Canada has several industries, world-class metropolitan cities, and internationally accredited business schools. You can pursue an MBA in Canada in the financial capital Toronto, London (a city in Ontario), Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and others. You can choose to do a general MBA or opt for a specialized MBA in subjects like finance, consulting, operations, marketing, entrepreneurship, among others. Canada offers one of the most liberal post-MBA visa policies in the world.
Whether you are a professional, an experienced leader or a new graduate, pursuing an MBA in Canada can help you to accelerate your career and achieve your professional aspirations while gaining multicultural exposure. Pursuing an MBA in Canada is a big undertaking and requires contemplation and detailed planning. A well though comprehensive plan that has risks and mitigation in place that can help you in the journey.
Objectives of pursuing an MBA in Canada?
Your personal and professional goals will drive your decision to pursue an MBA in Canada. It is essential to differentiate your primary and secondary goals. By determining your primary and secondary objectives of pursuing an MBA in Canada, you will be able to not only focus your efforts on high-priority activities but also be able to plan your actions as per requirements.
Canada offers affordable education, with world-class resources, multicultural exposure, and excellent living standards. Your primary goal will drive your activities and priorities. Many people want to move to Canada; however, landing in Canada without a job is challenging. As the Canadian job market is referral-based if you don’t already have an excellent professional network in Canada, finding a job can take several months. Given that the expenses in Canada are high, sustaining a good lifestyle for an extended time is difficult. Hence, several people consider pursuing higher studies in Canada, such as an MBA or other Master’s degrees or a certification program. Studying in Canada gives you enough time and resources to build a professional network, learn new skills, understand Canada’s working culture and search for a job.
Is pursuing an MBA your primary objective of moving to Canada?
If the primary purpose is moving to Canada, is an MBA in Canada is a route through which you aspire to re-position your professional profile and get a job? If your objective is to move to Canada, then pursuing an MBA is one of the possible routes. Other options, such as pursuing a master of management and certification programs, can also help you to find a job in Canada. If your primary objective is not to pursue an MBA in Canada, then your initial efforts should be to get the immigration documentation in place. Your focus areas should be to gather all the prerequisites for immigrating to Canada, starting from verifying your education degree from WES to applying for PR in Canada. At the same time, if your primary objective is to pursue an MBA, and Canada is the country of your choice, then your initial efforts must be to focus on analyzing the right MBA Schools. Your focus areas should be to select the right specialization and MBA duration, among others. You should start to focus on the financials required to meet MBA program requirements. Take time to think and research on what offerings are open and which of those will suit you best in the short and long term. Your goal might also be to gain international study and work experience. Your strategy and associated activities will differ to achieve this goal when compared to the purpose of settling in Canada. Your choice of MBA school, specialization and location will vary based on your goal of pursuing an MBA.
Have you considered a Master of Management degree as an alternative?
Higher education is a great way to immigrate to Canada if pursuing an MBA is not one of your top priorities. In terms of higher education, depending on your educational background and professional aspirations, a Master of Management degree can also be beneficial to expand your professional horizon and to get a job In Canada. The Master of Management degree is relatively more technical than an MBA. For instance, you will deep dive into tools such as visualization tools (Tableau, Power BI, and many others) and data modelling tools. Several organizations in Canada hire students pursuing a Master of Management degree. Many companies offer various roles across industry and business functions to Master’s students. A Master of Management degree can cost relatively less than an MBA, and the duration of the course can be shorter for specific schools. If you want to pursue a career, which is more inclined to technical skills in your early career, then Master of Management in Canada can also be a great choice. After completion of the course, you can get a work visa, which will help you to find an appropriate job in Canada and help you to settle down. Hence, it might be worth it to explore more on the opportunity to pursue a Master of Management degree in Canada.
How can an MBA program in Canada help you in career transformation?
It is vital to understand how an MBA program in Canada can help you in your career transformation journey. Before even pursuing an MBA program in Canada, you should analyze your personal and professional aspirations, while aligning it with your skill sets and educational background. It will help to make sure that you make the most out of an MBA in Canada. You might want to continue working in an industry where you currently work, and your objective of an MBA can be to accelerate your career within the same sector and role. Post-MBA, you might want to change your industry and position for diversifying your career. It is also possible that you are looking to open up your own company and, through an MBA, gain knowledge to become an entrepreneur. Perhaps, you are looking to become a leader in an organization and want the business to grow and flourish while helping society. Getting clarity on how the specific MBA specialization can help you to achieve your goal during the early stage of your MBA application will help you to position yourself for the MBA admission applications. It is worthwhile knowing that several organizations within Canada offer leadership programs to develop talent. Those who can crack and get a job into leadership roles can get high visibility and great opportunities to accelerate their carriers. A few examples are the Royal Bank of Canada leadership program, Walmart leadership program and Amazon retail and operations leadership program, among many others.
Factors that make Canada the right choice to pursue an MBA
No doubt, Canada is a country with excellent MBA Schools. There are several considerations required to decide on pursuing an MBA. One of the first decisions is to choose the location where you want to pursue an MBA. Canada is one of the most suitable countries to pursue an MBA. The driving reason behind this choice is the liberal work visa policy of Canada. With a full-time MBA program in Canada, the candidate gets a three-year work permit, and his or her legal partner can obtain the work permit at the same time. The partner also gets the work-permit during the time of education. It is one of the unique offerings, which attracts many international students as it gives them stability to continue to stay in Canada. Compared to the United States, the MBA school in Canada is far more affordable. There is a lot of uncertainty on US visa regulations, which is not desirable by MBA candidates. The difference in the MBA program fees compared to the US can be as much as 100%. The choice of the country should not only be driven by the MBA program but also your personal preferences. Canada offers a great lifestyle and a great value proposition in terms of cost of living and with the future of getting a permanent residency and Canadian citizenship. People in Canada are great and friendly. It’s easy to become a part of Canadian society. Since Canada is a multicultural country, it incentivizes students to pursue an MBA as they can find several like-minded people with whom they can be friends. There are other considerations as well, such as weather, which is essential to consider. Canada can be severely cold during the winter season, and if you don’t have a liking to snow and winter season in general, spending time during the winter season of Canada can be harsh. Hence, it is essential to consider all these aspects before deciding whether to pursue an MBA in Canada.
Strategy on how to pursue an MBA in Canada
Once you have identified your objective of pursuing an MBA in Canada, the next step is to determine how to make it happen, i.e., how to move to Canada and how to get admission to an MBA School of your choice?
It is critical to strategize and lay out a plan to make sure that you meet your goals. A strategy will help you to define activities, which in turn will help you do achieve your goals. An approach, in this case, has two distinct parts. The first part is how to move to Canada, and the second is how to select the right MBA School in Canada and get admission to the same. The decision on which MBA School in Canada you choose will drive not only how to move to Canada but also the province you move to within Canada. If you already have a preference on which region in Canada is most suited for you, aligning your MBA application with choice of location is prudent. Of course, MBA School ranking will play a vital role in decision-making. For example, if you know that real estate costs in a city in Canada, for example, Vancouver is exceptionally high, then Vancouver will rank lower. However, if that city is a hub with the headquarters of major companies like Toronto in Canada, then you will still rank Toronto higher.
Define what success means for you after an MBA in Canada?
Building a strategy on how to pursue an MBA in Canada starts by defining what success means for you. Is successfully moving to Canada and getting a job of your interest a success for you, or is getting into a role where are you can influence business and society a definition of success for you? The definition of success for different people will vary. An MBA in Canada can be a vital enabler that can help you succeed professionally. It is essential to take a step back and think not only in terms of professional success but also in terms of a personal triumph. An MBA not only requires effort from your end, but it also involves contribution from your loved ones. Participation in terms of time, effort and finances at times. It is critical to understand what is preventing you from reaching success and how pursuing an MBA will help you to bridge that gap.
Analyze data, facts, opinions and assumptions
The second activity is to analyze data, facts, opinions and assumptions from more than one source to build an excellent strategy to pursue an MBA in Canada. Start to gather data of various MBA schools in Canada to analyze them along multiple dimensions, such as cost, offerings, ranking, and flexibility, among others. Also, start to reach out to MBA Alumni to get their feedback and perspective on the MBA school. During the discussion with the MBA alumni, get into a deep dive discussion about the attributes, which helped them succeed. Analyze your skills, educational background and aspirations and align it with the MBA schools offering. For example, if you are very passionate about sustainability within a business, it is essential to understand and explore which MBA schools in Canada offer specialization and sustainability. Schulich School of Business in Toronto is globally known for leading business sustainability. Once you have gathered the opinions from MBA Alumni by reaching out and through various other forums on the web, make your judgement and view of the top MBA schools where you want to pursue higher studies. Try to list out all the assumptions, which you think, will influence your decision. By doing these activities, you will be able to make better-informed decisions that will drive your future actions and result in you getting admission to an MBA School in Canada.
How to identify and prioritize top MBA Schools in Canada?
Start by drafting a list of MBA Schools in Canada. You can use several sources on the web to create a list of top 10 MBA Schools in Canada. Once you have drafted the list, prioritize the MBA Schools based on personalized selection criteria. You should consider several measures before selecting an MBA School in Canada. The MBA School ranking is one of the top rules but not the only one. MBA Schools in Canada offer a range of specializations. You can select the School based on your educational and professional background.
For example, Schulich School of business, Toronto in Canada, offers a wide range of specializations that can help you to align with your professional and educational background. Schulich School of business is famous for specialization offerings in marketing, finance, sustainability and other business functions. You can choose to specialize in one or more subjects or fields. Rotman School of Management is famous for its finance business function, among others. If you wish to specialize in the finance function, then you have options like Rotman School of Management, Schulich School of Business, Smith School of Business and other Schools. If you wish to specialize in consulting, for example, Ivey Business School is a great option. Ivey has case study style classes, which prepares you for case interviews and hence helps you to get into Management Consulting. It is challenging to generalize Schools; however, every MBA School has something unique to offer, and if your professional aspirations are in alignment with the School offerings, you will be able to make the best out of it!
Align your requirements with the offerings of an MBA school in Canada.
Once you have identified the steps required, try to analyze what are the enablers needed to execute those actions successfully. The key to identify and prioritize the top MBA schools in Canada is to align the enablers, which will help you succeed with the MBA school enabler offerings. For example, if your goal is to change your industry and your business function, including job role, you will need an MBA school that offers a robust career development guidance. An MBA School, which admits people from various disciplines and backgrounds, will help you to re-position your career and to figure out your future career path. A secure career development center at an MBA school in Canada can help you to rebuild your resume and other application documents to re-position yourself for success. MBA specialization, time and effort will drive the priority of an MBA school. Finances can also play a critical role when you are in the process of prioritizing MBA schools in Canada. MBA schools that offer substantial scholarship opportunities might rank higher compared to MBA schools in Canada, which has limited scholarship opportunities. Build your list of criteria and rank all the selected MBA schools in Canada. It will help you make a better-informed decision.
Criteria to consider to select an MBA School in Canada
Flexibility to do an internship is an essential criterion to consider when selecting an MBA School in Canada. Schulich School of business, for example, gives students the flexibility to do as many internships as possible. The number of placements will depend on your status. If you are on a student visa, you can potentially do an apprenticeship. However, on a PR, you can pursue more than one internship. The Internship opportunity also depends on your MBA program duration. If you enroll in a two years MBA program in Canada, you get enough time to explore new skills and enhance existing skills. You can align and re-position your ways of working to Canadian standards, and you do get an opportunity to explore internship opportunities in two years in the program.
It is unlikely to get an internship opportunity in a one-year MBA program, due to the way it is structured. An internship in Canada can be beneficial to secure a job as it gives you the Canadian experience required for many job applications. Even if you are an experienced professional, opting for an internship in Canada gives you a sense of the industry, business function, and job roles that you want to pursue in the future (if one of the objectives of your MBA program in Canada is to transition to a new industry). An internship is beneficial as it helps you decide on the changes you want to make, and hence a 2-years MBA program in Canada might be more suitable for you.
At the same time, there is the advantage of pursuing a 1-year MBA in Canada as well, for example, from the Ivey School of Business. If you are planning to continue working in the same industry as now, you might benefit from a one-year MBA program. A 1-year MBA program is also suited for anyone who has a focused objective from an MBA in Canada. For example, if you know you want to continue working in the same industry and business function and an MBA program in Canada is to accelerate your career growth, then a 1-year MBA program will suit you best. MBA School location also plays a critical role when you are contemplating on choosing an MBA School in Canada. Canada is a reference-based job market, and you would often need references when you are applying for jobs in Canada.
During your MBA program in Canada, you will build your professional network, which can help you to secure a job. If your MBA School location is in proximity to the headquarter offices, as the location of Rotman School of Management, then it gives you the advantage to go on coffee chats with ease. In the post-COVID period, virtual networking will potentially be the way to go, and in that case, location will be a less critical role in deciding to choose an MBA School.
- Ranking within Canada and globally
- Specialization Offerings
- Classroom style / case study style
- Flexibility to do internship and covert to part-time, if required
- The location will play a role in networking
- Duration of the program, i.e. 1-year MBA or 2-years
- Professional experience
- Educational background
- Industry/ sector/ business function of interest
- Personal Finance
- Personal family status
- Personal preference for housing and lifestyle
- Family and friends location in Canada
- Size & demography
- City Weather
- City real estate price
- Cost of living and provincial tax
- Proximity to mountains/lakes
- If the city is an HQ hub or not?
- The dominant sector of the province
- Connectivity to domestic and international locations
How can MBA alumni help you to select the right MBA School in Canada?
It is prudent to get insights and perspectives from MBA alumni and professionals before deciding on an MBA School in Canada. Once you have collated a list of top MBA Schools in Canada, from which you want to pursue your higher education, start reaching out to alumni of those schools using LinkedIn. Asking open-ended questions is essential to gain insights and to keep the conversation going. Different students have different experiences from an MBA in Canada. One of the crucial factors to gain insight is on the support system of the MBA School. Another factor can be how an individual can make use of the career development centre of an MBA School in Canada.
The recommendation is that you introduce yourself in brief when you reach out to any MBA alumni and be specific on what is your agenda of the meeting. More often than not, the MBA alumni are very willing to help you on your journey; however, they might be busy and engaged in their job and personal life. Once you add the agenda for the meeting, the objectives become apparent, which will help the MBA alumni to respond. Reach out to professionals from your industry who have completed their MBA program in Canada and have transformed their careers. It is possible to get a lot of knowledge and information from MBA alumni on how to select an MBA program specializations and the duration of an MBA in Canada. You can also get an approach of how to transform your career. A few topics of conversation can be around the transferrable skills, which can come handy when looking for a job in a different industry or a different business function and get insight on how did those professionals re-positioned their abilities and their experience to get a job in Canada.
Below are a few questions to ask MBA alumni to help you select the right MBA School in Canada
- How was your overall experience of an MBA in Canada?
- How were the professors, and how was the teaching style in the MBA School in Canada?
- Is there a career development center in the Canadian MBA School? Were they helpful?
- How did you find the process of making your transferable skill relevant to the employer of your choice while pursuing an MBA in Canada?
- How was the process of looking for opportunities during the MBA program in Canada?
- What were the various types of clubs within the MBA in Canada? How did those clubs help you to network and find job opportunities?
- What were the various industries, which were prominent during your MBA experience? Which companies used to visit the School?
- How did the companies, which visited the MBA School in Canada, engaged the students?
- What were the various specialization opportunities, which you found useful to enhance your career?
- How did you manage time during your MBA program in Canada?
- Were there opportunities to do internships? How did you find the process of finding a placement?
- How did you find the process of finding a job after MBA in Canada? What were a few strategies you adopted to secure a job in Canada?
How to prepare admission application for an MBA School in Canada?
Assuming that you have already given GMAT/ GRE, and the MBA School admission cycle is open, you should start to prepare your application for admission to an MBA School in Canada. The MBA School admission applications are now open, and the time has come when all your efforts have to convert into the MBA School admission application package. The process of completing MBA School applications can be quite daunting for individuals. The process can be stress-free with the right strategy, information and guidance.
There are many parts to an MBA admission application, such as the admission forms, the essay, an MBA School-specific questions, and reference letters. MBA application forms are usually straightforward, which requires your essential inputs like any other form. Essays and School-specific questions, along with the reference letters, are the three key documents that can help you to get the video interview round. Writing a dissertation or answering the MBA School admission-specific questions requires a lot of contemplation, revisions or iterations.
Below are a few considerations for writing an essay for an MBA School admission application.
- The very first consideration is to have a value proposition that is relevant to the Canadian MBA School admission team.
- You should be specific on what you aspire to become professionally after completing an MBA program from the School of your choice and how that will help not only you but also the society.
- Include your specific professional aspirations and the specialization you want to pursue. You may change your MBA specialization choice during the MBA program as you gain more information. The MBA admission application does not add any constrain on what you can and should do during or after an MBA.
- Being specific helps the admission team actually to get a perspective that you are confident, and you know where you are heading.
- Another aspect of being specific is doing your research on the School itself. You should do your research on various clubs in an MBA, which you would be interested in participating in, and leading.
- You should also mention the capstone projects which the MBA programs offer, how that can help you in your journey through the MBA and how it is in alignment with your future aspirations. Combining all these recommendations will result in an excellent story, and that is what matters the most.
- You should also align your past projects with your future aspirations while being authentic. Mention how your recent projects can help you to be successful in the future.
- It is vital to add how you can help the MBA cohort by sharing your experience. A significant part of learning during the MBA is through peers. You can make a good case for admission by demonstrating that you can share your experience, may it be industry-specific or business function-specific.
- An MBA program can be very diverse, and it offers a wide variety of opportunities. Every business School lookout for an entrepreneurial spirit. If you can mention any of your entrepreneurial activities, then that will help in your application.
- Lastly, it is essential to have a good structure for your essay as a good structure, and story flow will help the reader to focus on the content.
How to prepare for a video interview for admission to an MBA School in Canada?
Congratulations on getting an invite for an MBA admission video interview round. More often than not, this is the last leg of your MBA application process. You have reached a milestone! A video interview is a final step before you get your admission letter. All your efforts, including preparation for GMAT, giving the exam, researching, finding the best MBA School for you, and preparing the application package has resulted in the interview invite. You must prepare well for the video interview and display your best self to impress the MBA admission team. It is critical that during the video interview, post-application acceptance, you dress up in formals with a pleasing background. The secret sauce is to keep practicing your stories, as it will help you to tell your stories effectively and answer with fluency. Stories are an essential part of the interview. People resonate with stories, and by telling a good story, you can influence decisions. In this case, a decision to give you admission to the MBA School in Canada!
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Firstly, compose an elevator pitch for an MBA admission video interview. You should start by preparing your elevator pitch, which should include a summary of your resume along with your interpersonal, management and leadership attributes. Try to keep your elevator pitch to less than one minute. The first 15 to 20 seconds should be about your professional history, followed by your non-technical interests and achievements for the next 15 seconds. Next, you should talk about your interests and your future aspirations. Finally, you should end with a strong statement of why you want to do an MBA and how you will bring change to society. By completing your elevator pitch this way, it would trigger the next question as to your rationale to pursue an MBA in Canada.
Secondly, prepare for how to answer why you want to pursue an MBA in Canada. The answer to why you want to pursue an MBA in Canada should have not more than three points. It is a good practice to summarize all three points along with a brief example of why those points are applicable. You should mention how you would add value to your MBA cohort, as there is a lot of peer-to-peer learning during MBA in Canada. You should highlight your unique value proposition, which will help other students to learn. This way, you will create a strong position for getting an admission offer letter. There is a lot of emphasis on how you would contribute to society after completing your MBA in Canada. You should have an authentic story on how you would be helpful to the community around the world.
Thirdly, prepare for behaviour-based questions for an MBA admission video interview. If you are an international student and you plan to go back to your home country, you should layout a roadmap of how pursuing an MBA in Canada will help you to help people in your home country. In an MBA admission video interview, there are several behaviour-based questions. You must prepare stories with examples from your current and previous professional experiences, such that you answer those behaviour-based questions in a structured and concise way. An example of a behaviour-based interview question is – give an example of the time when you motivated an individual or a team? You should answer in a STAR format. i.e., Situation, Task, Action and Result. Other examples; Give me an example when you had to lead a team, and there was a time constraint? How did you achieve the results, and during the process, if you received feedback, how did you take the feedback?
Finally, draft a closing pitch for an MBA admission video interview. Demonstrating your leadership and management skills during the MBA admission interview will help you to get admission to an MBA School in Canada. You should have your closing pitch ready, which should ideally include a summary of your aspirations and how access to an MBA School in Canada will help you to achieve your professional goals while helping other people in the process.
Personal Finance Management for an MBA in Canada
Pursuing an MBA in Canada requires a sound financial standing. An MBA in Canada is an expensive undertaking.
On average, a ~C$100,000 fee plus the cost of living and miscellaneous expenses is a lot of investment, especially when you are not earning during your MBA program. It is highly unlikely that you would take up a part-time job to manage your daily expenses as an MBA program is time-consuming, and you will not get extra time for a part-time job. Hence, you need to do a personal financial analysis to understand the impact of an MBA in Canada on your economic forecast. It is a good idea to take help from your parents, to invest a part of your savings, and take up an education loan to fulfil the MBA fees commitment.
If you have substantial financial constraint, which is preventing you from pursuing an MBA, you can also consider a Master of Management in Canada. You must start analyzing your financial position even before embarking on the process of taking admission to an MBA School in Canada. The location of your MBA School in Canada will highly drive the cost of living. More often than not, staying closer to the MBA School in Canada is preferred compared to staying in a location that is far away. Opting for University housing can help you to save a significant amount of rent over time. Usually, university housing is not very easy to get and to be successful, you should apply as early as possible.
Considering this, you must keep the MBA admission timeline in mind and put an application for admission in the first round. You can also reach out to other students who might be joining you to shares the apartment to reduce the cost. In case you are coming to Canada as a couple or a family, it becomes even more critical for you to make the right judgement on your stay during the MBA program in Canada. Apart from the MBA program fee and cost of living, you should consider many other expenses.
For example, you would often go for networking meetings and would be a nominal fee for the same. There are additional expenses related to books and stationery. Additionally, there will be several events organized through your MBA School clubs, which require a nominal fee of entry. Moreover, on top of this, there are expenses related to leisure and entertainment. The MBA program in Canada is not only a great learning experience but also a time to enjoy and make new friends. You would go out with them on short weekend getaways and on holidays that would increase your expenses. On average, these additional expenses will be around C$200-C$500 per month. This estimate can vary drastically based on an individual, the MBA School and its location.
Time to start your MBA journey in Canada!
By now, you should have got admission to the MBA School of your choice in Canada. You have figured out your finances, and you have a valid status to travel and study in Canada. Start reaching out to other students who also received admission to your MBA cohort. You can reach out to those students through various forms on the web. It is time to socialize, make friends, exchange information and knowledge and come together to pursue MBA and build a successful career in Canada.
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- Implications of COVID-19 pandemic
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- Prioritizing MBA Schools
- Reaching out to MBA alumni
- An MBA vs. Executive MBA
- Full-time vs. Part-time MBA
- Selecting an MBA specialization
- 1-year vs. 2-years MBA
- Potential opportunities after an MBA
- MBA Application and video interview
- Personal finance management