by Sidhartha Banerjee
Wael Hijazi was waiting for an opportunity to combine an interest in Web
design with his business background. So, when Concordia introduced the
new minor and graduate certificates in Electronic Business Systems, he
jumped at the opportunity.
Web design is really a passion for me, said Hijazi, a third-year
MIS co-op student. So when the opportunity came, I thought, If
I take this minor, it could help me find a job afterwards.
E-commerce is rapidly becoming the way to do business, and Concordia wont
be lagging behind as the demand for graduates with e-commerce experience
Launched in January, the 12-credit minor currently has 40 students enrolled
from a variety of commerce-related backgrounds. The 18-credit graduate
certificate is scheduled to be launched in September.
Both options will offer a range of courses, from how to strategically
use the Internet to how an electronic supply chain system works
all while keeping a strong general commerce component.
Its still business first and how technology can support it,
said Anne-Marie Croteau, the director of the Graduate Certificate in E-Business
and one of the professors who developed the program.
It is tricky, because sometimes we have expectations that are more
advanced than what the technology can offer, and some other times, people
dont understand what the technology can do. You still need to have
a strong business model.
The e-commerce idea came from a recent addition to the John Molson School
of Business, Gregory Kersten. We started with the idea of setting
up an institute in e-commerce, said Dr. Croteau, who has been at
the university for four years and developed the idea with Kersten.
Our department has been teaching courses related to e-commerce for
the past three years, so we were in a good position to start thinking
what we could offer to our students in terms of a minor.
The program was developed specifically with Concordias own professors
and their research interests in mind. We really started in-house,
Dr. Croteau said.
We based our program on our current faculty members and their research
interests so that we could offer knowledge in e-commerce, not something
that is just made up. Doing this has also given us more faculty support.
The graduate program will comprise six classes of 18 credits. All students
will be required to take two core courses that cover the fundamentals
of e-business, and then choose either the management stream or the technology
stream, or a combination of both.
Entrance to the graduate certificate is not a given; requirements include
an undergraduate degree (not necessarily in commerce or business) with
a fair GPA and reference letters. Applicants also have to write the GMAT
Its like getting into the MBA program, minus the work experience,
The future looks bright for e-business at university, with programs at
Concordia and McGill popping up this year. Croteau can see the program
eventually developing into an undergraduate degree. I think were
very close, she said. Next year will be spent looking at the minor
and graduate degrees. These are the first steps, but I think it
As for Hijazi, currently putting some of his skills to use at Ericcson
as part of his co-op, he feels that e-commerce will continue to grow.
Youll always have the traditional way of doing business,
he said, and even with the recent dip in Web-related business, youll
always need e-commerce graduates. It would be a step backwards for society
if it doesnt continue to evolve.