profile-lee

Ian Lee

Associate Professor

I have been an Assistant and Associate Professor at Carleton University in the Sprott School since 1988 i.e.  28 years, teaching Strategic Management and related courses such as International Business Strategy. 

I was previously employed in the private sector in the 1970s with Canada’s oldest bank (that predates Canada by a half century), where I was given outstanding training in banking, economics and management by imported British bankers.  And I was extremely fortunate to be employed at a very important and most remarkable branch – the BMO Main Office Branch (4th largest in all Canada) at 144 Wellington and Sparks opposite Parliament Hill and beside the National Press Club (Parliament subsequently acquired, refurbished and renamed the branch as Sir John A. Macdonald Building for Parliament Hill receptions).  As Loan and Mortgage Manager at the age of 25, I dealt on a daily basis with cabinet ministers in the Trudeau Government, Senators, MPs, national journalists, Supreme Court judges, deputy ministers, national NGOs and staff of embassies including the Chinese and USSR Ambassadors, as well as national institutions such as the Bank of Canada, that provided very unusual experiences to me at the beginning of my career.   And in that capacity throughout those years, I evaluated and lent millions and millions of dollars in demand loans, consumer loans, mortgage loans and business loans.  

However, shortly after being advised by the bank that I was being given another promotion but to First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto (which I thought was a fate far worse than death), I resigned from the bank to enrol full time in a master’s degree program in Public Policy and immediately upon graduation, enrolled in the PhD in the Public Policy stream at Carleton.  Prior to graduating in 1989, I accepted a tenure track offer in the Sprott School of Business in 1988.

Shortly after starting with the Sprott School on a tenure track in 1988, the Berlin Wall came down. In October 1989 Prime Minister Mulroney announced a program of reconstruction and development including education for Poland and Hungary.  I brought this to the attention of three senior colleagues as a very important opportunity.  We formed a committee to develop a proposal and 18 months later Carleton University was awarded $3 million by Foreign Affairs Canada to establish a Canadian Business School at the Central School for Planning and Statistics – later renamed the Warsaw School of Economics.  In April 1991, I became the first western professor to teach in a university in a former communist country under an OECD country funded business management program.  And 25 years later, I continue to teach there each year.

Since then, I have taught approximately 100 times in many different countries ranging from Poland to Russia to Ukraine to Iran to Mexico to Romania to Cuba to Slovenia to Latvia to Czech to Argentina to Croatia and after 1997 in China – always in universities.  These extensive international experiences in non-western, previously or still authoritarian, state centrally planned countries provided much deeper insights concerning theories of economic development, inequality, the role of economic growth and the relationships between government and business in a modern, liberal democratic decentralized market economy.

From 1996-98, I was appointed as Supervisor of the Bachelor of International Business in the Sprott School to address significant structural issues that emerged after this new program had been operational for 2 years.  I spent this period consulting extensively with faculty and students to understand the nature of the structural problems and in the second year developed structural reforms in conjunction with key faculty members that were eventually approved by faculty and Senate.  The experience was most valuable in developing a deeper understanding of the relationship and balance between undergraduate programs within the school and across all undergraduate programs in the university.

In 2007, I was appointed as Chair of the MBA Restructuring Committee that led to the replacement of the former thesis based master’s degree with a brand new professional MBA degree.  With the support of a very strong and motivated committee, we completed the arduous process of benchmarking key competitor MBA programs and undertaking extensive consultation with all relevant stakeholders that led to the proposed new structure including 50 new MBA graduate courses.  Most unusually, we obtained unanimous approval from Sprott Faculty Board and later Faculty Graduate Board and Senate for the new program.  I was then appointed the new MBA Director from 2007-2010 to implement the new program including staffing 50 new MBA courses with permanent faculty and contract instructors.

Over the years, I have appeared extensively in the media on CBC TV The Exchange (I appear weekly on The Roundup segment) and Power and Politics and CBC Radio Syndication as well as CTV and Global.  I also published 45 Op-Eds in the Globe and Mail, New York Times, National Post, Financial Post and Ottawa Citizen often supporting contrarian positions concerning contemporary public policy issues as well as several important research monographs for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute concerning Canada Post, supply management, alternative payment instruments, deficits and the retirement income system.

Since 2008, I appeared by invitation before House of Commons and Senate finance, banking, industry and trade committees 25 times concerning public policy debates.  During this same period, I was invited by Global TV to attend every federal budget lockup as one of their expert witnesses.

I have published multiple times in the annual edition of How Ottawa Spends concerning Canada’s retirement system, the PBO, deficits, corporate income reform and the Liberal downsizing of 1995-97 and the Conservative Government downsizing of 2010-15.

Monographs

  • 2016 Lee, I and S. Speer, Avoiding the federal deficit quicksand.  Ottawa ON: Macdonald-Laurier Institute
  • 2015 Lee, I. (2015) Is the cheque still in the mail? Ottawa On:  Macdonald-Laurier Institute
  • 2013 Lee, I., Manne, G.A., Morris, J. and Zywicki, T.J.  Credit where its due:  How payment cards benefit Canadian merchants and consumers and how regulation can harm them.  Ottawa On:  Macdonald-Laurier Institute
  • 2011 Lee, I. Myths and urban legends concerning crime in Canada.  Ottawa On:  Macdonald-Laurier Institute 

Published Op-Eds in Newspapers and Magazine

Publications and Research Files

Lee, I. and Cross, P. (2015) “Reforms to the Federal Public Service during the Harper Years, 2006-2014,” How Ottawa Spends.  Ottawa, ON: McGill-Queens University Press

Jog, V. and Lee, I., (2015)  “Reforming Canada’s Retirement Savings System – Solutions for a Non-existent Problem?,” Journal of Public Finance and Management.

Lee, I. and Cross, P. (2014).  The PBO: the first 5 years.   In B. Doern and C. Stoney (Eds) in How Ottawa Spends.  Ottawa On:  McGill-Queens University Press

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