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business school news

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

The top 50 professors on Twitter – so ranked this month by online think tank LDRLB for their 140-character commentaries on research on leadership, innovation and strategy – include six from Canadian business schools. They are (with their interest area in brackets): Karl Moore (leadership) and Estelle Metayer (strategy) from Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal; Roger Martin (strategy) and Richard Florida (innovation) from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto; Lukas Neville (leadership) from the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg; and Ian McCarthy (leadership) from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C.

Training a new breed of regulators

In 1998, in the wake of an Asian currency crisis, a Toronto-based, internationally-supported non-profit training centre was established to enhance the oversight capacity of global financial regulators. The founders of the Toronto Centre, as it is known, include the World Bank, the Canadian government and York University's Schulich School of Business.

Fifteen years later, and after the 2008 global financial meltdown, Schulich and the Toronto Centre are collaborating again, this time on a new specialization in regulatory affairs within the school's master of finance program.

"The financial crisis gave it [the specialization] some urgency," says James Darroch, director of Schulich's financial services program. "And the financial crisis changed our understanding of what technical demands are being placed on regulators and supervisors."

The latest effort with Schulich is a natural progression of the Toronto Centre's case-study training for officials in country-based and international oversight agencies.

"Our mission is to build the capacity of supervisors and regulators to help them prevent or deal with financial crises when they happen and to become agents of change in their institutions," says Babak Abbaszadeh, president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Centre, which has trained more than 5,500 officials in more than 170 countries since 1998.

"Weaknesses in financial regulation and supervision are beginning to be widely viewed as important contributors to the global financial crisis," he says, with the appropriate response not one of new laws or tougher regulation. "It is about why you supervise and [it's about] asking the critical questions."

With Schulich, adds Mr. Abbaszadeh, "We are putting together a systematic program so that professionals can look at these things in more depth."

Dr. Darroch developed the course, with the Toronto Centre supplying experienced regulators and supervisors as some of the instructors.

Those who choose the specialization within the 12-month master of finance will study governance-oriented topics, including corporate financial analysis, regulatory and supervisory principles and the evolution of financial markets and institutions.

Typically, a master of finance program examines product specialties, observes Dr. Darroch. "But if you are going to be a regulator or supervisor, you are concerned about the interdependencies," he says. "You regulate an entity, not just a line of business."

By design, a maximum of eight students is expected for the first cohort in September.

College opens business school

The official opening of a new school of business at Sault College in June was an occasion for celebratory remarks by officials from the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., institution, as well as municipal and provincial politicians.

No wonder, given the increasing value placed on postsecondary institutions as engines of regional growth. Sault College is one of the largest employers in the region, with local and international students in programs from engineering and trades to health and commercial aviation.

"We are one component of a community strategy to support and incubate small and medium-size businesses," says business school dean Colin Kirkwood. "We came together as a community and decided that we needed a college with a strong brand and a strong business school."

By 2018, school officials expect to enroll 600 students, up from 250 currently.

The establishment of a business school complements recent efforts by the city of Sault Ste. Marie to locate a small-business incubator in its downtown.

"We have historically been an industrial town," says Mr. Kirkwood, a former owner of an engineering company. "We felt the time was right to emphasize the commerce side of things." The school will house business courses already offered by the college and add programs developed on its own and in co-operation with other institutions.

For example, the college has developed "pathway" packages for students to graduate in three years with a business diploma and a postgraduate certificate, such as in public relations and event management. In late July, Sault and Humber College announced a shared program in professional golf management.

Taking advantage of its location on the Canada-United States border, Sault College is working on new program offerings with Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

"One of our action plans is to create more college-to-college pathways and more college-to-university pathways so students from our institution can pursue further education at a university," Mr. Kirkwood says.

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