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Ivey at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., came first for the second year in a row in an international ranking of MBA programs by Bloomberg Businessweek.Bloomberg

The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

Love them or hate them, business school rankings are one tool for prospective students to assess their education options.

However, applicants need to know what is being measured, since the criteria may (or may not) be relevant to them. A school that scores well on graduates landing jobs on Bay Street may not be appropriate for the aspiring social entrepreneur.

"A potential student should first figure out if the ranking is trying to rank an MBA program or the school overall," cautions Ivey Business School dean Robert Kennedy. "Schools are much more than an MBA and, even within that, what are they putting weight on?"

This month, Ivey at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., came first for the second year in a row in an international ranking of MBA programs by Bloomberg Businessweek, which assesses responses from employers (worth 35 per cent of the total score), alumni (30 per cent), students (15 per cent), placement (10 per cent) and salary (10 per cent).

The Bloomberg checklist plays to Ivey's profile as a limited-enrolment program with close ties to recruiters, says Dr. Kennedy.

"We have been very resistant to changing our strategy to improve our rankings," he says. "This is a ranking that fits our strategy and we trumpet it."

Other Canadian schools on Bloomberg's top-29 list are: Smith School of Business (9) at Queen's University; McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management (16); University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management (18); Concordia University's John Molson School of Business (24); and HEC Montréal (29).

By contrast, The Economist magazine's global ranking of top-100 full-time master of business administration programs, released this month, emphasizes the door-opening career potential of an MBA and personal development, each worth 35 per cent of the overall score, with the postdegree rise in salary worth 20 per cent.

Ivey, which decided to rejoin The Economist survey after an absence of several years, placed 66th and was one of six Canadian schools on the list, up from three last year.

For the first time, Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management joined the group, in 92nd place.

Just like Ivey on the Bloomberg ranking, Rogers has a strategy that fits the criteria of The Economist.

This year, Ryerson students were top-three finishers in nine case competitions, a showing that contributes to the personal development and networking valued by the magazine, according to Rogers dean Steven Murphy.

As well, the school's relatively low MBA price tag of about $29,000, combined with postgraduation salaries in the $85,000 to $95,000 range, contributes to a positive score.

When Dr. Murphy arrived as dean in 2013, the school set a target to break into the Financial Times top-100 MBA programs by 2018, with criteria favourable to Rogers.

"This ranking in The Economist is a great marker for our faculty in terms of: 'Can we get there,'" he says. "This gives everyone something to shoot for."

The other Canadian schools on the list (with ranking in brackets) are: York University's Schulich School of Business (46); Smith (80); Molson (88); and HEC Montréal (94).

Finally, six Canadian schools made the Financial Times top-100 list of executive MBA programs, which only looks at those with at least four years' standing with the U.S. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or Europe-based EQUIS, two major accrediting bodies. The FT collects data on current salary and salary increase after graduation, worth 40 per cent of the input from alumni.

The Canadian programs on the list (with placement in brackets) are: Schulich, with Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (25); Rotman (47); Smith, with the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University (53), tied with Ivey; Smith, with its own program, (67); University of Alberta School of Business with the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary (91).

New diploma option for accountancy designation

A new option is available to aspiring accountants who want to speed up earning their professional designation.

In May of 2016, Rotman at the University of Toronto plans to offer a five-course, 12-week graduate diploma in professional accounting program that counts for four of six modules required under the Professional Education Program of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada for professional designation. Students effectively shave off several months in the education process to become an accountant.

The diploma is open to fourth-year students or recent graduates of U of T who are pursuing management programs with a specialization in accounting, with potential applicants from other institutions.

CPA Canada has 28 such agreements with postsecondary institutions.

Human rights advocate to receive ethical leadership award

For an ethics case competition on Nov. 6, student leaders at Dalhousie University's Rowe School of Business have named long-time human rights advocate Irwin Cotler, a former federal minister of justice who retired as a member of Parliament this month, for the Scotiabank Ethics in Action Ethical Leadership Award.

Vancouver firm donates lab to Sauder

Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel, an asset-management firm based in Vancouver, has donated $200,000 to the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business for a new investment research lab equipped with Bloomberg terminals for finance students.

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