Not Your Typical Blue Suit?

Jim Chu took a business route to top spot 
at the Vancouver Police Department

While many MBA graduates use their business savvy to start new companies or join the ranks of big business, Chief Constable Jim Chu of the Vancouver Police Department chose another route entirely. A 1989 MBA graduate from UBC’s Sauder School of Business, Chu has managed to blend the worlds of business and public service.

What first made you decide to go back to school for your MBA? 

I finished my bachelor’s degree in business and thought that I might as well keep going. The kids were still young, and I thought that I might as well apply myself and complete it while I still had the drive, the time capacity and the willpower. I also wanted to take more courses in some areas that I didn’t have a chance to do in my undergraduate program. 

How has your business education helped you 
as Chief Constable of 
the VPD? 

Well, many aspects of leading organizations, ranging from financial to analysis to economics to funding to organizational behaviour to labour relations… you name it, those are things that happen and are relevant to running the Vancouver Police Department. We have to budget and we also have staff that we need to ensure are led properly. It has also helped when I’ve looked at situations such as the problems in the Downtown Eastside. I’ve given it a lot of thought, in terms of why is it like it is, and quite often I draw upon my business knowledge, especially in the area of the economics that drive the drug trade.

Do you come across many MBA graduates who use their degree in nontraditional fields, or do you think that you are a rarity in that sense? 

Well, most of the MBA graduates I come across are from the business world, but that said, I run into them in the public sector as well. In my time here at the Vancouver Police Department there were several others that completed MBA degrees. l