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For the 12th year in a row, York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto took first place in the Corporate Knights’ Better World MBA ranking.Jim Ross/The Globe and Mail

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

Some business school rankings measure the earning power of MBA graduates after receiving their degree. Others compare programs based on the test scores of applicants.

By contrast, Corporate Knights magazine evaluates an international roster of schools on their commitment to sustainability education in both teaching and research.

"Other rankings are a good resource for students on where they can go [for their MBA] to make money," says Toby Heaps, chief executive officer of Corporate Knights Inc., publisher of the Better World MBA ranking. "Ours is for students who want to make money and make a difference and tackle some fundamental challenges [related to sustainability]."

This year, Canadian schools took three of the top five places among 121 global schools, who either appear on the Financial Times list of top-100 MBA schools or were invited to participate based on their track record in sustainability-focused education. Corporate Knights evaluated schools for their curriculum (the number of core or required courses dedicated to sustainability); the presence of sustainability-oriented institutes and centres directly linked to a school; and citations of relevant peer-reviewed faculty research on a school's website.

For the 12th year in a row, York University's Schulich School of Business in Toronto took first place, scoring high marks in all three categories of the ranking. McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management in Montreal placed second, while the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business finished in the fifth spot.

In all, nine Canadian schools made the list (with their ranking in brackets): the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business (11) in Vancouver; Concordia University's John Molson School of Business (12) in Montreal; St. Mary's University's Sobey School of Business (13) in Halifax; École des sciences de la gestion de l'Université du Québec à Montréal (26); University of Alberta School of Business (27) in Edmonton; Dalhousie University's Rowe School of Business (31) in Halifax; University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management (42); University of Western Ontario's Ivey Business School (56) in London, Ont.; Queen's University's Smith School of Business (91) in Kingston.

Alberta dean to head new innovation committee

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has tapped the dean of business at the University of Alberta to head a new committee, announced this week, to provide advice on innovation and economic diversification in the oil-dependent province.

Joseph Doucet, whose research interests include energy and regulatory economics, will head the 10-member panel that includes representatives from industry, academia, labour and non-profit enterprises. The committee is expected to meet quarterly with the Premier and the Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education.

"I am confident we will be able to build on our strengths and create sustainable solutions to our existing challenges," Dr. Doucet stated in a press release, adding the creation of the panel comes at a "critical time" for the provincial and national economies.

The business side of being a vet

Elad Ben-Ezra grew up in Montreal, developing an early interest in animals. But it was his time as a volunteer cowhand on a 4,000-hectare Arizona cattle ranch in 2009 and 2010 that sealed his decision to become a veterinarian.

While studying at Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in 2013, he learned about a new dual degree option for vet students to earn an MBA at the university's Edwards School of Business.

"I thought that was a really cool combination," says Mr. Ben-Ezra. Over the summer, he wrapped up his one-year MBA and returns this fall for his final year of vet studies, mostly taken up with industry internships.

One of three vet students to complete business degrees this year, Mr. Ben-Ezra sees the MBA as a valuable complement to his ultimate career goal to open a clinical practice.

"The vets who own [their firms] have to take care of everything on the business side," he says.

That reality was the impetus for the dual program introduced last year, says vet college associate dean Bruce Grahn.

"My goal over the next 10 years is to create a pool of DVM [doctor of veterinary medicine] and MBA graduates who are available to be hired in labs, pharmaceutical companies and corporate veterinary practice," he says, noting the range of careers open to vet school graduates.

No students have signed up for the dual degree this year, but he remains optimistic about recruiting a small cohort for 2016. The vet school has added new scholarships to defray the cost of pursuing two degrees ($34,720 for the vet college and $24,580 at Edwards).

Courtney Schroeder, manager of MBA and master of science programs at Edwards, says vet students can pursue the business degree either full- or part-time, beginning either at the end of their third year of vet studies or after graduating with a DVM.

"The majority of students [pursuing the MBA] don't come from business backgrounds," she says. "They have standard general skills that evolve into top management skills."

Unlike Mr. Ben-Ezra, who pursued his business degree after his third year, Alexandra Mizzen completed hers after wrapping up her vet degree. Adding the business degree fit with her career interest in the business, not clinical, side of veterinary medicine.

"Clinic managers are not usually vets," says Ms. Mizzen. "Having that vet background provides me with experience of what a vet has to go through and to understand the drugs involved, too, and talk about it knowledgeably."

Edwards dean Daphne Taras says her school's modular curriculum design – each course runs for three weeks – enables students to pursue part- or full-time studies and also makes it relatively easy to strike joint agreements for dual degrees with other professional faculties at the Saskatoon-based university.

"The strength of the MBA is to take people who have real passion and dedication for another field other than business and give them the tools they need to succeed in their profession," she says.

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