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Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 27; August 4, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Good idea gets Grads to Canada

Abroad Perspective

Asian unity challenging America.

Over The Counter

Shutting the doors on cheats.

Globe Tipping

When a ‘do it yourself’ might be a ‘don’t’.


1) LET’S GO CANADA – Good idea gets Grads to Canada

This summer more than a hundred Indian undergraduate students travelled to Canada to take part in ‘Globalink’ internships at fourteen Canadian universities. In its second year, Globalink aims to woo undergraduate Indian students to return to Canada for graduate studies and is instituted by the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS) – a Canadian research network linking industry and international students with Canadian universities.

The students – India’s cream of the crop – are mostly from eight IITs in India, that country’s elite Indian Institutes of Technology.  They are taking part in three-month long research projects in computer science, engineering, mathematics and business.  Student Deepak Krishnamurthy is one student working on a Simon Fraser University (SFU) project to produce a palm-sized fuel cell, while Kashyap Jataprolu works with University of British Columbia (UBC) researchers to develop new technology which will relay wireless communications flawlessly, regardless of interference from rain, fog or snow.

Last year, the pilot Globalink program was deemed so successful that British Columbia organizers alone decided to triple the number of top science and engineering students coming to intern with the province’s universities this summer. Although some Indian students are on placements elsewhere in Canada, 49 of the 105 have been assigned to the same three British Columbia universities which hosted the pilot program last year – SFU, UBC, and the University of Victoria. It’s also a good fit for the students as the overall provincial population of 4.4 million is made up of about 7% Indians.

“Through this international partnership, we are helping to develop the skilled scientists and technologists needed by both our countries, while forging new research links with one of the world’s most dynamic economies,” says Iain Black, British Columbia’s minister of small business, technology and economic development. 

As Canadian universities continue to vie for new international student recruits, there is no doubt that Globalink illustrates the power of creative and hands-on promotion, such as international exchanges and ‘trial visits’. Globalink program organizer MITACS, reports that 85% of last year’s undergraduate interns indicate interest in returning to Canada for their graduate studies.

“I’m not surprised to see this initiative originate from outside the university sector and be successful,” says Canadian University Application Centre (CUAC) Director Mel Broitman. “Last Fall there was almost no interest among universities to take up a Canadian government proposal to promote PhD recruiting in India, and as we know, the universities themselves struggle to offer access to their graduate programs outside of Canada.”

The CUAC in conjunction with Higher-Edge and this publication are offering a seminar on recruiting international graduate students in September. “Overseas, Overwhelmed 2010” is slated for September 20th in Toronto and information and registration is available at http://higher-edge.com/ono2010.php.

Source: “IIT undergrads impress Canadian varsities”.  NDTV, July 21, 2010.


2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Asian unity challenging America.

One of Asia’s top-ranked graduate business schools, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST), is teaming up with three of its strongest neighbourhood rivals in a bid to attract more Western students to earn their MBAs in Asia.

Along with representatives from the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), the Indian School of Business (IBS), and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), officials from the HKUST will travel to various North American and European cities for student recruiting events later this year. The alliance, which will work to recruit students jointly, will also maintain a website, www.topasiabschools.com.   

For long, elite U.S. and European institutions including the London Business School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Harvard Business School, have led the competition world-wide for attracting top Master’s of Business Administration students. But with the ever-growing strength of the Asian economies, it is becoming more and more relevant for business students and young professionals to gain experience in the East – a reality reflected by the steady rise in overseas enrollment numbers at Asian institutions, as well as the high percentage of foreign graduates who are remaining in these countries after their degrees in order to work. At China’s CEIBS, for example, MBA programs director Lydia Price says that about 80% of Western students work in China after they graduate.

Apart from the Asian business schools using English as their language of instruction (a major deciding factor for many Western scholars), the considerably shorter length and lower tuition fees of their programs also prove highly attractive to potential students. If one compares the typical MBA program at one of these Asian schools – which normally last a year and cost less than $50,000 – to the two-year, $100,000 Wharton School MBA program…the difference is considerable.

Regarding questions about relative quality – HKUST tied for ninth place in this year’s Financial Times world ranking of MBA providers – on par with the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. The other three “Top Asia B-Schools” also performed well in the list, with the India’s IBS ranking 12th, China’s CEIBS tying for 22nd, and Singapore’s NTU coming in at number 27.
The Financial Times list, which included 100 schools, rates the institutions based on 20 criteria, including alumni salaries and faculty research.

Source: “Hong Kong Business School Allies With Three Rivals to Woo West”. Bloomberg, July 20, 2010


3) OVER THE COUNTER – Shutting the doors on cheats.

Rampant cheating has caused New Jersey based Centenary College to close down its satellite business schools in China and Taiwan. Although school officials declined to comment on any exact details regarding the nature of the cheating, its level was so extreme that they recently announced their decision to also withhold degrees from all 400 Chinese-speaking students in the school’s MBA programs located in Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan.

Instead, these students were given until July 30 to make up their minds – to accept a full tuition refund equaling between $1,200 – $1,400 US (to be awarded only after students sign an agreement stating that they will not sue the school), or, alternatively, to pass a comprehensive exam to earn their degree.
According to Centenary, of the students who had already replied by July 27th, only two had not requested the refund.  

This is not the first school in China to be recently plagued by issues of academic integrity. In fact, only earlier last month, Beijing education officials launched an investigation after local news reports suggested that hundreds of students at Beijing Open University had cheated on their final exams, while teachers turned a blind eye. Dozens have been arrested over the last few years for allegedly selling students high-tech cheating devices such as wireless ear pieces and receivers disguised as wristwatches for sharing answers during the national college entrance exams.

U.S. test makers have been cracking down on cheating by Chinese students on their business school admissions test (the GMAT) – with the Graduate Management Admission Council, who oversees the test, already successfully suing several websites that helped students swap exam questions and answers.

With the number of Chinese students taking their GMATs more than quadrupling over the last five years, the struggle at hand is one which had been whispered for a decade. Today the question is asked in a loud voice. How to deal with the country’s growing reputation for academic misconduct?

Sources: “Centenary College closes satellite schools in China, Taiwan after fighting rampant cheating”. The Star-Ledger, July 25, 2010.
“Policing Plagiarism Abroad”. July 27, 2010.
 

4) GLOBE TIPPING – When a ‘do-it-yourself’ might be a ‘don’t’.

Cheap flights, cheaper flights, last minute flights, trains and boats instead of flights, car rentals, hotels, entertainment – no matter what type of holiday or trip tidbit you’re looking for, there seems to be an online booking engine to do the trick.  It’s right at your fingertips!  Quick, easy, and do-it-yourself. So, in the age of internet travel planning ease, where is the need for a real-life, breathing, talking travel agent? Read on to find out when it might be worth leaving things in the hands of a professional.

Booking a cruise
Although many cruise lines now have online booking programs, a good travel agent may still prove to be a godsend – not only in ensuring you the best price, but also in making sure you’re choosing the best type of cruise to suit you – and then ensuring you get the right room you want, on the right boat.

Looking for comprehensive service
Internet travel searches often come up with some great discounts… but not necessarily with all the options – or all the prices – available (for instance, who wants to book a red-eye if you can get a midday flight for roughly the same price?). A good travel agent will go the extra mile to get you the best options, as well as the best prices – and in many cases, they also have special deals not open to the public.

Air passes, around the world fares, and multi-country journeys
If an air pass is what you’re looking for, many airlines only offer them through travel agents – who can also work out complex itineraries. Although it’s true that you can plan a multiple country trip online – and book all the hotels and land travel you might need – agents can answer most of those niggling little questions that search engines sometimes can’t: for example, how far is my hotel from the train station? Can I get an early check-out? Etc. Some agents even specialize in round-the-world tickets, meaning that besides having the best deals, they also have the best knowledge in picking the right routes to maximize your travel value.

If you have specific needs, many agents specialize in certain types of travelers – senior citizens, families, gays and lesbians, outdoor enthusiasts – and can look up other like-minded travelers or destinations specially suited for your interests. Different agents also have difference areas of expertise – luxury, safaris, adventure, etc. So if you’re looking for something in particular, an agent may be the best way to go.

Travelling to “difficult” countries: 
If you’re planning to travel to a country that might be challenging to navigate (ie: China, India, Russia), you might want to leave it to the professionals – which also limits your potential frustrations on the ground with language barriers, con-artists, and realities which don’t exactly live up to their dream-advertisements. Also, you may be looking into a destination that, although it’s popular for tourists in general, may not be popular for travelers from your part of the world. Example: places like Malta or The Gambia may be teeming with Brits, but the sight of a North American is less rare – as is the likelihood of finding any cheap package tours from North American destinations. A good travel agent, however, can help you to get these same package prices, no matter where you’re originally leaving from.

When miracles are needed
When your flight out of Toronto has been cancelled and you find yourself stranded, don’t bother calling the airline until you’ve first tried your agent – who is often a far safer bet at getting yourself rebooked on the next available flight. Many travel agents go beyond the call of duty during times of crises, offering medical referrals if you get sick or even wiring cash if you get robbed (let’s hear it for all those kind souls!).

Source: “When to Use a Travel Agent”. Travel News from Fodor’s Travel Guides, October 25, 2007.

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