BUSINESS SCHOOL TO BE MASTER OF ITS DOMAIN

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By Eric Ahlberg

Beginning in the fall of 2006, Ryerson will offer a Masters of Business Administration program.

With one of the largest undergrad business programs in Ontario, it may be a wonder that Ryerson offering an MBA program hasn’t come sooner. “The standards for getting an MBA program (introduced) are fairly rigorous,” said ITM professor and associate business dean Wendy Cukier.

“It’s taken several years of concerted effort.” Three programs will be offered: a traditional MBA with a global focus, a specialized MBA in technology management or a Master of Technology and Innovation (MMSc), a research-based degree requiring a thesis. Each degree will offer a choice of specializations.

But the program will join several established contenders in the province. Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, York University and the University of Western Ontario already offer well-regarded MBA programs. A late entry into the game won’t stop the university from being competitive, President Sheldon Levy said.

“You’ve got to have the same level of content (to be accredited),” he said. “Business schools make their reputation on the strength of their MBA program.”

But it will still take a while for the program to develop a following, said Barrie Carlyle, vice-president of Toronto Region for David Aplin Recruiting. “It has no reputation right now, not even a good or bad one,” he said.

The program’s tution — about $3,500 per term or $10,500 if taken full time for 12 months — will make it more affordable than other MBA programs. “That’s terrific, offering greater access,” Carlyle said. “Once you start at $30,000, it’s more about who can afford it than who deserves it” he said.

The decision to offer an MBA program was natural, given the school’s other pending changes, Levy said. “It’s the timing,” he said. With the business building “moving to Bay Street, the quality of our faculty is growing. “I think you’re going to see a strong class,” he added. “Very, very strong.” But not all current business students are jumping at the opportunity to stick around for another degree.

“I originally wanted to do an MBA, but not at Ryerson,” said Magdalena Ponvia, a third-year business student. She says Ryerson’s requirements didn’t seem high enough. Carlyle said it shouldn’t matter too much where a grad gets his or her MBA.

“It’s bigger in the U.S., where you live and breathe where your (alma mater was)… It’s not that big an issue one way or another in Canada.”

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