Faculty interview with Murray Bryant – Teaching at RSM is both a pleasure and a privilege
Professor Murray Bryant really enjoys his connections with RSM along with several colleagues and former colleagues. Murray is an Associate Professor of Managerial Accounting and Control at the Ivey Business School in London, Ontario, Canada,
Working with RSM’s second-year EMBA participants on their in-company projects are Murray’s most exciting experiences at RSM. He says that several projects stand out as truly making a difference to the students and their organisations, such as Royal Dutch Shell’s global services’ study of feeding the poor; the development of the Port of Amsterdam; digital marketing of professional services, and new initiatives by the Netherlands Opera company.
“I see the personal and professional development of students over the course of their studies,” says Murray. “I also get to see the impact that they have on their organisations and their career development.”
Murray was educated in his birth country New Zealand as well as the United States. He has been teaching at RSM for 11 years, largely in EMBA’s Management Accounting and Control programme, but also in the full-time MBA’s Strategic Value Management elective.
“Rotterdam and the Netherlands are truly global with their outward looking orientation,” said Murray. He explained that the Dutch history of being great trading nation is much in evidence. “It’s a country of some 16 million people, but in terms of global companies it punches well above its weight with, for example, Shell, Unilever, Philips, ING and Heineken. They’re all building upon a past that started with the VOC many centuries ago.”
When he’s not teaching or conducting research, Murray enjoys watching and listening to opera and coaching rugby football, so he can contribute to “making young men not just better athletes but more importantly better men and citizens.”
Murray says he’s drawn to many destinations, such as “the harshness of the Canadian shield to the hankering to be close to the sea and that unique smell and feel of the ocean.”
His taste in food is also eclectic. “I like traditional fare from New Zealand such as lamb shanks, but also English steak and kidney pudding, fresh fish, Indian, Indonesian, pavlova, and most things that are barbequed.”
Murray’s favourite books tend to be the ones that he has read most recently, and those covering history or fiction. “I particularly like Scandinavian detectives, which I discovered before the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo became popular,” says Murray. He enjoys “thoughtful fiction novels that expose me to a slice of reality and thought. A good recent read was The White Tiger about the gap between rich and poor in India.” Murray also reads business books, because he says they tend to make him think more about the challenges that confront leaders today.
Murray’s research examines governance and how systems affect the way in which we act. He brings that into the classroom by examining cases of governance failure and demonstrating how leadership with the wrong leader or wrong incentive system can easily become hubris and result in firm failure. Murray believes that research in a business school needs to address relevance.
MBA: Not for a job, but for a career
“There’s a need to ensure that participants can address a business environment that is global in scope, constantly changing, and needs leadership and managerial skills to cope with that environment,” says Murray. He continues that the MBA programme needs to encourage participants to take risks and encourage innovation. “It should develop leaders who possess judgment, people skills, organisational capabilities, analytical skills, personal commitment and the ability to get commitment from others, but above all: men and women of character.”
Murray adds that RSM participants are “of uniformly high quality and are international not just in orientation but also in reality. Learning requires the instructor as well as the participant to appreciate cultural differences, the reality of today’s business environment.”
According to Murray, MBA education should offer a challenging educational experience, preparing participants to make decisions in the face of uncertainty with self-confidence, humility and humanity. He concludes: “An MBA should prepare participants not just for a job, but for a career.”