Interview with John Foster

Many students taking business-related courses aim to earn certificates which will enrich their resumes and demonstrate competitiveness in today's fast-paced business world. Although the certificates cannot be applied to earning an academic degree, they are professionally recognized and formally document your knowledge and training in a specific subject area. They also serve as proof of concentrated study when stepping into graduate programs. Let's find out more from the instructor!

Could you tell us about your background?

I am Canadian from Vancouver. I have been teaching at TUJ since 2007; as well, I have been teaching in the School of Business at the British Columbia Institute of Technology since 2000. I instruct at both institutions either online or in the classroom, depending on where I am living.

I have launched and managed a business, worked in investment finance as a business consultant on an array of business plans and Internet businesses, and worked as a project manager with Microsoft.

I read widely from a variety of sources, not just on business but on science and technology, history, medicine and psychology, politics and economics. New thinking and ideas come from many places and can be applied to management thinking and practices.

What courses do you teach? — How can these courses help students and in what field?

I teach an array of business management courses, too many to mention here: International Business Culture and International Business Management, Human Resources Management and Training and Development.

Management courses help students to see the big picture, to fill in the gaps they have in their business knowledge. Other courses and workshops are much more skills-based and hands on and can be used to solve real communication and management challenges in the workplace the next day.

I always ask students why they come to school. They can easily access the information and knowledge they need by reading a book or locating information online. I know why they come to class. The place is important; the experience is important for learning. People learn from people. People learn from stories – not from bullet points. People learn by doing. I am a conduit, a provider of content and ideas. I enjoy revealing new content and ideas – books, articles, videos, website – beyond the regular course materials.

Do you know of any success stories of students who took your course?

Yes. Students have been solving real issues in inter-cultural communication failure, managing team and organizational knowledge,and planning and launching new businesses. And I have helped them see how western business management works.

Many students I have met have used the business management certificate program as a precursor to other higher education. Students have gone on to MBA programs in Japan (including EMBA Program at TUJ), the US, Australia, and Europe. It is very fulfilling for me that I can contribute to this success.

A young mother developed a business plan and launched a daycare business. I inspired a woman to return to school after many years to pursue a master degree in systems design. She continues to play an integral role in the cutting-edge program. A manager with a Japanese Government Organization developed a knowledge management system for his division.

What backgrounds do your students have?

TUJ attracts students from so many industry, education and national backgrounds. And, I teach a variety of courses so it is too hard to pinpoint: an ambassador, a former F-1 engineer, recruiters, IT technicians, PR, marketing and HRM professionals, retired managers keen to keep learning, the list goes on. Many courses, many years, many students!

My students are curious and motivated to learn and to solve specific challenges in their working lives.

A message from the instructor

John is authoring two books. One on understanding ionizing radiation and the other is 101 conversation topics.