Friday, March 29, 2013

My Beef with Grant Thornton

My Beef with Grant Thornton

To whom it may concern:

Considering the last time I applied with your organization, I didn't even receive a closing of competition response from you folks. Your performance exudes worst practices.

Then I receive an automated computer message highlighting the same job that I applied for months ago and again there's no human resource contact person to address my cover letter to? I flip my French calfskin glove in your general direction. 

What in your organizational hiring policy and practice defines innovation? In my mind, it's not computer programs, it's about attracting talent. Since I consider myself talent you've done an excellent job of presenting your company as a nameless, faceless, listless, witless, and lacking in accountability organization. 

I'm sure you'll agree, until someone picks up the phone, and dials a few precious numbers, your service is incomplete. And you can be sure it's not going to be me picking up the phone, as I have no human contact to assure a living being has even reviewed my cv, let alone deemed it insufficient of further interest. You'll also agree I would be a fool to apply to a company like that again that has treated my previous application with so little regard, respect or levity for trying to navigate the maze of your hiring process. Leave it up to the drones. 

Put that in your innovation pipe and smoke it. My impression of your company is, so far, not high on my list of potential employers, if only because there's a complete lack of accountability at recruitment level. But you have such great automated computer programs to make up for it? I don't think so, not even close.

Good luck in hiring or acquiring committed talent with such minimal effort endeavours in your HR department.


Daniel J. Costello

Wednesday, March 27, 2013



First of all, Roslyn Kunin has reported upon the impending labour crisis in British Columbia set to begin as early as 2016. The basis of this article is sourced from the recent research output of RUCBC or their BC Labour Market Outlook 2010-2020 and considering that there are only two reports on their website it must be evidence that RUCBC collaboration in this capacity is fairly quickly assembled in response to crisis management.  It is obvious that B.C. is further ahead in their awareness of the issue than most of the rest of Canada for example, where the entire Atlantic Provinces are seen to lose 30% of their enrolled students and population by as early as 2022. I am not hearing “boo” from any media or research source here, as if the baby boomers who are aware of it are silently taking the knowledge with them to their secured retirements, and leaving the rest of us in what could only be described as a regional economic and socio-cultural nightmare. Here where all responsible for policies are managed by elitists and sycophants thus irascible, intransigent, and nepotistic (and I am being generous) could throw their hands up in the air in hindsight and say, “we knew nothing, we were unaware, if only we had known sooner, we could have done something to stop such declines.”

You knew, you were told, I am not the only one telling you.


Page ten provides grim evidence of the educated outmigration shifts of many regions and provinces of Canada in the RUCBC Labour Market Report, including The Maritimes up until 2006. It would be useful if the RUCBC were extending their labour market projections beyond their own mandate to encompass the rest of the country up to 2020, as few if any other regional research associations seem to be up to snuff. Asit appears they have been doing so little other than massive Motherhouse-like construction projects on old, outdated, non-existent or even completely missing or perhaps falsified/misrepresented data perhaps aside from Statistics Canada. This reaffirms a conviction that most provinces of Canada have worked in statistical blindness and logic vacuums upon scant inter-provincial cooperation or even comparative note taking among their administrative cadres. Until these kinds of figures appear, which are ominous to suddenly weigh heavily on the provinces, they have rampantly oversupplied skilled workers in the East while others over-employ those workers in the West without having spent any money to educate them.


Considering that B.C. has historically and is currently seeing approximately 30% of its employment needs coming from those educated and employed outside of the province whether international or national employment candidates, their research of this trend should similarly extend a comparative percentage beyond their provincial scope. As is clear from page eleven in the RUCBC Labour Report, the international migration rates have somewhat declined up to 2012 while inter-provincial migrants have slipped into negative territory for the first time in recorded history. A great example of national mismanagement is the oversupply of education majors; what a nefarious pursuit of academics to ensure and enshrine their own resources at the cost of misinforming their own students as to the five to ten times oversupply of the educational market. These academic administrations have for the most part ignored the trends in international education for decades possibly mostly due to the fact that Canadians for generations in academia have refused to develop the international wing of their mandate for more than forty years. This is why Canada is losing ground in educational quality to countries like Australia with double the results in academic quality rankings and significantly smaller population. This is why its national earnings are so paltry abroad; Canada has severely neglected its commitment to quality education and quality jobs for more than a generation and the results are staggering. The egos of this nation so outweigh its potency in international education, its tragic.


While British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta have consistently under-educated their own populations to undergraduate and PGR levels as several others have oversupplied suitable candidates nationally it is apparent this will no longer be possible for the foreseeable future. So can B.C. institutions quickly and easily ramp up their efforts to produce more provincially educated employment candidates across all disciplines and skills levels in the next five years to keep up with labour market demands? It would be useful for RUCBC to examine comparative international migration competitors to source strategies for that purpose.


The idea that the solution is asking more international students to pay more than domestic ones for their education here and then expect them to take employment outside of  the discipline for which they have trained and at salaries less than their less educated domestic Canadian competitors is at the root of Canada’s soggy bottom international education strategy. What else than institutional prejudice and two tiered highly discriminatory hiring policies can that be described as? Whatever it is, it is odious and requires significant cleanse in the terms of competitive marketing strategy as it will not hold water abroad and strikes the underbelly of Canada’s cultural ethnocentrism in its worst expression of it. 


An example of Canada’s lily-livered approach to its own international education strategy, which belies the insignificance it affords to its competitors as easily demonstrated by Mel Broitman, describing the absence of water at marketing functions held by DFAIT in Nigeria; recalls the absence and parched, late appearance of water at Canada Day Festivities at The Governor Generals’ Rideau Hall Residence in Ottawa in the early 1990s. The best they could come up with in terms of catering were (hours late) stale sandwiches and a shortage of cups for ten thousand revellers in record heat.

Korea is another great example of DFAIT inability to fathom the marketing approaches of even its primary competitor for undergraduates there, Austrade. Korea is one of Canada’s largest international education markets and has been so for nearly twenty years mostly on the sweaty wetbacks of Canadian itinerant teachers. With over 22,000 Canadians in the country the only efforts at cross-institutional networking is through the Canadian Chamber of Commerce where gala events are three times the cost of Korea Australia Alumni Association activities which are more numerous. Canada should already have have a fully implemented cross-institutional alumni association there in Korea serving its own expats let alone the thousands of Korean Canadian Alumni but doesn’t. Such an enterprise is long overdue and needs to be financed and managed by DFAIT but it does not mirroring the regional and at odds provincial approach to educational networking back home. Personally, such an approach appears quite witless.


Recommendations in the Opportunity Agenda appear to be in line with Conference Board of Canada recommendations made nearly a decade ago for the entire nation. However how many other university associations are publishing similar agendas, how many other provincial and federal education initiative are being taken to ensure these roles and requirements are reached? If as it appears, Canada’s international migration competitors are able to offer better incentives to employment and immigration than this article suggests, “immigrants are more likely to have higher education than other Canadians, but are less likely to find jobs in their fields and to make an equivalent income” such in built (in bred?) policy based prejudice approach to immigrant employment across provincial, federal, institutional  and corporate employment practices will probably not meet minimum demand requirements.

It is one poor argument, a false one, that immigrants will be willing to sacrifice their careers for a Canadian citizenship and position. It is false, because the ability to work in one’s own specialized field and be paid better than nationals with fewer skills and credentials (and as merit demands it should be), will be the competitive advantage and primary success factor in international migration policies across the entire OECD. B.C.’s problem is a global one and B.C.’s competitors are just as aware as I am that Canada’s Achilles heel is its lack of respect for international experience and superior qualifications. It is policy and it’s a cheap and usurious one. When Canada’s policy makers begin to provide evidence of merit based hiring practices rather than prejudicial ones, namely giving international work experience and superior education it’s just due, as Canada should as well, this crisis will diminish correlative to hiring and training the best people for the jobs regardless of where they come from if they can provide evidence of superior skills. 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Bleum: An American Owned Company?

Bleum: An American Owned Company?

Dear Ms. Liu:

I have already applied for this position through linkedin and connected with Leo Lin.
Your job description said nothing about a preference for British accents. 

I would not have applied had I known that. What a horrid policy for an aspiring global company.

I find that morally and ethically insulting and from a business perspective, a great example of 
extremely poor hiring practices. Would it be possible for you to give a worse first impression 
of your company? I would not recommend your position to ANY business English teaching 
professional in the world based on this response. 

As I am accustomed to working and studying with professionals, these routinely include native 
English speakers from any western nation among the teaching staff; based upon merit if their 
skills and experience meet the task. I would encourage your business to review such a rude 
disrespect to its highly qualified candidates.

Is it a generational difference or do you routinely employ British people who share this attitude 
as well? How unfortunate. 

Best regards,

Daniel J. Costello

Sent from my iPad

On 2013-03-06, at 6:08 AM, Serina Liu <> wrote:
Dear Daniel Joseph Costello,
This is Serina from Bleum Recruiting team. Now we need a full time British English Trainer for my company. We prefer British Accent. The job description is as below. Pls feel free to let me know if your British friendsare interested in. Look forward to your reply. Let’s keep in touch by email or celll phone. Have a nice day!
Corporate English Language Trainer (In-house) Full Time
Bleum Downtown Shanghai (Shanghai City, China)
Job Description
 Will be responsible to improve employees’ English capability by delivering English and communication related training, conducting English assessment, providing customized L&D solutions

 Design, develop and deliver in-house English language, cultural awareness, and business communication courses.
Work with ODC (offshore development center) to understand their specific needs, and come up with and implement customized L&D solutions for their English improvement
Deliver 15-20 hours a week.
Evaluate training and maintain high quality of training
Provide coaching to staff to guide their English improvement.
Conduct English language assessments.
Provide guidance to support other team organizing English Salon
Identify useful words and phrases to be posted on the Intranet on a regular basis
Act as role model to promote Bleum culture—English only, security, professional dress code.

Desired Skills & Experience
 Sound training design and deliver capability
Mature interpersonal skill
Excellent communication capability
Team player

Bachelor degree or above
Experience of teaching business English to adults
3 years or above English training experience to intermediate/advanced learners
Company Description:
Founded in 2001, Bleum is now one of China's leading IT services providers to American and European companies in a variety of sectors including high-tech, financial services, telecommunications, and retail. We specialize in creating global development centers, providing services such as application development, product development, support and maintenance, testing, and legacy system modernization. Our relentless focus on quality has earned us prestigious ISO27001 and CMMI Level 5 certifications and a leadership position as one of China's premier outsourcing partners. Bleum, American owned and managed, understands the language, business culture, and expectations of western-based IT organizations. We focus solely on clients in the U.S. and Europe, so our entire organization is completely aligned with executing a global delivery model. We maintain an "English Only" policy throughout our organization along with highly trained English teachers who are constantly enhancing our ongoing English curriculum. Most importantly, we adhere to Western business ethics and standards. As a result of these factors, project communications with our European and American clients are straight-forward, concise, and far superior to most outsourcing partners. Moreover, Bleum employs some of the smartest and most capable people in the industry.

Best Regards
Serina Liu

 Bleum Incorporated

Serina Liu
Sr. Recruiter                                               
Tel: 86-21-62821122 X 413             
Cloud-9 Mansion 8F
1118 West Yan'an Road.
Shanghai, P.R.C. 200052

This email may contain confidential information and/or copyright material. This email and any attachments are solely for the intended recipient.
If you are not the intended recipient, disclosure, copying, use or distribution of the information included in this message may be unlawful. please advise the sender immediately by using the reply facility in your email software, and immediately and permanently delete.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Review of

Review of

I did put my details on that website and I have to say they are some of the lowest, that dog won't bark jobs I've ever seen. My minimum to work in China? Full expatriate package, 30,000 RMB a month, minimum. 

Please tell somebody I don't teach kinder or cram school, or live in dorm studios, siphon water out of a communal well, listen to the wind whistle through cracks in the walls or warm myself over a charcoal briquette in the middle of the floor. And my mattress is not a deboned and brined wild boar.

When I see a job that meets my minimum standards please tell the Chinese I'll happily take it. But  if you think I'll be recruited by some part-time 18 year old lamb you're fooling yourselves. 

That's my general impression of your site. 

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Discussion of the Brand: Imagine au/in Canada



Well I think London and England have progressed and embraced international education almost at the time that the Americans enforced IMF requirements that they abandon their colonies and transfer their wealth to the US financial system after World War Two. There may be more than a few educational institutional leaders in Canada that are not just inflating administrative costs but ensuring their pension packages will be secure; above and beyond national concerns over domestic enrollment growth estimates and international enrollment issues highlighted in their quickly assembled internationalization strategy.

What comes to mind: Mount Saint Vincent Mother-house.


Rubber stamping a national strategy based on two reports and a consultation process with fewer than one hundred and fifty stakeholders; one report of which I've already discussed, the other known to reveal that for decades few provinces have kept any solid research data on their international students. Maybe Canadian inter-provincial barriers to trade and labour mobility have kept our sense of national culture in the internationalization of the Cold War? These provinces haven't cared enough about their international students to keep records or research data on them for decades and suddenly as a result they have a fully formed national strategy in under three years? 


I see established resistance to the international student growth plans espoused by national level councils and government among academics at Acadia sure; I was at the recent Forum for Building a New Economy in Nova Scotia a couple of weeks ago. Their attitudes were crystal, " no exponential growth" and, "there are other means to measure quality of life than GDP." 


It's clear few of these academics have done the math on what 30% population declines in Atlantic Canada are going to look like in as little as ten years. Maybe that's where they're getting their projected 5% domestic enrollment increases across the nation annually but most probably by poaching rural schools students. 

Great example, Saint Mary's admissions set up at The Old O last week with promises of automatic enrollment and waiving enrollment fees. That looks like poaching to me and the waiving of due processes in registration. 


I see academics across Canada reinforcing an outdated philosophy of the purposes of higher education especially in their resistance to collaboratively building offshore campuses in Asia and MENA as a national lack of trend. There are a few maverick schools already abroad and I commend them. But their competitors in Oz are already at 40% of their schools operating profit centres abroad. 


I see a resistance repatriating my own modest but earned knowledge from abroad in numerous PhD programs of study and teaching inquiries in my discipline across the country over the past year of applications here. Nine times out of ten not even a response in decline let alone an acknowledgement of receipt of application. I even see it in the left leaning, "Canada Imagine Education au/in Canada logo." That's a great example of an academic enterprise that seeks to meet its own needs for compromise and market to itself rather than to its future international students. 

They even trade marked that logo. Who would steal au/inNote: It is presented here to display how mediocre it really is not in an effort to align with it. Need I say how symbolic it is that the Maple Leaf doesn't even have eleven points on it? Gives a sense that this national strategy was written with crayola crayons. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Plucky Little Pony: NS Tourism Take a Hint!

Great example of a cheap and viral approach to Tourism Promotion in The Shetland Islands. Nova Scotia Department of Tourism: Take a page out of this book SVP.

Rienzi: Le poesie di Francesco Petrarca - Spirto gentil

The Canadian Campus Freedom Freedom Index 2012: Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

Canada's Low Perception of International Work or Study

Canada's Low Perception of International Work or Study

I can give great examples of my perception of the negative risk associated with international work and study experiences abroad from a Canadian perspective. As for my job applications, continue hammering me with silence; I will not remain silent.

ABOMINABLE INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE: Canada graduates ten times fewer international business researchers than Australia does. As a result, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) sees fit to employ US based researchers to write its most significant policy papers on the topic of international education strategy. In such reports, the quality of Australian education is debased, while at the same time, Canada is encouraged to follow the Ozzie's forty year head start to financing under funded public institutions. What a paradox; trash Oz but treasure their strategy?

PITIFUL PERCEPTION: of the exponentially growing quality of foreign academic institutions ( even those in Korea or The UAE, two of Canada's largest sources of international students). Canada's social capital debate on increasing the percentage of international students and exchanges is being moderated by the AUCC or Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada. This organization has no independent or arms-length quality standards assessment agency of its own members. Only one province in Canada has a government mandated assessment service to ensure the quality of education for international students regardless of origin. The status quo regarding international education in Canada is mostly against exponential increases in international students growth or exchange programs. The result is a very small percentage of Canadian students who are ever given the opportunity to take a year of studies abroad even or to expand their international network of contacts as a result.

TOO FEW COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS: Canadian or western nation academics appear to have a very negative view of those few expatriates who do venture abroad for higher education studies and/or employment. The average foreign academic remains in Korean Higher Education employment for four months or proof of overwhelming inabilities to adapt to foreign working or teaching conditions. Those who do successfully collaborate or study or work abroad are often seen to reflect or endorse values which are not those of western nations and perceived to be of lower quality, unreliable, illegitimate or morally suspect. Reintegrating best practices and skills or abilities gained abroad are perceived of low social capital mostly because the status quo in home nations does not demand greater collaboration or exchange with the international world of its students and academic cadres.

I have sought a reasonable academic employer in Canada for the past year of my career sabbatical here. My opinions are experience based. Canada for example displays a mono-cultural practice of hiring, "in its own image." If I didn't love my country so much I would not be so critical of its opinions of the international expatriate trained worker or teacher.

Persistence and perseverance are essential to the expatriate returnee. As Trevor noted, one must find the positive even in a negative experience. I have not given up on my country yet. As its hiring managers and academics have such a low opinion of my training and experience abroad, I have no ego and no reputation to lose here. "Never rely on statistics." ( Deming Attribution) Until countries like Canada support a culture of critical change management its laggard status in international education will continue.

POSTSCRIPT: Do not rely on online forums to get your message out there. You might just run into a moderator who doesn't like what you have to say and who will block your constitutional right to say it especially if its supported by good research.

I appreciate the discussion generated on the Acadia Alumni website.

Here is what I have to say about the historical basis of Canada's laggard international trade and education strategies

Canada’s colonial past does impact upon its perpetually laggard approach to international trade and education. It is a track laid in historical underpinnings which might best be described in accounts of Imperial London during the Industrial Revolution. 

That was a period of exponential growth with reinforcement of three tiers of society. The world has not seen that type of growth until the rise of economic reforms during Bill Clinton’s era which ended in 2008. At the top of the pyramid, the aristocrats of heraldic England: Nova Scotia had/has its share as did/does Canada. People who never had to climb and have nowhere to go but down. These employed the designs of the world’s leading urban planners to "gentrify" (read "spin") the architectural landscape of a boom town. Canada is not anything like a boom-town now. The rafts of century homes lining nearly every urban centre of Canada’s economic boom during that time are evidence of its colonial role: taking only the best timber from its vast forests and leaving the scrub behind to reseed with an inferior growth. 

Does that define brain drain? Maybe it does. 

The second class: merchants and business owners who grew their entrepreneurial empires through the scratch and scrape of international trade. While their economic power quickly outstripped many of the wealthiest of the blue bloods, their societal and political power remained of low repute. Independent international traders were viewed with a jaundiced eye; it’s clear that eye remains in Canadian society otherwise, our economy would be overflowing with programs to induce new trading relationships abroad other than with a mostly over reliant large corporate alliance across the US border. 

The third class being the working poor: a class of labourers with few opportunities for advancement other than to collectivize their resources (at the threat of revolution a set of compromises businesses and powers were happy to make) and work to improve minimum standards in terms of quality of work and life. Their fortunes heavily relied on an increase in the latter at the cost of the power of the former. That in a nutshell, is the ramification of increasing small and medium business international trade beyond the traditional US-Canada sales to the lowest bidder. 

It is also the ramification of expanding Canada's educational income through greater international student draws. In terms of Canada's international education exchange effort, its third class. In terms of Canada's ability to absorb new knowledge and innovation from abroad, its third class. It is exactly the way the established systems in Canada seek it to be. It is under-grown, under-valued and under-marketed because to do so would upset the current balances of power. Canadian academics seem to employ the tactic of the dangers of a two tier system in education but what they really support by doing so are the three tiers of British Society Circa 1880-1920. That remains Canada's cultural quaintness and its failure to internationalize on a scale that would support its own quality of life.