Keeping their eyes on the rim
By Adrian Leung
Western's business school wants to do business in the pacific rim and is willing to invade Asia to do it.
The lucrative and expanding economies of southeast Asia have enticed the Richard Ivey School of Business Administration to look east for new opportunities. The school is in the process of creating an Asian management institute in Hong Kong.
"The concept is to establish a serious presence in the key markets in southeast Asia, which are Hong Kong and China, Korea and Japan," said Larry Wynant, associate dean of the business school. "We have to be there if we are to be viewed as a world-class business school."
Although the new venture has not yet attained approval from the business department or from the university, Wynant said the business school is in the process of fund-raising to write Asian case studies and to establish the management institute. The school also plans to offer an executive masters program in business administration in Hong Kong by the start of 1998.
"Within one month, we should have facilities up and running with an office and a meeting facility in Hong Kong. There will also be executive programs in place within the next couple of months," Wynant said.
"Things are moving unbelievably fast," said Jim Erskine, a professor from Western's business school. Erskine, who joined Team Canada's trade mission to Asia was recently in Korea to create contacts with Korean business people. "The economic centre of the world is the Asia pacific and our goals are to understand how to do business there."
Wynant said the presence of the business school in the pacific rim will also allow students at Western to learn about business and management issues in Asia. "Traditionally, the focus has been on North America and Europe but as the world globalizes, it is essential for students in our classrooms to have a world perspective and to view business in the view of Asian management."
Erskine said there are cultural and economic differences between the Asian and North American societies which he believes Canadians can learn from. "Koreans are highly focused, competitive and successful in the world," he said. "They also have a high sense of family and community, which in our society has dissipated."
He added Koreans are economically assertive, not aggressive. "They have a high commitment to globalization. They are very entrepreneurially oriented and are survivors."