montreal enterprises. He also developed international trade projects during an internship with TFO Trade Facilitation Office that aims to help producers in developing countries to expand their markets to Canada.

“Concordia has an impressive academic community and many extracurricular activities that I got involved in,” says Ferrer. “That’s where I got the most out of my experience.”

Ferrer lives and works in Bogotà in his home country, Colombia. In addition to his position with ProVivox, he also runs a consulting firm, ICT Pros, working with businesses including a software developer and a technical college.

He is looking forward to visiting Winnipeg for PW*BAW. “On top of the opportunity to share my knowledge and vision of strategic management, I will really enjoy networking and learning from others’ experiences and questions,” Ferrer says.


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