Canada is quickly becoming a go-to option for postgraduate students seeking an MBA degree. In recent years, international students have flocked to Canada, with over 500,000 international students enrolled in the country in 2018. Canada has several top-tier MBA programs that rival schools in the U.S. and in Europe.
While Canada’s climate can take some getting used to for Indian students, its high quality of life and welcoming culture more than make up for it. Whether you’ve already made a decision about studying in Canada or are just considering it as one option out of many, we’ve got all the details that you need to help you narrow down your options.
Advantages of Seeking an MBA in Canada
What are the perks of choosing to study in Canada? Why pursue an MBA there instead of in the U.S or Europe, which have more well-known programs? Or in India, where your courses will be focused on the business management skills required in the Indian economy?
For one, Canadian universities are well-regarded internationally and are becoming more and more competitive each year. International applicants to U.S. MBA programs are dropping, while those to Canadian programs are rising. Six of its MBA programs are among the top 100 in the world (2 are in the top 50), with around 100 MBA programs available at 50 different schools.
In addition to the quality of its education, Canada has a high quality of living at a more affordable cost than other English-speaking countries, including the U.K. and Australia. Canada is known as a welcoming destination for immigrants, with over 1.3 million Indo-Canadian residents living in Canada, particularly in multicultural cities like Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Plus, as a student in Canada, you’ll have access to the country’s health care system, stable economy, and diverse job market. You and your spouse can apply for a work permit while you study, and you’ll be able to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit after you graduate. You may even decide to apply for permanent residency so you can stay in Canada long-term.
That said, an MBA in Canada isn’t right for everyone, and if you’re interested in a specific MBA degree that isn’t offered here, or you want to focus on the Indian or European marketplace, then you may be better off studying in a country that is more in line with your career goals.
Cost of MBA Education in Canada
While the cost of an MBA in Canada can be cheaper than in other countries, an MBA education is still a big investment. The full cost of your MBA education, including your tuition and living expenses, will vary depending on the length of the program you choose and the location.
Canada’s highest-ranking program, at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, is also one of the most expensive, totalling $120,680 for a two-year program. On the other hand, the 1-year program at HEC Montreal costs $34,000 for international students, making it one of the more affordable MBA degrees in a major North American city.
If you leave behind metropolitan Toronto and Montreal for St. John’s, Newfoundland, you’ll pay even less: Memorial University’s MBA program costs $12,891.46 for international students.
In addition to your tuition fees, be sure to familiarize yourself with the cost of living in the city or province you choose. You may need to pay for public transit, phone and internet bills, and health insurance, as well as the cost of a student visa and any associated fees. You may also need to show proof of funds to support yourself in order to be granted entry to the country.
Rent and other living expenses can vary widely, with apartments in Vancouver and Toronto costing more than in smaller cities. According to the National Bank of Canada, a 2-bedroom apartment costs an average of $990 per month. As you come up with an estimated budget, decide whether you will realistically have time to hold down a job during your studies, or if it makes more sense to save up in advance or apply for scholarships.
Quality of Life
According to the U.S. News and World Report, Canada doesn’t just have a high quality of life: it’s number 1 on their list, ahead of Switzerland, Australia, and the Scandinavian countries. It also has 3 cities on the list of the top 10 most livable cities in the world.
What makes Canada so special? Despite its cool climate, Canada’s cities have warm, sunny summers and are easy to get around, even in winter. There are plenty of parks, public transit options, and bike lanes, making for a pleasant commute to work or school.
Canada’s culture is known for being friendly and open-minded, with a low crime rate, almost no gun violence, and high-quality schools and health care. The minimum wage ranges from $10.96 to $14.00 per hour, and the standard work week is 40 hours, with 19 vacation days per year.
Canadians may have their differences — in fact, the province of Quebec nearly voted to leave the country in 1995 — but they work together to resolve them. Today, both English and French are official languages of Canada, and Quebec is still part of Canada, although it has its own immigration system that’s administered separately from the rest of the country.
If you’re looking to pursue your MBA in a country with a high quality of life that may offer you a pathway to citizenship, Canada should be at the top of your list.
Best Canadian Business Schools
Canada has a number of schools on the QS Global MBA Rankings 2019, located all over the country. The best school for you depends on where you want to live, which type of business management you want to study, and whether you want to do a one or a two-year program.
Canadian schools typically offer three types of MBA programs:
- Part-time MBA: 32 months, allowing you to work and study at the same time
- Full-time MBA: 24 months of intensive study (including a 4-month internship)
- Executive MBA: 15 months of weekend study, intended for working professionals
Let’s take a look at a few of the Canadian schools that regularly top the list:
Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
The Rotman School of Management has four MBA options: full-time, part-time, executive, and global, which includes a partnership with the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy. The Global EMBA is the most demanding, and requires travel to four different continents.
If you choose the full-time MBA program, you’ll have access to 90 elective courses and 16 different majors, including Brand Management, Real Estate, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and more. You can also take part in a 4-month internship program, and will be eligible for a 3-year postgraduate work permit when you complete the course.
Rotman’s reputation and diverse set of offerings make this a popular — but competitive — option for international students. Its average GMAT score is 665, Canada’s highest.
Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario
The Ivey Business School is Canada’s second-highest ranked MBA, with a 1-year full-time program that uses the case study method, the only program of its kind in Canada. The case study method immerses you in over 300 cases based on real-world business challenges.
Although there’s no internship, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in an international study trip and one of 14 global exchange programs. Ivey is located in London, Ontario, giving you the benefits of living in a smaller city while still being within a 2-hour drive from Toronto.
Schulich School of Business at York University
The Schulich School of Business offers several MBA options that are suitable for international students. The International MBA includes a work term in Canada between the two years of the program, and the opportunity to learn a second language, including Mandarin and Japanese.
They also have a two-year MBA program designed for Indian students, with one year spent in Hyderabad and one year in Toronto. This is perfect for students who want to study international business, while still learning the specifics of working in the Indian marketplace. You’ll also be able to pick from 18 specializations to further refine your studies.
HEC Montreal offers several MBA programs, including a one-year full-time MBA in English or in French, and an Executive MBA in partnership with McGill University. If you enroll in the full-time MBA, you’ll also have the option for a study abroad program through Campus Without Borders. There’s also a part-time MBA option, but it’s only available in French.
The eligibility requirements to enroll in an MBA program in Canada depend on the requirements for your specific school, as well as general requirements for a Canadian study permit or visa. For example, the MBA program at Rotman School of Management requires the following:
- A bachelor’s degree (with at least a 3.0 GPA)
- A GMAT score (average 665)
- A TOEFL score of 100 or an IELTS score of 7.0
- 2 to 6 years of work experience
You’ll also be required to provide references and a written essay, and depending on the school, you may have to participate in an interview. Some schools consider other factors besides your GMAT score, so don’t worry if you scored lower than the average. It’s always best to ask the admissions department directly if you have questions about their requirements.
In order to qualify for a study permit or student visa, you’ll need:
- A valid passport
- An acceptance letter from your MBA program
- Proof of funds to support yourself ($10,000 per year, not including tuition)
- Medical and police checks (depending on the length of study)
While the average processing time is only 32 days, it’s a good idea to apply as soon as you’ve received an offer of admission, to avoid any delays in receiving your study permit or visa.
How to Apply
First, begin by researching the MBA programs that you’re eligible for and decide which ones will be the best fit. Some of them may be too expensive or require more work experience than you currently have, or simply don’t offer the specializations that you’re looking for. Once you know which schools you want to apply for, get your documentation in order. This includes:
- Taking the GMAT and a language proficiency exam
- Writing your personal essays and updating your resume
- Requesting letters of recommendation from a supervisor
If you have the time or opportunity, arrange to visit the campus or speak with an admissions representative on the phone. Many schools allow you to apply for admission online, but may require an in-person interview with the admissions department or a recent graduate.
Some programs may have multiple enrollment dates, so make sure to plan well in advance so you can meet the application deadline and pay the application fee promptly.
You can also begin the process of gathering the material you’ll need for your student visa, so you can submit it as soon as you receive an offer of admission from your program.
Business Opportunities After You Graduate
Whatever you hear, graduating with an MBA is not an instant ticket to success. Some graduates may find their dream job immediately after completing their program, while others struggle to get hired. Your job prospects will depend on how much effort you put into your studies, which field you specialize in, and how well you network at your work placement or internship.
It also depends on whether you want to find a job in Canada, work internationally, or return to India to work for an Indian business. Fortunately, the Canadian economy is strong, and skilled MBA graduates are in demand. As we’ve seen, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate work permit and even find a job that leads to permanent residency.
For example, a recent employment report from Ivey Business School shows that 92 percent of MBA graduates found work within three months, with an average salary of $98,205. Two-thirds of graduates from Ivey go into finance and consulting, while the Alberta School of Business in Edmonton sends 14 percent of MBA students to work in energy-related fields.
If you do the right research and choose the best program for you, you can find an MBA program in Canada that will lead to long-term employment in the industry and location you choose.