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Ryerson’s Top 200 Program provides students with the opportunity to be mentored by a professional working in their field of interest.
Ryerson’s Top 200 Program provides students with the opportunity to be mentored by a professional working in their field of interest.

BUSINESS SCHOOL NEWS

How Ryerson gives commerce students a head start on careers Add to ...

The Globe’s biweekly business-school news roundup.

Even before she graduates June 19 from Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, Alysa Teves has a head start on pursuing her chosen career of human resources.

That’s because the bachelor of commerce student spent the past two years in a new extracurricular program offered by the school for academically-strong, community-engaged undergraduates. They receive leadership and career coaching from their professors and industry professionals.

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“It was one of the best experiences of my university career,” says Ms. Teves, citing the networking, career preparation and mentoring opportunities through the Top 200 Program, which selects up to 100 applicants from each of third- and fourth-year commerce at Ryerson.

The school offers a variety of career counselling and other support to its 10,000 business undergraduates, but the Top 200 is an “extra layer” for future leaders to enhance their personal, professional and communication skills, says Andre Serero, program manager and executive-in-residence at Rogers.

“We are preparing students who are book smart and career-ready to hit the ground running from Day 1,” he says. In theory, he says, “they will perform better and will rise faster in the ranks.”

Ms. Teves, a member of the program’s first cohort two years ago, held down two part-time jobs while doing well at school and taking on leadership roles in student clubs on campus.

For the program, she filled out a personality test to identify her strengths and weaknesses, took part in leadership training and connected with industrial professionals who served as mentors during the academic year.

“I was an HR major and, at the time, I did not know what I wanted to do,” says Ms. Teves, who was mentored by Lynda Polan, national human resources leader for advisory services at KPMG. “It seemed like a great opportunity to get her insights.”

Ms. Polan, a Ryerson business graduate, volunteered to assist a new generation of future professionals and, as well, to get a read on the quality of new graduates.

Before their first meeting, Ms. Teves was asked to spell out her expectations for the relationship.

“At the beginning, I was really nervous,” recalls Ms. Teves, who had two pages of questions for Ms. Polan. In turn, Ms. Polan offered insights and suggestions and also organized a day of job-shadowing for Ms. Teves to learn about junior HR roles at KPMG.

“They were all very passionate about what they do,” says Ms. Teves, of KPMG employees. “It solidified the fact that I wanted to continue my career in HR.”

With her sights on a career in recruitment, Ms. Teves credits her Top 200 experience with securing a six-month contract with a national consulting firm.

Her “life-changing experience,” she says, “allowed me to learn a bit more about what I want to do and don’t want to do.”

Telfer offers Australian-developed EMBA

By their nature, big-ticket projects are costly, complicated and controversial. Whether it’s a federal government $25-billion shipbuilding contract or Enbridge’s proposed $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline, the projects test the skills of managers to stay on budget, on time and out of trouble.

A new executive MBA program, delivered by the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management but developed by an Australian university, aims to equip public and private sector managers with the tools to ensure the moving parts in a big project fit together.

“The issue of programs, projects and procurement is a very timely one given the nature of some of the public discourse,” says Doug Dempster, executive director of the Telfer Centre for Executive Leadership. Given that private and public sector managers may do just one or two big projects in a career, the degree of professional knowledge is not that deep, he says. “The idea of getting people going into or about to go into these jobs and give them the knowledge when they need it is very attractive.”

Instead of creating its own program from scratch, Telfer teamed with Queensland University of Technology, a Brisbane university that, for the past seven years, has offered a three-year EMBA with specializations in complex program leadership and strategic procurement.

At present, says Mr. Dempster, procurement decisions assume nothing changes during the life of a major project. “Today, we have technological change, changes in government and social change,” he says. “So how do you navigate these changes?”

The Telfer program opens in January of 2015, with Canadian content increasingly added to the curriculum along with international case studies and a two-week international study trip. Midcareer managers stay in their jobs while earning their degree, with the program delivered in seven modules through a mix of in-class and online learning.

With an initial class of 25 to 30 professionals, the program will target defence, aerospace and marine industries, along with other industries where businesses want to transform their operations. The price tag is $75,000.

Follow Jennifer Lewington and Business School News by subscribing to an RSS feed here.

Contact Jennifer at jlewington@bell.net.

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