After having spent considerable time in Canada, I have had the opportunity to learn about its education system and interact with many business school graduates. University of Toronto’s Rotman School, Western University’s Ivey Business School, and Queens University’s Smith School of Business are generally considered the top schools. All of them are located in Ontario, and feature state-of-the-art campuses in downtown Toronto; Ivey and Smith have satellite campuses in which they run EMBA, Accelerated MBA and other executive and Masters programs. I have had the privilege of visiting the facilities of each one of these schools, which, by any global standards, are topnotch. Other well-reputed schools outside of Ontario are McGill in Montreal, and University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
With respect to the quality of education, curriculum and instruction, I was impressed with how responsive and current the Canadian system is. All Schools offer an array of specializations and concentrations, and boast star faculty, whose published books have made way into classrooms even at top American programs. The Schools also feature well-known research institutes and innovation hubs that are at the forefront of new-age thinking, such as AI. One such lab is the Creative Destruction Lab. Housed within the Rotman School, it is a dream workspace for budding entrepreneurs wishing to incubate and commercialize their ventures.
Location is definitely an advantage at many of these schools. Toronto is a fast growing commercial and tech hub. It is home to large multinationals, many startups, and the financial industry, all of which are a stone’s throw from these campuses. As examples, Rotman is within minutes of Mars Discovery District, the largest urban innovation center in the world, and Ivey’s downtown campus is located inside the Exchange Tower at Kings Street. It can’t get any better than this!
My goal from these articles is to answer the question in an unbiased way so that you can make the best decision for yourself, given your circumstances and future goals. Lately, interest in Canada has risen, in part due to insecurity associated with post-MBA work authorization in the US, and relatively easier routes to Canadian residency. I hold a Diploma in Canadian Immigration and can well comprehend the attraction of a global and multicultural ticket. A two-year program in Canada gives you a work-permit for three years, or in other words, makes you eligible for the Post Graduate Work Permit Program, which is a path towards residency. Further, any Master’s degree from Canada will give you additional points on your Express Entry application, making education a worthwhile endeavor if residency is your goal.
Having said that, in Canada, post-MBA salaries are lower, and the exchange rate is weaker. If you check placement reports of Canadian business schools, the average starting salaries are lower than those posted by their American counterparts; $80k to 90k Canadian is nowhere near $140+ American posted this year by some top US schools, especially if you take into account exchange rates. Reported Canadian salaries may also be slightly inflated because American companies, such as consulting firms and tech giants, pay higher than domestic companies to maintain parity across borders. Also, it is no surprise that in Canada, underemployment is high. Studies have also indicated that first generation immigrants face challenges, and make lower than local residents, although in the long run these gaps taper; I have interacted with many immigrant professionals making upwards of 300k.
So should you get an MBA in Canada? Absolutely! We have worked with many candidates who are now in business school, or settled in Canada, and all of them are very satisfied with their decision. Many of them have made it to multinationals and other top companies, which would not have been possible without a top academic program. I continue to maintain that education is the best route to the Canadian dream as time spent in University gives you exposure to the market and helps build important connections, both important for your job search. Given the effects of Globalization, and Canada’s growing position, this may very well be the right time for a Canadian degree. In a few years, as Canadian firms make way into the rest of the world, the stamp’s brand equity is likely to be comparable to that of top American schools.
For now, in case you weigh the possibility of residency and a great education over short-term salaries, consider Canada. On the other hand if you want a stamp from a top global brand, one you can flash today anywhere in the world, consider the US or Europe (I would argue that all top schools provide a great academic experience, and a multicultural environment).
Please feel free to reach out to me in case you have any questions.
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Should I get an MBA in Canada?
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