Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Campaign trips abroad by Obama, Romney a study in contrasts

 Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is here to begin his seven-day, three-country foreign trip, a trip that is different in scope and focus from his rival's trip four years ago.President Obama, then a senator, visited eight countries Kuwait,Austria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Germany, England and France over eight days.  Romney’s doing a much smaller tour over one week, focusing on England, Israel and Poland.  John McCain stopped by Jordan, France, England and Israel in 2008, when he was the Republican running for president.

These trips, typical for a nominee in election year, take the candidate off their domestic campaigning but showcase their reception and leadership on the world stage.Obama in 2008 and Romney this year each picked late July to travel, while McCain's trip was much earlier in the year, in March just after he had clinched enough delegates to win the nomination.Romney is looking to home in on strong U.S. allies, kicking off with an emphasis on the so-called special relationship with Britain. He’ll also attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics and meet with athletes, which political observers expect to be a moment to highlight his leadership and work running the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.  The presumptive Republican nominee prefaced the trip with a speech in Nevada at a conference of the VFW, saying, “I am not ashamed of American power. I take pride that throughout history our power has brought justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict and hope where there was affliction and despair.”  He was making an apparent reference to Obama’s 2009 foreign trip, which critics dubbed as an “apology tour” of American strength. 

Romney starts his day Thursday meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.He then heads to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, the leader of the opposition party and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Romney has been friends with Netanyahu since the 1970s, when both were in Boston and recruited by the same consulting firm.Iran is expected to be the main issue the two will talk about, and the Obama campaign in particular will be watching to see if Romney definitively calls for any military action. Netanyahu's and Obama's relationship has been somewhat tenser, so this could be a chance for Romney to appear a stronger ally to Israel.Netanyahu was cautious about wading into American politics, telling Fox News on Sunday, “I will receive Mitt Romney with the same openness that I received another presidential candidate, then-Senator Barack Obama, when he came almost four years ago, almost the same time in the campaign, to Israel.”

The prime minister has asserted Israel's right to pursue military action to handle Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and Romney has said he doesn’t think Obama has done enough to back Israel's right to defend itself. In December at a GOP debate, Romney said, “I'd get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do’?Romney will give remarks in Israel before heading to Poland, where he’ll also give a speech.  Those are the only two formal remarks expected.In contrast, Obama gave a major speech titled “A World That Stands as One” in Germany to 200,000 cheering people in front of the Victory Column in Berlin's Tiergarten Park. He also gave several press conferences on his foreign swing and interviews with all three major broadcast networks, who flew out to sit down with him.Romney will also do some interviews but will not be giving any press conferences.

Obama was criticized for the length of his trip, with some saying he was running for president of the world instead of the United States. He started his trip visiting troops and commanders in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq and benefited from Prime Minister Nuri al-Malaki endorsing his Iraqi troop withdrawal plan ahead of his trip. Of course, the trip came while the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were still a front-and-center political issue, while now the campaign is mostly about the economy.Romney will round out his trip in Poland, visiting the historic port city of Gdansk and then to Warsaw. He’s expected to highlight Poland as an example of economic and Democratic values. It also can’t be overlooked that making Poland a star is setting up Romney’s positioning and comparison to Russia, which Romney once called the United States’ biggest foe.Romney is not expected to make any major policy announcements on this tour and will stick to focusing on listening to other world leaders.He’s also holding fundraisers in London and Jerusalem. Obama did not raise cash on his trip, but the Romney campaign was quick to point out Obama still used his foreign trip as a tool to ask for cash, asking for donations online after his Berlin speech.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Work-education abroad sets business students apart

 As a third-year commerce student at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, Marcel Glaesser spent an academic semester at the University of Mannheim last year. After completing his studies in Germany, he decided to stay longer and landed a six-month contract with BMW in Munich.The coolest thing is that I got to do so many things,” he recalls, citing marketing-related assignments that included preparations for the company’s annual meeting held in a stadium, complete with a display of prototype cars.His experience typifies a growing trend among undergraduate and graduate business students to study and work abroad while earning their business degree. For Mr. Glaesser, Germany held appeal because he was born there before his family came to Canada 10 years ago. He took his classes in English at Mannheim, but had to brush up on his German to work at BMW.

His advice to other students is “go abroad, go abroad. It will set you apart.”The same message comes from Canadian business schools, some with formal and informal arrangements to promote international experience opportunities for students before they graduate.For example, Beedie recently signed an agreement with the British Columbia and Caribbean branches of the Certified General Accountants for an accounting student to spend a work term in Barbados every year.We feel it is a great opportunity for students because they get to work and learn, says Andrew Gemino, associate dean of undergraduate programs.We would love to do more, he adds. “It is a matter of finding those opportunities and working on them.

About 1,700 Beedie commerce undergraduates – about half of the enrolment – are at one stage or another of the school’s co-op program, either completing a prerequisite semester, applying for a placement or actually on the job. Every semester, between 170 and 240 students are actually working, with about five per cent choosing to go abroad.Through a variety of different ways, the students are becoming more comfortable and more interested in working internationally,” says Shauna Tonsaker, co-op education program director.Her office provides financial and other assistance to students before, during and after their work stint. Prior to departure, all students complete an online course to minimize culture shock. This summer, students have chosen placements with major firms in half a dozen countries, including China, Austria,Japan and Germany.

“They get the experience of working in a culturally diverse work environment, gain experience for the first time of living on their own and get a global perspective,” she says. “It is of huge value when they are out there to apply for careers, locally and internationally, and can bring that [experience] to the workplace.Now completing his fourth year at Beedie in business marketing, Mr. Glaesser says the biggest bonus of working abroad was his new level of confidence. “It was the first time working in any big organization and seeing how it works from the inside,” he recalls. “For me, it was really valuable.”

Social media fundraising

For the second year in a row, MBA students at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University used social media for philanthropic pursuits while on a 10-day overseas study trip.During the for-credit “hot cities” tour to South Africa this year, students used Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to raise funds for Ubuntu Education Fund, a Port Elizabeth non-profit that provides medical and educational support to orphaned and vulnerable children.The students hoped to raise $20,000, but fell slightly short at $18,000. However, the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education recognized the student effort with a gold medal for best use of social media, according to Desautels student Melanie Walsh, one of the organizers.
Endowed chair

An astonishing 98 per cent of Canadian businesses have fewer than 100 employees. But a 2010 Industry Canada study found this country lags behind global competitors on several measures of entrepreneurship, such as exports generated by small and medium firms.Exploring the potential for these enterprises to extend their global reach is one goal of a new $2-million endowed chair in international entrepreneurship at the Schulich School of Business.Looking at countries in the world where this culture of entrepreneurship is well developed and looking at the opportunity in Canada, we saw this [endowment] as an opportunity,” says Doug Brooks, chief executive officer of the Certified General Accountants of Ontario, which endowed the chair. “The knowledge and understanding, from a global perspective, to develop an entrepreneurial culture within Ontario and Canada we see that as the way forward from an economic standpoint.He adds that the endowment – one of several relationships between his association and post-secondary institutions and think tanks is a great strategic fit” because his members either work in or for small and medium enterprises.Moren Lévesque, who has taught graduate-level entrepreneurship students at the school since 2011, is the inaugural chair.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

UK Global MBA degree, 100% online. Choose MBA specialisation now!

 It’s that time of the year when students who are headed abroad for higher studies start their travel preparations. With a number of universities making insurance a must, students need to buy a policy in India. While the basic cover is generally of around $50,000, limits for accident and sickness are up to $500,000. A list of important covers that come bundled with travel insurance.

Medical expenses and accident cover
Medical facilities in most foreign countries are very costly. In such a situation, a cashless medical insurance is very useful. Even if the student is not able to inform his insurance company earlier, these bills can be reimbursed. Most of the insurance policies cover dental treatments, expenses of medical evacuation in case of emergencies and ‘expatriation’ of mortal remains. Some plans also cover sports injuries, mental and nervous disorders, etc which can be caused due to reasons such as stress and pressure.

Personal liability
A personal liability will be useful in case the student accidentally causes injury or harm to a person or property. But if the damage is caused voluntarily, then it is not covered

Loss of personal belongings
If the baggage is misplaced in transit, the student will be forced to buy new books, clothes and other essential items. In such a case, the insurance will cover this additional expense. But to avail the insurance, the student will have to show adequate proof of what all was present in his belongings. If the passport is misplaced, the insurance will cover the charges for a new passport

Study interruption and bail bond
If the student is unable to continue with the course due to medical grounds, the insurance company will pay the rest of the fees. In addition to this, if the student gets arrested, then the bail amount is borne by the insurance company