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Bringing Competitive Intelligence to Life in the Classroom

Team of business analysts

An expert in competitive intelligence, Dr. Jonathan Calof is the Professor of Market Insights and International Business Consulting for the Telfer Executive MBA program at the University of Ottawa. In the Telfer Executive MBA classroom, Professor Calof draws on over 30 years of his consulting experience and research to bring theoretical concepts to life and to explain its application to business. He has written articles on international business for A plus journals and has also written extensively in practitioner magazines such as “Competitive Intelligence Magazine”. He is the author and co-editor of three books on competitive intelligence (CI) including his recently released book “Gaining Market Insights from Events – A lifetime journey”. A book based on his experiences starting at the age of 12 staffing booths, and later training and leading thousands of organizations of all sizes to events (including Trade Show’s, Conferences, and trade missions).   

Dr. Jonathan Calof Having traveled to over 120 countries, Professor Calof brings to the classroom his experience as a Joint Venture coach, board advisor member for several companies, and training advisor to governments. These experiences permeate the International Business Consulting course that he teaches in the Telfer Executive MBA which includes an international trip culminating in the candidates’ learning through a group project.

Over the years, these projects have often led to significant business opportunities for an international client.  Dr. Calof has viewed this part of the program as taking the students on an international market insight mission that requires knowledge about competitive intelligence and international business. To prepare for the project and the trip, Professor Calof’s class learns about competitive intelligence (CI) and its many applications to business and government through numerous examples from his experiences and through two case studies on joint ventures (JV) and outsourcing. Collection of information is part of the intelligence effort and candidates learn how to identify, profile, network with and interview the people who have the information needed for their projects. Secondary sources are presented as resources to be used in their collection as well, one being the University of Ottawa’s library database which provides access to market, customer, and company reports.  

Once the candidates understand competitive intelligence, knowing what information they need and where they are going to get it, they then learn how to collect and utilize information in an international environment, particularly in the country they will visit on their international trip. Various country experts are brought into the classroom to help the class find the right information sources and learn about doing business in that country.  These have included (from the past) Global Affairs Canada, The Chamber of Commerce, Ambassadors from the destination country's consulate/embassy in Ottawa as well as past EMBA candidates who have succeeded in the foreign market.  The International Business Consulting course presents the theory of CI, coupled with a practical application through a real consulting project and is overlaid with guest speakers who are doing work on the ground in the destination country.  

Professor Calof’s care for the EMBA candidates extends beyond the classroom. He is known for making time to meet with candidates to discuss their projects outside of class hours and does so often from different time zones as he travels for his consulting work. He joins inA group of diverse and well dressed Executive MBA students sit around a conference table for a meeting their class socials and celebrations and remains in touch with many of them long after they graduate from the program.  

Professor Calof is an active member of his community giving back through his volunteer work with several groups including the Central Canada Hockey League, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, and the Pearson Center for Progressive Policy, co-chairing their Economy of Tomorrow series which has involved moderating many events including countless webinars. 

He loves partaking in outdoor activities such as skiing, skating and has recently taken up golf. As a young (and not so young) adult, Professor Calof coached soccer, was a ski instructor, helped produce and appeared in various Movies including the 2017 released movie Santa Stole the Dog. In his younger days he worked as a stunt double in commercials and movies and was part of a popular Ottawa based night club act. 

Professor Calof describes himself as a type A personality. He enjoys days full of activity, learning, writing, researching, teaching, consulting, volunteering, and most importantly being with his family especially with his incredible wife Lois and playing with his 18 month very active grandson. It is this kind of energy that he brings to each of his classes. 

A regarded competitive intelligence (CI) expert, Professor Calof has a degree in Economics from Carleton University and a Ph.D. in International Business and Strategy from Western University. 

Dr. Jonathan CalofAfter graduating with his Ph.D., he began his consulting career helping several companies and government agencies around the world develop their anticipatory capability to maintain and enhance their competitive advantage.  Professor Calof has given over 1000 speeches, seminars and keynote addresses and has won several awards both for his academic research and his consulting work in foresight, competitive intelligence, and anticipatory systems.   

Professor Calof’s journey, both in academics and consulting has resulted in many awards. He received the Frost and Sullivan's lifetime achievement award for his contribution to competitive intelligence professionals, and a Fellow award from the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals. He has been awarded several honorary teaching positions around the world and holds a UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems for Innovation and New Venture Creation. 

About the Author

Jennifer Hyland est chargée de promouvoir les relations du programme de MBA pour cadres avec le réseau de diplômés. Elle organise des activités de réseautage, aide à satisfaire les exigences liées aux anciens et assure la promotion de la participation des diplômés aux activités du MBA pour cadres. Parmi ses initiatives, notons le programme de recommandation du MBA pour cadres de l'École Telfer, qui vise à favoriser les discussions entre les anciens et les candidats éventuels sur l'expérience du programme. Mme Hyland agit en tant qu'agent de liaison avec l'Association des anciens du MBA pour cadres. Elle est également responsable du premier des deux voyages à l'étranger, soit à Silicon Valley, et de la préparation des activités de convocation et du forum sur le leadership. Diplômée de l'Université d'Ottawa, elle détient un baccalauréat ès arts avec spécialisation en anglais et mineure en arts de la scène, de même qu'un baccalauréat en éducation.<br/><br/>Jennifer’s role is to establish and to maintain the Executive MBA Program’s relationship with its alumni by way of building networking opportunities, supporting employment search, promoting participation of alumni, managing the alumni database, maintaining communications with alumni, assisting in planning and implementing alumni activities, as well as supporting the fundraising efforts for the Telfer Executive MBA Initiative Fund. Her other duties include supporting the Director on special projects, managing the convocation and overseeing the Telfer Executive MBA Referral Program. A graduate of the University of Ottawa, Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English and a minor in Theatre Arts as well as a Bachelor of Education.

Profile Photo of Jennifer Hyland