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Should You Pursue Business School in Canada, or Return Home?

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Canada has long held a reputation as being one of the world’s most welcoming countries to international college students. For that reason, hundreds of thousands of international undergraduates—particularly from China and India—have earned their bachelor’s degree from a Canadian university.

And thanks to Canada’s immigrant-friendly work permit policies, a significant number of those international bachelor’s graduates have stayed in Canada to begin their careers in Canada’s highly developed market economy.

Does this sound like you? If it does, you may now be interested in taking the next step of your career by earning a graduate business degree, like an MBA or business master’s, which can significantly improve your career opportunities with in-demand skillsets and access to an expanded network.

Among the important decisions you’ll need to make is whether or not you want to stay in Canada to earn your master’s degree or return to your home country and attend business school there.

Only you can decide what’s right for you, your education, and the future of your career. Here are some factors for you to consider as you weigh your options.

A global business school experience

In today’s globally interconnected economy, more than ever companies are looking for new managerial talent that understands the international business landscape and is adept at managing across cultures. For that reason, aspiring business leaders should consider attending business schools with an international focus and think about applying to programs that are able to recruit globally diverse cohorts of students.

Business school is a tremendous opportunity not only to learn from your coursework and professors, but also from your classmates. Having classmates from all over the world will help you understand how to communicate and work as a team with people with diverse skillsets, cultural backgrounds, and personalities, and make you ready to lead diverse teams after you graduate.

In many large countries, business schools are really only able to attract students domestically. While the education offered at these schools’ programs may be quite strong, not having that international experience in the classroom is somewhat limiting to the overall educational experience.

Behind the strength of their internationally-renowned programs and welcoming culture toward immigrants, Canadian business schools attract top business school applicants from all over the world, building cohorts of students rich in international diversity, making for a unique and invaluable student experience that prepares students for the future’s increasingly interconnected world.

Job opportunities and salary potential

Of course, a major motivating factor for you earning an MBA or business master’s degree is the payoff it’ll have to your career development. As you weigh your business school options, you should think about the job opportunities in the location of where you study, because that may be where your business school network connections will work the most in your favor.

In a country like Canada, the sky’s the limit for your career prospects in their highly developed market economy. Among the leading sectors in Canada is the service industry—including banking and finance, tech, and products services—which rely on a steady stream of new business school trained talent flowing in each year to sustain their growth. A number of globally-recognized companies have significant headcount in Canada, including Google, Cisco Systems, Ubisoft, Microsoft, General Dynamics, and Pfizer. These organizations look to Canada’s business schools for fresh management talent that they can mold into their next generation of executive leaders.

How do the salaries of new business school graduates in Canada compare to salary levels around the world? According to a research study from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), business school graduates working in Canada earn a median salary of US$95,000. This compares very favorably to median salaries of US$55,000 in China, and US$35,000 in India.

Economic freedom and transparency

In addition to thinking about what your individual career prospects may be in different potential study locations, you might think about the basic fundamentals of the government and economic structures as well, taking into account things like the rule of law, economic regulations, and governing principles.

According to the 2020 Index of Economic Freedom, Canada places ninth in the world overall and first in the Americas region, with its overall score well above the world average.

What does this mean for you and your career? It means if you decide to pursue a graduate business degree and continue your career in Canada, and you can expect a high level of economic opportunity, including labor rights and the chance to start your own business.

Here are some of the factors taken into account by the index:

  • Government. Canada enjoys a clean government with little corruption.
  • Rule of law. An independent judiciary and strong protections for individual rights bolsters Canadian residents’ personal freedoms.
  • Open markets. Canada’s overall investment framework is transparent and efficient.

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