A passage to affluence: India’s love affair with MBA degree

Business education has become the default path of study for young adults in India’s middle and upper classes, offering prized credentials that garner instant respect, chart bright futures – and even feature prominently in the matrimonial ads that appear in newspapers here, reported The Globe and Mail May 20 from Ahmedabad, India.

Given the massive interest, business schools in Canada and other countries are increasingly looking to India for both recruitment and expansion. York University’s Schulich School of Business, for example, began offering an MBA in conjunction with a school in Mumbai earlier this year and plans to open a site in Hyderabad by 2013 if the Indian parliament passes a bill to allow foreign universities to set up full-fledged campuses.

"India offers clearly the best opportunity for a foreign institution in terms of demand for quality MBAs," said Dezsö Horváth, dean of Schulich. "The demand is endless."

For Shashanka Puli, doing a graduate business degree was almost a foregone conclusion. Puli, 23, who studied last fall at Schulich, which has an exchange arrangement with the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, did well during his undergraduate engineering studies and considers an MBA as a ticket to landing a good job in marketing. "It seemed like the most logical progression," he said.

The real Robin never robbed the rich

Another Robin Hood movie, another ideological travesty. Interviewed recently on his role in the new epic, Russell Crowe said it was a story of class warfare, of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, began John Ridpath, a retired York University economics professor and a director of the Ayn Rand Institute, in a National Post opinion piece May 20.

It’s an alarming omen to again see Robin Hood heroism mindlessly distorted. Aside from its vacuously erroneous simplicity, this standard image of Robin Hood is grounds for concern about the state of our culture.

First is the injustice being done to Robin Hood, whether he was an actual person or an artistic portrait. He was, in fact, an agent of justice. He took the money and property that the Norman conquerors and their minions seized, by force, from the British yeomanry, and returned it to the rightful owners. Robin Hood, in short, was a defender of the common man’s right to his earned property. He was a courageous enemy of state-enforced robbery.

Professor warns of declining bird population

Bridget Stutchbury, author of Silence of the Songbirds, recently stopped in Fredericton to warn that the bird population is dwindling, reported the Fredericton Telegraph-Journal May 20.

A Canada Research Chair in Ecology and Conservation Biology at York University, Stutchbury says the Canadian bird population has been declining by one to two per cent a year since the mid-1960s. She cited pesticide use and deforestation as a couple of the problems, and singled out the practice of forest clearing for coffee plantations as one of the primary concerns – another reason to support shade-grown coffee.

But far-off coffee plantations aren’t the only problem. The same day the story on Stutchbury ran, NB Power advertised its 2010 herbicide application program on its transmission line rights-of-ways.

Mayoral debates: Too much of a good thing?

This year’s marathon to lead Toronto will likely feature at least 50 more six-candidate debates, many organized by any community group with access to a church basement and an Evite account, reported The Globe and Mail May 20. Tuesday night’s CP24 showdown was the first of six on the all-news station alone. Like most of the debates that preceded it, it starred a largely arbitrary roster of six contenders.

The community groups, business improvement areas, schools, local television stations and other organizations hosting Toronto’s debates simply decide which of the 26 candidates registered for mayor they’d like to invite. This year, a consensus has emerged around six contenders: George Smitherman, Rob Ford, Rocco Rossi, Joe Pantalone, Giorgio Mammoliti and Sarah Thomson.

Myer Siemiatycki, a municipal politics expert at Ryerson University, questioned two candidates’ qualifications for the top tier: Mammoliti and Thomson. Both are polling in the single digits. If they are admitted, he asked, why not Rocco Achampong (LLB ’08), the 31-year-old graduate of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and former president of the University of Toronto Students’ Administrative Council?

Tragedy inspires creation of political party

A new Huntsville resident who killed his son in what he describes as an antidepressant-induced psychosis is trying to create a federal party in former health minister Tony Clement’s riding with the hopes of overhauling Canada’s health-care system, reported the Huntsville Forester May 19.

In July 2004, David Carmichael (BA Spec. Hons. ’82, MA ’85) drugged and suffocated his then 11-year-old son Ian in a London, Ont. hotel room. He was later found to be not-criminally-responsible because of a mental disorder and received an absolute discharge, which means he has no criminal record.

Some years later, he’s hoping the creation of the Health Promotion Party of Canada – which, as part of a broad agenda, includes increased funding for disease, disorder and illness prevention – will prevent other similar tragedies from happening.

"I feel I have a responsibility both to my son and daughter (now 19) to try and make sure that you break the silence and stigma associated with mental illness and even health care and start to ask more questions of our doctors," said Carmichael, now 51, who has a master’s degree in physical and health education from York University.

York grad dies in Bermuda drive-by shooting

A former Brantford man, who was starting life anew with his wife and young family in Bermuda, was killed in a drive-by shooting May 5, reported the Brantford Expositor May 20.

George Peter Lynch (BAS Spec. Hons ’00, BA ’03), 40, graduated from St. John’s College and moved to Toronto to attend York University where he earned degrees in business administration and economics. Lynch met his Bermuda-born wife, Nekesha, at York University. The couple have two young daughters and a third child is expected later this summer. The family moved to Bermuda about a year ago.