• Blog
  • >
  • MBA
  • >
  • Why Pursue an MBA in Canada?
Select viewing preference

Why Pursue an MBA in Canada?

January 26, 2024 :: Admissionado

More and more students seeking a top-notch higher education experience are looking to our neighbors in the North in recent years. Canada, with its welcoming visa policies, lower cost of living, diverse population, and excellent job opportunities, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international students. In fact, last year Canada saw an 11% increase in international student enrollment across the board. This guide explores why pursuing an MBA in Canada is a smart move, highlighting key aspects such as cost, job prospects, and standout MBA programs.

Key Differences Between American and Canadian MBA Programs

More International Classes

Similar to the UK, Canada’s smaller population and focus on attracting international students result in a more international student body at Canadian business schools. An international student body is a relatively recent selling point for U.S. schools—it’s long been a necessity for Canadian institutions.

Cost of Living

It’s no secret, the cost of an education in the U.S is skyrocketing. Not only are Canadian University programs less expensive than top American programs for similar value, but living in Canada is cheaper too. Prices in Canada’s largest cities don’t even come close to prices in New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, so international students here get a quality lifestyle that doesn’t break the bank.

Post-Graduation Opportunities

While America’s immigration debate takes center stage across cable news, Canada is extremely welcoming to students seeking permanent residency. Applicants seeking to make a move from China, India or beyond will find plenty of opportunities to do so after graduating with a Canadian MBA, though as ever in the world of visas, nothing is 100% guaranteed.


Compared to top American and European MBA programs, Canadian Universities tend to fly under the radar, although that’s starting to change as the word gets out. This means that for now, applicants may find greater opportunities up North, especially considering just how saturated the American MBA applicant pool has become.

Benefits of Studying in Canada

Affordable Living Expenses

Spending Canadian dollars will be far friendlier to your budget. Living in Toronto will cost you about half as much as living in New York City and about 30% cheaper than living in L.A. or Boston. It’s not just your apartment or your morning cappuccino that will be more affordable; you can expect your tuition to run you 10-40% less in Canada than at the top U.S. schools.

Lower Tuition Fees

Canadian universities offer quality education at a fraction of the cost of U.S. institutions. This makes pursuing an MBA in Canada not only a financially wise decision but also provides a high return on investment (ROI).

Express Entry Program

Canada’s “Express Entry” program, fully rolled out in 2017, actively seeks to draw immigrants, particularly students and skilled workers, to its shores by making the Visa process as easy as possible. Full-time MBA students in Canada are given a much easier road to remaining in the country. Along with a diploma, you are guaranteed a 3-year Canadian work permit following graduation. Unlike in the U.S., your spouse is eligible to work, too.

Diverse Job Market

Canada boasts a robust job market with opportunities in various sectors, including finance, technology, manufacturing, and consulting. Cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are hubs for multinational companies and startups alike, providing a wealth of job prospects for MBA graduates.

Welcoming and Inclusive Environment

Canada’s friendliness translates to a seriously diverse population. In Toronto, nearly half the population is composed of immigrants, with large segments representing India and China. This multicultural environment enriches the educational experience, fostering a global perspective among students.

High Quality of Life

Canada follows a European-style socialized model for health and education services, an attractive feature to many immigrants. While your paycheck might be smaller, less of it will go to healthcare, student loans, or the aforementioned costs of living, and more of it will go to enriching life experiences like winter sports or cultural activities.

Top MBA Programs in Canada

Rotman School of Management

Rotman, the business school of the University of Toronto, is considered “Canada’s best school for Finance,” and is the highest ranked Canadian program according to the Financial Times. The average GMAT score is about 665, making it easier to get into than the top U.S. programs, and it has an excellent track record, with 44% of last year’s grads working in the financial industry. While U.S. programs usually boast about 1/3 of their student population being international students, Rotman’s student population is more than 50% international, and the school offers friendly loan options for international students with either a Canadian co-signer or through an approved bank in their home country.

Schulich School of Business

If Toronto has your heart but Rotman doesn’t, York University, also located in Toronto, offers 16 or 20 month flexible length programs at its business school—Schulich—with intakes in January or September. The average age of MBA students at Schulich is 29, so you can expect to find older peers with abundant professional experience, and the average GMAT score is 660. It offers solid prospects, with 89% of students employed within three months of graduation, and an average salary of 90,000CAD.

Ivey Business School

Ivey, located in London, Ottawa, is consistently considered one of Canada’s top three MBA programs, and the only school to offer a case-based program. It is a strongly consulting focused program, more so even than Rotman, with 36% of students embarking on consulting or corporate strategy careers after graduation. An unusually small program, Ivey takes only about 150 students every year, and has the most competitive average GMAT of Canadian schools, at 670. The one-year program will get you back in the professional world quickly, and with a start-date in March, it’s first deadlines are in January.

Sauder School of Business

On Canada’s west coast, in what is undoubtedly the nation’s hippest city, Vancouver, Sauder offers an MBA that is neither finance nor consulting focused. At Sauder, there is a strong core of students from manufacturing, construction or natural resources backgrounds, and the technology and consumer goods industries dominate post grad hires. The program has a number of unique features, prominent among which is a mandatory Global Immersion Experience that gives MBA candidates the opportunity to spend two weeks abroad consulting on business problems for local organizations. The average GMAT in the MBA program is 646, but if you only have nine months to spare and are short on experience, Sauder’s “Master of Management” program offers non-business grads a foundational business education that earns 95% of graduates employment within three months.

HEC Montréal

For those seeking that “quelque chose” in their MBA experience, HEC Montreal might be just the thing. The Montreal branch of France’s most elite business school is located in one of Canada’s largest and most dynamic, as well as historic, cities, Montreal. Like its counterpart in France, the HEC Montreal students are on the older side, with an average age of 31, and an average GMAT of 625. The school offers not only a great program but strong connections with the French-speaking world, even beyond Canada and France. Intake happens in April, and the one year program will cost you only 33,000CAD, making it one of the cheapest schools from which to get a prestigious MBA in Canada.

Desautels School of Management

Montreal’s big enough for more than just one MBA program, with McGill University offering a competitive program from the Desautels School of Management. With only 80 students, this will feel like an intimate program, where you’ll get to know your peers, about 60% of whom will be fellow internationals, very well. The two-year program has an average GMAT of 670, and an 85% placement rate within three months of graduation.

Smith School of Business

Finally, Queen’s MBA program, Smith, in Kingston, Ontario is consistently ranked in the top 20 of Bloomberg’s international MBA rankings, and offers a one-year program as well, putting you back on the job market quickly. Following a slightly unusual schedule which may be to your advantage, the school has a January start, and early action deadlines are in May, with rolling deadlines through October. The real kicker, though, is Smith’s impressive grad employment rate of 98% within six months of graduation.


In conclusion, pursuing an MBA in Canada offers numerous advantages, from lower costs and a welcoming visa policy to diverse job opportunities and a high quality of life. Canadian MBA programs provide excellent ROI and are housed in some of the world’s most dynamic cities. Whether you choose to study in Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal, you will find a supportive environment and a pathway to a successful career. As more students set their sights on the North, it’s clear that Canada is becoming a top destination for international MBA candidates. Put Canada on your radar, and explore the opportunities it holds for your post-MBA goals. Just don’t forget your down jacket!