December 2015 | Issue 26

Neil Rudolph, BCom ’77: A lesson in exercising freedom


When Neil Rudolph, BCom ’77, studied commerce at McMaster in the mid-1970s, he was a bit of a maverick – a business guy who took history courses.

History might seem like an unconventional option for someone who would become a pioneering executive in the financial industry of the west-coast United States.

But for Rudolph, it was personal. He was passionate about learning the lessons of the great wars. In the aftermath of the First World War, his grandfather had walked out of Russia, away from the revolution and upheaval, to build a life for his family in Canada.

The history courses, he says, “gave me a very interesting view on what it means to be free, to have the ability to make your own decisions and chase your own dreams. I am a good example of where freedom allows you to go.”

Indeed, he is. He has exercised his freedom to choose a career that fits his restless intellect — to move to California to pursue travel and adventure, and to stay and build a life there. And then to take a leap into the investment world, to become an ground-breaking player in both the massive quant-based exchange traded funds industry, and in the transformative world of hedge fund management.

He is now a volunteer, consultant and lecturer in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where he and his wife Susan – a McMaster graduate in History and English – have pursued rich careers, him in finance and her in marketing and communications. And they have raised two children, now in their 20s and both in finance jobs.

The study of history gives him the perspective to appreciate the life he has pursued. more…


In Practice

I went into the Den … and survived!

Mark Scattolon, BCom ’10

Mark Scattolon and Fabian Raso in the Dragons DenEarlier this month, I had the incredible opportunity to take my startup business, Hangry, into the Dragons’ Den on CBC Television. My partner, Fabian Raso, and I went in asking for $120K for 20% of the company – and we came out with a deal with three Dragons: Michele Romanow, Joe Mimran and Michael Wekerle. This is our story.

Hangry is a mobile app that allows students to find, order, and pay for food on campus, eliminating the anger that comes with being hungry by letting students save time by skipping the line.

The app allows students to browse menus, select their order (or easily reorder “the usual”), and choose their desired pick-up time. This provides a huge convenience to university and college students on a busy schedule who may not have enough time to grab food between classes, or are often running late. The order auto-prints to the kitchen and students can see exactly when their order is received, being prepared, and ready for pickup. Hangry also integrates with student meal plans and orders can be paid via credit card. more…


Natasha Sharma: What tragedy can teach us

Natasha Sharma, BCom ’00

Moments_of_Mourn_For_Alan_Kurdi_DI_September_2015The first thing I saw was his feet. Tiny and limp, encased in familiar looking dark blue Velcro-strap shoes. Much like the dark blue Velcro-strap shoes I struggle to get onto my 2-year old son’s feet every day. Then I saw his little legs. I had just sat down for a coffee break. As I finally registered that what I was looking at on the cover page of the newspaper I had picked up was a policeman carrying a drowned toddler on a beach, I experienced a jolt. Probably like most of the world when they saw the same image.

Now is that time of year when the media tends to take stock of the most significant, poignant, and game-changing stories that unfolded over the past twelve months. The image of Alan Kurdi, the heavy spotlight turned onto the long-running tragedies of the Syrian refugee crisis, and the collective and powerful response by the entire world will surely top the list for 2015. more…


Getting Out

Dancing With Change: Why People Resist & What to Do About It

Burlington, Ontario

Linda Morgan

Join us for a Women’s Professional Network seminar event featuring Linda Morgan, President of The Clic Effect Inc. In this session, Linda will introduce a 4-step framework for assessing change, and the corresponding reactions you or your team might have when dealing with change. Participants will learn why and where resistance occurs, and, together discuss strategies on how to address it.  Event details…

Gender Diversity on Boards: Comply or Explain

Toronto, Ontario

This panel of high-level executives and board directors will address current issues and opportunities surrounding gender diversity at the Board level. Discussion will include quotas, disclosure requirements, new leadership models, attracting female talent, and case studies of diversified boards.



Dancing With Change: Why People Resist & What to Do About It

Jan 19, 2016 | 7:30 – 9 a.m.

Ron Joyce Centre, 4350 South Service Road, Burlington | $25 inc tax, parking included.

MBA Alumni/Student Networking Reception

Feb 4, 2016 | 6 – 7:30 p.m. The National Club, 303 Bay Street, Toronto

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