MBAs: Schools answer call for big data experts

Consumer industries are amassing huge data sets, highlighting the importance of choosing the right analytical models to help make commercial decisions. Analyzing data is a straightforward matter for statisticians or engineers, but not for many executives. As a result there is demand for more commercially savvy IT professionals, known as data scientists, and business schools are responding to this call, reported the Financial Times July 17…The first cohort of the Masters in Business Analytics course at the Schulich School of Business at Canada’s York University is about to graduate, having spent a year studying the subject, including work on a data analysis project directly applicable to the corporate world. Read full story.

Canadian medical schools have poor conflict of interest policies
“Most Canadians might be surprised to learn that medical students in Canada are routinely taught by faculty who have financial ties, and work in partnership, with drug companies,” co-wrote York University PhD candidate Adrienne Shnier and York University health policy Professor Joel Lexchin in the Waterloo Region Record July 17. “Conflict of interest policies at medical schools are important to ensure that students get an unbiased education based on the best available clinical evidence, free of industry-sponsored, commercially driven information.[…]So, do medical schools in Canada lack appropriate conflict of interest policies or are they simply not following them?” Read full story.

Toronto school board opens Beijing office in attempt to lure more foreign students
Toronto’s cash-strapped public school board has been test-driving a marketing office in Beijing since late April in a bid to boost its numbers of fee-paying foreign students. Recruitment of mainland Chinese students to attend Toronto District School Board schools has gone on for years, usually by Chinese recruiters, working on contract to the board, who are located across the country, said board chair Chris Bolton in the National Post July 17. The office venture, officially begun in March, is being done in tandem with York University, which is using the same local Chinese company, CFe Societies, to operate an office of its own next-door to the TDSB’s. Read full story.

Canada stuck in idle on climate change
“Canada has, for decades, avoided making any type of systematic plans that would help prevent the dire consequence of climate change. It has opted, instead, to tackle each new incident as it occurs with a quick fix only, even if, in the end, the fix ends up adding to the wider problem,” wrote Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Gus Van Harten in the Hamilton Spectator July 16. “But in light of the recent disasters in Calgary, Toronto and Lac-Mégantic, and the connections between the predicted consequences of climate change, major oil and gas development and lack of planning by government, that approach is no longer good enough.” Read full story.

York launches new entrepreneurship institute
Many of Toronto’s growing roster of accelerators, incubation labs, and other innovation centres are based in the downtown core – close to research facilities, universities, hospitals and other amenities. But we need innovation across the city, and it’s with just that goal in mind that York University has announced the launch of a brand new accelerator out of its Schulich Executive Education Centre, the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute, with the first cohort to begin the program this September, reported Yonge Street July 17. Read full story.

Remembering Joshua Yasay and Shyanne Charles, one year later
One year after 14-year-old Shyanne Charles and 23-year-old Joshua Yasay were shot and killed at a Danzig Street barbecue, the community continues to mourn their loss and honour their legacies….This Canada Day, July 1, the first annual Joshua Yasay 5-on-5 Memorial Basketball Tournament was held at York University, Yasay’s alma mater, reported the Scarborough Mirror July 15. The tournament supports the Joshua Yasay Award for Excellence in Criminology and Community Service, a scholarship established to honour Yasay and help others continue his work. Read full story.

Loblaw to buy Shoppers Drug Mart
Loblaw is sending shock waves through the rapidly evolving retail world with the announced deal to purchase Shoppers Drug Mart for $12.4 billion in cash and stock, merging Canada’s largest grocery and pharmacy companies, reported Strategy July 15. The deal is pending approval from the shareholders and the Competition Bureau, but Alan Middleton, professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business, says he doesn’t expect there will be any hiccups, as the move is necessary for Loblaw to stay competitive in the face of big U.S. chains eyeing the Canadian market, and the growing impact of online retailers. Read full story.

Academic reputation key in students’ law school choices
In its June 27 report, the Law Society of Upper Canada’s equity and aboriginal issues committee released the results of its career choices study, which revealed 63 per cent of respondents said academic reputation was the No. 1 factor in deciding which law school to attend, reported Canadian Lawyer July 15. Of those who were contacted, 972 lawyers called to the bar in 2010, 2011 and 2012 responded….When asked about their law school preference, 21 per cent chose the University of Toronto Faculty of Law as their first choice and 18 per cent chose Osgoode Hall Law School. Read full story.