America has long been one of the best places to get a high-quality business education, but its lead is now starting to wane with Canada coming out as a major competitor on the MBA front. Canadian B-schools today boast an equally high caliber of professional faculty, staff and up-to-date curricula as their Southern neighbour. But they have one serious advantage: a much more relaxed visa regime for all foreign students willing to enroll in a one-year MBA programme and a 3-year work permit right after graduation.
A reasonable investment
Pursuing an MBA is a serious investment as it is time, effort and money consuming. Moneywise a Masters in business administration can be quite demanding, especially if you opt for an elite B-school education. Yet, if you do your research right and don’t fall for the brand names all too quickly, you may dig out an excellent university that will not be a drain on your pocket. Canada can prove to be a paradise found for those who are on the look-out for a top-notch business degree at an affordable price. Statistics show that MBA programmes in Canada are considerably more affordable than in the US. The average cost of tuition and residence fees for top tier schools in the US is 78,150 US$ compared to an average of 59,341 US$ in Canada. And though some of the best-ranked universities in the country such as the Schulich School of Business, Queen’s School of Business and UBC’s Sauder School of Business have shied away from government support and have become privatised, their tuition fees remain reasonable compared to those of the American Ivy League universities. Thus you get the best of both worlds – renowned faculty, excellent studying environment and fewer financial strings attached.
Ethnic diversity is not an empty word. Today the most advanced communities are those that cherish and promote their multiculturalism, and Canada is undoubtedly among the countries with the greatest number of ethnicities gathered in one place which makes studying there an international experience. Moreover, some say that unlike the melting pot in the U.S., Canada enjoys a heterogeneous salad bowl society where different cultures mix but remain distinct.“We are a welcoming country for immigrantswith many programmes and initiativesto encourage immigration. Montrealis a multicultural city with large and diverseimmigrant communities,” Michael Wybo, Director of the MBA Programme at HEC Montreal. In fact, the best Canadian BSchools boast highly international student and faculty bodies, even more so than their US counterparts.
A recent study shows that only 35% of the students enrolled in the top 10 US schools are international students compared to 43% in Canada. “Faculty,staff and students atSchulich are representedfrom over 30countries worldwide.The diversity in the classroom allowsstudentsto optimise their global network whilebeing better prepared to manage in a global context,” says Praveen Muruganandan, Director, Admissions and Recruitment at Schulich School of Business. Indeed, with such a high level of international and national talent students learn as much from their peers as they do from their professors. They are exposed not just to business disciplines such as accounting and marketing but also to the various management styles from around the world that make the difference in a rounded education.
Newcomers are welcome
“Canada is a country of immigrants,” says Michael Wybo from HEC Montreal, and as such it has always been welcoming to newcomers. International MBA students do not have to go through the usual visa and work permit drudgery as procedures are quick and simple. In fact, as Praveen Muruganandan from Schulich School of Business explains, Canada's immigration policies make it a welcoming place for the international student from the MBA programme. The government will grant up to three years to a student enrolled in a two-year MBA programme on a postgraduate work permit to work in Canada, which is a wonderful opportunity for full-time MBA graduates.
Jobs are there for the taking
Despite the stagnant world economy, Canada has managed to keep afloat and continue to prosper. In fact, Canada ranks third as a destination for international business students, after the United States and Britain, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). It is still one of the eight most industrialized nations in the world and a leader in business. Canada’s diversified economy thrives with such major industries as oil and gas, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and forestry. The country is home to many of the world’s largest and most influential companies.
According to the GMAC survey for 2013, Air Canada, Sears Canada and TD Bank plan to hire graduates with a bachelor’s degree as well as those with a master’s in management. The survey indicates that there are sufficient job opportunities for qualified and trained people and economic integration for non-Canadian students is less turbulent as the work permit they are granted allows them to apply their knowledge immediately after graduation.