• Wed. May 25th, 2022

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Prestigious scholarships highlight success of Cape Breton University business program

SYDNEY, N.S. — Forty years after its inception, Cape Breton University’s business program is still going strong.

And George Karaphillis, dean of CBU’s Shannon School of Business, couldn’t be more proud of the program’s success and of the achievements and advancement of its students. And lately, Karaphillis has been telling anyone who will listen that two of the school’s students are among the nine Atlantic Canadian recipients of the 2022 Frank H. Sobey Awards for Excellence in Business Studies.

Megan Penney and Jacob MacDonald, both third-year students in the Bachelor of Business Administration program, each receive a $35,000 scholarship. According to Karaphillis, this marks the first time that two CBU students have won the prestigious award in the same year.

Cape Breton University Professor George Karaphillis:
Cape Breton University Professor George Karaphillis: ““I am honestly ecstatic that two of our students have earned this most coveted business award this year.” Contributed

“I am honestly ecstatic that two of our students have earned this most coveted business award this year,” said Karaphillis, who has been at the Shannon School of Business since 1990.

“I am proud of Megan and Jacob, their accomplishments and their entrepreneurial drive. We strive to instill a spirit of achievement, perseverance and community building in our students and it is gratifying to see our students being recognized for these values.”

Megan Penney

Megan Penney - Contributed
Megan Penney – Contributed

Along with her pursuit of a BBA, the 21-year-old Megan Penney, a Memorial High School graduate who hails from Long Island, is also on track to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies.

Penney is already somewhat of an entrepreneur. She operates an online retail shop called IVRY that sells everything from hair clips to tote bags and from beanies to dresses. Although she’s always had an interest in business, Penney said the time spent in a co-op placement at a North Sydney outdoors retail shop cinched it.

“I really got into with the placement at Escape Outdoors where the owner, Sherry Finney, was a mentor to me,” she said.

“She encouraged me to start something now while I’m young so that I can grow it and have something for later. It also gave me a great insight into small business, so even though I don’t know what I will end up doing I know it will be something in business, perhaps a small business.”

Jacob MacDonald

Jacob MacDonald.
Jacob MacDonald.

After registering for classes at CBU in 2019, the first thing Jacob MacDonald did was join Enactus, a non-profit organization that uses entrepreneurship to solve problems in the community.

“I want to make an impact on peoples’ lives and I want to help the community,” declared the Sydney native, who plans to stay in Atlantic Canada and pursue a career in marketing.

“Winning this award means a lot to me because it’s one of the most prestigious and most coveted awards for business students in Atlantic Canada. Now I can finish my undergraduate studies without any financial stress.”

Strength to strength

In the meantime, Karaphillis shares his students’ optimism.

He said he is also pleased to hear so many speaking of staying in Atlantic Canada after their studies. He pointed out that the recent influx of international students has changed both the university and the way locals view their home communities.

“I think we’ve turned the corner,” said Karaphillis.

Cape Breton University business student Jacob MacDonald, centre, is flanked by Shannon School of Business dean George Karaphillis, left, and Paul D. Sobey, chair of Sobeys Inc.’s board of trustees. MacDonald was awarded a Frank H. Sobey scholarship which comes with a prize of $35,000. CONTRIBUTED
Cape Breton University business student Jacob MacDonald, centre, is flanked by Shannon School of Business dean George Karaphillis, left, and Paul D. Sobey, chair of Sobeys Inc.’s board of trustees. MacDonald was awarded a Frank H. Sobey scholarship which comes with a prize of $35,000. CONTRIBUTED

“Part of it is because we have so many people now coming here from all over the world to study and to make Cape Breton their home. That shows our young people that this is a good place to be and that they don’t have to go away for opportunities.”

Karaphillis said CBU’s business program remains one of the institution’s most popular, as proved by the number of people in Cape Breton who have earned BBAs from the school.

“There are a lot of people in Cape Breton who have a business degree from our school, and part of that is because it was the first degree program we offered and when it started it was all night classes,” he said.

“Now it’s a full time program with people from all over the world taking it.”

Along with its BBA program, the Shannon School of Business also offers a masters of business administration in community economic development, a bachelor of hospitality and tourism management, and post-baccalaureate diplomas in business analytics, business management, health-care management and supply chain management.


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