What a successful, exciting week we had in communications management at McMaster. The record-setting October residency of the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program came to a close – a week of learning, networking as well as personal and professional growth. We were joined by students from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Québec, Ontario, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. We would have had two professional communicators from Nigeria join us as well, were it not for Canada’s singularly slow consular offices in that country. Our MCM students were all working professionals and entrepreneurs from an incredibly diverse set of backgrounds: corporate communications, public affairs, the agency sector, marketing and advertising, human resources, political staff, small business, agribusiness, journalism, community colleges, government agencies, government offices, arts management, social enterprise, advocacy and several others.
The class was also diverse in terms of age and gender: 14 women and 10 men, with a median age of 37, the youngest in their 20s and the oldest in their 50s. What they all had in common was a desire to learn about the latest ideas in strategic business administration, finance and accounting, management, and marketing, through the lens of strategic communications management, research, ethics and law.
We had an amazing week. It was a week of discussion, networking and debate. On Sunday, Mr. Frank Vassallo (MCM’13), defended his capstone project in front of an assembly of all current MCM faculty and students, as well as a sprinkling of alumni who made the trip in just to support him and participate in the happy ritual of capstone defence, thinking relieved thoughts about their defences, I am sure!
On Monday, we were joined by lunchtime guest speaker, Dr. Andrew Laing, President of Cormex Research in Toronto, one of Canada’s leading media content analysis firms. He spoke very eloquently about the process of professional content analysis research. He also provided some fascinating insights on where he thinks social media – in fact he stressed the importance of digital communication in general – is taking communication measurement and how this will affect how we understand organizational KPIs, ROI and benchmarks.
MCM residency is a special time. For five days, students gather for an amazing week of discussion, networking and debate. It is a life-changing program for many, a program that leads to professional growth for all who are involved with it, whether they are faculty, staff, students or alumni. Alumni are always welcome back at residency or at our dinners and their presence builds a feeling of continuity that makes the MCM feel like a club that spans Canada. A club for achievers and innovators in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
Our three residency dinners were very successful, each in a very different and unique way.
On Friday, we ran our once-a-year, beginning of term Orientation Dinner at Symposium Restaurant in Burlington. It was a lovely, casual night where new MCM students and longstanding faculty got to know one another and forge new friendships.
On Saturday, we had a lovely dinner at the Hamilton Club, in the heart of McMaster’s historic hometown. It was an extraordinary evening, which started with cocktails in the lounge and ended with a delicious three-course dinner in the elegant Michael S. Schwenger dining room.
Finally, on Wednesday night, we had our gala dinner at McMaster’s historic University Club. Our guest speaker was Mr. John Crean, National Managing Partner, NATIONAL Public Relations, who gave a superb lecture on the history of public relations, his career and where he sees the future of the profession. We were joined by Associate Dean of Research, Dr. Bonny Ibhawo, and Dean Suzanne Crosta, both of whom were happy to greet the MCM students, faculty and alumni present and welcome them to the main campus.
All in all, the October 2012 MCM Residency was a smashing success. A great time was had by all, diving into the deep end of Canada’s leading Master’s degree for professional communicators. MCM is truly where communications and business meet. It truly is the MBA for right-brain thinkers!