By Sparsh Sharma
Charmaine Courtis, executive director, student services and international relations, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada, was in India. HT Education caught up with her for an exclusive interview. Some excerpts:
Tell us about Schulich.
CC: It is the largest graduate school in Canada with 650 full-time and 450 part-time students. We offer 19 different specialisations. We are very flexible and students can opt for a bouquet of subjects. They can take classes for different subjects during the day or evening or the weekends. It is a program that suits your goal. The syllabus is same for the first year while in the second year, students can take up to two specialisations, for e.g. finance along with financial engineering or financial services or arts and media administration. The course can be completed in 16 months going straight through or in two years (latter includes a break for a three-month internship). The average age of our students is 28-29 years and their average work experience is five-six years. The acceptable range of GMAT scores is from 600 to 700+ but the average is 670. The female students’ population is 39% currently but we are working on increasing it.
We are very innovative and have a number of firsts like – specialised programs in entrepreneurial studies, MBA/JD (Juris Doctor) for lawyers, arts and media administration, nonprofit management, business sustainability, business ethics, real estate and infrastructure, health industry and public sector management. We launched a global mining management program in November 2011. We will officially open the school’s new Centre for Global Enterprise focused on the globalisation of small-to-medium-sized enterprises, soon. We have 75 partnerships with leading business management schools globally and more than 23,000 alumni living and working in over 90 countries.
What are the programs and specializations offered?
CC: Bachelor of business administration (BBA), international BBA(iBBA), master of business administration (MBA), international MBA, executive MBA, MBA/JD, master of fine arts, master of arts (MFA/MBA), MBA in India, master of public administration, master of finance (MF), and the PhD. Specialisations include the standard functional areas as well as many corporate sector areas accounting, economics, finance, marketing, operations management and information systems, organisation studies, strategic management. There is post-MBA diploma in advanced management, financial engineering diploma designed for those MBA grads who want to return for additional specializations and executive programs.
Are international tie-ups the new buzz word for universities in the West?
CC: Our school has a global orientation. Dean Dezso Horvath, a visionary, has led the school for 23 years and has always felt this was the direction to take the school. This global ethos is apparent in our programming and planning. We have several satellite centres internationally besides the main $100million facility in Toronto. We are running our India program with twinning partner SP Jain institute of management research in Mumbai and the third batch has started this January. It is good to see the program grow from an idea to reality. The students study in India for six months and in Toronto for the remaining duration. Seven years ago, we started hunting for places abroad and when it came to opening a campus in Asia, we chose India due to the growing middle-class population here, the limited availability and the high demand of top-level business schools, English being the language of instruction in most educational institutes and its use in official communication. GMR has offered to build us a campus near Hyderabad airport and will finish constructing it by 2013. We are hopeful that the government allows foreign universities to operate as standalone institutions by then. We will take our first class there for September 2013. The long term goal is to have as diverse a campus with students from several countries and tuition fees would be on the lines of that in the Toronto campus.
What are the part-time and full-time job opportunities for international students?
CC: There are several part-time jobs available on campus and in Canada. Students have to work on-campus for six months and can work off-campus after that for 20 hours per week. They can work as research or library assistant, parking attendant etc. on campus. There are internship opportunities for three-months during the program between first and second year, when they work full-time off campus. The average salary, post-MBA from Schulich, is CAD85,000 per annum in 2011. We have over 300 corporate and internship partners. Toronto, being the financial capital of Canada, salaries are higher there.
Moreover, we make students work on a mandatory strategy field study in their second year. They have to thoroughly study real companies, what areas they need to focus on to improve efficiency and net profits. Students give evidence for every conclusion they derive. Companies have been implementing those suggestions. This gives our students an edge and confidence to enter the corporate world. Canada is very open to educated people and gives work permits up to three-years, after which, students can apply for permanent residency, if they wish to continue living in the country.
Tell us more about the different rankings.
CC: We are among the top B-schools in the world. We have been ranked No. 2 in the Apen Institutes Grey Pinstripes for corporate social responsibility and business and sustainability, No. 9 globally in The Economist ranking and No. 11 globally in the Financial Times of London Executive MBA ranking. Schulich is second among Canadian schools in the 2011 global MBA ranking of Financial Times (FT). The FT MBA ranking pulls down all Canadian b-schools because of the importance they give to the salary of students at graduation.
What are the financial aids, scholarships and grants available to the students applying to study at Schulich?
CC: The tuition fee is CAD30,000 per annum. There are several entrance scholarships ranging from CAD5,000-CAD20,000. Only the top 20% of the class get them. Students have to meet the eligibility criteria and give interviews before getting the scholarships. There are many bursaries available too.
How is the student life and diversity at your campus?
CC: We are Canada’s global B-school with 55% international students coming from around the globe and with work experience in all sectors. A class comprises lawyers, doctors, business graduates, engineers and even those with an arts background. There are 52 clubs on the Schulich campus apart from several more at York University. York is the third largest university in Canada with 55,000 students. Our faculty is one of the best in the world and come from different countries. In student services and international relations, there are many professionals on teams working under me to help students with different needs – from admissions through to graduation. Likewise, we have a very large career development centre with programming that starts at the beginning of the program and carries through till placement.