The first-ever recipient of the newly established Telfer Spirit of Giving Award, Matt Archibald, well represents Telfer Nation. This brand-new award recognizes a staff or faculty member who exemplifies the core values of the Telfer School of Management, demonstrates an energetic commitment to its continued success, and personally supports the School’s philanthropic priorities in a way that is meaningful to them.
Archibald earned his own Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) from Telfer in 2002 before starting his career at the school as an administrator and part-time professor. He has worked in the education sector for most of his career, amounting to almost 20 years of experience. Today he is the Director of the Student Services Centre at Telfer, which incorporates the Undergraduate Office, the Career Centre, the International Exchange and Scholarship Programs, and various student experience and recruitment initiatives. He also teaches core BCom courses such as Introduction to Business (ADM 1300), Business Communication Skills (ADM 2381), and the Personal Development and Leadership Seminar (ADM 4396 M). As a firm believer in access to education, physical and mental health, and food security, Archibald directs his philanthropic contributions to these areas.
The Long-Lasting Power of Mentorship
When Archibald learned he was receiving the new Telfer Spirit of Giving Award, he felt happily surprised and humbled to be recognized: “It’s an honour to receive the acknowledgement. We have many exciting initiatives happening at the School and I am just happy to contribute in any way that I can, even if in a small way - every little bit helps!"
The Telfer School’s priorities are aligned with Archibald’s — he is excited to be involved in multiple new initiatives the School is developing and he finds it easy to see the vision of the future. He is especially interested in implementing Telfer’s Vision for a Better Canada, establishing a greener, healthier, happier, and wealthier Canada for all: “There’s a saying: ‘Give where you live.’ In my case, it is also ‘Give where you work,’” he shares with a smile.
“Initially, what really drove me to give is one of my mentors from my time at university and even after I graduated, Professor Peter Koppel,” says Archibald. Professor Koppel was a Program Director at Telfer, teaching over 60,000 students in his 27 years of dedicated service to the student experience. Koppel had a huge influence on both Archibald’s academic studies and personal development. When Koppel sadly passed away in 2013, the Peter and Ann Koppel Scholarship for Excellence was created in his memory. Archibald contributed to the scholarship to say thank you.
Profound Commitment to the Student Experience
“I’m lucky enough to be an alumnus of the School,” says Archibald. He was an involved student, attending many student club events and working as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in the Business Communication Skills course, a part of his studies that he credits as changing the trajectory of his student experience. Today, he looks back on his time as a student ardently and approaches his two roles, as Director of the Student Services Centre and a part-time lecturer, with commitment and dedication to the Telfer student experience.
“For today’s students, there is a lot of balance that needs to take place — managing the full student experience with academics and extracurricular activities."When I was a student, I was fortunate to have a part-time job, be a TA, and have a wonderful family to support the financial implications of post-secondary education. Even with those privileges, there were still some challenges to pay for all of the exciting student experiences and so decisions needed to be made.” It is this personal experience at Telfer that allows Archibald to lead with compassion and grace, exemplifying the Telfer Spirit of Giving.
Archibald thrives on working with students on both academic and personal development. Although it has been a while, he still remembers his days as a former student, informing his kind approach in work with students.
The Importance of Experiential Learning at Telfer
Archibald strongly believes in the value of experiential learning, in particular, the assignments and competitions associated with capstone courses, such as the Michel Cloutier Competition in the Promotional Planning Practicum (ADM 4325) course for BCom Marketing students.
In his own experience in teaching, Archibald always strives to introduce students to guest speakers in the Introduction to Business Management course. With case studies and presentations, he creates an interactive experience that students will find in additional BCom courses and in the real world after graduation: “I hope this impacts students in a positive way and sets the tone for the next four years.”
Archibald also supported the creation of the Personal Development and Leadership seminar with former Program Director Peter Koppel, former Dean François Julien, and former Dean Micheàl Kelly. The course was developed to provide students with key leadership skills and opportunities to meet industry leaders and executives. The team also partnered up with a great organization in the community, Mindtrust Leadership, for the course delivery, a partnership still in place today, after more than 15 years.
Building a Solid Foundation for Future Success
Before Archibald made his return to Telfer in a professional capacity, he was working in the public service before returning to his home province to complete an MBA at Dalhousie University. It was actually Archibald’s mentor, Peter Koppel, who invited him to return to Telfer and help out with a few projects. The rest is history.
Archibald’s BCom helped set him up for success in his professional career. He reflects on his own memories of his student experience at Telfer: “Each year, I felt we were progressing. I was excited about the courses offered, taking away nuggets of information for the future,” he shares.
During his studies, Telfer already hosted plenty of guest speakers and case competitions, which Archibald found quite valuable, along with vast opportunities for students to get involved. He remembers working on a project in international marketing in his fourth year, working with a local business that was looking to export its product. Archibald’s team was one of the finalist groups in the class and they got to present their recommendations to Export Development Canada (EDC).
During his time at university and by being involved in student experience activities, Archibald met many people he still keeps in touch with to this day, many of whom are his best friends and also give back to the School. Archibald is a strong embodiment of the Telfer Nation spirit, continuing meaningful connections with today’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Students can explore the full list of clubs available at Telfer on the Clubs and Associations page and other ways to get involved.