Schulich partnership seeks to address global infrastructure gap

Two engineers working on solar panel roof

Schulich Real Assets – an area within York University’s Schulich School of Business that focuses on tangible investments – is teaming up with the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA) to offer the next generation of leaders more tools and resources to help them tackle the climate crisis through sustainable infrastructure projects.

Schulich is one of a few schools around the world offering graduate education focused on the increasingly important and evolving real assets field, with both a master of business administration specialization in real estate and infrastructure and a unique, 12-month Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure program.

This new partnership is designed to help increase private investment into infrastructure projects that are supporting the global transition to cleaner energy.

Jim Clayton
Jim Clayton

“We look forward to working together with GIIA and its members towards the common goal of promoting an infrastructure investment ecosystem that mobilizes private capital,” said Professor Jim Clayton, the Timothy R. Price Chair in Real Estate and Infrastructure at Schulich and the MREI program director. “We are excited by the alignment and synergy of the collaboration.”

Through new research and educational programming opportunities, Schulich students will now be empowered with knowledge and resources to deliver the infrastructure that communities need to thrive, with GIIA’s global membership base also helping them to expand their networks and experience.

“It is critical to empower emerging leaders in our industry with the skills and specialist knowledge that enables them to unlock the potential for infrastructure investment, so we can grow the market, and bring in the capital to make the major investments that governments alone cannot afford,” said Jon Phillips, chief executive officer of GIIA, which represents 100 of the world’s leading investors and advisors in infrastructure.

“Since Canada is already a hub for innovation in the infrastructure investment industry, partnering with Schulich makes good sense,” he said.

Schulich launches new diploma for metals, minerals industry

Workers in a Singaporean shipyard disembark a gas vessel during a planned fire drill

York University’s Schulich School of Business has announced the launch of a new Global Metals and Minerals Management (GMM) Diploma, designed to address the needs of the entire metals and minerals value chain by developing leaders who will navigate the transition to a global low-carbon economy through responsible minerals development and use.

A leader in mining and minerals management, Schulich launched an MBA specialization in Global Mining Management in 2012 – one of the first of its kind. Now, it’s looking to continue to advance its educational opportunities for those in the sector.

“Schulich’s newest diploma will provide a world-class business education to current and future leaders in companies working within the mining and minerals industry,” says Detlev Zwick, dean of the Schulich School of Business. “The program will develop leaders who can implement responsible strategies that create wealth for all stakeholders throughout the entire value chain.”

Schulich’s new diploma program – which includes online classes, one-on-one coaching and two in-person residences held in different centres around the globe each year – will commence in June and be offered over a nine-month period.

Program benefits include in-person experiential learning through site tours and the opportunity to hear from a diverse range of industry insiders. The program can be completed as a standalone diploma or concurrently with Schulich’s master of business administration (MBA) degree.

Global Mining Management co-directors Claudia Mueller and Richard Ross.
Global Mining Management co-directors Claudia Mueller (left) and Richard Ross (right).

The GMM Diploma is co-directed by Richard Ross, former Chair and CEO of Inmet Mining Corporation, who has over 40 years of experience in the metals and minerals industry; and Claudia Mueller, a PhD candidate and leadership consultant for the past decade to a broad range of metals and minerals companies.

“The Global Metals and Minerals Management Diploma provides an MBA level of education while enabling working professionals to continue full-time employment,” says Ross. “The classes are taught by industry professionals and stakeholders who have in-depth metals and mining knowledge and experience; and the classes will combine Schulich MBA students with diploma students, ensuring a rich and diverse mix of backgrounds and experience.”

As they launch this new program, Ross and Mueller are supported by dozens of individuals who have expertise, knowledge and experience in the metals and minerals industry. This includes the GMM Stakeholder Working Group, made up of Indigenous people and individuals who are well versed in all aspects of environmental, social, and governance regulations and practices in the metals and minerals industry.

For more information and to apply, visit the Global Metals and Minerals Management Diploma web page.

Passings: Wallace Crowston


Wallace Crowston, one of the longest-serving deans at York University’s Schulich School of Business, recently passed away at the age of 90.

Wallace Crowston
Wallace Crowston

A Toronto native, Crowston received his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from the University of Toronto and then went on to attain graduate degrees in management sciences from MIT and Carnegie Mellon University, where he eventually earned his PhD and became an associate professor.

Crowston joined York University’s Faculty of Administrative Studies (now named the Schulich School of Business) in 1972, and a short while later was appointed dean, a position he held until 1984. After having served two terms as dean, he remained on the Schulich faculty for another three years before leaving to become dean at McGill University’s Faculty of Management Studies.

While serving as dean at both Schulich and McGill’s business school, he pioneered various experiential learning and work/study programs that would become part of an evolution in post-secondary education that continues today. His research focused on the use of computer information systems in the field of project management, and his research articles were published in a number of major journals and business publications, including Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review.

At Schulich’s 50th Anniversary Gala celebration held in Toronto in 2016, Dean Emeritus Dezsö J. Horváth paid tribute to Crowston, noting in his speech: “If our school is one of the pre-eminent centres of management education today, it is in part due to the strong and steady leadership provided by Wally Crowston. Many of our most successful graduates came from the period in our school’s history when Wally was at the helm – and many of them are here tonight. We thank you for the leadership you provided.”

Many of his former colleagues and students would echo that sentiment.

Anyone wishing to honour Crowston for his leadership and dedication to Schulich during its formative years can make a donation to the Dean Wallace Crowston Memorial Fund.

Federal government awards York researchers over $1.5M

Lightbulb on book

Two dozen projects led by York University researchers have received more than $1.5 million combined from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council’s Insight Development Grants, announced March 13 by the federal government.

The grants support the development of short-term research projects of up to two years by emerging and established scholars. The York-led projects span a wide range of research, including a study that will explore the different experiences of refugee workers in Canadian meat-packing towns, an assessment of a physical activity program for children with autism and an investigation into the motivations behind firms engaging in artificial intelligence innovation.

“The federal government’s investment in our social sciences and humanities researchers and their diverse projects supports York University’s continued leadership in these critical fields of study,” said Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation. “This new funding elevates the scholarly pursuits of our researchers across multiple Faculties, enables the development of new research questions and fosters valuable contributions to York’s vision of creating positive change.”  

The 24 York-led projects were among 577 research initiatives to receive funding.

See the full list of the York recipients below.  

Duygu Biricik Gulseren, School of Human Resources Management, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Inconsistent Leadership: Scale Development and Measurement

Rebecca Bassett-Gunter, School of Kinesiology & Health Science; and Jonathan Weiss, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
BINGOCIZE! Evaluating the Feasibility of a Physical Activity Program for Autistic Children

Preetmohinder Aulakh, policy specialization, Schulich School of Business
Sustainable Agriculture in the Global South: Prospects and Challenges of Smallholders’ Product Diversification and Marketing Channel Coordination

Simone Bohn, Department of Politics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
When Reproductive Self-Determination Remains Restricted: Women’s Strategies of Resistance in Brazil

Bronwyn Bragg and Jennifer Hyndman, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
Slaughterhouse geographies: Comparing the integration experiences of refugee workers in Canadian meatpacking towns

Robert Cribbie, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
Modern Perspectives on Multiplicity Control

Pouyan Foroughi, finance, Schulich School of Business
Private Equity Sponsors in the Leveraged Loan Market

Hannah Johnston, School of Human Resources Management, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Regulating algorithmic management in standard employment: A comparison of legislative and industrial relations approaches

Ambrus Kecskés, finance, Schulich School of Business; and Anh Nguyen, School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Artificial intelligence and innovation: A causal investigation of why firms produce it, how it impacts their workforce, and how firms evolve as a consequence

Chungah Kim and Antony Chum, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health
Social policy solutions to deaths and diseases of despair in Canada

Chloe Rose Brushwood, Faculty of Education
On our own terms: An oral history and archive of queer femme community and culture in Toronto, 1990-2000

Ibtissem Knouzi, Department of Languages, Literature & Linguistics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Critical Transitions in the Literacy Development of International Multilingual Students in English-medium Universities: A Longitudinal Mixed-Methods Study

Matthew Leisinger, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Cudworth’s conscious self

Guangrui Li and Moren Levesque, operations management and information systems, Schulich School of Business
Curse or Blessing: The welfare effects of algorithmic recommendations

Zhixiang Liang, School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
The Impact of Institutional Systems on Foreign Direct Investment: A Multilevel Study of Chinese Multinational Enterprises

Ann Marie Murnaghan, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Old poles and new stories: archival knowledges and oral histories of C’idimsggin’is and Kurt Seligmann

Glen Norcliffe, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
Velomobility for disability: the design, production and distribution of cycles that assist the mobility of persons with a disability

Ivan Ozai, Osgoode Hall Law School
Realizing global justice through the international tax system

Mathieu Poirier, School of Global Health and School of Kinesiology & Health Science; Steven Hoffman, School of Health Policy & Management, School of Global Health, and Osgoode Hall Law School; and Tina Nanyangwe-Moyo, Faculty of Health
Centring gender in the evaluation of international laws

Andrew Sarta, School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Imagining Augmentation Possibilities and How Organizations Adapt to the Emergence of Artificial Intelligence

Gregory Saxton, accounting, Schulich School of Business
The role of automated bots in the financial and consumer markets

Rianka Singh, Department of Communication & Media Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Platform Feminism

Jean-Thomas Tremblay, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Eco-subtraction: downsizing the environmental humanities

Yishu Zeng, Department of Economics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
The Design of Information Disclosure Policy in Strategic Interaction

For a complete list of Insight Development Grant recipients, visit the Government of Canada announcement.

Schulich launches new Graduate Diploma in Accounting Analytics

Spreadsheet Data On Computer Monitor In Office

York University’s Schulich School of Business, a global leader in digital accounting and data analytics, recently announced the launch of its new Graduate Diploma in Accounting Analytics (GDAN).

The diploma program will provide accounting professionals with the latest expertise in accounting data analytics and visualization, helping them to hone their critical thinking abilities and cultivate analytical and leadership skills within the dynamic world of data analytics and information technology in accounting. 

Shanker Trivedi,
Shanker Trivedi

“The Graduate Diploma in Accounting Analytics is designed to develop graduates who are well-versed in the interface between the broad areas of accounting, information technology, data analytics and data visualization,” says Shanker Trivedi, director of Schulich’s Master of Accounting (MAcc) program and associate professor of accounting. “What sets our program apart is its focus on practical, immediately applicable skills that empower graduates to make an immediate impact in their careers.” 

The program includes a hands-on, real-world consulting project carried out at an organization, requiring students to provide data-based, actionable, strategic business insights. The program also embraces generative artificial intelligence technologies, guiding students to use them effectively and securely in an accounting context.

GDAN’s Associate Program Director Manuel Campos, a Schulich alumnus and digital transformation expert, provides a robust industry perspective that will help students acquire the analytics and consulting skills required by the market.

The fully remote, part-time diploma program – one of the first of its kind in Eastern Canada – will commence in September of this year and will be offered online over an eight-month period. The program is designed for accounting graduates or professionals with two to four years of accounting-related work experience.

For more information about Schulich’s new Graduate Diploma in Accounting Analytics, visit the program website.

Pharmaceutical firms should focus on intellectual capital, says prof

Woman scientist holding red pill

New research from York University’s Schulich School of Business shows that firms operating in the pharmaceutical industry are most often better off investing in intellectual capital than in lobbying.

Moren Lévesque
Moren Lévesque

The findings are contained in the paper “The interdependent influence of lobbying and intellectual capital on new drug development,” which was recently published in the journal Research Policy. The paper was co-authored by Moren Lévesque, a professor of operations management and information systems at Schulich and the CPA Ontario Chair in International Entrepreneurship.

The results of the study have important practical implications for pharmaceutical companies, which are among the top lobbying spenders in the U.S. “From a managerial perspective, our results suggest that lobbying might not always be the most effective way for pharmaceutical firms to enhance their new drug development performance,” says Lévesque. “A shift in focus from lobbying to intellectual capital development may therefore enable firms to reap longer term benefits, both in terms of new drug development and reputation.”

Lévesque says the research also has clear implications for policymakers, who should focus on nurturing intellectual capital development in the pharmaceutical industry to achieve economic growth, as well as focusing on increased transparency with regard to lobbying and the political decision-making process.   

With declining R&D [research and development] productivity being of increased concern to the industry, understanding how to allocate scarce and precious resources is vital,” says Lévesque. “Our research findings might prompt decision-makers in pharmaceutical firms to carefully review their portfolio of activities and redirect resources from lobbying to R&D.”

Timing is everything in sales conversations, study finds

Salesperson talking to woman in yellow shirt

New research from York University’s Schulich School of Business shows that when it comes to sales, service and marketing communications, it’s not just what you say that matters – but when you say it.

Grant Packard
Grant Packard

The findings are contained in the recently published article “When Language Matters” in the Journal of Consumer Research, co-written by Schulich marketing Professor Grant Packard and collaborators from the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in China and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers carried out a multi-method investigation, including analysis of thousands of moments across hundreds of service conversations at two sales firms, plus four separate experiments, to document the moment-to-moment dynamics between language and important marketing outcomes like customer satisfaction and purchases.

The researchers demonstrate their approach to identifying when language matters by looking at “warm” and “competent” language – which can be as subtle as the difference between a salesperson asking, “How are you today?” (warm) versus, “How may I assist you?”(competent). Conventional wisdom in marketing is that a warm approach leads customers to think employees are less competent, so competence should be prioritized throughout the customer interaction.

This new research shakes up this conventional wisdom. Customers were more satisfied – and spent more money – when employees used both warm and competent language but at separate, specific times. Specifically, customers were more satisfied when agents used warmer language at the beginning and end of conversations. Warmer language, it was found, can be costly during the middle of the conversation, when customers expect to “get down to business.” Competent language works the opposite way: it can be costly at the start and end but enhances customer satisfaction and purchases when emphasized in the conversation’s middle.

“Our research helps update beliefs about the ‘warmth-competence paradox,’ provides a method for determining when certain kinds of language matters and highlights ways to improve the customer experience,” explains Packard.

Managers and researchers who want to put these findings into practise using their own data can try out the free, automated language analysis tool developed by the research team, at

“Our findings can help improve customer service, aid employee assessment and development, and fine-tune artificial intelligence chatbots’ effectiveness,” Packard says. “They can also more broadly be used to shed light on word-of-mouth, sales interactions and marketing communications.”

Schulich breaks new ground in marketing education

presentation given on colorful board BANNER

Earlier this month, York University’s Schulich School of Business launched a Future of Marketing course intended to help undergraduate students stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving marketing landscape. Taught by Schulich professors David Rice and Martin Waxman, it is believed to be the first university course of its kind in the world.  

David Rice close-up portrait
David Rice

The course’s lectures and content focus on cutting-edge topics, including generative artificial intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT, synthetic media, neuromarketing and biometrics, chatbots, augmented and virtual reality, and the metaverse. Living up to its name, the course will also delve into even more futuristic marketing concepts such as advertising in dreams and persuasion through brain-computer interfaces.

“The course challenges students to reimagine marketing and society in a time of rapid technological change,” says Rice. “While other universities are debating the use of ChatGPT in the classroom, we encourage its use so that students can learn first-hand what the potential and limitations are of generative AI technology, and imagine how it may alter the marketing future.”

Martin Waxman
Martin Waxman

To help ensure students are coming away with real-world skills, each class includes an experiential exercise where students have the opportunity to test their abilities and creativity with cutting-edge applications. Adding yet another practical element, the course wraps up with a pitch night in a boardroom format similar to CBC’s hit show “Dragons’ Den,” where student teams present their concepts for a new marketing technology, product or service to a group of senior marketing executives.

Later this year, Schulich is planning to expand the reach of this new course by offering it online through the Future of Marketing Institute, a global think tank based at the Schulich School of Business, of which Professor Rice is the executive director and Waxman is the associate director.

Schulich ExecEd expands health-care training partnership in Guyana

Schulich ExecEd Guyana group photo

Schulich ExecEd, an extension of the Schulich School of Business at York University, is building upon its existing partnership with the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana by launching a new Guyana-Schulich ExecEd Masters Certificate in Physician Leadership Program and kicking off a second cohort of the Schulich ExecEd-Guyana Masters Certificate in Hospital Leadership Program. Both programs are set to begin their virtual classroom sessions this month.

Representatives from Schulich ExecEd travelled to Guyana last month to celebrate the new program launch with members of Guyana’s government. The attendees from Schulich ExecEd were: Rami Mayer, executive director; Dr. Susan Lieff, program director; Jeff MacInnis, facilitator; Robert Lynn, associate director; and Ai Hokama, program co-ordinator.

“I am excited to announce the continuation of our partnership with the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana,” said Mayer. “Together, we are pioneering transformative learning programs focused on social innovation that are aimed at equipping health-care leaders with essential skills crucial for navigating the evolving landscape of health care in the Guyana region.”

The Schulich ExecEd-Guyana Masters Certificate in Hospital Leadership Program focuses on fortifying the administrative skills of health-care workers, equipping them with the knowledge to effectively manage health-care facilities, resources and personnel. Its sister program, the Guyana-Schulich ExecEd Masters Certificate in Physician Leadership Program, is a direct response to the needs of physicians in the region. The goal is to build up physicians’ leadership abilities, improve their decision-making skills, and sharpen their capacity to manage health-care facilities and resources. 

“These programs have been specifically designed to empower health-care professionals in Guyana and enhance the quality of health-care services they provide to their patients,” said Frank Anthony, Guyana’s minister of health. “We are grateful for the co-operation of the Ministry of Public Service and the Government of Guyana in delivering this training to the participants free of charge.”

Schulich ExecEd’s ongoing mission with this partnership is to transform Guyana’s health-care system to deliver more equitable, accessible and enhanced health care. The shared vision of these partners is to develop better health care and physician leaders in Guyana and to provide innovative health-care solutions to improve patient outcomes across the country. Program participants hail from all 10 regions of Guyana, including the country’s Indigenous communities.

“Our programs are meticulously designed to fill critical gaps in business education, addressing skill needs not traditionally covered in medical school,” explained Mayer. “We are committed to empowering physicians and health-care leaders with the tools to manage difficult conversations, solve complex problems, foster collaboration, lead effectively and elevate the overall quality of care in the country.”

Both programs are expected to graduate their current participants in September of this year.

For a closer look at the Schulich ExecEd team’s celebratory trip to Guyana last month, visit

York alumni-founded startup breathes new air into industry 

(Left to right) Blade Air founders Aedan Fida, Giancarlo Sessa and Joe Fida

By Diana Senwasane, student and community engagement coordinator, YSpace and VPRI 

Since its inception five years ago, YSpace – York University’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub – has supported hundreds of startups from ideation to incubation to scale. One such startup venture is Blade Air, which is quickly establishing itself as a national leader in the air filtration industry.   

Founded by two York alumni from the Schulich School of Business, Giancarlo Sessa (BBA’19) and Aedan Fida (BBA’19), along with his brother Joseph Fida, Blade Air was recently named the fifth-fastest-growing company in Canada for 2023 by the Globe and Mail

(Left to right) Blade Air founders Aedan Fida, Giancarlo Sessa and Joe Fida
Left to right: Blade Air founders Aedan Fida, Giancarlo Sessa and Joe Fida.

The trio is also celebrating one of their other latest achievements from earlier this year: the acquisition of, a Toronto-based startup that specializes in electromagnetic HVAC filters.  

The move will enhance Blade Air Smart IAQ Platform, the company’s innovative software for indoor air quality (IAQ) solutions.  

“With this strategic acquisition, Blade Air has access to patents and technology that will fast-track the next generation of its Blade Air Smart IAQ Platform,” says Sessa, chief revenue officer. “This enables businesses, real estate groups and facility managers to access critical, real-time data regarding their indoor air quality while reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions and lowering operational costs.” 

So far, Blade Air has implemented air quality solutions in over 540-million cubic feet of building spaces across North America, including for government, educational boards, hospitals and commercial enterprises. The list continues to grow as more spaces prioritize indoor air quality after the COVID-19 pandemic.   

A Blade Air HEPA Air purifier, the portable air quality solution for commercial spaces
A Blade Air HEPA Air Purifier, the portable air quality solution for commercial spaces.

Sessa says the company’s success is due in part to the support they received early on from YSpace, which provides access to mentors, testing equipment, and connections with funders and key resources.  

“YSpace was extremely supportive in providing us with the resources we needed to succeed, including great advisors, tools for making our business processes more efficient and an always cheerful and supportive network,” he says.  

The company has also prioritized sustainability, working to reduce its carbon footprint using zero-waste technology. They also created the world’s first zero-waste carbon filters.  

This commitment to innovate and be leaders in their industry stems from Sessa and Fida’s days at York.  

“Attending York University not only gave us the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the world of business, but we also found the inspiration to dream bigger and the network to make those dreams a reality,” Sessa says. “York empowered us to turn our vision into a thriving venture, and for that we are forever grateful.” 

To learn more about Blade Air, visit