Canada – the motherland of the first MBA offered outside of the US. The country is stable and well-developed for locals and expats alike and it is rich in high-quality education, professional opportunities, and living conditions that are more than satisfactory. For those who are keen on exploring Canada as a destination for MBA studies and a managerial career, here are some highlights of the Canadian MBA scene.
The Canadian MBA landscape
You can find about 60 MBA programmes in Canada. As at the start of 2018, about 40% of them hold one or more of the reputable international accreditations – AMBA (3), EQUIS (10), AACSB (22) – while two business schools boast the outstanding “triple accreditation” from all three professional bodies – HEC Montreal and Telfer School of Management.
Canada’s high standards of quality in terms of business education are also not difficult to see in the latest rankings published by the Financial Times (FT). The country boasts three programmes in the top 100 of the FT Global MBA Ranking 2017 and five programmes in the top 80 of the Executive MBA Ranking 2017. Despite some minor changes in the positions they have occupied in the last three years, their performance is also consistent in other notable ranking publications such as The Economist. So what do these programmes offer to class participants in terms of format and curriculum?
MBA programmes in Canada usually take one or two years to complete. For example, Rotman School of Management offers a two-year full-time MBA programme. While the first year is mostly dedicated to core courses and the fundamentals of business, the second one allows students to customise their MBA experience with electives and specialisations. In comparison, Ivey Business School offers a one-year programme built around the school’s case study method, which shows MBA participants how “issues impact an entire organisation”.
In addition, taking a look at the class profiles of the top Canadian schools from the FT ranking reveals that their student cohorts are comparable in terms of average age, gender representation, international diversity, and average GMAT score. Similar statistics speak of the consistent quality that can be observed over different institutions in the country, while interesting distinctions can still be observed in terms of academic and industry background.
Post-MBA career prospects
Job opportunities in Canada are quite diverse for MBA and EMBA graduates. Similarly to the post-MBA landscape in other countries, finance and consulting as well as the tech industry are the top fields of employment preferred by graduates from Canadian business schools. The recent Employment Report published by Toronto’s Schulich School of Business confirms that the most popular industry for the school’s MBA class of 2016 is Financial Services. Although Consulting and Technology/Telecommunications predictably round off the top three, the report shows that Law is also a magnet for some of the most qualified MBA graduates from Schulich. For Ivey and Rotman, the Energy industry is also well represented in their 2018 and 2019 class profiles.
MBA participants of Canada’s leading business schools are highly international and although some choose to take their career to a different market and a different location, many take good advantage of what the country has to offer. “Canada has a very stable economy, very stable banks and industries that are performing well,” says Shane More, previously an associate director of recruitment at Vancouver’s Sauder School of Business for BusinessBecause.
Those professionals who are eager to establish their own business or grow and develop an existing startup will also find ample opportunity to do so in the country’s progressive cities. “Toronto is a place where it’s easy to get things done, to do business and to launch a startup. And especially for tech startups,” points out the assistant director of Rotman’s Full-time MBA Sheldon Dookeran. More importantly, his statement applies in equal measure to the rest of the country. As TechCrunch and Entrepreneur wrote in 2017, several extremely successful names on the global entrepreneurial scene, including Slack, Hootsuite, and Shopify, in fact originated in Canada.
Read: Doing an MBA in Canada
Support for internationals
As you may have repeatedly heard, Canada’s policy for studying and working in the country is quite favourable for internationals compared to many destinations. For example, the official website of the Rotman School of Management explains that “all international graduates of the full-time MBA programme are eligible for a three-year Canadian work permit, a major advantage not offered by other international and one-year MBA programmes. If you come to Canada with your family, your partner can also work while you study.”
Although the policy is not restricted to this particular school, be sure to check the information and tips provided for internationals by the various programmes you are considering. More specifically, if your study programme lasts less than eight months, you will not be eligible for the so-called post-graduation work permit. If the duration of the programme is more than eight months and less than two years, your post-graduation work permit may be valid for up to the same length as your study.
Canada’s advantageous economic conditions, education and work opportunities, and industry developments are worth keeping in mind when deciding on the most suitable direction for your MBA. However, it is just as important to consider your individual goals in terms of career and studies before jumping to any particular place. Give it some thought, do your research well in advance, and discuss your decision with people who have experience in the country. This will give you a better idea of whether an MBA programme in Canada will help you accomplish exactly what you are striving for.