How one professor is engaging community to shrink York’s carbon footprint

York Professor Burkard Eberlein, from the Schulich School of Business, set out to reduce the University’s carbon emissions in his 2021-23 Provostial Fellowship.

Burkard Eberlein
Burkard Eberlein

Through the program, Fellows have traditionally engaged the community to take action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Challenge – a key commitment of the University Academic Plan.

Eberlein’s project, “Advancing Carbon Neutrality at York: Reimagining Mobility,” took aim at reducing emissions from commuting and travel to studying, research and carrying out University business activities.

In 2022, Eberlein surveyed York community members about their travel and commuting routines, and this year he released a video highlighting the University’s current carbon footprint with a call to action suggesting how community members can help reduce it.

Here’s a look at the inspiration behind his work.

Q: What was the thinking behind creating this video and what did you hope to achieve?
A: I was looking for engaging and fun ways to communicate my findings to the wider community. I wanted this to be something we could all relate to and that would work as a call to action.

I worked with Alexandre Magnin, a francophone illustrator, who produced this animated video (available in English and French). Alex has a YouTube channel called “Sustainability illustrated” and he does excellent videos on sustainability that I have used before in my teaching. I provided the script and Alex produced this fantastic work to engage the community in thinking about ways they can help York achieve its net zero before 2040 target.

Q: What are some concrete ways community members can make an impact?
A: First thing, just be more mindful of the choices that you make when it comes to commuting and travel. Many of us have habits and routines that we can examine more closely. For example, if you’re driving to campus regularly, are there ways you can set up a car pool with colleagues or classmates? This would be a small but meaningful, positive change.

Bike share station on York University's Keele campus
A bike share station on York University’s Keele Campus.

Below are some concrete steps that people can take, along with advocating to get more community members involved:

  • Taking the bus or the subway can reduce emissions by around six (bus) and 30 (subway) times compared to driving alone. 
  • Walking and biking generate virtually no emissions and York is investing in bike share programs
  • Driving an electric car typically generates a third of the emissions compared to fossil fuel vehicles. 
  • When driving a car, the more people in it the more efficient it becomes. 
  • Make your business travel count and consider whether you can deliver a presentation remotely or think about conference travel sustainably. 

Q: What is your biggest takeaway or lesson learned from this project?
A: Change is hard and it requires both passion and perseverance. Begin with small steps and make sure to involve all of your fellow community members and partners. By coming together, we can show what is possible to right the future.


Eberlein is co-chair of the Transportation Working Group that will develop proposals in this area (e.g. York business travel policy), in the context of York’s new sustainability framework. He is also looking forward to sharing his comprehensive slide deck and report on how York can reduce carbon emissions from commuting and business travel when it is officially released.

Learn more about Eberlein’s work as a curricular champion to support the UN SDGs and his work to engage students in reducing York’s carbon footprint. 

Watch the video here:

Schulich Startups opens entrepreneurship office

Students working together in a workspace rom

York University’s Schulich School of Business recently opened new office space for Schulich Startups, which leads the development of the school’s accelerator and incubator services and helps support aspiring and established student entrepreneurs.

Schulich Startups office space
Schulich Startups new office space.

Located on the second floor of the Dezsö J. Horváth Executive Learning Centre, the new facility represents the school’s ongoing commitment to fostering an innovative and collaborative startup ecosystem. It is equipped with the following workspaces that cater to the varying needs of the student entrepreneurship community:

  • Founders Workspace (Private Lounge): tailored to startup founders seeking a quiet area for deep, focused work or confidential discussions.
  • Media Room: equipped with advanced podcasting technology, this room is ideal for startup founders and entrepreneurship-focused student clubs hosting podcasts, conducting interviews and creating multimedia content.
  • Conference Room: this versatile space can host up to 15 participants and is perfect for workshops, seminars and guest lectures, as well as Schulich “Idea Jams” with portfolio companies.
  • Co-working Space: a dynamic, collaborative environment for startup teams to come together.

“The new office space will facilitate the continued growth and development of the Schulich Startups community, which now includes more than 200 companies and over 3,000 members, and which is dedicated to creating the next generation of Schulich entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Schulich Dean Detlev Zwick.

For more information about Schulich Startups, visit schulich.yorku.ca/schulich-startups.

Schulich triumphs in fall case competitions

Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building

This semester, the Schulich School of Business sent several case competition teams to universities across North America – to much success. Each student team received coaching from alumni and faculty as part of Schulich’s highly regarded Case Competition Program, which serves as a platform to develop essential skills in strategic thinking and presentation.

Schulich School of Business Fall 2023 case competition teams. Left photo, from left to right: Ian Chang, Disha Mittal and Abilash Sathyakumar. Right photo, top row: Siddharth Dave, Jack Goodwin and Omer Rahim; middle row: Kian Rastegar and Sophia Katzell; bottom row: Sophie MacLellan, Joanne Estephan, Joe Fayt and Mikayla Wronko.

Team Schulich clinched the $10,000 top prize at Duke University’s 2023 Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition. Ian Chang (JD/MBA ’24), Disha Mittal (JD/MBA ’24) and Abilash Sathyakumar (JD/MBA ’25) competed against 60 teams from over seven countries, including finalists from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Judget Business School at the University of Cambridge. Their winning proposal offered a practical business model addressing the electrification challenges in Nigeria’s rural areas. The team’s achievement, with support from alumna Neda Riazi (BBA ’14), reflects Schulich’s commitment to developing solutions with positive social and environmental impact.

The DeGroote Innovative Solutions Competition (DISC), which took place virtually earlier this month, saw two new Schulich case teams secure second and third place. Students Mikayla Wronko, Sophie MacLellan, Sophia Katzell, Joanne Estephan, Jack Goodwin, Omer Rahim, Kian Rastegar and Siddharth Dave tackled two real-life business cases sponsored by industry leaders. The competition tested their ability to quickly devise business strategies, with one week of preparation for the first case and a three-hour timeframe for the second. The DISC teams received guidance from alumni coaches Michael Chan (MBA ’19), Santoshi Tadanki (MMAI ’23), Kristen Ferkranus (MBA ’20), Adam Wexler (MBA ’11) and Ollie Adegbulu (MF ’23).

All student teams were coached by Professor Joe Fayt, who teaches several marketing courses at Schulich and is responsible for training the graduate-level case teams. Fayt brings over a decade of experience to the Case Competition Program and has earned over 60 international competition victories through his coaching of Schulich teams.

“Congratulations to the Schulich teams on their top-tier placements at recent national and international case competitions,” said Schulich Dean Detlev Zwick. “Kudos as well to the case competition coaches, alumni advisors and supporting faculty who did an outstanding job preparing our students to compete at the very highest levels.”

YSpace partners with BDC to support future female leaders

A group of professional women standing together

York University will support and advance early-stage, women-led social impact businesses through a new partnership between YSpace, the University’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub, and BDC’s Thrive Lab, a new venture offering equity and equity-like investments for these impact-driven companies.

After building the one-of-a-kind, $100-million Thrive Lab over the past nine months, BDC – Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs – has announced investments, training and support for at least 100 ambitious, women-led businesses committed to delivering solutions to some of the world’s most pressing social issues.

The lab’s first phase will co-invest – alongside 25 partners from across Canada, including YSpace – in businesses at the earliest stages of development, where they face the most fundraising challenges.

As a partner, YSpace will help identify and validate women-led ventures within its portfolios as candidates for this funding and support. As a representative of York University, YSpace is also partnering with Schulich Startups, an initiative led by the Schulich School of Business Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, to ensure that Schulich founders are also eligible and nominated. Thrive Lab is committing up to $250,000 in funding to help those companies accelerate, said Nafis Ahmed, entrepreneurship manager of YSpace.

“It’s a really good opportunity for our companies from YSpace. We have many women-led ventures that are looking for these investment opportunities and now they get a direct pipeline into the BDC program,” said Ahmed. “It’s helping them tap into extra funding opportunities that they didn’t have before. Our commitment to the founders is that we will be performing the due diligence process to prepare them for the BDC investment committee and provide up to 18 months of support should they be selected for investment.”

BDC has identified the first 25 partners as “changemakers for emerging companies.” Partners were selected based on their track record of supporting women entrepreneurs or their expertise in social impact, their capacity to deliver resources and their ability to reach women where they are across Canada, including in underserved communities.

David Kwok
David Kwok

“We are so excited to be partnering with BDC’s Thrive Lab to increase access to funding opportunities for women entrepreneurs across the country,” said David Kwok, director of entrepreneurship and innovation at YSpace and the Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation. “Our award-winning women’s entrepreneurship program ELLA has been a staple in the community supporting women-led ventures since 2019, and we recently went national this past year with our partners Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada and Desjardins, supporting women from coast to coast. This partnership is strongly aligned with York’s UN SDGs focus on gender equality, and it also further demonstrates how YSpace and York University is a leading organization in supporting women entrepreneurs.”

BDC has earmarked $35 million for the first phase of the initiative. To be eligible, a business must be women-led, making a measurable positive impact tied to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) – such as food security and responsible agriculture, health and well-being, education, reduced inequalities, and responsible consumption and production – as well as actively raising capital and nominated by a Thrive Lab partner.

“Women entrepreneurs are under-represented and underfunded,” said Sévrine Labelle, managing director of Thrive Lab. “BDC aims to change that, and the fastest and most impactful way to deliver on that change is to work with organizations already rolling up their sleeves to support emerging women-led and social impact companies.”

Working collaboratively, the lab is designed to experiment and adapt and pursue new ways of providing support in line with the needs of women-led businesses.

The second phase will build on learnings from this initiative and ongoing feedback from partners and women entrepreneurs.

The Thrive Lab is part of BDC’s $500-million Thrive Platform. Announced in fall 2022, it is the largest investment platform in the world supporting women-led businesses. It includes three components: the $300-million Thrive Venture Fund, a $100-million Indirect Investment Envelope and the $100-million Thrive Lab.

York Circle Lecture Series presents experts on topical subjects

York Circle Lecture series

In collaboration with Jennifer Steeves, the York Circle Chair and associate vice-president research, the Office of Alumni Engagement invites the community to York University’s Keele campus for a new instalment of the York Circle Lecture series.

Beginning Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Life Sciences Building, prominent faculty members will delve into a diverse array of compelling subjects, reflecting the defining themes of York University.

The York Circle Lecture Series is held four times a year and is open to York’s community, including alumni and friends. Tickets are $5 and include coffee, light snacks and lunch.

Sessions will feature the guest speakers, and attendees will be asked to select one lecture from each session during registration.

10 a.m. sessions

Maxim Voronov
Maxim Voronov

Maxim Voronov, professor, organizational behaviour and industrial relations, Schulich School of Business, presenting “The good, the bad, and the ugly of authenticity.”

Authenticity seems ever-present in today’s society, and it has become an important research topic among organizational scholars. Much of the time, both scholars and practitioners see authenticity as unambiguously good. But we need to acknowledge the darker side of authenticity and explore its implications. The purpose of this talk is to explore “the good, the bad and the ugly” of authenticity, shifting the focus away from authenticity as an attribute of people and things and toward unpacking the process by which people and things are cast as authentic. A particular focus will be on unpacking the contribution of authenticity to both social good and social harm.

Emilie Roudier
Emilie Roudier

Emilie Roudier, assistant professor, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, presenting “Wildland fires: studying our blood vessels to better understand the impact on health.”

Over the past decade, the intensity and size of wildland fires have increased. Wildland fire seasons have lengthened, and these fires contribute to global air pollution. This presentation will highlight how wildland fire-related air pollution can impact our heart and blood vessels.

11:20 a.m. sessions

Usman Khan
Usman Khan

Usman Khan, associate professor and department Chair, Department of Civil Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering, presenting “Harnessing the power of AI for flood forecasting.”

Floods are the most frequent weather-related natural disasters, affecting the largest number of people globally, with economic damages in excess of $900 billion (between 1994 and 2013). Globally, climate change and urbanization have led to an increase in floods in recent decades and this trend is projected to continue in the coming years, including in Canada. Despite this, Canada is the only G7 country without nationwide flood forecasting systems, which are key to saving lives and reducing the damages associated with floods. Hydroinformatics, the study of complex hydrological systems by combining water science, data science and computer science, attempts to improve traditional flood forecasting through the use of advanced techniques such as artificial intelligence (AI). This talk will outline recent research in this area and plans to build a Canada-wide, open-source, real-time, operational flood forecasting system that harnesses the power of AI to improves our ability to predict and prepare for floods.

Antony Chum
Antony Chum

Antony Chum, assistant professor, Canada Research Chair, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, presenting “The impact of recreational cannabis legalization on cannabis-related acute care in Ontario.”

This presentation will discuss the effects of cannabis legalization on cannabis-related acute care (emergency department visits and hospitalizations). The research conducted discovered specific impact patterns among different demographic groups. Additionally, the talk will delve into regional disparities and analyze the policy implications arising from the legalization process.

Since 2009, York Circle has showcased the ideas and research being generated by York University’s community. Topics come from every Faculty and have included discussions around gender issues, brain function, mental health, international aid, sports injuries, financial policy and many more evolving subjects.

Schulich MBA earns top spot in responsible business ranking

Seymour Schulich Building

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at York University’s Schulich School of Business was ranked No. 1 in Canada in an annual global survey focused on responsible business.

In the survey conducted by Corporate Knights, one of the world’s largest circulation magazines, Schulich’s MBA program also ranked 13th overall among the more than 200 global business schools evaluated.

“Schulich is pleased to have once again been ranked number one in Canada,” said Schulich School of Business Dean Detlev Zwick. “We’re proud of our school’s pioneering role in the field of responsible business and our reputation as one of the world’s leading centres of teaching, research and outreach in this area.”  

The Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking measured business schools using one main metric: the proportion of core courses from the MBA program that include sustainable development content, from environmental issues such as carbon pricing to social, ethical and diversity issues. There was also a bonus score for the percentage of a school’s recent graduates working in social impact roles or working for social impact organizations.

For more information about the 2023 Better World MBA ranking methodology, visit the website.

Schulich partnership helps propel student startups in India

Businessman with white rocket launching from his hand to sky

The Schulich School of Business recently concluded its Together Mission 4.0, the fourth edition of its annual entrepreneurship bootcamp and venture competition supported by an ongoing partnership with the Government of India’s Startup India initiative.

The global online event, which bridges the innovation ecosystems of Canada and India, pairs Schulich master of business administration (MBA) students and alumni with inspired teams of student entrepreneurs hand-picked by Startup India from over 17,000 Indian colleges and 700 Indian universities. The Schulich mentors assist with pitch design, business planning and competitive analysis throughout the course of a three-week intensive mentorship program, and then each team presents their idea. After the top six teams are determined, they are invited to take part in a grand finale event, with live pitches streamed to an estimated audience of 10,000.

“The Together Mission is an incredible opportunity for our students to reach out across the globe and leverage their entrepreneurial training and mindset as a force for good and friendship,” said Chris Carder, executive director of Schulich’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, who created the program. “We love seeing these companies grow and thrive in India, thanks to our many students and alumni mentors, and we’re already excited for next year.”

This year’s winning team, Climec Labs, led by Indian student entrepreneurs Inderan Kannan and Atul John, received a $10,000 cash prize for their innovative idea to use microalgae to improve indoor air quality. Supporting the project were Schulich MBA students Aditya Singh, Aditya Chandel and Adhiraj Singh.

“We are deeply grateful for Schulich and York University in helping us achieve the impactful goals we set forth in our pitch,” said Kannan. “We never imagined the incredible impact these Canadian students made on our startup in only one week.”

Receiving a $5,000 cash prize as the runner-up was team InnrGize, led by Shalmali Kanu and Siddharth Warrier, with a device that uses neurostimulation to reduce stress and improve sleep.

In addition to the cash prizes, winners of the competition are rewarded with access to powerful startup tools and global networks to help them realize their dream.

Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to empower startups to grow through innovation and design.

For more information about the Together Mission, visit schulich.yorku.ca/together/together-about 

A full video of the event is available to watch on LinkedIn.

Father-son research team makes novel finding in autism research

Multi-ethnic startup business conference banner image

Schulich School of Business and Faculty of Health researchers say that while as many as 90 per cent of people with autism are unemployed or underemployed, their study points to the benefits of having neurodivergent people in the workplace

A groundbreaking study led by York University sheds light on the finding that individuals with autism are less prone to the “bystander effect” in the face of challenging situations, and makes a case for employing neurodivergent people.

A psychological theory in which individuals are less likely to offer help or take action in an emergency situation when other people are present, the bystander effect has also been shown to apply to workplace settings. However, researchers have found that people with autism bring benefits to organizations because they are less likely to succumb to the bystander effect.

Lorne Hartman
Lorne Hartman
Braxton Hartman
Braxton Hartman

Lorne Hartman, an instructor with the Schulich School of Business, says the study shows that “to the extent that they would act if they saw something wrong, employees with autism were much more likely to intervene, regardless of the number of people present.”

Further to that, in situations where neurodivergent people would not intervene, they were more likely to identify the influence of others as the reason, whereas neurotypical employees were more reluctant to acknowledge this, says Lorne, lead author of the study.

Lorne and his son Braxton Hartman, a graduate student in the Faculty of Health at York who was a collaborator on the study, were inspired to look into this issue not only from their academic experience, but also because of personal experience – Braxton has autism and has been a public advocate on the issue since he was 12 years old.

“One of the motivations here is that a lot of the current literature on autism comes from a deficit mindset. It’s basically saying these differences in autism are sort of exclusively negatives. We want to reframe that and ask, ‘What are ways that some of these differences could actually be an advantage rather than just a negative?’ ” says Braxton, whose research also focuses on autism. “One of the core areas that people tend to consider a deficit in autism is in terms of social interaction. We wanted to look at whether this is actually a positive to the extent that people with autism are less influenced by others when it comes to dysfunctional or unethical situations.”

Lorne has a background in clinical psychology and his main area of research looks at unethical behaviour in organizations.

“But most importantly, in all of these cases, there were hundreds, maybe thousands of people who may not have actually been involved in the wrongdoing, but they should have been aware that it was going on,” he says, summarizing his earlier research. “So having people around who are willing to blow the whistle, so to speak, is very important for organizations.”

The study, which was published this week in the October issue of Autism Research, was created with collaborators from the University of Toronto. The research participants – employed individuals, 33 with autism and 34 neurotypical – were asked to weigh in on hypothetical scenarios involving everything from inefficiencies and inequalities to quality concerns.

While the results are preliminary and more research is needed, the researchers say their work has important practical implications, especially considering that the rates of unemployment and underemployment for people with autism may be as high as 90 per cent, and even if they have higher education, that statistic only drops to 70 per cent.

“We’re looking at this from two angles. One is looking at helping organizations be more ethical and efficient, but also helping people like myself – people on the spectrum – find gainful employment by helping to change the societal understanding of autism,” concludes Braxton.

Learn more at News @ York.

Schulich’s Master of Marketing program earns top spot in Canada

Seymour Schulich Building

The QS World University Rankings has ranked the Master of Marketing program at York University’s Schulich School of Business No. 1 in Canada and 10th overall in North America.        

To compile its 2024 ranking, QS surveyed 131 master of marketing programs in 26 countries around the world using a number of criteria, including employability, thought leadership, class and faculty diversity, value for money and alumni outcomes.

Schulich’s Master of Marketing program ranked 10th in the world in the category of Alumni Outcomes – the extent to which the school’s graduates have gone on to pursue highly successful careers.

“We’re very pleased to have been ranked the No. 1 master of marketing program in Canada and one of the top programs in North America,” said Schulich Dean Detlev Zwick. “Today’s ranking results are a reflection of our world-class faculty, the high quality of our students and program, and the success of our graduates.”  

For more information about the 2024 QS master of marketing ranking, visit QS World University Rankings: Business Master’s 2024 – QS.

Expert panel takes deep dive into generative AI for business

Female IT Programmer Working on Desktop Computer in Data Centre System Control Room

Join York University’s Schulich School of Business and global wealth management company CI Financial for From Pixels to Profits – A Deep Dive into Generative AI Technology, a panel discussion and networking event on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. in Schulich’s Robert R. McEwen Auditorium.

Part of Schulich and CI Financial’s Investing in the Future initiative – designed to leverage the strengths and synergies of the two organizations to bring real-world learning experiences to students through internships, innovative projects and industry events – the “From Pixels to Profits” event will focus on generative artificial intelligence (AI) and its place in business.

Since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT less than a year ago, generative AI has garnered immense attention and has been heralded as one of the most significant technological breakthroughs in recent times. In the business world, generative AI is also quickly becoming a pivotal force in reshaping how companies operate, innovate and compete.

Pauline Shum Nolan
Pauline Shum Nolan

A panel of AI experts from CI Financial and Google will answer questions such as: what is generative AI; how is it being applied in businesses; and how does it affect students preparing for the job market. As with any powerful tool, its impact will be shaped by how people choose to use it.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Schulich finance Professor Pauline Shum Nolan, and the panellists include: Kambiz Vatan-Abadi, chief innovation officer at CI Financial; Martin J. Cheung, vice-president of digital transformation and automation at CI Global Asset Management; Brittany Rockwell, AI/ML customer engineer at Google Cloud; and Meg Jansen, technology sales leader at Google Cloud.

A networking reception will follow.

For more information about the event and to register, visit Investing in the Future – Schulich School of Business (yorku.ca).