1. It’s easy to get a visa

Sometimes the most difficult hurdle to studying abroad as an international student is the paperwork. As a prospective student looking to enroll in an MBA program abroad, you’ll need to secure an international student visa. According to Simon Lovick for BusinessBecause, Canada provides easy access to students who want to study in Canada and “applications for international students in Canada grew by 8.6% in 2019.” 

Lovick adds, “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).” This is an important factor when trying to decide on where you’ll study since many MBA students are required to complete internships where they are able to network with future employers during their course of study. Having an extended work permit as an international student is a major benefit, one that could set you up to successfully transition into the workforce after graduating from your MBA program

2. Canada welcomes immigrants

Overall, as a country, Canada welcomes immigrants. “For international students, I think Canada is especially friendly,” says Yingying Zhang, a student enrolled in Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. Located in Montreal, Zhang has enjoyed the city’s great food, festivals, and multicultural make up, which make it an appealing hotspot for students. 

“In a recent global survey, the Graduate Management Admission Council reported that international student applications to Canada rose 16.4 per cent this year over 2017, compared with 15.1 per cent for Asia-Pacific schools, 3.4 per cent in Europe but a drop of 10.5 per cent to the United States,” writes Jennifer Lewington for The Globe and Mail.

The increase is due in large part because immigrants such as Colombian-born Andres Sanchez recognize the benefits that Canada has to offer. “My wife and I wanted to come together,” says Mr. Sanchez Vasco, a 34-year-old former financial analyst from Bogota who eyes a career in a different sector after graduation. “If we went to any other place in the world, she would not be able to work.” Canada’s welcoming immigration policy for international students and access to work permits is another reason to put Canada at the top of your list for MBA programs.

3. Canadian business schools offer excellent alternatives to US programs

In a competitive market more and more research is showing Canadian MBA programs offer excellent alternatives to the traditional MBA programs offered in the United States.The data shows there has been an increase in applications to Canadian MBA programs and a decrease in those to US schools.

“The majority of applications received by Canadian and European programs this year are from international applicants,” the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) study notes. By contrast, international applications to U.S. schools dropped by 10.5 percent,” reports John Lorinc for Maclean’s. GMAC took this data from questionnaires sent to 2,600 business schools around the world, and the survey reflects feedback from 363 faculty and 1,087 graduate management programs. Prospective MBA students are paying attention to what options are available and they are more willing to try alternatives and enroll in programs where there are other major benefits like easy visa applications and work permits available.

For example, Ben Chung tells Ishani Nath reporting for Candian Business about his choice to study in Canada, “To be honest, most MBA programs have similar curriculums, but it’s about the environment and the context in which you learn it, so having a more global approach, having different faculty that have a very different background and also global experiences, that was something that I appreciated,” says Chung, who did the accelerated 18 month program at Royal Roads University, and graduated in 2017. He says his MBA gave him the confidence and ability to present more effectively in meetings with IBM executives or major clients, both in Canada and around the world.

4. Canadian business schools are more affordable

MBA candidates are looking for affordable schools that can also give them a leg up in a competitive job market. Price comparisons show that Canadian MBA programs are comparatively more affordable than MBA programs in other countries, including the US.

According to Canadian Business Magazine, Canada’s top 10 MBA schools offer a variety of options both academically and financially. When Yingying Zhang was researching MBA programs she said she found  “MBA fees are significantly more affordable [in Canada] than in the US, making studying in Canada a sound investment.”

5. It’s home to some of the best start-ups and growing industry

One notable benefit of attending an MBA school in Canada is that right now the Canadian economy is boasting one of the best growing and evolving start-up industries in the world. According to CNBC, “Canadian venture capital funds poured about $2.2 billion into 249 financings in the first half of 2019, according to the Canadian Venture Capital Report, published by CPE Media Analytics.” 

Investors are finding Canada’s markets are ready to innovate and many new exciting projects are getting launched much like the beginning of the start-up frenzy in Silicon Valley in the US. Because of a smaller population overall compared to New York or San Francisco, the enterprising recent MBA graduate will find that there is less competition to launch a new idea. A list of 30 of the best-funded Canadian start-ups is an encouraging example of what might be possible post-graduation for an MBA student in Canada. 

One expert, Karen Jackson-Cox, executive director of the Career Advancement Centre at Smith School of Business, Queen’s University, says, “Startups in Canada are supported by a mixture of government funding, tax incentives, special visas for technology startups, incubators, and accelerators, which is building a reputation for the region.” This is the best news for any MBA student who is ready to launch their own business directly after graduating.

6. You’ll have access to sustainable and innovative business practices

A burgeoning start up industry also encourages sustainable and innovative business practices, which you will also find if you enroll in an MBA program in Canada. 

“Young people increasingly have an interest in some sort of sustainable business, not least because they are the ones who will inherit the Earth,” says John-Paul Ferguson, academic director of the MBA program at Desautels. The current generation knows all future business practices should be taking environmental best practices into consideration. This is not something that will be negotiable going forward due to the reality of climate change effects. If you are passionate about both business and the environment, you’ll find a niche market for your skills and talent.

“Employers are hungry for graduates with that value added of sustainability,” says Rumina Dhalla, MBA coordinator and corporate social responsibility coordinator at the University of Guelph’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. Canadian MBA programs are paying attention and offering programs that provide training in sustainable and innovative practices.

If you are a prospective MBA student, you’ll want to consider all your options. A graduate education is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an investment in your future. You’ll want to weigh the pluses and minuses, calculate the pros and cons, and consider the benefits and advantages in all programs. Those offered in Canada might just beat out all of the competition.