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Asper B-school taps Michael Benarroch as new dean

Michael Benarroch has been tapped to take the reins at the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Benarroch, who begins his five-year term at Asper on Nov. 15, is the founding dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Winnipeg.

He has ambitions to raise the Asper school's profile nationally and internationally.

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"A lot of the top MBA business schools are now really starting to focus on what makes them unique," says Dr. Benarroch, an economist whose research focus is international trade, especially as it relates to technology and the environment. "What I would like to do is to work with the faculty to identify those areas that make the University of Manitoba [business school]unique and build on those as a point of strength."

Of just over 1,800 business students at Asper, about 1,650 are undergraduates. In addition to a small PhD program, the school offers MBAs and executive education.

His decision to pull up stakes from his alma mater, University of Winnipeg, where he has worked for the past 20 years, comes with mixed emotions. But after establishing the business faculty at Winnipeg three years ago, the chance to lead a much bigger school was irresistible.

"There are already some things the [Asper]school does extremely well and they have a tremendous undergraduate program," he said. As well, he praised an "enthusiastic and hard-working faculty," the school's strong relationship with the business community and its entrepreneurship centre. "We want to build on those strengths and build a strong MBA and executive education, which are two areas of growth," he said.

He would like Asper to develop a bigger presence internationally, as the province is also trying to do.

At the university, the business school already has the largest faculty-based exchange program, with 33 international partner schools. So will study abroad and international exchanges become a mandatory component of the curriculum?

"That is a question on the table," says Dr. Benarroch, adding the answer will come through consultation with the faculty, students, the business community and the provincial government. Even if an international experience does not become a requirement for students, he hopes to add opportunities in the curriculum for them to explore global issues.

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"There are a whole bunch of initiatives in the province to increase its global focus," he says. "So it is really important for the business school to become a leader in that respect."

Montreal's new derivatives institute

A new institute on financial derivatives – used for hedging and trading stocks, bonds, interest rates and commodities – has been set up at HEC Montréal, the business school of L'Université de Montréal.

First announced in the Quebec budget last spring and officially unveiled this week, the Montreal Structured Finance and Derivatives Institute is a joint initiative of the province and HEC Montréal. In addition to research on financial innovation, risk issues and the regulatory environment, the centre will tap industry experts and others to train students about these complex financial tools.

For the provincial government, the institute is a way to strengthen Montreal's position as a major financial centre.

Financial support of $15-million for the institute over the next 10 years will come from several sources: $6-million from HEC Montréal and $3-million through its foundation; $5-million from the securities regulator and $1-million from the province.

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HEC Montréal associate professor Pascal François is the new director of the institute, while former President of the National Bank of Canada Léon Courville will serve as chairman of the board of directors.

Rotman lures Canadians home

Of a dozen faculty appointments announced this week by the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, several are returning Canadian academics.

One of them is Will Mitchell, a native of British Columbia, who was at Duke University's Fuqua School of Management. He will be a visiting professor of strategy management during this academic year and also holds the Anthony S. Fell Chair in New Technologies and Commercialization.

Another Canadian, Alexander Edwards, recently completed his PhD from the University of Washington and joins the school as an assistant professor of accounting. Jacob Hirsh, now an assistant professor of organizational behaviour and human resource management, was a post-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University.

Among several non-Canadians recruited to the faculty, Josha Gans was at the Melbourne Business School and has been named Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a professor of strategic management. Marketing professor Aparna Labroo, whose research interests include consumer decision making, was at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. At Rotman, she holds the Patricia C. Ellison Chair.

The appointments represent a net increase of one to the 115-member faculty.

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