Best Buy University

Ever since Pierre Ouillet was hired on as Vice President Finance, Resources and Operations, we’ve been noticing a trend with UBC’s relatively recent hires (well, most have been here for about a year now. We’re behind, ok.)

Alternatively you can work for BP with your BComm. We assume their public relations is hiring.

In the IT department, Oliver GrĂ¼ter-Andrew is the new Chief Information Officer. Oliver’s almost at his one-year anniversary with UBC, and before then, he worked for Accenture in their Best Buy portfolio, among others.

You also may have noticed Campus and Community Planning is all atwitter. The fingers behind the tweets is Tracy Bains, a new hire, and recent supervisor of electronic communications at Best Buy.

These are just two of what are rumoured to be many Best Buy alum in our ranks, thanks to Pierre’s shake up. Fortunately, though, and we assume this is exclusively because of the changes (we’d make poor conspiracy theorists otherwise,) a UBC BComm will now prepare you to even work at Best Buy, according to their 2011 recruitment package.

Update, August 26, 6:00pm PST:

We’ve found more. A lot more.

Dennis Silva, UBC’s Director of Supply Management, was the Senior Manager of Project Resources at Best Buy last year.

Michael Shakespeare, UBC’s Managing Assistant Treasurer, was the Senior Manager of Best Buy’s Personal Financial Services last year.

Doug Gregg is a Project Management Consultant at UBC, coming from Accenture, and formerly from Best Buy.

Claudio Pini is the Director, IT Transformation & Project Management Office, at UBC, coming from, you guessed it, Accenture, where she/he was a senior manager.

Bing Lim is the Systems and Client Services Team Lead, coming from Best Buy.

Miranda Chu comes from Best Buy and Accenture, and is UBC’s Network Team Lead, starting this year.

In total, that makes it two directors, one CIO, one managing assistant treasurer, two team leads and one “internal consultant”, among others we found. While it’s an obvious business practice to hire those you know will do a good job, when it comes to public institutions, equal opportunity hiring procedures must be held paramount.

More on this as more is discovered.


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  1. You can also win best buy gift certificates by taking some IT surveys!

    It’s all about the synergies.

    Posted by Alex Lougheed | August 26, 2010, 2:03 pm
  2. Interesting post. Equal opportunities are absolutely paramount and any hiring in my porfolio (that would apply to Dennis Silva and Michael Shakespeare) has followed the rigourous and transparent process of public posting and competitive interviewing. At the end of the day, these were the few areas were we did not feel we had the right internal talent within the University. Sadly, there a very few large, world-class corporate organizations in BC, so it is not that surprising that top corporate talent on the administrative side would often come from the like of Best Buy or Telus for example. In both cases, the candidates that we hired have started to deliver against some very high expectations, and they are really helping us take UBC to the next level in terms of technology and procurement best practices, which is what we owe to students and other stakeholders.
    At the same time, we are continuing to promote from within as often as possible (all my direct reports except for my assistant were internal UBC promotions – I was very, very lucky to find such talent in house). We are also increasingly looking to hire UBC Grads, particular from Sauder, whenever possible.
    As a final comment, it feels really good to see top talent interested to move from the private sector to UBC. The difficult economic environment is a factor, but so is UBC’s increasingly reputation as an exciting, fast-moving and world-class place to work and grow.
    Ze VP

    Posted by Pierre Ouillet | August 27, 2010, 10:52 am
  3. What bears closer examination is the extent to which such hiring practice accurately reflect a further drift toward transforming UBC into a corporate agency that acts more like a private enterprise than a public institution.

    Related to this is a UBC Financial Services practice of apparently not hiring summer replacement workers in key areas. The result is an annual summer backlog of processing payments which ends up in having faculty with research budgets either fronting expenses or carrying credit card interest payments.

    UBC thus is able to adopt a classic business practice of transferring the cost of business onto the people who work for them, perhaps even make a bit of money through investing research dollars (perhaps, one never knows) in the bargain.

    Posted by Charles Menzies | August 30, 2010, 8:57 pm
  4. Pierre Ouillet and I don’t run in the same circles. At Best Buy Canada’s corporate headquarters, I was among 1000+ employees. I worked there for five years and we never spoke to each other.

    Since I started at UBC on March 9, 2009, I have been in Pierre Ouillet’s presence precisely twice: once at a morning meeting where I earned a quick nod when introduced as a former Best Buy employee and once when he updated AAPS members on the state of UBC’s financial affairs. Once again, I was one of the many, anonymous faces in the crowd. To my knowledge, I have had no further interaction with Pierre Ouillet during the last 18 months.

    I despise cronyism. Likewise, I have no respect for those who cast aspersions on another’s reputation for sport. You have no proof that I didn’t earn my position. Instead, you’ve weaved together an entertaining thread that makes me guilty by association.

    I submitted an application just like every other candidate. I interviewed just like all the others shortlisted. I sent in work samples as requested. I provided three work references–none of them being Pierre Ouillet.

    I got this position based on my skills and for no other reason. I have maintained my position because of my skills and for no other reason.

    If you have proof to the contrary, please produce it.

    I’ll be waiting.


    Posted by Tracy Bains | September 17, 2010, 9:31 am
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