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The future of some Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) students could be in Africa, as the business school is seeking to solidify a strategic partnership with universities on the continent.
TRSM dean Steven Murphy visited universities in Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa last month, discussing potential partnership opportunities for Ryerson’s business school.
Murphy says that the partnership with an African university could include aspects such as faculty exchanges, student exchanges, research exchanges and joint programs for master’s and bachelor’s programs.
TRSM is still in the preliminary stages of solidifying a partnership in Africa.
“Education is about connecting students and connecting experience to the world at large. So when you’re in a business school that also includes how people do business differently in different cultures,” said Murphy.
“Providing potential opportunities for our students to understand how African businesses work and how they will be working and connecting into global businesses is hugely valuable,” he said.
Global management professor, Shavin Malhotra, agrees.
He says that in terms of international business, there is already an understanding of how economies and businesses work in numerous countries. But Africa is not one of them.
“What we know very little about is the African economies and how businesses operate in these economies … Multinational (businesses) haven’t been very active in entering economies in Africa,” says Malhotra.
He says that providing students the opportunity to learn about and experience African business practices would be a huge asset to companies, especially those looking to enter the continent.
Other Canadian business schools already have partnerships with African schools. York University’s Schulich School of Business’s graduate program has an exchange partnership with Wits Business School and the University of the Witwatersrand, located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Currently, TRSM has exchange programs and educational partnerships in place for students in countries such as India, China and several European countries, but there are no existing exchange programs or educational partnerships with any African countries.
While exchange programs are easy to arrange, Murphy says that other initiatives, such as joint programming, could take years to organize, as the approval process has to go through the senate.
But other areas of Ryerson are involved with various universities on the continent.
Last year, Ryerson launched the South African Zone Fellowship program, which invites seven student entrepreneurs to attend one of Ryerson’s four learning zones and help develop their businesses.
This story also appeared in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Feb. 11, 2015.