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People / Ian Lee

Ian Lee

Associate Professor, Management
    Phone:613-520-2600, ext. 2375
    Building:Dunton Tower, Room 307
    Degrees:BA Law (Carleton University), MA Public Administration (Carleton University), PhD Political Science – Public Policy (Carleton University)

    My professional and academic experiences

    I am an Associate Professor at Carleton University in the Sprott School where I started in 1988, teaching the 4th year and (later) the MBA Strategic Management capstone course, as well as related courses such as International Business Strategy, from then to now. 

    After dropping out of grade 12 in 1971, I worked at a series of minimum wage jobs for 3 years in the early 1970s. In 1974, I started with an American financial services multinational as a credit manager trainee eventually becoming a Branch Manager  in several branches in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. I was then recruited in 1977 by Canada’s oldest bank (that predates Canada by a half century), where I was given outstanding training in banking, economics and management by British bankers. I was employed at the BMO Main Office Branch (4thlargest in all Canada at that time) 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 in my mid 20s, I dealt 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. And in that capacity throughout those years, I evaluated personal and corporate financial statements and lent millions and millions of dollars in demand loans, consumer loans, mortgage loans and business loans.  

    After completing my entire undergraduate degree on a part time basis in the evenings over 10 years while employed full time, I resigned from the bank to enroll full time in a master’s degree in public policy in 1982 at Carleton University. However, I completed the second year of the master’s degree full time in evenings in 1983-84 as I accepted a position as a full time policy analyst with Canada Post Corporation in Corporate Finance and Banking, Head Office. Upon graduation in 1984, I resigned from Canada Post to enroll in the PhD program in the public policy stream at Carleton University graduating in 1989. My 850 page PhD thesis was titled: The Canadian Post Office: Origins, growth and decay of the state postal function, 1765-1981. While completing my PhD, I was employed for one summer in 1985 in the Privy Council Office, Machinery of Government.

    Shortly after starting with the Sprott School on a tenure track in 1988, the Berlin Wall came down in October 1989. Then in 1990-91, Carleton University School of Business was awarded $3 million by Foreign Affairs Canada to establish a Canadian Business School in Poland at the prestigious 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. I have continued to teach at Warsaw School of Economics (in the EMBA since 1997) where I have had a bird’s eye view of the remarkable transformation of Poland from an impoverished, corrupt centralized socialist economy managed by the elite nomenklatura to a remarkably vibrant prosperous decentralized democratic country in transition.

    Since 1990, I have taught approximately 100 times across the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, mostly in EMBA programs, in many different countries ranging from Poland to Russia to Iran to Ukraine to Cuba to Romania to Slovenia to Latvia to Czech to Argentina to Croatia to Mexico and after 1997 in China – always in American or Canadian universities  in partnership with a local universityI taught a number of times for the University of Washington (Seattle) with ASEBUSS in Bucharest, Romania; Katz Graduate School U Pittsburg in Prague; SUNY Buffalo with Riga Business School, Latvia; Carnegie-Mellon with IMI-Kiev, Ukraine; Carleton Sprott School with Qeshm Institute in Qeshm and Tehran, Iran; University of Ottawa in Hong Kong; Carleton Sprott School with Dung Hua University in Shanghai; UQAM at Warsaw School of Economics; Kozminski Academy of Entrepreneurship, Warsaw; Czech Management Center, Prague; IEDC, Bled, Slovenia; Zagreb, Croatia.

    These extensive international teaching experiences over a third of a century, provided a much deeper understanding of non-western, often authoritarian, frequently deeply corrupt, state centrally planned or administered countries sometimes transitioning to western, rule of law, decentralized economies and societies.

    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 innovative new program had been operational for 2 years. 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. We benchmarked key competitor MBA programs and completed extensive consultation with all relevant stakeholders that led to the proposed new structure including 50 new MBA graduate courses. 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.

    I completed two sabbaticals in the USA: at American University in Washington DC in 1995 and Cal State Monterey Bay one hour south of Silicon Valley from 2001-2003. 

    I am presently a member of the Carleton University Board of Governors, 2016-2019. I am also a member of the Sprott School MBA Committee, Carleton University EURUS Advisory Board and the Carleton University Graduate Appeal Committee since 2010.

    During the past 50 years, in addition to visiting every Canadian province, I completed road trips through 43 of 50 US states and visited 8 of 14 US Presidential libraries. I have visited most West, Central and East European countries including living for 2 years each at RCAF 3 Wing, Zweibrucken, West Germany and RCAF 1 Wing, Marville France in the mid 1950s (where my father flew F-86 Sabre jets and later F-104 Starfighter jets).

    Over the years, I appeared extensively in the media including CBC, CTV and Global National News, CBC TV On the Money weekly on The Roundup, and Power and Politics and CBC Radio Syndication. I am a weekly regular on CFRA Rob Snow program and Sirius-National Post Radio  as well as the Corus Radio Network in Toronto. Over the last 10 years, I published 45 Op-Eds in the Globe and Mail, New York Times, National Post, Financial Post and Ottawa Citizen concerning contemporary public policy issues as well as 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. I have been invited by Global TV to attend every federal budget lockup as one of their expert witnesses since 2008.

    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.


    • 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