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Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 34; October 6, 2010

The Edge


Let’s Go Canada

Canadian B-schools soar as MBA enrollment numbers elsewhere continue to fall.

Abroad Perspective

Have program, no market. In Japan, rising options meet with failing numbers.

Globe Tipping

Staying healthy while away.


If you saw The Globe and Mail this week and its story on how Canadian CEOs lack international experience and the subsequent global sophistication and competitiveness, you could have just as easily been reading about Canadian universities.

Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper (Oct 5) published the results of a study by Russell Reynolds Associates (a headhunting firm), which stated that only 37 per cent of Canadian chief executive officers had even a year of international work experience before they got their top jobs with their employers. It pales with the 67 percent of Australian CEOs who had worked abroad before landing the leading position.

It’s true Aussies have to get off the island and that means “international”. But they go. Of course Canadians can just drive across the border with the United States. The study also pointed out the obvious – experiencing America is not international enough to provide a “global” outlook.

If Canadian universities are educating the CEOs of tomorrow, then Canada’s universities haven’t provided much leadership in this area. The simple fact of how unknown our supposedly world-class institutions are in the world – says much. Canadian universities though improving, still have woeful international student recruiting results. In fact, for years, most of Canada’s recruiting in this area is notionally domestic. There are no official figures, but it could be as many as half of the international students doing degrees, were already in Canadian high schools, colleges, ESL or foundation programs. For Canadians who want to study and travel, there is little direction, let alone financial assistance, to inspire them. Most telling, given that most Canadian university senior executives are educated in Canada, the dearth of effective study abroad programs at Canadian universities doesn’t provide many bridges easily crossed, and for most Canadians, you have to hold their hands to get them started. While matters are slowly improving, all too slowly, the future university presidents and vice-presidents, of 2040, are statistically unlikely to have had a meaningful international experience while in their university years.

International work is all about working internationally. There are only three rules:
1. Presence 2. Presence 3. Presence.

The study concludes similarly when Jon Martin, a managing director in Russell Reynolds’ Toronto office says, “Actually living and working in a market outside your own country is far and away the best way to gain that international orientation and competence.”

But few Canadian universities and their personnel spend any time overseas. Most think once a year meetings in five star hotels in Dubai, Mumbai or Shanghai amounts to globalization. Even in areas where they should have expertise: foreign education systems, assessing international academic credentials, identifying legitimate partnerships, sorting fiction from factual representations – Canadian universities have little sophistication and success, and most find it too easy to stay home. All too typically, Canadian universities commonly deal with international suitors (good or bad) that approach them rather than strategically going about the world to locate partners with complementary affinities.

But as the study says, you gotta be there. It’s becoming more important every day, and in the Autumn of 2010, there’s not only no other way, there’s also no excuse.

“The Edge” by Mel Broitman, Director of the Canadian University Application Centre. Mel has spent most of the last 13 years overseas, including living in Nepal, the UAE and Thailand. He has made over 150 individual visits to countries in South Asia

2) LET’S GO CANADA – Canadian B-schools soar as MBA enrollment numbers elsewhere continue to fall.

In Canada, MBA enrollment numbers for foreign students continue to rise – going against the trends found elsewhere in the world.

According to a study conducted by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (an association of leading business schools), over 60% of Canadian business schools received more full-time MBA applications this year than in 2009. Some of those gains no doubt coming from losses faced by the U.S. – where more than half the business schools who participated in the study reported a drop in the same area.
So why Canada?

According to Indian student Sonali Dash, the choice was simple.
“It was appealing to come to Canada because of the performance of the economy,” explains Ms. Dash, who moved to Toronto this fall to begin the two-year MBA program at York University’s Schulich School of Business. “The banks [in Canada] remained quite good during the recession, while other countries were having problems. I want to make my future in finances and that was a strong indicator to me that opportunities will be good.”

Also appealing to Ms. Dash (as well as countless other international students) is the Canadian government’s relatively new work permit program, which makes it much easier for international graduates to stay and pursue careers in Canada after they finish school – an opportunity that for many U.S. graduates, is more difficult.

The Council survey findings also pointed to another major attraction point: 12-month full-time MBA programs, such as at two of Canada’s largest business schools – Queen’s School of Business in Kingston and Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Whereas most full-time programs in the U.S. run for two years, these options in Canada allow students to fast-track their degrees.

“People don’t want to be out of the work force more than a year,” said Amber Wallace, associate director for external relations at Queen’s.
The enrolment surge isn’t just happening at schools offering one-year programs. Of the 32 full-time MBA programs offered by 18 different schools across Canada, 77% reported an upward trend of foreign applicants this year.

By region of origin, 65% of foreign MBA students in Canada came from Asia-Pacific, with the majority from India (71% in the U.S.); 17% are from Africa or the Middle East (10% in the U.S.); 5% from Latin America (7% in the U.S.); and 6% from Europe (versus 8% in the U.S.).

Source: “Canada bucks trend of falling MBA applications”. CTVNews.


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