University of Victoria to offer MBA for Telus employees

The University of Victoria's business school will be offering a private and customized master's degree for Telus employees starting this fall.

As many as 20 Telus employees, who clear both the company’s screening process and UVic’s admission requirements, will begin a two-year MBA program in leadership and strategy at the Sardul S. Gill Graduate School within the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.

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Saul Klein, dean of the Gustavson School, said the initiative marks the school’s first customized graduate program and ticks a number of boxes for the university, including adding a new revenue stream for the business school.

Klein said it allowed them to do something creative by working closely with a major corporation, and offered a chance to experiment with new delivery models.

Telus is paying for the establishment of the program and is providing the technology to allow UVic to offer an online education component and blended delivery model.

Klein noted the school is not giving up control to the company, and the integrity of its MBA program remains intact.

He admits the question of integrity did come up when they were considering the program, but he said they are satisfied it won’t be affected.

“For us, it came down to two questions: Are we going to be pressured to change our academic standards in the program and would we be able to maintain academic integrity as far as content is concerned?” he said. “It is our MBA program and we will still have the same academic integrity of our program. We’ve not watered down the content.”

Over two years, students in the program will go through six classroom modules, lasting between one and two weeks, and in between will go through a variety of learning opportunities using Telus’s technology platform.

As for the revenue, neither Telus nor UVic would divulge what Telus is paying. Klein noted all costs, including establishing the program and its infrastructure, tuition and overhead costs, were being covered by Telus and there is also a financial consideration that amounts to a profit for the school.

The program is a full UVic MBA, but it is customized for Telus and separate from other business programs at the school.

Klein said that means its learning material will be “contextualized” for Telus, so there will be a lot of case studies involving telecom firms and projects will revolve around challenges Telus faces.

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