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Help planning a career from the get-go in B-school

The Globe's weekly Business School news roundup.

From the moment they arrive at business school, students are mapping out a route to their ultimate destination: a career. To get there, they often need a guide to identify the skills needed for a high-value job or strategies to connect with a preferred employer.

Stepping into the role of guide – and sometimes go-between – Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management is expanding its business career centre with new counsellors and social media tools to respond to demand from students and recruiters.

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With a staff of 16 (including 10 career consultants hired since August) and a new digital app (developed in Ryerson's digital media innovation hub) that matches students and recruiters, school officials believe they have one of the most advanced career centres at a business school in Canada. This week, (oct 4) the Rogers school held an event to recognize a collective donation of $800,000 from Certified General Accountants Ontario, Sears Canada Inc. and accountants Hogg, Shain and Scheck for the centre's work.

"We are not just a job posting and résumé centre, we are actually a connector between business and students early on in their education," says Mark Patterson, director of the school's Careers and Employer Partnerships. The goal, he adds, "is to actually produce graduates who can hit the ground running and deliver on the needs of business."

The school's career consultants work with students, starting in first year, to help them assess their personality, past experiences and future ambitions as part of a personal "narrative" for their career. In the process, students identify their strengths and weaknesses, the right mix of courses and potential internships to put them on track for their professional future.

"Students come in with preconceived ideas from different influencers about what they want to do," says Mr. Patterson. "What we are responsible for is to open their eyes and really expose them to the breadth of career options out there."

As important, he says, are partnerships with potential employers. "Despite the fact there are challenges for youth in the employment market today, there are still a lot of gaps where companies are having a hard time finding talent," he says. His centre has installed "WhoPlusYou," a searchable data base that enables students (with their privacy protected) to create a profile of their academic and extra-curricular activities and establish a long-term relationship with prospective recruiters. "I believe it will revolutionize how we connect with students and employers," says Mr. Patterson, who is also adding senior executives as mentors for undergraduate and MBA students.

The new initiatives, he says, are designed to help students – and employers – find the right fit.

India Institute

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Networks and connections are as vital to academic researchers as they are to anyone in the business world.

A case in point is a new research institute based in India, created by the University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute and the Indian partner of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.

The Prosperity Institute of India, based in Gurgaon, will bring together researchers from Canada, the United States and India to explore the prosperity potential of a Top 5 global economy. As Canada and other countries look to foster closer ties with India, Toronto is well positioned to capitalize on opportunities, given that it is home to a majority of Indian immigrants to Canada.

"It is not just that India is a cool opportunity," says Kevin Stolarick, research director of the Martin Prosperity Institute. "India is a cool opportunity [and] nobody else except for London has the kinds of connections to India that Toronto has."

The challenge, he says, is to figure out how to tap India's diversity. "What people know is that there is potential [in India] but they don't know where it is and they don't know how to connect to it," he says. "There is intense interest from the Indo-Canadian community in Toronto, but even for them they know their home town [in India] but they don't know what is going on anywhere else."

He hopes the new institute can be instrumental in identifying hot spots of creativity and innovation. In January, 2013, the institute is scheduled to release a study on the talent, technology and diversity of India, by region, with a subsequent report on cities due out next spring.

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"There is understanding and recognition that there is opportunity in India," says Prof. Stolarick. "Everyone knows that, but where in India?"

Ranking schools

Six Canadian business schools made The Economist's 2012 ranking of top-100 full-time MBA programs, though four of the six dropped several spots from last year. Of 135 invited schools, 118 institutions took part in the annual survey that measures post-MBA career opportunities and salary rise, personal development, networking potential and other criteria over a three-year period.

As it did last year, York University's Schulich School of Business led the Canadian contingent but slipped to 16 th from ninth place in 2011. The other Canadian schools on the list (with 2011 results in brackets) are: McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management in 75 th spot (64); Concordia University's John Molson School of Business in 78 th spot (80); University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business in 91 st spot (82); HEC Montréal in 93 rd spot (96) and the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business in 95 th spot (81).

Some Canadian schools, including the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and the University of Western Ontario's Ivey School of Business, choose not to participate in the survey.

Separately, in a Financial Times ranking of Masters in Management programs, HEC Montréal was the only North American business school to make the list for the fourth year in a row for its Master of Science in Administration. The graduate program was ranked in the Top 10 by subject, for accountancy. The FT ranking scores schools on factors that include salaries three years after graduation, placement of new graduates and alumni satisfaction with their program.

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