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Sauder School of Business tied for 49th place in the Financial Times top-70 annual ranking of master of management programs.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

The master of management program, a familiar offering in Europe, is catching on in Canada.

Unlike the MBA, which requires several years of work experience, the master of management caters to those from non-business academic backgrounds and no job history.

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The University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business, one of half-a-dozen Canadian schools now offering the specialty degree, raised the profile of its five-year-old program this week in two separate events.

In one, Sauder was the only North American school listed in the Financial Times' top-70 annual ranking of master of management programs released this week, tying for the 49th spot. Sauder, in Vancouver, is a first-time participant, having met the FT requirement to provide data on three years' worth of graduates.

In another, UBC approved a new dual degree option next year for top undergraduate students to study in their field of interest and earn a master of management at an accelerated pace.

"It [the dual degree] will let you take your passion and transform it into a profession," says Murali Chandrashekaran, associate dean of professional graduate programs.

Selected students in arts, science, music and media studies, for example, can earn their undergraduate degree while taking one business course a year that counts toward a master of management. After their four-year undergraduate degree, students then complete the remainder of the master program in six months and graduate with two degrees in 4 1/2 years instead of five.

"Employers are looking for people with diverse backgrounds but with a common language of business and who can hit the ground running," Prof. Chandrashekaran says.

By contrast, he says, students can follow their academic interests, explore business as a potential career and develop skills valued by employers. "It's never too early to start people on this journey of professional development and help round out their strong academic background as well."

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Dual degree participants also will have access to a Sauder career coach over 4 1/2 years.

An initial cohort of 60 students is expected next year, but Prof. Chandrashekaran says school forecasts point to "much larger demand," possibly 300 students in three to five years.

"This is not just a European concept," he says, of the specialty master program. "North American and other international schools have been a little slower getting into the market."

The price of Sauder's master of management is $26,819 for domestic students and $38,819 for those from abroad.

Fundraising campaign begins for new building

A $10-million donation moves Carleton University's Sprott School of Business closer to realizing its ambition to house all its programs under one roof.

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The gift from Ottawa developer Wesley Nicol and his wife, Mary, kicks off a fundraising drive of between $40-million and $55-million for a new building, according to Sprott dean Jerry Tomberlin. Depending on donor response, he estimates construction could begin in two years – well before his term expires in four years.

School officials initially considered a site five kilometres away but now are weighing several locations on campus that could include a hotel. "If that were to prove feasible and we had an interested partner, that could change the parameters including where we would locate [the business school] on campus," Dr. Tomberlin says.

The Sprott school is housed on multiple floors of the tallest building on campus, with space for graduate students but leaving undergraduates scattered across campus for classes and study areas. Moreover, the high-rise building has a small floor plate, putting space for meetings and project work at a premium.

Dr. Tomberlin is determined that the future building's design will reflect current thinking in business education – namely the value of collaboration among students and with faculty.

"Having everyone under the same roof is going to make a huge difference in terms of building a community and a sense of collaboration," he says.

Student entrepreneurs catch Google's eye

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Two second-year students at Wilfrid Laurier University's school of business and economics are among five startup firm developers awarded a six-month stay in the Google Innovation Space at Ontario's Waterloo Region Communitech Hub, a network for commercializing technologies.

Andrew Paradi and Brandon Chow, who founded a website analytics firm during their first year at Laurier, are the only student entrepreneurs selected this fall for a spot in the innovation space, giving them access to Communitech services and a chance to pitch ideas to Google. (The Globe and Mail recently profiled their venture.)

Meanwhile, recent graduates of Fanshawe College's Lawrence Kinlin School of Business in London, Ont., won the social impact award for an online marketing challenge sponsored by Google. For the competition, teams received a $250 credit from Google to design a three-week campaign for a non-profit organization.

The Fanshawe team developed a search engine advertising campaign to boost reservations for adult and children programs at Museum London. For the student's win, Google donated $15,000 to the museum, according to a press release from Fanshawe.

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