by Barbara Black
Professor Anne-Marie Croteau, who is the director of the new graduate
certificate in e-business offered by the John Molson School of Business,
is delighted to have some new money to work with.
She has just received word that her application for a grant of $70,000
has been approved by the Quebec ministry of educations program to
encourage short-term courses in information technology.
The grant will finance, among other things, summer employment for six
deserving students who will help bring the courses on this up-to-the-minute
subject right up to speed and ensure that they will stay there.
First graduates expected in June
This course started in September 2001, and has gone very well in its first
year, with 34 students taking the six-course program in recently renovated
mini-labs with fully-equipped workstations. Most of them are
fitting their studies around a work schedule, but the two who have been
in the program full-time expect to graduate in June.
Croteau, who has a PhD from Université Laval and has just achieved
tenure-track status in the Department of Decision Sciences and Management
Information Systems, said that the students are high achievers.
They must have an undergraduate degree (although many of them also
have masters degrees), with a GPA of at least 3.0, and they have
to take the GMAT and get a score of at least 550, she explained.
They dont have to have any work experience, but many of them
do, and that adds a lot to the class discussion. One student had worked
in a bank, and he provided a lot of relevant information.
All the teachers of the theoretical courses are full-time tenured or tenure-track
professors with PhDs; the more technical courses are taught by adjunct
professors who are aware of the latest developments through their own
Croteau admitted that e-commerce has been relatively slow to develop in
North America, compared to Europe and Asia. Our phones are going
to be like a wallet, she said. In some places, you can point
your cell phone at a vending machine to buy a drink. Were
not quite there yet, she said, but the culture will change.
We also tend to be cautious customers; for several years, the percentage
of commerce done over the Internet has been around 0.5 per cent.
Its still low, Croteau said, but people will lose
some of their fear. They need to trust the security of the system, which
is improving, and they are inclined to put their trust in businesses and
brand-names they know.