All Posts Tagged With: "professional schools"
Future lawyers push for more practical skills
Laura McGee entered law school three years ago planning on a career negotiating international trade deals. By second year, reality set in.
“Once you look at recruiting opportunities, you start to think, ‘Who’s going to pay me to practise international law?’”
Staring down a six-figure debt, she decided to explore her options on Bay Street, Canada’s corporate capital, where there’s plenty of work for young lawyers. To her surprise, the University of Toronto didn’t offer many ways to get business-law skills or test drive a corporate career. The school’s clinics, where students get credit and hands-on experience with clients, offered exposure to Aboriginal law, poverty law and family law, but—ironically for a school one subway stop from Bay Street—not business. “You learn to think in law school,” she says, “but you don’t learn how to practise as a lawyer.” Seeing a gap, she circulated a petition proposing a business-law clinic. About 200 students, a third of the class, signed within two days.
What the single-stream CPA designation means for students
For students considering a career in accounting, 2013 might seem like the most confusing time in the history of the profession. For more than a century, Canada has had three different accounting designations, each with its own unique path from school to work and each competing for its share of influence among students and industry. But this year, a little more than 100 years after the split, it has reunited, changing both the nature of accounting and the path students follow to get there.
Solving mysteries from car crashes to stage collapses
From our 2013 Professional Schools issue
Before the hit series CSI, there was the Canadian documentary show Exhibit A, which traced the ways investigators had used high-tech scientific analysis to solve real-life crimes. As a teenager, Shannon Kroeker enjoyed the show so much she considered forensic sciences as a career. When it came time to choose, she opted for what seemed more realistic: mechanical engineering at Queen’s University. Nonetheless, at 33, she now spends her days doing detective work just like on the show.
Kroeker is a forensic engineer for the firm MEA in Vancouver, where she combines expertise in injury biomechanics (her Ph.D. involved prodding human tissue) with witness statements, photographs and medical reports to explain the impact of car crashes on human bodies. For example, how much did not wearing a seat belt contribute to an injury? She writes reports, usually for insurance company lawyers who are working to settle disputes. “When you’ve got all your clues and you have the ‘aha’ moment where you figure out what happened,” she says. “I find that really rewarding. It’s solving the mystery.”
Medical schools address conflict-of-interest
When Toronto family doctor Navindra Persaud was studying medicine at the University of Toronto in 2004, he took a week-long course on how to treat patients suffering from chronic pain. But something was missing from the lessons.
While there was a growing body of evidence about the risks—addiction, overdose, death—related to opioids such as OxyContin, the negative effects were minimized. Instead, students learned about “strong, consistent” research to support prescribing the drugs to patients with chronic pain unrelated to cancer. Persaud says he and his peers left the lectures with an “incomplete and partially inaccurate” picture of how to treat patients.
At the time, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the classes. Now he knows the lecturer had been previously paid to speak about pain management on behalf of Purdue Pharma LP, the makers of OxyContin. And the free textbook handed out to students? It was published by the drug company, as well. Just three years later, in 2007, Purdue paid more than $600 million, one of the biggest drug settlements in U.S. history, to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities for misleading health care professionals about OxyContin’s addictive properties.
Profession faces falling fees, stagnant pay and fewer jobs
From the 2013 Professional Schools issue.
Each year, just before Christmas, a cross-section of Toronto’s legal establishment gathers for what might be the only truly indispensible event on its calendar. “Beef Night” is as old as the venerable Lawyers Club—est. 1922—and its name has hooves in the literal and figurative worlds. Fuelled by free beer, and by suppressed frustration, members rise during this banquet of prime rib to air “beefs” about the alternative dimension they inhabit. It might be the parsimony of the attorney general of the day. Or it might be the chafing effect of shabbily tailored robes.
The best “beefs” are rewarded with roasts donated by the Loblaws grocery chain, and the worst gets a turkey, but winning is never the point. A few years back, a barbershop quartet of articling students brought down the house with a ditty skewering their puffed-up bosses at a Bay Street firm—most of whom were seated in the room—illustrating the evening’s traditional function as a leveller in a rank-obsessed profession. Any beef that runs too long gets gonged out with a cowbell that echoes through the rafters of Osgoode Hall Law School’s regal Convocation Hall, whether it’s delivered by a junior associate or a Supreme Court justice.
Mechanical? Civil? Software? We show you what’s growing.
From the Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue. Source: Engineers Canada
In the face of challenges, Canada’s business schools adapt
Peter Thiel’s career is the stuff of business legend. He co-founded PayPal and was the first outside investor in Facebook, paying future CEO Mark Zuckerberg $500,000 for 10 per cent of the company back in 2004. When the social networking giant held its IPO earlier this year, Thiel took home $640 million after selling off part of his stake. Since then, Facebook shares have lost half their value, but Thiel still managed to recently pocket $400 million after a regulatory lock-up agreement for insiders expired. In other words, while just about everyone else lost money on Facebook shares, Thiel made out like a bandit. It pays to get in first.
A worker shortage means big perks for mining engineers
Kyle Buckoll finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of British Columbia in April. Unlike many 23-year-old university graduates, he didn’t settle at his parents’ house in Maple Ridge, B.C., to start hunting for internships or entry-level jobs. Instead, he went on an all-expenses-paid trip to Turkey with 31 fellow class-of-2012 graduates from UBC’s mining engineering program. They marvelled at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, visited two of the seven ancient wonders of the world, and lounged on beach chairs in Bodrum to toast their graduation. They also toured six mines, because the flight, hotels and buses were all paid for by mining companies eager to show their largesse.
A shortage of positions in Ontario forces a reevaluation
Mathew Mezciems thought he was doing everything right. He got into one of the country’s premier law schools and set his sights on extracurricular activities that would set him up for a job on graduation. Big firms look for leaders—or so goes the conventional wisdom. So at the end of his first year at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., Mezciems ran for a junior position on the law students’ society, and won. The following year, his peers elected him president.
The job consumed a surprising amount of time. “There are meetings during the week with faculty,” says the 27-year-old, “and office hours where students can come and talk to you.” By the end of his second year, his grades had slipped into the Bs, and Mezciems found himself without one of the all-important summer student positions that serve as entryways to articling. After graduating this spring, he still couldn’t find an articling job—a predicament that not long ago would have been unthinkable for such a prominent student. “I’m trying not to be worried,” he said last June from his home outside Kingston, the strain audible in his voice. “You have those moments of panic, but I’m trying to stay positive and not get too overwhelmed.”
Environmental grads are employed where you’d least expect
Alex Benzie, 26, is less than a year from finishing her master’s degree in environmental studies at Queen’s University. She shops locally, buys most of her produce from nearby farms and questions the federal government’s recent streamlining of the environmental review process. She’s an environmentalist, in other words. In fact, her belief in sustainability is one of the reasons she chose to pursue the M.E.S. after a bachelor’s degree in geology instead of going straight into a job.
“I didn’t really want to be part of the oil industry or the Canadian mining industry, and that’s what a lot of geologists end up doing,” she says. “I just don’t think they’re sustainable.”
Universities are the cradle of the environmental movement. They’re a refuge where people worried about the planet can debate, research and write papers. In recent years, universities have built green buildings, imposed bottled-water bans and played host to rallies against the Alberta oil sands.
law rankings, engineering, medicine, M.B.A.s and more
Inside the 2012 Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue, on newsstands and iPad now, you’ll find:
—Our much-anticipated Law School Rankings
—The hottest engineering field
—Should articling be scrapped?
—How students are financing their degrees
—Rebranding the M.B.A.
…and much more. Pick up or download your copy of Maclean’s today.
Moving may boost the odds of medical school admission
From the 2012 Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue, on newsstands and iPad now.
It has been a long road for 33-year-old Kyla Adams from her high school years—when there was no question in her mind that she’d one day become a physician—to today, when the British Columbia native feels she finally has a decent shot at medical school.
In Adams’s second year of university, the academic and social stresses of life at the University of British Columbia caught up with her and she flunked out of school, temporarily shelving her ambition. After several years of selling running shoes, travelling and working as a personal trainer, Adams wrote the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) at the age of 26. She surprised herself with a decent score, which inspired her to enrol at the University of Victoria, where she earned a double degree in biology and earth sciences. She rewrote the MCAT, boosted her score and applied to medical school.
But the rules had changed. She was no longer allowed to drop those crummy decade-old marks from her application as she had thought. She applied to UBC’s medical school and didn’t get in. She applied again, and was rejected again. She applied a third time. No luck.
From the 2011 Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue
Are a law school’s professors significant contributors to the intellectual life of their discipline? Do a law school’s graduates land the most sought-after jobs in government, the private sector and academia? These are the two questions Maclean’s annual law survey seeks to answer.
All of the data used in the Maclean’s law rankings are publicly available. All focus on law school outputs. Fifty per cent of the overall ranking is determined by faculty quality, and 50 per cent by graduate quality.
The four measures of graduate quality look at the success each law school has had producing graduates able to land the most competitive jobs. The indicators are:
Elite Firm Hiring: Maclean’s calculated how many of each school’s graduates are serving as associates at law firms on Lexpert’s list of the largest firms in Canada across all regions, or at one of the five leading New York firms, according to the employment website Vault. This was done by examining the online biographies of thousands of lawyers at dozens of law firms. To scale this measure to each school, the tally was divided by first-year class size, averaged over the past three years. This measure is worth 20 per cent.
National Reach: This indicator, based on the Elite Firm Hiring measure, is worth 10 per cent. It measures the proportion of each law school’s grads at leading firms who are working at firms other than the three that hired the most grads from this school. It’s a measure of the extent to which leading firms outside a school’s region hire its graduates.
Supreme Court Clerkships: A measure of how many of a school’s graduates have served as clerks at the Supreme Court of Canada, this indicator is worth 10 per cent. There are 27 clerks each year; it is one of the most competitive positions open to graduates. Maclean’s looked at the last six years’ worth of clerks. As with the other measures of graduate quality, the tally was divided by each school’s average ﬁrst-year enrolment.
Faculty Hiring: Worth 10 per cent, this indicator looks at how many of a school’s graduates are professors at Canadian law schools, with extra weight given to grads hired by faculties other than their alma mater.
Faculty Journal Citations: In this measure of faculty quality, worth 50 per cent, Maclean’s employed the HeinOnline database of legal periodicals. The search included citations in international publications as well as Canadian journals in order to reflect the reality of a globalized academy. The number of citations recorded by each faculty member was measured; the tally for each school was then divided by the size of its faculty.
The methodology behind the Maclean’s law school rankings was created in co-operation with professor Brian Leiter, director of the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago. The data were compiled by researcher Jane Bao. Ranking on each indicator and overall rank was determined using the statistical percentile method that Maclean’s has long employed in our annual university rankings. Our statistician was Hong Chen, of McDougall Scientific Ltd. statistical consultants.
From the 2011 Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue
When she was in law school, Amber Biemans always figured she’d practise in the city. After she and her husband had kids, though, she felt the pull of small-town life. At age 26, Biemans joined a firm in Humboldt, Sask. (population 5,900); two years later, she’d bought out a senior partner at the firm who was ready to retire. Making partner at age 28 was an “amazing opportunity,” says Biemans, now 32, but beyond that, “the benefits here are immense,” from the commute to work—which takes all of five minutes—to the close relationships she’s built with clients.
The FT’s E.M.B.A. evaluation looks at a variety of performance measures for each school
Similar to the Financial Times’ regular M.B.A. rankings, the FT’s E.M.B.A. evaluation looks at a variety of performance measures for each school: the career progress of students, faculty quality and the diversity (female and international) of both faculty and students.
Executive M.B.A. programs normally allow their participants to remain at their jobs, pursuing the degree part-time
Targeted at people who already have a career but want to take it to the next level by earning an advanced degree, executive M.B.A. programs normally allow their participants to remain at their jobs, pursuing the degree part-time. Tuition, often covered by employers, is generally high.
Information is for the 2010-2011 academic year. **Tuition differs for international students: $44,025 at Guelph; $39,874 at UPEI; $36,000 at Regina; $53,975 at Royal Roads. UQAM program open to Canadian residents only (tuition higher for out-of-province students).
Source: Canadian universities
Canadian schools didn’t crack the top 20 in either of the Financial Times’ rankings, but York (Schulich) placed first on the alternative Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey
Beyond Grey Pinstripes M.B.A.
Beyond Grey Pinstripes is an alternative ranking of business schools, conducted every two years by the Aspen Institute’s Center for Business Education. The ranking assesses the degree to which leading M.B.A. programs integrate issues concerning social and environmental stewardship into the curriculum.
Plus, average GPA and test scores and which schools require the MCAT
Gaining admission to medical school is a competitive process. In the table below, Success Rate indicates the percentage of applicants who received at least one offer of admission. Note that success rates for in-province applicants are generally higher than for out-of-province, because most medical schools reserve nearly all of their seats for local students. The grade point average (GPA)—or R score in Quebec’s CEGEP system—shows the average for successful applicants. The medical college admission test (MCAT) is a standardized test required for admission at many faculties. CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE
Statistics on applicants, admissions and success rates are for 2008-2009. MCAT scores are for students entering in fall 2009. GPA scores are for students entering in 2010, except those flagged with an asterisk, which are from 2009. ††All figures for Queen’s are from 2006-2007. †Includes all Maritime provinces. **Located at Lakehead and Laurentian universities. Note: higher international success rates at some universities may be misleading, given that at some institutions the number includes students who applied for positions available under contract with foreign governments or educational institutions.
Source: Office of Research and Information Services, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada; MCAT scores obtained directly from Canadian medical schools.
First-year tuition for academic year 2010-2011
Gaining acceptance to medical school is the first hurdle. The next challenge is paying for it. The figures listed below show first-year tuition for academic year 2010-2011.
Two Canadian tuition figures are listed for schools in Quebec: the first applies for residents of Quebec; the higher figure is charged for students from outside the province. *Tuition for residents of Quebec or New Brunswick.