The Desautels Faculty of Management’s Integrated Management Student Fellowship (IMSF) offers undergraduate students the unique opportunity to engage in research projects with professors, while making a direct impact on their community.
On Friday, April 1, the 2021-2022 cohort’s hard work culminated in the inaugural IMSF Showcase Day, where students had the chance to present their community initiatives. From making bicycle helmets more accessible in the city, to upcycling stale bread and brewing yeast into flour to reduce grain waste, each team presented unique solutions to some of society’s most pressing issues.
“You should all be very proud of your achievements, the curiosity you have fostered, the research skills and experience you have acquired during this fellowship,” said Yolande Chan, Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Management.
“Today is an opportunity to celebrate and share the work that you've pursued with passion and rigour for the last eight months,” added IMSF Program Director Dr. Sabine Dhir. “And as our fellows have come to appreciate, the IMSF is a truly unique opportunity, one that allows our students to pursue a learning experience that is grounded in their interests. That's a really special thing to think about in the context of an academic environment.”
In total, eight different projects were presented at this showcase and students took the time to outline their steps from start to finish including the identification of the problem they chose to tackle and the development of their plan, as well as next steps and the resources required to take their initiatives to the next level.
One team, FoodCycle, outlined how they identified the leading cause of food waste in Canada, bread and grain waste and developed a plan to intercept spent brewing yeast and stale bread and up-cycle it, turning it into flour that can be sold to businesses to use in their products or directly to the consumer. Their market research shows that 60 per cent of the businesses surveyed would be interested in similar products, and the team will be working on getting certification and ramping up production to put their product onto shelves.
Another team successfully launched a new association under the Management Undergraduate Society (MUS) after observing a lack of networking and community building opportunities for those interested in a career in product management. The McGill Product Management Association addresses barriers to entry into the product management field, as they found during their research that the existing networks for product managers are often hidden behind paywalls or tailored to senior management.
Since its inception, the association has become a member of the MUS, and held panels, workshops, and speed networking events to help members learn more about the industry and how it could be a fit for them career-wise. Looking towards the future, the association hopes to recruit new executives and to use the momentum gathered thus far to continue to make product management more accessible.
Following the presentations, guests were treated to lunch and poster presentations from the students about their research projects in collaboration with Desautels faculty members. Over the course of the IMSF, 32 professors provided guidance and research opportunities on 30 projects ranging from hospital decision making during the covid 19 pandemic, textual analysis of Chinese financial markets, the role of technology in 9-1-1 emergency systems, solutions to mitigate noise-induced hearing loss, and the role of sustainability professionals in organizations. Sharing the research posters at Showcase Day allowed Fellows to articulate their specific contributions to a broader academic and societal landscape.
“Whether we face pandemic, a social movement, or, sadly, a war, our goal at Desautels is to ensure that our students become resilient, lifelong learners who navigate well, a constantly shifting business landscape,” said Dean Chan. “It is our view that an applied, interdisciplinary and integrated approach to learning and research is key to developing broad minded, responsible, competent managers and leaders of the future. The IMSF is a wonderful example of this approach.”
Photo by Owen Egan