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Why More MBA Students Are Choosing To Study In Canada

High quality of life, top job opportunities, and accessible visa requirements are just some of the reasons to study in Canada. Here’s why more MBA students are choosing it

Did you know applications for international students in Canada grew by 8.6% in 2019? 

Canada is now the third most popular study destination, according to the BusinessBecause Top Countries for Business School Candidates 2019 report. No other country in the top 25 has matched Canada’s growth in popularity over the past five years, with the report also finding that 8.5% of candidates indicated a desire to study there.  

So why are so many students choosing to study in Canada? 

Ease of getting a work permit

Canada’s work visa policy has earned it a reputation for openness to international students. 

In our Top Study Destinations report, ease of getting a work permit was the number one factor for Canada’s popularity, with 49% indicating it as a factor for preferring Canada as their top study destination. This is compared to just 29% over all.

For students at UBC Sauder School of Business in Vancouver, being able to get a work visa straight after graduation is a big pull factor for students. Graduates from the school’s 16-month  MBA program can stay to work for up to three years after graduation with a post-graduate work permit (PGWP). 

UBC Sauder places a great emphasis on MBA internships for its students, where students can gain experience while expecting to earn between CA$3k-to-6k (around US$2300-to-$4600). 

UBC MBA alumni Michael Emerson, from the UK, recalls his first experience working at software company SAP during his MBA internship. He is now Vice President of planning product strategy at SAP’s German headquarters. 

“I had the opportunity to expand my network and learn about opportunities and roles I didn’t know existed,” Michael recalls.

For international students, Canada is a particularly welcoming and diverse place. “International students will have an easier time transitioning from their home countries, and take less time to adapt to a ‘home away from home’ like Canada,” insists Ivan Yuen, MBA careers associate director at UBC Sauder. 

Growing choice of industries

On top of visa accessibility, Canada’s diverse and exciting job market is making the country appealing to MBA applicants. 

“Many multinational companies have expanded their presence in Vancouver, not to mention the growing startup community,” Ivan explains. 

This is particularly true for the tech industry, where a growing number of MBA graduates are finding employment. Amazon recently established an office there, while tech startup successes including Hootsuite and Slack were born and launched in Vancouver. 

Opportunities stretch far beyond the tech sector. Manufacturing and energy remain some of Canada’s biggest industries—two industries which are moving towards sustainable innovation. Renewable energy has risen significantly as the country looks to move away from exporting natural gas. In 2017, there were already 100,000 more Canadians working in clean energy than in oil and gas. 

Vancouver has been at the forefront of electrical vehicle manufacturing, with industry leaders such as Electra Meccanica and Corvus Energy based there. As British Columbia aims for 100% electric vehicle sales by 2040, the industry has much to offer MBA graduates. 

Whatever the industry, the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre at UBC Sauder takes students on their journey from degree to employment. This includes mentoring, one-to-one coaching, and an emotional intelligence assessment, which gives students a comprehensive assessment of their leadership potential. 

High quality of life

But it’s not all hard work and career focus that are drawing people in their droves to Canada. Its famed quality of life is a big pull factor to come and study in Canada.

In our Top Study Destinations report, 44% gave safety and security as a reason for preferring Canada as a top study destination.

Canada is ranked number one for quality of life, according to US News, a ranking based on access to food, housing, education, as well as job security, individual freedom, and political stability. 

“Vancouver’s amazing diversity means the city offers plenty of cultural festivals, celebrations and rich cuisine along with the opportunity to make friends and meet co-workers from all over the world”  Ivan reveals. 

Moreover, Vancouver sits nestled between mountains and sea, a dream surfing and skiing destination for any nature-inclined applicants. Given an outdoors lifestyle directly contributes to health and wellbeing, it’s no surprise people are choosing the British Columbia city to study in. 

Is Canada right for you?

Making the decision about where you want to study your MBA is deeply personal. Each student has a number of factors that will influence their preferences about study destination. 

But for visa accessibility, job availability, and quality of life, Canada certainly ticks a lot of boxes.