The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.
The ability to work with others, develop business opportunities and demonstrate management and leadership are "critical skills" for Canada's biotechnology sector, according to its human resource arm, BioTalent Canada.
To that end, a new program at McMaster University in Hamilton, tapping its expertise in science and business, aims to prepare young scientists for the lab and the boardroom.
Oct. 22 is the deadline for applications for a new bachelor/master program in biomedical discovery commercialization offered by the department of biochemistry and biomedical science and the DeGroote School of Business. Its counterparts at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., University of Calgary and the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown offer similar programs to introduce scientists to business.
A cohort of 15 McMaster students – those who have completed two years of science or health sciences studies – is expected for the initial intake in January. A class of 50 students is expected for September of 2015, when the program is at full tilt.
"We were training students extremely well in the science of biochemistry but we weren't equipping them to go out into the world and do things other than perhaps go to medical and graduate school and become professors," says Eric Brown, director of the biomedical discovery and commercialization program at McMaster. In a follow-up e-mail, he reports,"We are getting lots of interest from students."
McMaster science graduates already wind up working in pharmaceutical, biotech and related industries, but Prof. Brown says, "We need to make a better connection with the ultimate employers."
He credits colleagues at the business school with being "great collaborators" on the new program, co-developed by DeGroote professor Benson Honig, Teresa Cascioli chair in entrepreneurial leadership. Given the entrepreneurial bent of the younger generation, says Prof. Honig, "They are our best bets to begin taking the knowledge that we produce and turning it into local value."
He adds, "If we do this well we will create an environment that is supportive and begins nurturing and creating some of the commercialization activities we need so badly." In turn, he hopes graduates will be encouraged to pursue careers in Canada instead of the United States.
With donations from industry and McMaster faculty, the new program will offer three scholarships of $5,000 a year for five years.
Revamped MBA includes specialization in aboriginal business
Flexibility is a theme that runs through a redesigned MBA offered by the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
The updated program, offered this fall, reduces the time allotted for compulsory courses and sharply expands the menu of electives for the 12-month MBA. Part-time students usually complete the degree in three years but are given six years to complete their studies.
The added flexibility marks a "dramatic change" in the program, says Marci Elliott, executive director of the MBA program. In addition to studying traditional functional areas of business, such as finance, marketing and leadership, students can mix and match courses based on themes of international and emerging markets, sustainability and entrepreneurship and innovation.
"We are moving from less of a traditional model to more design thinking, with more experiential learning," says Ms. Elliott. For example, MBA students can work with local businesses and community groups on projects in inner-city Winnipeg.
Notably, the program has expanded its options for interdisciplinary study with the addition of a specialization in aboriginal business and economy.
By 2031, Statistics Canada forecasts that First Nation, Métis and Inuit will make up between 18 and 21 per cent of the population of Manitoba, the second-largest proportion in the country. Winnipeg is expected to be one of five metropolitan areas in Canada where aboriginal people account for 10 per cent of the population.
Ms. Elliott says, "It is absolutely critical for the future of aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities" to learn how to work together.
Rankings – new, and revised
In yet another university ranking, the professional networking site LinkedIn examined the employment patterns of its 300 million members to track the employers they select – and stay with – in the fields of marketing, investment banking, accounting, finance and software development. Among graduates landing "desirable" jobs, Queen's School of Business in Kingston and the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management ranked in the top five among Canadian schools in four of the five industry categories.
Meanwhile, Corporate Knights magazine this year rejigged the methodology for its annual ranking of the "greenest" business schools. The survey examined schools that made the 2013 Financial Times's top-100 global MBA programs, assessing their commitment to sustainability in core courses, faculty research and dedicated institutes and centres.
By those criteria, York University's Schulich School of Business in Toronto topped the list, followed by the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business in Vancouver and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, which ranked ahead of prestigious U.S. rivals Harvard Business School and Yale School of Management.
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