Tuesday, March 16, 2010

(UPDATED) Helana Guergis earns an MBA while serving in cabinet?

In her testimony Monday before a parliamentary committee, Conservative minister Helena Guergis (who will not be suing Air Canada and Charlottetown Airport employees for exposing her behaviour, by the way) mentioned in passing that she held an MBA. And indeed, this is confirmed in her biography on her official Web site, which lists her as holding an MBA from the University of Alberta:

I found this interesting as I recalled that, last March, Guergis' educational credentials were called into question. In the last election in the fall of 2008, Guergis' campaign literature said she was "completing her Master's in Business Administration." In an article following-up on the literature by the local Enterprise Bulletin newspaper in early March, 2009, after some initial resistance, a Guergis staffer told the paper that the minister had been pursuing the degree, but wasn't actively at present (h/t):

Helena Guergis, Simcoe-Grey MP and cabinet minister, has put her aspirations for a graduate degree on hold.

In a profile in her campaign literature last fall, Guergis said she was "completing her Master's in Business Administration."

Her office was tight-lipped about her progress on that degree when it was contacted twice by theEnterprise-Bulletin in a follow-up to the election campaign.

Guergis would not return calls, but her office spokesperson Valerie Knight told the E-B that "I have great concern with your editor expressing so much interest in Minister Guergis personal life."

In the first contact, Knight denied that Guergis was studying for the degree.

"I answered your question the first time, perhaps you did not receive it? She is not," Knight wrote in an email.

After the second attempt to interview Guergis, when the Enterprise-Bulletinproduced the campaign literature, Knight clarified her original comment. She explained that Guergis had been studying for the degree, but wasn't pursuing it at present.

No further information was provided as to where Guergis was taking the program, how far she was from completing it or whether she would continue her quest for the degree at a later date.
Looking around the Web though, we can see that in Guergis biographies as far back as October 26, 2009 (note the last modified date) she is listed as having completed the U of A program.

It would seem, therefore, that at some point between March of 2009 and October 2009, Guergis decided to once again pursue and complete her MBA studies. An impressive achievement, given her busy duties both as Member of Parliament for Simcoe-Grey, and as Minister of State for the Status of Women.

One wonders how she was able to find the time, what with all the travel. I hear she's had to go to some real hell-holes. Her time management skills must be quite impressive.

UPDATE: Hill Times reporter Harris MacLeod raises a very valid point about Guergis' undergraduate degree credentials:
It says nothing on the official website about this, but the minister’s Wikipedia page says she completed an Ontario Real Estate program from Georgia College. Now I’m not trying to be elitist about Ms. Guergis’s education (or lack thereof) but my sense is said real estate certificate would likely not be enough to gain entry into a masters program.
And indeed, a check of the admissions page for the University of Alberta's MBA program indicates a four-year undergrad degree is a pre-requisite (emphasis mine):
Admission to the Alberta MBA Program requires a strong, broadly-based undergraduate degree. Since we value the diversity of backgrounds, we accept students from all disciplines. To be considered, an applicant should hold a four-year undergraduate degree from a recognized institution with a minimum grade point average of 3.0/4.0. Unfortunately, applied undergraduate degrees do not meet graduate admission requirements. Only official transcripts from post-secondary educational institutions will be accepted for application purposes. Two official transcript degree certificates must be sent directly from the issuing institution to the Alberta MBA Program office. If the transcripts and degree certificates are in a language other than English, official translated copies are also required.
Which raises the question: Does the "Ontario Real Estate Program" at Georgian College qualify as "a strong, broadly-based undergraduate degree" or does Guergis have another undergraduate degree we're not aware of?

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


double nickel said...

If you're a Reformatory, all you have to do is send the U of A a certified cheque and they pop the degree in the mail to you ;)

900ft Jesus said...

Hill Times mentions you:


thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Great job. I think there's two things a journalist needs, curiousity and a good memory. Clearly you have both.

The Rat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It seems to me that bloggers are determined to dig up whatever dirt they can on her. Clearly this is misogyny at its worst seeing as how she's an attractive woman. I have to wonder if bloggers like "A BCer in Toronto" would go after a woman of color or perhaps a disabled woman with as much zeal?

Hedy Fry is a woman of color and fairly a controversial figure in her own right - she still holds her position in the Liberal Caucus even after her wild accusations of flaming crosses burning on lawns in Prince George!

While I can accept that Guergis probably committed career suicide during her hissy fit in Charlottetown (and it is a @$@# airport, BTW - I used to live there) digging up dirt like this has all the earmarks of a major smear campaign - one that is lead by overweight balding white men who probably live in their mother's basements.

Ted Betts said...

Apparently, she does have her MBA:

"Eye on the Hill: Just in case Status of Women Minister Helena Guergis didn't have enough problems in the aftermath of her hissy fit at the airport in Prince Edward Island, folks in the Twittersphere and blogosphere are now questioning whether she really has that MBA degree that she touts on her website.
A quick call to the University of Alberta confirms that Ms. Guergis is indeed the proud possessor of an MBA degree from that august institution - Class of 2009."

Anonymous said...

Not trying to defend Guergis here either. She has to go - why Harper hasn't jettisoned this forty-something Barbie doll is beyond me.

Jeff said...

Thanks for your comments Neil.

I like how you accuse me of "misogyny" for attacking Guergis "an attractive woman" and then you call her a "forty-something Barbie doll."

I like how you ponder if I would dare go after "a woman of color" and then you do just that.

I like how you lament personal attacks, and then proceed to personally attack me (and it's only 2/3s accurate).

It's almost a case study in contradictory comments. Really should be in a text book.

Christian Conservative said...

You got spanked on this one BCer, awaiting your retraction, and dare I say apology:


"A quick call to the University of Alberta confirms that Ms. Guergis is indeed the proud possessor of an MBA degree from that august institution - Class of 2009."

Jeff said...

How did I get spanked exactly, CC, and what should I apologize for, exactly? Feel free to copy and paste the inaccurate part of my post in the comments. I'll wait.

CounseLAB said...

Hmm. The shortest time commitment for any UofA MBA is the Executive MBA program (http://www.business.ualberta.ca/Programs/ExecutiveMBA.aspx), which, according to the website, "is an intensive, 20 month program, offered face-to-face, every second weekend on Fridays and Saturdays in Edmonton."

Ted Betts said...

From the admissions criteria:

"Applicants should hold a four-year undergraduate degree from a recognized institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0. Students from all disciplines are accepted as diversity is valued. Unfortunately, applied undergraduate degrees do not meet graduate admission requirements.

Candidates who do not hold an undergraduate degree but have considerable professional experience may also be admissible. Individuals who feel that this situation applies to them are encouraged to contact the admissions office to discuss their status.

Anonymous said...

I don't lament personal attacks at all. You're going after Guergis because she's a woman, plain and simple - and for someone like you, highly unattainable, I suspect.

Jeff said...

I don't lament personal attacks at all.

You won't mind if I call you an idiot, then. Although you are right, my heart does burn with the power of a thousand suns for sweet Helena. Damm you, Rahim!!!

Fred from BC said...

Jeff Jedras said...

How did I get spanked exactly, CC, and what should I apologize for, exactly?

The title of your post, the fact that your attempted smear failed miserably, and the clear lesson that you could have avoided this embarrassment by doing a little research before you decided to try and raise unfounded, baseless suspicion about the validity of her degree.

Jeff said...

What's inaccurate about the title, Fred? And my research came to the conclusion that she must have completed her MBA some time between March and October of 2009, while she was serving as an MP and cabinet minister. Is that inaccurate?

Christian Conservative said...

Jeff, I stand corrected. While other stories that refer to your post seem to imply that you made such an accusation, a closer reading reveals that you yourself did no such thing.

I apologise.

Jeff said...

Thank-you CC, appreciated.

paulsstuff said...

So exactly what should happen if she had in fact faked or forged her acasdemic credentials?

Ti-Guy said...

I called Guergis's office to find out where and in what field she earned her undergraduate degree. They said "none of your business" and then told me to "go to hell."

Just kidding. A little levity while we wait for information on that important detail.

Holly Stick said...

Funny thing; here's an article, from some time in 2009 probably, which says she got her MBA before she entered politics. Did the author get their information directly from her, from her website, or where?


carswell said...

Re: Holly's post.

I contacted Womenspost and the
editor assured me that, indeed,
their information was correst and
urged me to do some research.
In fact, Guergis has also
mentioned their article,herself.
Below, is the exchange of emails.


The writer did, in fact, do her research. If you research Helena Guergis, you are easily able to find her credentials. Thank you for your interest in Women's Post.

On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 4:17 PM, wrote:

Below is an excerpt from a story on
the Top 20 Business Women
of 2009 in your magazine. Do you have anything
to support the statement about her MBA?
For instance, the time frame and actually having the
degree. I would assume that some sort
of research was done by you or someone
who wrote the article.


Before her career in politics, Helena attained an MBA from the University of Alberta and owned a small business for seven years.

Take your contacts everywhere. Try Messenger for mobile

Adam Mazerall
Women's Post

double nickel said...

Turns out I was probably correct:)

Ted Betts said...

WomansPost must be wrong because even Guergis' own office said she put her MBA on hold when she became an MP, and as Jeff has carefully laid out she must have gotten it while a cabinet minister.

Which leaves me to think that she has always posted and claimed that she actually had an MBA, even when she was merely in the process of obtaining it.

Eric said...

It's U of A... I mean, seriously... who cares. Not exactly a serious business school, so no wonder they'll take in any public figure and cross their fingers.

It's Guergis... seriously, who cares about her. She's a waste of space and produces way less than she consumes.

I'm fighting for charges for Guergis. Don't care about her professional life, her personal life, her husband... As a regular person behaving as alleged at an airport, this deserves appropriate investigation and charges if she did tamper with a security door. It doesn't matter if her actions were comical, or if they were performed in a fit of passion lacking premeditation.

I could run over a child with a vehicle in a fit of carelessness, it doesn't make me less culpable despite providing sincere apologies after. I could be upset with my boss, and lose my temper with a random person: still criminal harassment. (intent is not considered)

Holly Stick said...

Thank you for checking into that article. I would be inclined to think that she may have been claiming an MBA which she did not actually have.

rockfish said...

Funny how the CONtrolls can blindly overlook their own so-called leader's misogynistic 'throwing under the bus' of Ms Guergis, ala Dianne Ablockzodjfwofslldfjdl... When things are seeping out to the media from inside, you know that Harper is salting someone's earth. Funny, he didn't do this to Maxime or Gord-o...