The acceptable face of capitalism

Most business schools these days offer courses – often mandatory – on corporate social responsibility, at least in part because of the high-profile scandals of recent years that have tended to tar the whole business community with the same brush, but the schools say that’s not the principal impetus behind the rapid growth of CSR, reported the National Post Oct. 19. Dezsö Horváth, dean of the Schulich School of Business at Toronto’s York University, described CSR as “just good management,” and says “it has been a philosophy of this school ever since it was established.”

Horváth sees CSR as a contributor to a company’s bottom line. “Corporate social responsibility is really a balanced-stakeholder model, so you pay balanced attention to all your stakeholders. And doing that means in the medium- to long-term, maximizing shareholder value and profitability. Those firms who pay attention to CSR are the ones that demonstrate the highest shareholder value, medium- to long-term, and the highest profitability level.”

Horváth says the presence of the not-for-profit students has an effect on the mainstream MBA students. “It’s quite interesting to see how some of the students coming in to the hard-core management side have discussions in the classroom with non-profit managers, who are not here to make more money in the future…and how the groups are converging by the end, and how they become more rounded as managers and are much more sensitive to CSR issues,” he says.

  • Despite criticism, some schools use media rankings as a marketing strategy and recruitment tool, wrote the National Post Oct. 19 in a story about how business schools respond to the annual surveys. The Schulich School of Business at York University, which is the top-ranked Canadian business school in the Financial Times, publishes a 32-page brochure about rankings. “I strongly believe a school’s progress can most accurately be measured against a broad range of rankings and over an extended period,” says a message from Dean Dezsö Horváth in the brochure. “When these criteria are applied to the Schulich School of Business, our school fares exceptionally well.”

New Toronto Star publisher is an Osgoode graduate

Oakville resident Jagoda Pike (LLB ‘84) has been named publisher of the Toronto Star effective immediately by Torstar Corporation, reported The Oakville Beaver Oct. 18. Born in Croatia, Pike came to Canada as a young child. She attended the University of Toronto and graduated from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, being called to the Ontario Bar in 1986.

York scientists help take students on virtual journey to Antarctica

Seven local schools have found an extremely cool way to get kids interested in science, reported the Edmonton Examiner Oct. 18. They’ve signed on to the Polar Science project, which enables students to talk online with scientists conducting field research at the McMurdo station in Antarctica. A four-member “ice team” just arrived on the frozen continent to study the aerobic activity of Weddell seals. The scientists from the University of Colorado will keep students informed about their two-month expedition through weekly updates via a satellite Internet connection. Besides the Antarctic scientists, another four scientists in York’s Faculty of Health – who are analyzing samples taken by the ice team – will be talking with students online. [The team, led by biologist Thomas Hawke, includes students Peter Jaksa, Sophia Kapchinsky and Jesse Wofstadtin, all of York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science.]

How India is playing IT catch-up

While India’s genius in computer technology has helped the rest of the world to become more efficient and productive, the vast majority of its own citizens have yet to benefit from this expertise, says the man widely regarded as the founder of the Indian software industry, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 19. “We have hardly used computers for the benefit of our own country,” said engineer Faqir Chand Kholi, 82, speaking at York’s Schulich School of Business recently. The reason is the lack of software available in languages other than English in a country that has 22 national languages.

Kholi retired in 2001 as deputy chairman of the Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services, one of the world’s largest exporters of computer services in India. He was at York to deliver the inaugural Tata Lecture to students and faculty. Schulich Dean Dezsö Horváth called Kholi a “pioneer and a visionary.” “From the start, Kholi saw IT as an instrument of national development. He endorsed the propagation of computerization in India at a time when no one realized its potential.”

What makes selling to a business different

Marketing a product for business to business involves a different process than marketing to consumers, experts say. That’s because with business to business, a company will have fewer customers, “but the dollar amount each customer buys is a whole lot more,” says Ashwin Joshi, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, in a story published in the Toronto Star Oct. 19. As a result, developing interpersonal relationships with clients is more critical in the business to business, or B2B, marketplace, Joshi says.

Filmmaker hopes fans will come out for festival

Glendon McKinney (BA ‘79) has been making movies in Fredericton for five years, wrote The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton) Oct. 19. He said it’s never been easy and it’s always been about sharing. “We work with our limited resources. We don’t have all the luxuries they have in places like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, so we help each other, we pool our equipment,” said McKinney, who studied film & video at York’s Faculty of Fine Arts in Toronto before returning to New Brunswick. And increasingly, more people are sharing in the experience. That growing audience is thanks in large part to the avenue that the Silver Wave Film Festival gives them to screen their works for the public.

Farming out work may save money

Is outsourcing only for big corporations, or should small Canadian businesses consider it an option, too?, asked the Toronto Star Oct. 19. Outsourcing operations such as payroll could save small businesses money and time, according to a recent study by Environics, commissioned by ADP Canada. The study looked at 150 small businesses across Canada. “If you’re really good at what you do in your business, and you may not be as good at payroll as those who specialize in it, then outsourcing becomes important,” says Bernie Wolf, director of the International MBA Program at York University’s Schulich School of Business. “It is looking at being less self-sufficient but being integrated in the global network.”

Dean for day program brings feedback and ideas

Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, traded places with first-year law student Tamara Maurer earlier this month, wrote The North York Mirror Oct. 17. Maurer assumed direction of the Dean’s Office for one day and Monahan returned to school and attended her classes. She was also to occupy Monahan’s office, park in his reserved parking lot, chair meetings of the law school’s senior administration, enjoy a free lunch with a guest and receive a $100 credit at the law school’s material distribution centre as well as a pair of tickets to see The Dixie Chicks at the Air Canada Centre Oct. 28. Dean for a Day is designed to solicit ideas and feedback from students on how they would run the law school.

Subway to grow for 25 years: Pitfield

As mayor of Toronto, Jane Pitfield says she would push to build two kilometres of subway line each year for 25 years, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 19. But Pitfield’s estimate of $100 million per kilometre of subway line is low: The cost of the 6.2-kilometre line to York University is tabbed at up to $1.5 billion, or $242 million per kilometre, including stations. At that cost, Pitfield’s pledge would commit the city to $484 million in subway spending each year, rather than her estimate of $250 million. But she said in an interview that costs should decline if the city embarks on a long-term, continuous building program.

On air

  • Human resources expert Monica Belcourt, professor in York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies, spoke about former Tory MP Garth Turner’s suspension from caucus, on Toronto’s AM640 News Radio, Oct. 18.

  • Debra Pepler, pyschologist in York’s Faculty of Health and a researcher at the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution, spoke about the latest video game featuring schoolyard bullying on CBC-TV’s “Canada Now” program Oct. 18. She said the game sends the wrong message to children.