BCIT + BCAMA: New Education – Industry Partnership

October 7, 2013

By Bruce Nickson

BCIT-Exterior-670x300The thing is that, no matter which report you read, the news is dismal:  Canada ranks roughly 14th in innovation

I recently chatted with Robin Hemmingsen, Dean of BCIT’s School of Business, about the partnership between BCIT and the BCAMA, and about innovation.

Robin said that the School of Business’s priority is to address the innovation issue. Graduates must be ready for the market, and they must be ready to innovate. To do this, deeper alliances between educators and industry must be developed. She added  that Vancouver and BC have become a centre for marketing, especially digital technology, and that the School of Business wants to work more in that area. It’s where innovation is happening.

Earlier, Joe Freeburn, Associate Dean in the Marketing Management program, discussed the evolution of the new partnership with me.

 BN: How did the relationship between BCIT and the BCAMA come about?

 JF: BCIT has been involved in the annual BCAMA Marketer of the Year Gala – we’ve always supplied volunteers for the event. And we’ve worked with your industry professionals on some of our courses.

 There’s a very strong internship and practicum component to our Marketing and Communications courses, so we place students with agencies and we have a fantastic relationships with them. So, when the opportunity to partner with the BCAMA came along, it was a great fit. Over the past couple of years, the BCAMA has been evolving in a good, more professional way. And there are a lot of synergies.

 So both our brands can work together in the marketplace. We always worked together unofficially – this gives us the added opportunity to work together officially.

 BN: So, the volunteer/internship activity will be increasing?

 JF: Absolutely. The arrangement also provides for increased ticket availability to BCIT staff. The next BCAMA event is Math Men vs. Mad Men: Is Big Data the Death of Creativity? on October 16th.

 BN: That’s a big one.

 JF: Yes, that’s an event that a lot of our staff and students will want to attend.

 These are opportunities for us to be a part of these conversations and other conversations about what is happening in the market. So it’s not just our students who win; our instructors win too.

 We also look at it as potential for gaining part-time students from the Association.

 BN: It’s a busy marketplace, with lots of competition from UBC’s Sauder School of Business and the Beedie School of Business at SFU. Where does the BCIT School of Business fit in?

 JF: We differ from SFU and UBC because their courses are kind of extensions of their daytime courses. Our programs are designed and centred around the adult learner –people who are out working – and around courses that address what industry wants. This sets us apart from the post-secondary institutions. A good example of this is the Business Analytics course that we’re putting together.

 We get a lot of interest from companies such as BuildDirect and Lululemon, so we work with them and other firms to develop courses. Our program development communities are all industry people who are very much engaged in what we’re doing, to ensure that we’re delivering the right courses.

 BN: How do you see the partnership in about a year?

We’ll sit down and evaluate it. It’s an exclusive arrangement, which raises expectations. We expect a value partnership in this, and we want to do things together.

In a year, we’ll sit back and look at enrolments, and we’ll look at relations with industry. We hope these will be more solid. We’ll look at our graduates and where they get to, and how our relationship with the BCAMA influences that.

 As a publicly funded institution, we don’t have the luxury of a big budget to sponsor a lot of things; so, for us, this is a big step. And it’s a very good step for us.