Making an impact in St-John’s, Newfoundland

Former John Molson School of Business professor Isabelle Dostaler left Concordia to become the dean of the faculty of business administration at Memorial University in September 2017. Photo by Rodrigo Iniguez Becerril

Former Concordia Isabelle Dostaler on her transition to Memorial University

In September 2017, a former Concordia University management professor began her new job as the dean of the faculty of business administration at Memorial University in St-John’s, N.L.

Isabelle Dostaler, who taught management courses and conducted research at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) for 16 years, said administrators at Concordia were gracious towards her when she informed them that she would be accepting a position at Memorial University.

“Once the offer from Memorial was on the table, there was nothing Concordia could do to keep me there,” she said. “But, they were very understanding. [Concordia president] Alan Shepard wished me the best.” Dostaler left her position at Concordia in April 2017. “It was a bold move, but I’m happy,” she added.

Dostaler, who holds a PhD in management studies from the University of Cambridge, has done extensive research on the air transportation system. While at Concordia, Dostaler was the academic director of the university’s Aviation Think Tank and director of the executive MBA and the aviation MBA programs.

“My major interest is in the air transportation system,” she said. “By that, I mean from the point that the aircraft is being designed to the point where the travellers arrive happy at their destination.”

During her time at Concordia, Dostaler was often featured in the media. She appeared on shows like RDI Économie and Tout le monde en parle to talk about developments and issues in Quebec’s aerospace industry.

Now, as dean of the faculty of business administration, Dostaler explained that her role is to inspire and assist in implementing changes that benefit students, faculty and the larger community.

This month, Memorial University announced a new master’s degree focussing on developing sustainable and social business practices in public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

“Here, there is an emphasis on giving back. It is written in the founding papers of Memorial that the university must exist for the benefit of the community,” Dostaler said.

She added that she enjoys living in St-John’s and, despite differences between Memorial and Concordia—Memorial’s business school only has about 2,000 students compared to the 9,000 at JMSB—she sees many similarities.

“There are a lot of commonalities. For one, here [at Memorial], there is a very supportive staff, just like at John Molson,” she said. “I think Newfoundland and Quebec have a lot in common. For one thing, they’re both societies with very distinct cultures.”

While Dostaler may have moved away from Concordia, she said she hasn’t completely cut ties with the school. For the next two years, she will hold the position of affiliate professor in Concordia’s management department.

“I’m still working on research with the Quebec government through Concordia,” she added.

Photo by Rodrigo Iniguez Becerril

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Ms. Dostaler’s role the creation of Memorial’s new master’s degree and her current position at Concordia. The article also falsely stated that Dostaler initially found the transition to Memorial difficult and that she was previously involved in making recommendations at Concordia. The Concordian regrets the errors.

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