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(Jose Carlos Pires Pereira/iStockphoto)
(Jose Carlos Pires Pereira/iStockphoto)

Business Education

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The Globe's weekly Business School news roundup

Canada has fortified its position as the third most popular global destination for graduate business education, after the United States and United Kingdom, according to a new report to be released next week by the U.S. Graduate Management Admission Council.

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The number of Graduate Management Admission Test scores sent to Canadian business schools rose to a record high of 28,494 as of June, 2011, up slightly from 28,166 a year earlier.

“Canada’s overall demand for business education in Canada is still quite high, a sign of a healthy market place for their graduate business programs,” says Michelle Sparkman-Renz, director of research and communications for the Reston, Virginia, council that administers the test.

Moreover, international students show growing interest in Canada. This year, of those taking the admission test to study in Canada, 57 per cent were from abroad, compared to 43 per cent at home. “You really want the international mix,” she says. “It’s good news for Canada.”

This year, for the first time, women accounted for 40 per cent GMAT exam takers in Canada, up from 38 per cent last year. The proportion is consistent with global trends showing a gradual increase in participation by women.

The top five countries sending exam results to Canadian schools are, in order, China, India, Iran and Pakistan.

The full global report from the council will be available on its website (www.gmac.com) on Nov. 8.

Student-run trading

At a growing number of business schools across Canada, students are learning to manage the real-life risks and rewards of trading stocks and bonds with real money, just like the investment pros.

This week, the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business opened a $500,000 student-managed portfolio trust, financed with donations from retired Cameco board member George Dembroski and N. Murray Edwards, for whom the business school was named.

Later this month, the Faculty of Management at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta will hold an official ceremony for its new $100,000 student-managed investment fund, which allows students to execute trades under the supervision of an advisory board.

The fund opened in September with seed money from the Faculty, with students now about to make their first investment decisions. “We are hoping to grow [the fund]through corporate donations but mainly through the wise investments of our students,” says Faculty dean Robert Ellis.

Also this month, the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business will open a trading floor, with students managing a $380,000 equity portfolio and earning course credits at the same time. Students will be expected to manage the portfolio to ensure long-term growth and preservation of capital to meet or exceed the S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index, according to the university.

The proliferation of student-managed funds signals a trend in business education to offer real-life decision-making as a complement to course theory, says Edwards business school dean Daphne Taras. For third- and fourth-year students eligible to work on the portfolio, she says, the experience will be about “real time, real money, real risk and real sleepless nights.”

Will there be sleepless nights for the dean? “I do think that student-run portfolios have a good track record and they are not reason for any more sleepless nights for the dean than managing her own money on the stock market,” she says.

A portion of the income generated from the fund would be reinvested with the balance going to scholarships and other student-oriented services.

Like others, the student-run fund at Edwards will operate with an advisory board of faculty and industry representatives.

Dean Ellis says the student-managed fund at his Lethbridge management faculty provides an “unparalleled experience” for students to make the same real-life choices facing professional managers. “You are managing real money so this is terrific preparation for working in the investment industry,” he says.

The rise of student-run funds comes amid turbulent global financial markets.

“It is almost a perfect time to be launching an investment fund because the stock markets are so volatile,” says dean Ellis. “There are great opportunities and great risks and it is not going to be easy.”

Interim dean appointed

A veteran business school administrator from the University of Alberta has been named interim dean of the University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Business and Economics, pending the selection of a permanent appointee next July.

Prof. Michael B. Percy, dean of U of A’s school of business from 1997 to 2011, is an economist, author and former member of the Manitoba legislature. His appointment takes effect Nov. 15, replacing Michael Benarroch who was named dean of the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.

Student winners

A team from HEC Montréal won the inaugural Social Enterprise Cup, developed by student leaders at Concordia University in co-operation with the Network for Business Sustainability, HEC Montréal and Concordia’s David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise. Joseph Khoury and Liza Charbel won for their business plan to regenerate the environment and alleviate poverty in northern Mali.

jlewington@bell.net

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