In recent years Canada has become a popular destination for international students. Every year over 130,000 students come from all over the world to study here. We decided it was time to investigate why Canada has become such a popular destination for so many students. In our search for answers we spoke to three students from three of the top business schools in Canada.
Firstly we spoke to Kiran, who has relocated from Dubai to study at The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Kiran highlighted two things that really attracted her to to the country. She told us that her primary reason was because, “Canada has its own distinct business environment. There's definitely a Canadian way of doing business which I'm drawn to. The country has a strong and independent economy compared to the US right now.”
When describing the Canadian business environment she made a point of noting that “even though Canada has an individualistic economy it's also actually quite representative of the rest of the world as well.” She talked about Canada's multiculturalism and how “you get an international perspective for business and life just from studying here.” She's looking forward to the prospect of working in Canada as she believes the strong economy has led to a dynamic and robust job market.
We then spoke to Veronica Flores, an international student from Peru. She's currently studying for an MBA at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. She told us that before she started her MBA she wasn't thinking of doing it in Canada. However, through her work at Scotia bank she started to think more and more about Canada as a potential option for her MBA. She said that “at Scotia Bank I really got accustomed to the way Canadians practised business.”
She said that from the start she saw that Canadian businesses really valued “the equity of people.” Veronica also chose Canada for practical purposes, “I'm married and it was easy for me to bring my husband with me.” She then elaborated on how the immigration process to Canada was considerably easier on the whole compared to the US. She said, “in the US there are so many hoops to jump through just for simple things.”
Regarding her school she said that “Ivey's one year program was a big pull factor for me. I've already gained five years experience and I didn't want to spend two years just doing an MBA.” She also commented on how she saw a leadership focus at Ivey that appropriately matched her background. She came to the conclusion that, “your classmates really are integral to your experience. Here at Ivey, team work is everything.”
Finally we spoke to Santiago from Colombia. He's currently studying at The Schulich School of Business at York University. Previously he was an industrial engineer for a cement company in Bogota. He told us that he's doing an MBA because he's always had entrepreneurial inclinations and that he really wants to satisfy his desire to get involved in entrepreneurial projects. He realised that he lacked some of the tools necessary and that an MBA “was the perfect way to gain them.”
Santiago is very interested in sustainability issues and is concerned about building in a way which causes the minimum amount of damage possible to the environment. He chose Schulich because it had a strong reputation, especially regarding issues of sustainability.
When we asked him if he considered the US for an MBA he said, “of course I considered other places. For example Stanford had a course that was almost exactly what I wanted however, I had to factor in some other issues.” He then went on to talk about how he believed the American economy was weaker and that doing an MBA in the US gave you far less international exposure and opportunity for employment.
It seems that a combination of Canada's strong economy, international outlook and one year MBA programs are helping to atract more MBA students to the country. There are currently six Canadian business schools listed in the Financial Times ranking of top 100 global MBA programs (versus 16 in the UK and 55 in the US) but will we see more in the future?