Pros and Cons of Pursuing an MBA in Canada

Admit Abroad - Pros and Cons of Pursing an MBA in Canada

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Pursing an MBA abroad is a life changing event. An MBA abroad can be expensive and forces you outside your comfort zone. At the same time, the rewards can be enormous if you choose to pursue it in the right country based on your career goals. If you’re reading this article – chances are that you are considering Canada for your MBA. But before you make the final decision to apply – it would be a good idea to consider the pros and cons pursing an MBA in Canada.

Pros

3 Year Work Permit:

When you pursue a two-year masters’ degree (MBA included) in Canada – you get a three-year work permit. This is enough for students to then apply for a Canadian PR and get one. This immigration friendly policy stands in stark contrast to the United States’ policy wherein for MBA programs, students get only a 1 year stay back option. Of course, there are STEM MBA programs in the United States which allow students to stay back for 3 years – but the process for immigration (getting a work visa, a green card etc.) beyond the 3 year stay back period is still is long and complex in the United States.

High Return on Investment:

According to payscale.com, the average annual starting salary for MBAs in Canada is CAD 83,000 (Rs 51 lakhs). In contrast, the average MBA in Canada costs around CAD 40,000 (Rs 24 lakhs). This shows that on average, students can earn back their investment in 6 months. The average starting salaries for the top 5 MBA programs is even higher:

QS MBA Rank in Canada University Average Starting Annual Salary
1 University of Toronto –

Rotman School of Management

CAD 113,000

(Rs 69 lakhs)

2 Queens University –

Smith School of Business

CAD 110,000

(Rs 68 lakhs)

3 Western University –

Ivey Business School

CAD 122,000

(Rs 74 lakhs)

4 McGill University –

Desautels Faculty of Management

CAD 105,000

(Rs 64 lakhs)

5 York University –

Shulich School of Business

CAD 94,000

(Rs 57 lakhs)

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Of course, this is only an average and you can earn much more depending on past work experience and which industry you work in. Those who work in investment banking, venture capital or consulting can draw starting salaries of upto CAD 200,000 (Rs 1.2 Crore) annually, in which case, their payback period is only 2.5 months!

 

Specialize by Industry and Function:

In India – students specialize by function i.e. they specialize in specific areas of a business like marketing, finance and HR. However, in Canada students can tailor their MBA program by function AND industry. For example – students can choose subjects in finance and real estate development to specialize in how to work in the corporate finance departments specifically in the real estate industry. The advantage of this is that students get domain specific knowledge in addition to function specific knowledge – leading to better career outcomes.

 

Students can specialize in the following functions (available in most top ranked schools):

  • Brand Management
  • Marketing
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Business Design
  • Human Resources
  • Supply Chain Management /
    Logistics
  • Entrepreneurship

 

Students can also specialize in the following industries (available in most top ranked schools):

  • Retail
  • Real Estate
  • Investment Banking
  • Consulting
  • Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Tech
  • Social Impact

 

Of course, if students feel that this level of specialization is too restrictive, then students can opt NOT to specialize in an industry or a function and do a General MBA instead. So MBA programs in Canada are extremely flexible in this regard.

 

A wide variety of jobs

In general, Canada has done in terms of job growth. At the end of 2021, Canada had around 10 lakh job vacancies. In the long term too – the job prospects for immigrants are good as native population growth is slow, and because Canada is an ageing country.  Most of the jobs for those with MBA are in finance, consulting, retail, tech, energy and healthcare. Here are some typical jobs students can apply to:

Job Role Companies Average Starting Salary
Senior Consultant Mckinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, KPMG, A.T. Kearney, PWC, EY CAD 167,000

Rs 1 crore

Product Manager Amazon, Telus, Google, MasterCard, Intuit CAD 148,000

Rs 90 lakhs

Marketing Manager Kraft Food, Ford, Subway, Johnson & Johnson CAD 126,000

Rs 77 lakhs

Operations Director Hubble, Electronic Arts, Northland Power CAD 198,000

Rs 1.2 crore

Risk Manager Scotia Bank, TD, RBC CAD 161,000

Rs 98 lakhs

Investment Banking Analyst TD, JP Morgan, BGC Partners,

Morgan Stanley, BMO

CAD 159,000

Rs 97 lakhs

Recruiting Manager Amazon, Mckinsey, Neilson Financial Services CAD 144,000

Rs 88 lakhs

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Learn from the best, study with the best

As discussed above, because Canada provides a 3-year work visa on completion of a 2 year MBA – many good students prefer pursuing their MBA in Canada compared to even the United States. Due to this, several “ivy -calibre” students choose to study in Canada as opposed to other countries. Additionally, Canadian universities are extremely strong in research and teaching. So students can be rest assured that they will be learning from the best.

Easier to get into the top universities

Even though universities in Canada offer education that is comparable in quality to those in United States and United Kingdom, it is relatively easier to get into these universities. For one, Canadian universities have not traditionally marketed themselves the way American and British universities have over the past decades. Due to this, despite a similar quality of education, the demand is relatively low. Further, Canadian universities are in expansion mode i.e. several universities are trying to increase their own class size. Case in point: While the average GMAT score of admitted students to the top 5 American MBA programs is around 720, the average GMAT score of admitted students to the top 5 Canadian MBA programs is only around 670.

MBA Rank University Average GMAT Average Undergrad GPA Average Work Experience
1 University of Toronto –

Rotman School of Management

678 3.6 5
2 Queens University –

Smith School of Business

654 3.4 4.2
3 Western University –

Ivey Business School

670 3.4 5.5
4 McGill University –

Desautels Faculty of Management

675 3.3 5.5
5 York University –

Shulich School of Business

660 3.3 5

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Cons

Canadian programs are less prestigious than their American Counterparts

As mentioned above – Canadian Universities have only recently started promoting their MBA programs around the world. Because of them, they are less known than their American counterparts. Of course, this does not mean that their quality is lower – but if prestige matters to you, consider an American MBA over a Canadian one.

Finding a job takes major initiative

We’re used to the “on-campus recruitment” system in India. In this system, the college’s placement team trains students for placement, calls companies on campus, gets interviews done and coaxes companies into giving students a job. This is not how job search works in Canada (or in any developed country). Canadian universities have strong career placement teams – but their role is different from similar teams in India. They help students identify the right career, get documents in place (like their resume, cover letters etc.) and point students to websites and events where they can find jobs. But it’s the students’ responsibility to take initiative in this process, apply to companies, prepare for interviews and secure a job.

The Weather

Ok – this has nothing to do with the education or job prospects itself – but Canada does have extreme winters. The average temperature in winters in cities like Toronto is -7 degrees Celsius. Further, most places are covered in thick cloud cover during winters (which is around 4-5 months of the year). If living in a warm, sunny place is important to you – you might not want to consider Canada for your MBA.

We hope this article gave you some insight into the benefits and drawbacks of pursing an MBA in Canada. Do contact us know if you have any additional questions with regards to your study abroad plans.

 

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Our hope is that this article gave you an overview of the different career paths and universities available to
those who wish to study in
Canada. If you do have any further queries or questions, do reach out to
our experts
and get your study abroad journey started today.

 

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