CMU business instructor Craig Martin says the program’s roots in Christian values is playing a part in its growth. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

Redekop School of Business thrives amid growing interest

Canadian Mennonite University courses emphasize Christian principles, ethics, social justice

Business is taking off at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). In the five years since the school started its business program, class sizes have grown from six to more than 50.

The exponential growth is a testament to the program’s roots in Christian values and its intimate campus setting, says Craig Martin, assistant professor of Business and Organizational Administration.

CMU began offering bachelor degrees in business administration in 2008, and launched the Redekop School of Business (RSB) in 2011, after receiving an endowment from the Redekop family of the Fraser Valley, B.C.

CMU is steeped in Mennonite Anabaptist tradition, but less than half of the business school’s current student body is Mennonite, Martin says. “We have a really eclectic mix. Most of our students are Christian, but we have students come without a faith background who are looking for a small school.”

“A lot of our students come from family business backgrounds, many from Southern Manitoba,” says Jeff Huebner, associate professor of Business and Organizational Administration. “CMU gives them the skills to carry on their family business with expertise. Our programs offer students the knowledge and exposure to different ways of dealing with things.”

With an emphasis on Christian principles, ethics and social justice, RSB teaches students global business practices and helps prepare them to work in areas such as commerce, marketing and finance, for either corporate or not-for-profit organizations.

“The faith component is unique. It is very much interwoven especially in the management class,” Martin says.

“There are a number of courses offered in non-profit and social enterprise,” Huebner adds. “This past spring we partnered with the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua for our travel study program.”

Through the travel program, CMU students assist with micro-financing, conduct research for small-based businesses, or help set up women’s loans groups for some of the world’s poorest people.

That kind of international exposure is precisely what attracted Wilhelm Bohlender to RSB.

The third-year business student started the program as an international student from Germany, and has since gained permanent residency in Canada.

Bohlender enrolled in RSB’s International Development Studies program, which has allowed him to tailor his course load to suit his career goals in international business. One of his classes on business development in the European Union will allow him to travel study to Western and Eastern Europe, where he also plans to complete his practicum.

Like many of his classmates, Bohlender is most impressed with the sense of camaraderie at CMU.

“After two years at CMU I have no regrets coming here. They have great professors, and CMU cares about the business program and they are willing to invest in it,” he says of the state-of-the-art facilities. “I really appreciate the sense of belonging CMU has given me.”

Click for a link to the PDF version of this feature: CMU Business with Vision 03-2014

At A Glance

• CMU formed in the 1990s through the amalgamation of three colleges: Mennonite Brethren Bible College/Concord College; Canadian Mennonite Bible College, and Menno Simons College.

• CMU’s approximately 600 students come from many denominations. Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba are the official supporters of the university.

• On October 19, 2011, CMU launched its Redekop School of Business (RSB), made possible through the generosity of the Redekop family of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.

• RSB provides the option of extending learning through a business co-op experience. The co-op program allows students to gain professional experience to inform academic pathway and career choices.

• RSB is planning a European International Study Tour for spring 2014. Students gain valuable international experience through travel study and semesters abroad.

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