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Rivals bury their differences to promote Canadian MBAs

Canada’s business schools have joined forces to promote themselves to international students around the globe.

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Canada's top business schools, usually active competitors, have joined forces to promote Canadian MBA programs to both domestic and international students.

The self-appointed group of six, to be called the Canadian MBA Alliance, include Desautels (McGill), Ivey (Western), Queen's, Rotman (Toronto), Sauder (British Columbia) and Schulich (York). The aim of the alliance is to attract top international students to Canada but also to retain local talent.

To begin with the alliance will hold two-hour information events for prospective students in Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary, followed by events in other Canadian cities. Strategic international markets will be targeted later in the year.

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The Canadian government relaxed its rules on work visas in 2008, to allow international students enrolled in two-year MBA programs to stay and work for three years following graduation. Students enrolled on a one-year MBA can stay and work for just one year. This is in sharp contrast to the United Kingdom, where post-MBA work visas have been severely restricted.

Attracting the brightest students brings economic benefit, according to the alliance. International students enrolled in tertiary level studies in Canada pumped $5.5-billion into the Canadian economy, generating more than 83,000 jobs, according to a 2009 report for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

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