Research led development, way forward

Source: Ceylon Today | December 18 2014

As a premium management academic institution in the country, the Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Colombo, strives to contribute towards creating a thriving research culture by promoting high quality research. Towards this end, the 9th International Research Conference on Management and Finance – 2014 (IRCMF-2014) organized by the Faculty has set the stage for various conventional, contemporary as well as competing theories, methodologies and issues to be discussed and debated in a single platform with the presence of academia and the industry. Over the years the Faculty has had many successful conferences and IRCMF-2014 is a continuation of this research endeavour. This year IRCMF is co-chaired by
Dr. Tharusha Gooneratne and Dr. Arosha Adikaram, Senior Lecturers at the Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Colombo.
Unlike in the past, there is a renowned interest in research in the country with not only the academia, but practitioners engaging in research for business and academic purposes. Yet, it is often alleged that academic research is divorced from practitioner perspectives, while practitioners’ research lack academic rigour. Further, it is commonly said that academic research is rarely used by practitioners and that real practitioner issues are not researched by academics. Such concerns are addressed through IRCMF by emphasizing and providing opportunities for active and constructive engagement of practitioners as well as academics. IRCMF strives to promote participation of research students, both undergraduate and post graduate, specifically when there is heightened interest in post graduate studies among the practitioners, where research is part and parcel.

IRCMF-2014 presents an array of interesting research papers under the areas of Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Small Business Management, Finance, Human Resource Management, Business Economics, International Business, Management, Organizational Studies, and Marketing. Ensuring quality was a top priority throughout the process of paper reviewing, and this collection of papers will certainly be insightful and open new vistas for future inquiry and further research. The keynote address by a world renowned Management Accounting Academic, Professor Zahirul Hoque (Head, Department of Accounting, La Trobe Business School, Australia; Executive Director, La Trobe University Centre for Public Sector Governance, Accountability and Performance) will be a special highlight of the conference. His speech under the theme ‘sustainable business transformation: opportunities and challenges’ will undoubtedly grab the attention of the audience.
This year’s new addition to the IRCMF is the industry dialogue, where academic and practitioner perspectives are shared on ‘business, society and nature: building interconnectedness’, where sub-themes such as sustainability (economic, social and environment), ethical conduct and profits and professionalism will be discussed by four experts (panelists) from different areas of management. The panelists are, Hiran Cooray (Chairman of Jetwing group of companies, an alternate member of the UNWTO – World Committee on Tourism Ethics and holds over 50 directorships in various hotels and related companies), Hasitha Premaratne (Chief Financial Officer of Brandix Lanka Ltd, Director of many subsidiaries of the Brandix group, including listed company Textured Jersey Lanka Ltd, and a winner of many prestigious awards), Melanie Kanaka (Head of Finance and Administration at the World Bank in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, serves on the CIMA Sri Lanka Governing Board and represents the South East Asia region on the CIMA Institute’s Global Council) and Franklyn Amerasinghe (Attorney-at-Law, former CEO of Employers’ Federation of Ceylon and Senior Employers’ Specialist for East Asia in the ILO). The moderator of the Industry Dialogue is Dr. Pavithra Kailasapathy, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Colombo.
This prolific combination of academic sessions, keynote address, and industry dialogue will add value to the participants of the conference, whether it is academics, researchers, or practitioners.

The Success Story of Melanie J Kanaka

Source: SJMS Bulletin | October 2014

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.14.52 AMIn this edition, we introduce yet another of our alumni who has excelled in her career – Melanie Kanaka, the Head of Finance and Administration at World Bank

Sri Lanka and Maldives. Melanie, a Fulbright Scholar who holds an MBA from the Emory University – USA, is a fellow Member of CIMA. She also holds a First Class Honours B.Com degree from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Sri Lanka. She recalls that after leaving Bishops College her first formal job was at Tanyo Investments (Pvt) Limited. Thereafter, in March 1988 she joined Internal Management Audit Ltd, the internal audit arm of Someswaran, Jayewickreme, Manthri & Co (SJM) whilst pursuing CIMA and being an undergraduate at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura reading for her business Administration Degree. Melanie remembers being part of the internal audit group comprised of about seven auditors and also recalls performing internal audits, mainly at CWE St Anthony’s Industries and at Milk Industries Lanka Company (MILCO). According to Melanie, one of the main advantages she experienced as an internal auditor at SJM was the opportunity made available for her to work closely with the Partners and learn from their experiences. She left SJM to join the DFCC Bank as one of their very first batch of Management Trainees in 1989 and thereafter, went overseas to the US on the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree in International Finance and Corporate Strategy at the Goizuetta Business School of Emory University in Atlanta. Georgia. Whilst reading for her master’s she also underwent an internship at the Bellsouth Corporation, USA and also took up appointment following her graduaton. Upon returning to Sri Lanka, she joined the Hayleys Group of Companies to manage their internal treasury unit and thereafter, moved on to MAS Holdings to take on exciting projects of SAP systems implementation. She was initially attached to Slimline, the apparel giant based in Pannala and was subsequently involved in numerous SAP ERP implementations for the entire MAS Holdings Group both at their apparel plants islandwide including their overseas plants in the Maldives. In 2003, she moved to the World Bank, her present employer to handle resource Management in the South Asia Region. Melanie is also a good sportsperson; being a watersports enthusiast in particular, she enjoys water skiing and has displayed immense talent in swimming.

She is a former Sri Lanka National Swimmer and has represented the country in the 100m and 200m. Dolphin Butterfly swimming events. Melanie acknowledges that another special event in her life was her participation as an official at the centennial Olympic Games held in 1996 in Atlanta in the USA.

Looking back, she reflects that she has now reached a stage in life where she is eager to give back as much as possible to the profession. As a result, she is highly involved with CIMA activities, and after having been with the Council for nine years she is currently a Board Member of CIMA Sri Lanka. Melanie has also been offered appointments at CIMA Global and is currently serving on the CIMA Global Life Long Learning Committee and the Technical Committee (Policy Committees). Previously she was one of the two international members serving on the CIMA Global Membership Board and at present, she is also a Global Membership Assessor. She has recently been elected to the CIMA Global Council which is the governing body of the Institute, which is a prestigious position she will hold for a period of 3 years commencing June 2013.

Whilst advising the younger generation on the importance of being honest and persistent, she emphasized the fact that some activities pose a greater challenge and cannot be resolved easily nor with speed: the important thing however is to handle the challenge with integrity and confidence – and not evade it. Additionally it is equally important to keep abreast of the new developments in one’s area of expertise and profession.