March 1, 2012
On February 23, 2012, Jean-François Lalonde became the 250th doctoral candidate from HEC Montréal to successfully defend his thesis. This impressive total is evidence of the School’s significant contribution over the past 37 years to educating high-level researchers in all management disciplines.
The PhD in Administration program was created in Montreal in 1975. Since then, it has been offered jointly by HEC Montréal and Concordia and McGill universities, and the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). It is the only program of its kind in North America, in view of its bilingual nature and its scope, and gives students access to a pool of some 400 professors, 260 of them at HEC Montréal.
With 155 students out of a total of 403 enrolled in the joint program at the moment, HEC Montréal accounts for 38% of all PhD in Administration students in Montreal. About 60% of them are international students or permanent residents. In addition, the joint program can boast 641 graduates, 250 of them, or 39%, from HEC Montréal, in one of the 10 program specializations.
After earning their PhD, 14% of students have gone on to become consultants, analysts or senior managers. Most of them, however (76%), have embarked on careers as professor-researchers, 42% of them in Quebec, 12% elsewhere in Canada, and 22% outside the country.* “In the early days of the program, most graduates joined the faculties of Quebec universities, helping to meet a pressing need,” says Program Director Alain d'Astous. “Afterward they began taking positions in other Canadian provinces. And today, they can be found in universities all over the world. It makes for an extraordinary network, since many of them collaborate on research with professors here at the School. They can also recommend future students for us, or come back as visiting or full-time professors. In all cases they are excellent ambassadors for HEC Montréal and for Quebec.”
The 250th thesis defended at HEC Montréal was in the broad field of Management. It was entitled Entrepreneuriat arabe, cultures et équipes entrepreneuriales multiethniques, and looked at the influence of culture on the start-up process. Jean-François Lalonde based his thesis on his observations in a start-up company in which he is himself a partner, and completed it by analyzing all the documents produced by the company over the past two years and with structured interviews with all members of the entrepreneurial team.
After observing and analyzing the process, he concluded that culture has a considerable impact on the dynamics and performance of multiethnic entrepreneurial teams, and contributes in different ways and offers various solutions. In practical terms, the results suggested by the thesis make it possible to assess and adjust public systems for assisting entrepreneurs, through proper practices for managing cultural diversity. In theoretical terms, one of Jean-François Lalonde’s conclusions was that the literature in anthropology could offer new perspectives to researchers studying entrepreneurship. The new PhD graduate also suggested that his findings concerning multiethnic entrepreneurial teams could be used to expand research in this field, in particular on the topic of cultural shock and entrepreneurship.
The jury for his thesis defence consisted of Professor Alain Chanlat, thesis director and Director of the Centre humanisme, gestion et mondialisation, Professor Brahim Allali, Chair and rapporteur, Jocelyn Desroches, jury member and UQÀM Professor, and Étienne St-Jean, external examiner, Professor and holder of the research chair in entrepreneurial careers at UQTR. Professor Allain Joly, representing the HEC Montréal Director, also attended.
Alain Chanlat, thesis director and Jean-François Lalonde.
*Data as of November 2011.