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The Telfer School of Management plans to offer a French MBA here, in Metz, France, in collaboration with a French engineering school.Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

Business and economics programs lead the way on the growing roster of master level programs offered in English across Europe – with a 43-per-cent jump in France between 2011 and mid-2013, according to the Institute of International Education.

Bucking that trend is the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management, which has teamed with a French university to offer a new MBA en français.

Last week in Metz, France, officials from Telfer and École nationale d'ingénieurs de Metz welcomed their first cohort of eight students – rising to 20 or so in a couple of years. Most of them are engineering professionals from eastern France and Luxembourg with about 10 years of experience eyeing a transition into management.

Telfer has had other academic relationships in Europe and Asia, but the Metz program marks the Ottawa school's first offshore MBA degree – part of a strategic move to expand its international footprint at minimal risk.

"It is much easier if you are trying to establish yourself in an outside country to work with a partner," Telfer dean François Julien said before leaving for Metz. "Our goal is to start small and build on the good word of mouth of students."

The French engineering school recruited potential candidates (with final selection by Telfer) and built MBA-appropriate classroom facilities. Telfer professors will go to France to deliver about 70 per cent of the content.

During the 18-month program, students alternate between face-to-face time in Metz (a weekend and three weekdays) and online studies when back at work.

In Metz, and possible academic ventures elsewhere, Prof. Julien says he hopes to draw on Telfer's expanding alumni network.

"It is always a challenge to internationalize a business school," he says. "But you minimize your risk and increase your likelihood of success if you build in areas where you have a presence, connections and networks."

Derogatory chant spurs program changes

Fresh revelations of derogatory frosh week chants – this time about aboriginal people – have spurred additional measures by the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business to promote student awareness of indigenous culture and issues.

The Vancouver school will hold workshops, with help from the university's First Nations Studies Program, modify the core curriculum to include indigenous topics and redesign first-year orientation. The move adds to initiatives introduced this fall after footage surfaced of an offensive rape "cheer" in a student-led orientation for freshmen.

A UBC report cited a frosh-week chant based on Pocahontas, a Walt Disney animated film, concluding there was "very little [student] awareness of indigenous peoples and their concerns." In a press release, Sauder dean Robert Helsley said, "We need to fully engage our students on the themes of indigenous culture, social justice and ethics. This is integral to corporate social responsibility in the 21st century."

MBA Alliance takes sales pitch on the road

Earlier this year, six Canadian business schools active in international recruitment joined forces to boost efforts to attract top students from abroad. The initial forays are encouraging, says a spokeswoman for the Canadian MBA Alliance. (Members include the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto; Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont.; Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal; Queen's University School of Business in Kingston; Sauder in Vancouver; and York University's Schulich School of Business in Toronto.)

In August, 80 prospective students showed up for a "Why study in Canada" panel held after an MBA fair in Mexico City, says Niki da Silva, director of recruitment and admissions for Rotman's full-time MBA program. Last week in London, she says, alliance members had a "fantastic" response when 50 potential students showed up at a similar fair-related event. Next month, alliance members make their sales pitch in New York.

The events are a forum for the schools to speak to a perceived competitive advantage for Canada – immigration, program quality and cost among them – and provide details of individual school attributes. By sharing the cost of developing videos and other marketing materials, alliance members hope to raise Canada's profile abroad.

Measuring results could take a year or so, with attendee lists cross-checked against future applications. "We are all very focused on: How do we know this will have an impact?" Ms. da Silva says.

Executive MBA ranking

Led by Schulich School of Business (in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois), six Canadian institutions made the Financial Times list of top-100 executive MBA programs in the world in 2013.

The Kellogg-Schulich EMBA program, ranked first in Canada for the seventh year in a row, placed 26th in the global ranking. The other Canadian schools are: Rotman (36); Queen's and Johnson School of Business at Cornell University in New York state (40); Ivey (43); University of Alberta School of Business and Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary (81) and Queen's, with its own program (89).

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