An MBA in Canada is not something that has always been on the radar of top applicants looking for excellent MBA programs. Most applicants invariably consider excellent programs in Europe and the US, but not always in Canada. This is now starting to change. With the climbing reputation of schools such as Richard Ivey and Rotman (among others), a lot many more students are evaluating opportunities in Canada. The friendly immigration environment, the stable economy, and the excellence of Canadian MBA programs are all contributing to the allure of the MBA in Canada.
Top Canadian MBA programs to look at
While Canada has more than 50 full-time MBA programs, the top 5 are the ones most worth pursuing for their prestige, quality of education, and placement opportunities.
Richard Ivey School of Business, Rotman School of Management, Schulich School of Business, Queen’s School of Business, and Sauder School of Business are the ones that we recommend applicants look at most closely.
Why consider an MBA in Canada?
While Canada still does not have the pull of the USA, its more illustrious southerly neighbour, it does have a stable economy and a well-established business environment.
Top employers ranging across sectors are present in Canada. The region has a good quality of life, an excellent healthcare system, and a good social environment. Immigration is much easier than to the USA or many European nations (more on that below).
Further, most top Canadian programs are known and have recognition around the world. For example, Richard Ivey school of business was recently ranked #1 on Businessweek’s ranking of best international MBA programs.
Placements – as reported by schools themselves – seem to be good, with Ivey reporting 92% placed (2014) three months after graduation, Rotman reporting 85% placed (2013), and Schulich reporting 88% employed (2013).
Looking to apply to top Canadian MBA programs?
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Apart from this, one of the biggest attractions for international students considering Canada is the fact that Canada is very international-student friendly.
Those graduating from one-year MBA programs (like Ivey) are eligible for one-year work permits, while those graduating from two-year MBA programs (like Rotman) are eligible for three-year work permits.
The work permits are valid irrespective of employer sponsorship. Limited work permits for spouses are also possible, with some restrictions. Further, one year after working full-time in Canada, professionals can apply for Canadian permanent residency.
For those who wish to not just work but also live in Canada in the long term and are possibly looking to set up home there, this is one of the best options available.
Some schools like Rotman also offer opportunities to get non-cosigner student loans, though this is outside the purview of a formal arrangement with lending institutions. Other schools, like Richard Ivey, will offer loans with Canadian cosigners, and also offer options for students to take loans from their home countries.
Placements and networking at Canadian MBA programs
While Canadian MBA programs offer excellent opportunities, one should also keep in mind the following points, drilled from the wisdom of current and past students in Canadian schools:
– Strategy consulting is a hot favorite with many applicants looking at an MBA. While top recruiters like Bain, McKinsey, BCG, and AT Kearney do recruit from top Canadian MBA programs, the number of opportunities is small.
Many more people end up being employed in operations and IT consulting positions with employers like Deloitte, KPMG, and PwC instead.
– Networking and relevant skills are important for jobs in Canada. While career switching is possible and does happen, trying to make too many post-MBA changes may not be very easy, especially for international students
– While the Canadian economy is stable, it is not as big as that of the USA. As a result, students may not have as many options with employers across sectors. To expect to have multiple offers from employers may therefore be an unrealistic expectation.
Other resources to look at
These include many answers to some of the high-frequency questions asked by international applicants, along with key information on the schools, placements, and opportunities.