Desautels program to help businesses tap global opportunities

William C. T. Polushin
William C. T. Polushin

By Chris Chipello

The Desautels Faculty of Management is launching a new program designed to help Canadian companies of all sizes better understand and take advantage of the trends driving globalization.

The Program for International Competitiveness: Trade and Innovation is designed to help develop globally savvy students, managers and policy makers in Quebec and the rest of Canada. The program’s offerings include practical and innovative training for enterprises, forums with leading business figures, student internships and independent research.

“More than 99 per cent of Canadian companies are small and medium-sized enterprises,” said William C. T. Polushin, Founding Director of the program. “The new dynamics of globalization mean that companies don’t have to be big to take advantage of the opportunities out there. But they do need to be savvy. Our program will help take that know-how right down to the shop floor today, while developing leaders for tomorrow.”

Polushin, an adjunct professor at Desautels, outlined the new program to private-sector, government and university representatives gathered at the Faculty’s Sherbrooke  St. building on Nov. 25.

As a trading nation, Canada depends on its companies’ ability to compete effectively in the rapidly changing international environment, Polushin noted. Ultimately, a globally sophisticated and competitive industrial base will provide Canada with the means to enjoy sustained economic growth. Yet, there are numerous signs that Canada is being outflanked on this front by the U.S. and Europe  – not to mention such fast-growing economies such as China and India.

Fewer than 20 per cent of Canadian manufacturers export. What’s more, the largest four per cent of exporting establishments account for 84 per cent of the total value of merchandise exports – and over a quarter of that amount reflects shipments by affiliates of U.S. companies to their U.S. parents.

Polushin said Canadian goods and services producing enterprises must develop a solid understanding of the global forces shaping their industries. They must then formulate and implement strategic plans that enable them to thrive in the global economy.

With an advisory board comprised of experts from the private sector, government and academia, the Program for International Competitiveness: Trade and Innovation is designed to serve as a catalyst to help facilitate that transition, Polushin explained.

The Program will also influence Desautels’s curriculum by offering student internships related to international business and bringing leading global business experts into the classroom. The Program fits with the Desautels Faculty’s mission to provide integrated management education – as well as with the highly international character of the McGill business school, noted Desautels Dean Peter Todd.

“By building on the Faculty’s existing international and interdisciplinary strengths, our mission is to graduate some of the world’s most extraordinary and innovative business leaders,” Todd said.  “The Program for International Competitiveness helps support that mission.”