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Prof. Stephen Sapp, Richard Ivey School of Business, in the University of Western Ontario’s Hong Kong classroom.Garrige Ho/The Globe and Mail

The Globe's weekly business-school news roundup.

Picture the challenge: a well-known Canadian brand seeks to extend its commercial reach in China by translating a flagship product into the local language. But how to do that in a cost-effective way that maintains brand quality?

It's a test worthy of a case study by the University of Western Ontario's Ivey School of Business, the second largest publisher (after Harvard Business School) of real-life analysis of corporate problems and solutions. In this case, Ivey is the big Canadian brand in question.

Last year, as part of its focus on China, Ivey's publishing arm recruited Chinese-speaking student volunteers at the London, Ont., campus to translate cases from English to simplified Chinese.

Historically, the school relied on business schools in China to translate the cases they wanted for the classroom. The new initiative is designed to be more systematic and comprehensive in scope.

"We have long recognized that business schools in China would prefer to have content in their local language," says Paul Beamish, executive director of Ivey Publishing and a director of the school's Asian Management Institute.

With the growth of business schools in China and increased demand for Western-style content, Ivey saw case study sales potential in a region where the school already is the largest producer of Asia-Pacific focused material. As well, since 1998, Ivey has delivered executive education at its campus in Hong Kong.

So far, more than 150 cases have been translated by student volunteers under the project initiated last fall by Michelle Han, associate director of the Asian institute.

The school has turned to Chinese-speaking students who typically cannot earn pay while studying in Canada but, through about 20 hours of translation work, gain experience for their resume. Some students do the translation while others are proofreaders, with ultimate oversight by Ivey editors to ensure the final quality of the product.

"We have to spend a great deal of time on it because we don't want to hurt the brand," says Dr. Beamish.

With a growing roster of Chinese-translated cases, Ivey Publishing now is expanding its sale of site licences to business schools in China – with several dozen sold in the past six months and another 50 or more expected to be sold in the coming year.

"In the past year, we have been very much proving the model of volunteer translators with good quality control and high quantity," he says. "We're using this as the basis to sell a lot more [site licences] across the country."

So could this be a candidate for an Ivey case study?

"I am sure at some stage," laughs Dr. Beamish. "We have lots of international business cases about market entry and at some stage, this one may qualify, but not yet."

Job prospects

An improving job market looms for next year's crop of MBA graduates, according to a poll released this week by the Graduate Management Admissions Council.

Of 201 global employers who took part in the poll, 76 per cent expect to hire new MBA graduates next year, up from 69 per cent who hired from the graduating class last year.

The poll, published by the Reston,Va.-based organization that administers the Graduate Management Admission Test, found increased demand for new graduates of specialty business programs in management, accounting, finance and related fields.

"Employers recognize that employees with graduate business degrees are a wise investment when times are uncertain," GMAC president Dave Wilson said in a press release.

Influential dean

The dean of Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan has made the list of the Women's Executive Network's top 100 most powerful women in Canada for 2012.

Daphne Taras, who became dean of Edwards in 2010, was recognized in the category of senior public sector leaders.

Winners of the top-100 honour, established a decade ago, are selected for their leadership, their organization's financial performance and for their community contributions.

Top 10 finalist

A Canadian business professor is one of 10 global scholars who secured enough votes from students and alumni to make the first cut in the Economist Intelligence Unit's competition for 2013 Business Professor of the Year.

Darren Dahl is senior associate dean of faculty and research at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business and a past winner of an MBA teaching award. He teaches "cultivating creativity" in the school's redesigned MBA program.

Other professors in the running are from Brazil, Britain, the United States, Costa Rica and India. A global panel of judges will add five professors to the current list on Dec. 17 before selecting four finalists in February, 2013. The winner is named after a live "teach-off" in London next March, with those in the audience or online casting their ballot for the professor who delivers a "wow" lecture. The winner receives $100,000 (U.S.).

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