Curiosity drives a professional career: Paul Beamish wins Hellmuth Prize

  • Communications
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  • May 9, 2013

In his early years as a student at Western University, Paul Beamish had no idea what career path to pursue.

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But after traveling to parts of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa while doing his undergraduate degree, Beamish recognized that he was intrigued by complicated places.

After deciding to pursue a career in international business, that revelation prompted him to research how complex organizations, such as multinationals, thrive in complex areas, such as developing countries. The move was not only personally fulfilling, but also made an impact on the research world internationally.

Beamish, now an Ivey Business School professor, along with Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at Western University, received the prestigious Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research at a ceremony on campus on May 1. The honour is given to two Western faculty members annually in recognition of their research contributions internationally for a substantial body of work. Named after Bishop Isaac Hellmuth, who is regarded as Western’s founder, the Hellmuth prize is the university’s highest award recognizing research achievements.

“I’d like to thank Ivey and Western for helping to create a research culture that has allowed me to pursue my interests in my professional life,” said Beamish, who heads Ivey’s Asian Management Institute, Engaging Emerging Markets Research Centre and Ivey Publishing. “Through my travels to other countries, I’ve learned just how privileged we are here.”

In his presentation, “Curiosity: A Continuing Journey,” Beamish cited five takeaways from his career:

1)      There’s always room for new ways to examine an issue: “Innovation is good. Don’t be afraid to take chances.”

2)      Nobel Prize winners don’t know everything: “It’s OK to challenge their work, but it’s best to do it in academic speak.”

3)      Theory is great, but having the right data is king: “Always look for a multi-method approach.”

4)      Luck never hurts: “But, as the old adage goes, ‘the harder I work, the luckier I get’.”

5)      Remain curious: “Then it won’t feel like tedious work.”

Ivey Dean Carol Stephenson cited Beamish’s commitment to excellence and said, when it comes to his research contributions, it’s hard to ignore the numbers and the accolades. Among Beamish’s many accomplishments, he is author or co-author of 55 books and more than 100 refereed articles and has supervised 27 PhD dissertations. He holds the Canada Research Chair in International Management and the Donald L. Triggs Chair in International Business. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Canada’s oldest and most prestigious organization of scientists and scholars, and was the 2012 recipient of the International Management Outstanding Educator Award from the Academy of Management.

Despite those accomplishments, Beamish stressed his work is not done.

“I have now visited more than 80 countries and will never completely understand how they work. I’m still learning. I’m still curious. And I’m OK with that,” he said. “The journey continues.”

For more on the 2013 Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research ceremony, please see Western News article or video below.