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Campus building in Metz, France, where the U of Ottawa Telfer School of management plans to offer a French MBA in collaboration with the École Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Metz, an engineering school in the eastern industrial region of France.

Telfer School of Management - University of Ottawa

The Globe's weekly Business School news roundup.

In a crowded MBA market, business schools have to identify – and sharpen – their competitive edge.

For the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management, an MBA "en français" is seen as a strategic way to expand its footprint in Canada and Europe.

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After a two-year break to rethink its program, the school this month introduced a revamped francophone MBA for working professionals in the national capital region.

The two-year program, delivered three times a week over two years, is a blend of in-class and online learning – in contrast to campus-based programs for English-speaking MBA students at Telfer. With a price tag of $23,000, the francophone program has attracted an inaugural class of 25 students who have between five and seven years of work experience (though the minimum entry requirement is three years.)

"We needed to find a new formula to make the francophone MBA for this market more accessible, more flexible and more relevant," says Alain Doucet, assistant dean of external relations for Telfer.

Meanwhile, in January of 2013, Telfer plans to offer a French MBA in collaboration with the École Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Metz, an engineering school in the eastern industrial region of France. The program is aimed at European professional engineers, many of them Metz alumni, who are eyeing a move into management. With tuition of $38,000 that includes a study trip to Ottawa, students will receive a University of Ottawa diploma.

"One of our competitive advantages is our bilingual nature and our ability to offer end-to-end francophone management programs," Mr. Doucet says.

This marks the first time that Telfer is offering a degree program in Europe, where many MBA programs are offered in English. The school currently offers curriculum, but not its own degree program, on a contract basis with a business school in Romania. In 2005, Telfer withdrew from the executive MBA market in Hong Kong in the face of stiff competition from schools with deeper pockets.

The partnership with the Metz engineering school is in keeping with Telfer's strategic plan through 2014-2015. Over the next three years, Telfer hopes to negotiate one or two more arrangements similar to Metz, with a likely geographic focus on French-speaking Europe and North Africa.

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"It is part of our internationalization strategy," Mr. Doucet says. "The commitment is to deliver programs internationally for the purpose of international reputation-building, networking and revenue generation."

The Metz engineering school, which has no graduate business program of its own, is currently renovating facilities to receive the first crop of students. While Metz will recruit candidates, content and faculty members will be largely provided by Telfer, says Christyne Auger, marketing manager for graduate programs. "It is a North American diploma they will receive so they will get a different perspective," she says.

Like the revamped francophone MBA offered for the Ottawa-area market, the program in Metz will include features found in full-time and executive degrees. For the 18-month program, students will spend five days a month (a weekend and three working days) on the Metz campus, but pursue other parts of the program online.

Campus moves

Edmonton-based working adults enrolled in fall classes at the University of Lethbridge's faculty of management will operate for the first time from a real campus – not a downtown office building as in the past – to pursue their degree.

"The purpose of moving to the campus of Concordia University College was to enhance the student experience," says Bob Ellis, dean of Lethbridge's faculty of management.

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The Lutheran-founded college in central Edmonton offers daytime classes, but Lethbridge business students will take classes at night and on weekends. What makes the campus so attractive to Lethbridge, with about 500 students enrolled in various programs in Edmonton, is the availability of parking, food services, a library, video conference and recreation facilities.

"Increasingly, we will see more and more working adults completing degrees and seeking professional qualifications," says Prof. Ellis, who expects his faculty to expand its program offerings over time.

Officially, the Edmonton satellite opened July 1, with summer programs. The University of Lethbridge, the only multi-campus university in the province, currently leases space from Bow Valley College in downtown Calgary, serving about 800 students.

Professor honoured

For his prolific output of research articles and case studies and for his role in advising numerous doctoral students, Paul Beamish of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario has been named 2012 International Management Outstanding Educator by the Academy of Management, a professional body with members in 105 countries.

In addition to other roles at Ivey, Prof. Beamish is the long-time executive director of Ivey Publishing, the second-largest global provider of business cases. In a press release recognizing the award, the school noted he is the author of 120 business case studies, of which 17 are top-10 best sellers.

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Follow Jennifer Lewington and Business School News by subscribing to an RSS feed here.

Contact Jennifer at jlewington@bell.net.

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