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Global Business Forum in Banff: An MBA student's perspective

Edwards student, Brit Tastad, attended the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alberta and reflects on takeaways for the next generation of leaders.

Maya Gauthier

Brit Tastad is in her third year of the Edwards MBA program. She completed her undergraduate degree at Edwards where she majored in human resources. She currently works at the University of Saskatchewan as a Senior Strategic Business Advisor (HR) for the Office of the Vice-President Research (Dr. Baljit Singh) and for USask Centres and Institutes.

In September 2022, Tastad attended the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alberta, to discuss and debate societal, global, and economical issues. The Forum was founded in 2000 by Doug and Lois Mitchell and helps leaders look at business scenarios from a global view. 

The 2022 theme was The Path Forward: Striving for a New Dawn and included topics like the global order, the energy transition, the rise of India, trade, geopolitics, and the war in Ukraine. As part of the focus on the path forward, Tastad was one of 10 MBA students invited from across Canada to attend as part of the next generation of leaders. 

Tastad described the Forum as an enlightening and rewarding experience. One of her takeaways from the renowned group of international speakers is the community’s role in the economy and interaction with business.

“There is a need for businesses to weave themselves into communities to support the three pillars of society (government, business, and community),” said Tastad. “People and resources need the support of businesses while also focusing on economic development. The success of business must be measured differently to support sustainability.”

Economic experts at the Forum also spoke about how India is predicted to be the third largest workforce in 2030.

“Businesses no longer need a China strategy, as India is on the rise,” Tastad explained. “Within the next couple of years, India’s economy will dramatically increase to the third largest global economy. Now is the time to shift focus to India.”

Tastad also highlighted the energy transition that is happening in society as a major topic of discussion at the Forum.

“It is important for the government to create incentives for businesses to lead the way rather than punish them,” explained Tastad. “General Motors predicts by 2030 all its new cars will be electric, whereas Ford says 30-35%.”

Similarly, Tastad heard firsthand about different types of geopolitical forces and how they affect the economy in Canada.

“Things like the war in Ukraine, aging populations, technological change, rising debt, forced energy transition, and growing inequality are all part of these geopolitical forces,” said Tastad. “Increasing interest rates will unfortunately not solve inflation because these forces are the root of the problem, and they are very strong.”

The Forum sessions set the stage for participants like Tastad to be part of the long-term solutions. In addition to attending conference sessions, engaging in discussions, and networking, Tastad and the other MBA students presented their own perspectives on the new dawn in front of the 200+ conference attendees. Although intimidating, Tastad found the Global Business Forum to be an empowering and impactful experience that she will take back to her professional career.

“The most important part of being a leader is growing more leaders,” said Tastad.       

The Edwards MBA program provides students with many important and valuable experiences. For more information on the Edwards MBA program, register for an upcoming information session by visiting the Edwards MBA page.

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