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MBAs Can Change the Face of Quebec Says BMO’s Jacques Ménard


“Imagine for a minute if Quebec’s 25,000 MBAs got on with it… the face of Quebec would never be the same and we would quickly join the elite club of the world’s top-performing societies,” L. Jacques Ménard, President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec, said today in a speech to the Association des MBA du Québec.

Mr. Ménard reminded his audience that the next generation risks inheriting a weaker society if the baby boomer generation does not soon address issues in areas as crucial as:

* restoring the health of government finance, including paying down the increasingly burdensome debt;
* improving Quebec’s education system, which, for all intents and purposes, lets one third of high school and CEGEP students fall through the cracks;
* increasing Quebec companies’ participation in the training of young people;
* improving Quebec companies’ productivity rate;
* revitalizing the job market;
* and, especially, bringing the job market into line with young people’s values.

In doing so, Mr. Ménard alluded to several priorities suggested in his book, Si on s’y mettait…, which was published last spring. “In writing this book, I wanted to help put our house in order before young people take it over from us. I wanted to encourage my generation to act while there’s still time, especially since I deeply believe it’s feasible. Other societies in worse positions than ours have done so. Why not us?” Mr. Ménard asked his audience of management specialists.

Through two large surveys, the author of Si on s’y mettait… asked young people about their values, their view of today’s workplace and their expectations regarding jobs and income, among other topics. The surveys revealed that family, friends and leisure time are at the top of young people’s list of priorities, while money and work are at the bottom.

“I didn’t want to speak on behalf of young people. I wanted them to speak for themselves,” explained Mr. Ménard, who sees no contradiction between the values expressed by young people and their often high expectations regarding income and jobs. “They are ready to give their all if provided with the opportunity to use their creativity, network with colleagues and travel. It’s a clear rejection of drudge work with no personal involvement, the way work is currently organized,” Mr. Ménard added.

Mr. Ménard encouraged the MBAs and representatives from the business world to speak out. “Our presence in the public discussion is very small, sometimes even non-existent,” he said. “Public opinion too often gets drowned in a flood of statements from a self-styled left whose defining characteristic is to defend the status quo, a left that stands in the way of any change.”

In short, it was with a vibrant call for MBAs and business people to take action to restore to Quebec the full vitality of its huge potential that Mr. Ménard opened the Association des MBA du Québec’s new season of lunch-time lectures.


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