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The Globe's weekly Business School news roundup.

Since 2002, the Rotman School of Management has been dreaming of a larger space to accommodate its growth in faculty, students and research activities without leaving its home on the downtown campus of the University of Toronto.

"From a branding perspective, we did not want to go to another site to rebuild somewhere else and we did not want to have our core activities separated in two different buildings," says Mary-Ellen Yeomans, assistant dean and chief operating officer at Rotman.

That ambition was recognized this week with an official ceremony to mark an expansion that doubles the amount of space for teaching, research, study and special events at the school's current St. George Street address.

Designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, the $92-million project integrates a new nine-storey glass tower with the school's existing five-storey home that opened in 1995. The facilities also link to an existing heritage home on the site that will house Rotman's PhD program.

As with other recent B-school renovations or expansions, the one at Rotman aims to deliver a message about its business education philosophy.

"Rotman in the world is all about the dissemination of new ideas in business education and the role of business in society," says Prof. Yeomans, who led the project with vice-dean Peter Pauly.

A theme of connectivity runs through the design, with physical links between new and old parts of the building and several outdoor terraces for informal gatherings of students and professors. Also featured in the expansion are seven new 70-seat classrooms, a 500-seat lecture and event hall and more than 60 new, technology-equipped study rooms for students to work on projects.

"The wonderful architecture that KPMB created for us is to facilitate the whole idea of people coming together and talking about ideas, becoming involved and understanding how different perspectives can be brought to bear in different areas," she says.

A number of new research and education centres that could not be squeezed into the previous space now will be housed in the main building. "It is very important for the involvement and collaboration of faculty in these centres to be present [in the same place]," says Prof. Yeomans. "Space is such a facilitator and an enabler of communication and collaboration.

With more space, Rotman will move ahead with a plan to enrol 390 full-time MBA students by 2015-16, up from 325 this year. The school also offers a morning and evening MBA, executive programs (delivered off-campus) and graduate-level studies.

"The space will stand as a testament to who we see ourselves as and to what we want to say to the world about what we are doing," says Prof. Yeomans. "But also as a place to facilitate our students interacting and becoming leaders in society."

Funding for the project came from various sources, including $50-million from the Ontario government, an additional $10-million from other governments and the balance from private donors and the university. The expansion is the centrepiece of a $200-millon fundraising campaign to support, among other things, student and faculty activities.

Case competition

Business professors from India and Japan took the top two spots, respectively, in a case competition sponsored by the University of Western Ontario's Ivey School of Business and the Indian School of Business, with the winners announced in Hyderabad, India.

Faculty from the India Institute of Management Calcutta won $4,000 (U.S.) while Tokyo's Hitotsubashi University picked up $3,000 for second place in the business case general category. MDI Gurgaon and T A Pai Management Institute, both from India, and the China Europe International Business School in Pudong each won $2,000 in the special category competition.

Increasingly, faculty members are "investing time and effort to become better case writers and case teachers," commented Ariff Kachra, assistant professor of strategy and managing director of India development at Ivey, in a press release. The competition drew participation from 11 business schools in five countries. Ivey, the second largest publisher of case studies after Harvard Business School, has developed more than 200 with a focus on India.

Student voice

For insights on the benefits and pitfalls of an MBA, listen to those already in these programs, advises, an American online publication. "With a degree this diverse, it can be challenging to predict whether or not a given program can really work for you," writes Karl Fendelander, who names 10 MBA student blogs to follow.

The only Canadian B-school student blog on the American-dominated list features 12 current MBA candidates from the Rotman School of Management. "This collection of blogs gives readers a great idea of what MBA students at a variety of life stages can expect," he comments.

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