The Torontoist has released an article highlighting how three universities and three colleges based in Toronto are working to support student mental health issues. The piece focuses on what programs and events the schools offer on top of existing counselling programs that are available on most campuses; it examines the efforts of Ryerson University, the University of Toronto, York University, Humber College, Seneca College, and George Brown College, as well as collaborative efforts between the institutions. Among these collaborative efforts is Mindfest, an event organized collaboratively between OCAD University, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto that includes information sessions and a club night to help raise students’ awareness of the mental wellness programs available to them on their home campuses.
A recently-released research project out of the University of Guelph [CIEC Academic Member] and York University examines the experiences of international students transitioning to the Canadian labour market and identifies a number of barriers these students must overcome in order to integrate into employment. The researchers framed the study around the new International Education Strategy, which aims to double the number of international students studying in Canada, and Ontario’s focus on international students as potentially filling labour gaps. The study found that difficulties finding work in one’s field of study, prejudice against international students, and “inconsistency of information and lack of clarity on constantly changing immigration policies and processes” were some of the barriers experienced by international students. The study also found that the respondents viewed the educational experience at Ontario’s PSE institutions very highly, and often found support and employment within the PSE sector after graduation. The report makes several recommendations for PSE, policy makers, and employers to help ease the transition for international students, including creating more internships and co-op employment opportunities.
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.
By Sparsh Sharma
B-schools abroad are realising the importance of their students learning additional languages besides English, as businesses become more globalised and new markets emerge
In most parts of the world, English is the standard language of business but it is not the only one in an increasingly global business environment, as more B-schools abroad are recognising. MBA programmes abroad have realised the importance of not just traditionally popular languages like French or Spanish but also newer ones like Arabic, Hindi, and Mandarin.
Key to success
Dr Jack McGourty, director of community and global entrepreneurship at Columbia Business School and faculty member teaching graduate courses in entrepreneurship, venture creation and technology management at Columbia University, USA, says, “No matter what your chosen career path is, today, being facile in more than one language will enhance a manager’s ability to navigate complex global business and cultural environments. Graduate business programmes should offer students alternative vehicles, integrated with curricular programmes, to increase proficiency in languages of choice.”
Columbia Business School’s Chazen Institute offers several programmes to enhance students’ language proficiency including MBA exchange, global immersion programme and the Chazen language programme, offering courses in Arabic, business English, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Charmaine Courtis, executive director, student services and international relations, Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada, says, “The international MBA (IMBA) programme at Schulich recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. This programme, right from the original format, has required students to develop a second language and an expertise in the region of the world where that language is the language of business. We recognised, two decades ago, that this was the only way to establish oneself in a global context. Having just recently attended an IMBA alumni-connect event, I was amazed to see how this has set our graduates apart. They are making a difference around the globe.”
At Cambridge Judge Business School in UK, one of the electives/ projects in the MBA requires students to learn Mandarin.
Dr. Jochen Runde, director of the MBA at the prestigious B-school, says, “This is a beginners’ course that is offered at the end of the academic year to our MBA students. For most of the attending students, successful completion of the course is a requisite for completing their studies. The course focuses on three language skills: listening, speaking and reading. Due to the complex nature of the Chinese writing system (characters rather than an alphabet), writing is not one of the main aims of this course. We are offering this course as a summer activity option because of the ever-growing importance of China in the world economy. The aim is to give our non-Mandarin speaking students an opportunity to develop some of the language skills they will need to make them more effective in this arena.”
At the leading Aarhus University (AU) of Denmark, the average student arrives already proficient in two or three languages. Lene Pederson, the MBA programme manager at AU’s School of Business and Social Sciences, says, “It’s amazing to find that some students are proficient in more than three languages too. A growing number of students from Asian countries already know English in addition to their native languages. Most of them then learn Danish language also, once they are here.”
Exchange programmes play a part
According to Laura Wood, director of international programmes and services, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Canada, exchange programmes play an important part in learning different languages and cultures.
“With an already global student body from 32 countries speaking 37 languages, Rotman encourages all students to further internationalise their degree through international exchange programmes, study tours, a module on doing business internationally and consulting projects or internships. Participation in these programmes certainly provides students with the opportunity to practice foreign language skills, contributing to both their personal and professional development as well as the B-school’s linguistic and cultural diversity,” says Wood.
Understanding culture also important
According to Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner of management consulting, KPMG India, it’s not only an issue of learning languages. “It’s not a language issue alone. Understanding the culture and being culturally-sensitive is as important as communication skills. A good manager is required to develop additional language skills. It is a major differentiator in a competitive global market. Knowledge of more languages is always welcome.”