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Several Canadian business schools are among those in an international survey cited for making "huge improvements" in becoming known to employers as preferred sources for MBA graduates.

The QS Global 200 Business Schools Report asked more than 2,000 international employers last year where they actively recruit for graduates, analyzing the top 200 global business schools with full-time MBA programs.

Of 82 North American schools, six from Canada made the top 20: Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto; Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario; Queen's University School of Business; Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia; Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University and York University's Schulich School of Business.

Only three Canadian schools made the top 20 in 2010.

QS, which organizes education fairs around the world for MBAs and executive MBAs, said each school in the top-20 cluster "has improved consistently, and year-on-year has climbed further up the ratings."

For the first time, two other Canadian schools pushed into the second tranche – those ranked between 21 and 40. The University of Alberta's School of Business came in 28th, with HEC Montréal, affiliated with l'Université de Montréal, two spots behind.

The University of Saskatchewan's Edwards School of Business and Concordia University's John Molson School of Business also joined the QS North American list for the first time.

Their climb up the rankings, as well as those from other countries, is a sign that international firms are widening their search for top talent, according to QS.

Ethical consulting

Tired of all the business scandals?

So is the Canadian Association of Management Consultants, which is working with business schools in Canada to raise standards of professional advice given to corporations.

"It is so easy in the business world to get sucked up in the inertia and maximize shareholder wealth and greed," says Glenn Yonemitsu, chief executive officer of CMC-Canada.

Management consulting is not a regulated industry, but is recognized with a professional designation conferred by provincial institutes and administered by the national body. "We are here to be a reminder to keep people on the straight and narrow and [tell them]they have to worry about their reputation," says Mr. Yonemitsu.

Working with business schools is one way to "raise the bar" on ethics and other professional standards and get out the message to a new generation of consultants, he says.

In early February, CMC-Canada and Queen's University School of Business signed a memorandum of understanding for full-time and executive MBA students to work toward their certification as a certified management consultant.

The agreement builds on an existing relationship with the school.

All students must sign a code of professional conduct and take Queen's courses recognized by the association, as well as others developed by the professional body. For designation as a certified management consultant, students must pass the required courses, gain three years of experience and pass an oral exam administered by two experienced industry members.

The agreement is one of six between CMC-Canada and universities, with several more expected this year, according to Mr. Yonemitsu.

New scholarships

In a bid to attract more top law and business students to take a joint degree, the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto has introduced new financial incentives.

Guaranteed entrance scholarships of $30,000 will be offered to each of the top 20 applicants from U of T's faculty of law who apply for Rotman's fall class for the four-year Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration. Taken separately, the two degrees would take five years.

The Rotman MBA admissions office also is waiving the Graduate Management Admission Test for applicants with an LSAT score of 165 (in the 92nd percentile) or higher who are currently enrolled in the first year of U of T law or have been accepted for September. As well, U of T law students already accepted by Rotman are eligible to apply.

The new scholarships are designed to attract more top students to the joint degree. About 12 students a year enter the program currently, but the two faculties hope to boost enrolment to least 20 a year in future.

First-year law students applying to the JD/MBA must submit applications by Mar. 1 to be considered for the scholarships.

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