Business services face axe

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By Jordan Heath-Rawlings

Ryerson Business Consulting Services, a 29-year-old staple of the school of business, may be going under in the wake of the University’s recent budget cuts.

Although specific cuts have not been mandated yet, RBCS is running at a huge deficit, said RBCS manager Justin Cook, something Ryerson schools have been instructed not to do.

“Right now, we’re facing the possibility of not having enough funding,” said Cook. “If that happens, we’d have to close down.”

RBCS earned money by providing services such as business plans and market analyses to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the area. The services are low-cost, said Cook, because Ryerson business students provided them.

The RBCS’s priority wasn’t making money, but providing business students with experience prior to graduation.

“That’s the real tragedy,” said Cook. “There are so many students in this school who need that work experience.”

Shaila Pirani, a fourth-year marketing student, said business students are at a major disadvantage without practical experience.

“It’s awful,” she said. “Unless you come from a highly-certified business school you don’t have a chance without actual on-the-job experience.”

“Programs, like (RCBS), let students learn what they’ll actually be doing after graduation rather than just taking notes on business theory.”

Ryerson’s budget, delivered in early 2001 by Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse, issued a proclamation to all schools, instructing them nto to run any services operating at deficits.

“We’ve accumulated $10,000 to $20,000 in debt,” said Cook. “That’s like a red flag for the dean and the accountants in the business school.”

Although the debt has been steadily climbing since RCBS lost federal funding in the mid-90’s, Cook said the current recession has a lot to do with the service’s struggles.

“The jobs just aren’t coming in right now,” he said. “The people upstairs (in the school of business) have been very accommodating but they are becoming more restrictive.”

Cook said he doesn’t know who to blame for the service’s failures.

“I don’t know if it’s the economy or a reflection of a failed marketing strategy,” he said. “But to turn it around we need time and money. We don’t have much of either.”

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