Accounting professor-turned-Associate Dean Michael Maier leads our Masters Programs Office team. He also happens to be an alumnus of the Alberta School of Business!
Ashton Paulitsch (AP): How long have you worked for the University of Alberta?
Michael Maier (MM): I was an accounting professor for the Alberta School of Business’ MBA, Executive MBA, MFM China, MFM Calgary and Fort McMurray MBA programs for around seven years. In September 2015, I started my role as the Associate Dean of Masters Programs. I still continue to teach accounting in our various program streams, including our new Master of Accounting program which will begin in May 2017.
AP: Tell me a little bit about your role as Associate Dean.
MM: As Associate Dean, I lead a team that is responsible for anything related to Masters Programs at the Alberta School of Business, including recruitment, admissions, corporate and alumni engagement, student services, curriculum and policy.
AP: What was your educational background?
MM: I completed by Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Alberta in 2002 and then attended the University of Iowa for my PhD.
AP: What brought you back to Alberta after you finished your PhD?
MM: Not the weather! I have family here and loved the University of Alberta when I was a student, so I was excited for the opportunity to return to my alma mater.
AP: What’s the best part about your job?
MM: Interactions with students and seeing them develop throughout their time in the program is the best part.
AP: How would you describe the culture of the Masters Programs Office?
MM: We are a young office with a collegial, all hands on deck attitude.
AP: What sets the Alberta School of Business’ Masters Programs apart?
MM: What sets us apart is that we focus on developing the person holistically. We prepare students with both the technical skills and the self-awareness to succeed.
AP: What’s been your most rewarding moment as Associate Dean so far?
MM: The rewarding moment was my first convocation as Associate Dean in June 2016 where I got to give out hugs to graduates on stage!
AP: What’s the greatest area of opportunity for MBA programs today?
MM: The greatest area of opportunity for MBA programs is in applied learning to give students real-world exposure and introducing this earlier into their MBA education.
AP: What advice would you give to incoming MBA students to make the most of their experience?
MM: Don’t just focus on getting all A’s. Get to know classmates, professors, alumni and industry professionals. Networking is key.
AP: For the last couple of years, you’ve invited students to your house for a Thanksgiving dinner with your family. How did this tradition start?
MM: In 2014, we were supposed to host Thanksgiving dinner and had some family members cancel. My wife had already purchased a huge amount of food and suggested that I invite a few students who might like to experience a Canadian Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. I ended up inviting my whole accounting class and we had about 20 people there! It was a fun experience and really neat for my kids to get an international perspective from our student guests. Now the dinner has grown and we even have alumni who come to help out with the preparations.
AP: Final question…what do you eat for breakfast?
MM: Whatever is quick! Typically I like my Raisin Bran.
Interview conducted by Ashton Paulitsch