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In life, as in commerce, a Plan B is often a strategic necessity.
The maxim also holds true for York University's Schulich School of Business as it prepares to open a campus in India in September, 2013.
Construction is under way for the $100-million campus in Hyderabad, but India's Parliament has yet to pass the Foreign Educational Institutions Act that would permit Schulich and other foreign higher education entities to operate stand-alone facilities in the country. Earlier this month, Kapil Sibal, India's minister for human resource development and responsible for the legislation, urged swift passage of the bill after almost two years of delay, according to The Times of India.
Amid uncertain Indian politics, though, the legislation may not be in place when Schulich's campus opens next year.
That's why business dean Dezso Horvath has his Plan B – a twinning arrangement with a local Hyderabad school, as required under current Indian rules.
"I am going to India to make Plan B a full reality, just in case," says dean Horvath, who heads there next month to choose one of four possible partners.
With or without the Indian legislation in place, Schulich will take in 60 students in 2013 and teach the same curriculum as in Toronto for the two-year MBA. If the Indian bill is not approved by 2014, Schulich would send Hyderabad students to Toronto for a semester to complete their degree (and comply with Indian rules).
Assuming passage of the bill, Schulich would accept 120 students in 2014 and grow to its maximum enrolment of 360 students by 2017, with a 60-40 split of Indian and international students, respectively, who spend two years in Hyderabad to earn their MBA.
Without the new legislation, however, Schulich would be forced to slow its intake of students in Hyderabad because they would have to come to Toronto for a semester to complete their degree. In effect, the longer India takes to approve its legislation, the slower the pace at which the Schulich campus reaches capacity. In the meantime, Schulich needs to work with a local partner.
"I have been asked, 'Why don't you violate the rules?'" says dean Horvath. "I want to stay here for the long term and so I will live up to the rules."
Schulich, one of several international business schools eager to plant the flag in India, is not putting up its own money to build the 15-acre campus near the Hyderabad International Airport. Instead, GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Indian infrastructure giant GMR Group, is paying for the project and will hand over the campus to Schulich for $1 a year.
The school's experience in India offers an object lesson for Canadian business, says Schulich's James McKellar, who is overseeing development of the new campus.
"We have been in India for 15 years," says Prof. McKellar, who shares dean Horvath's confidence about ultimate passage of the legislation. "We knew the situation and we knew we had to have a Plan B."
The message for Canadian business, he says, is: "Get out in the world and learn how to do business with these other countries."
As important, he adds, "You should in no way disrespect the government and laws of those [overseas]countries. It is not in your interest.
"Just work at it and people will begin to help you," says the professor, who accompanies dean Horvath to India next month.
Steve Harvey, a researcher on work-related stress, has been named dean of Concordia University's John Molson School of Business for a five-year term effective July 1.
Prof. Harvey, currently dean of the Williams School of Business at Bishop's University and its associate vice-principal of research, takes over from Alan Hochstein, who served as interim dean for the past year.
"Steve Harvey is a distinguished scholar and teacher with an exceptional academic and professional record," Concordia provost David Graham said in a press release. "He is a dynamic administrator who will be an excellent dean and a great addition to the university's senior academic leadership."
Professors' external appointments
Peter Christoffersen, a finance professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, has been appointed by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board to an advisory panel assessing stress tests of banking institutions. He was the only appointee to the six-person panel from outside the U.S., according to the school.
Mary Waller, associate director of the GlobalMining Management program atSchulich School of Business at York University, has been elected to the board of governors of the Academy of Management, a scholarly organization with members from business schools in more than 100 countries.
Prof. Waller, an expert in organizational studies, is the only member of the 15-officer board from a Canadian business school, according to Schulich.
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