Calling all Canadians. Esp Canadian MBA grads.

2BG2Fail's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 21

Hi guys,

I'll be attending a top Canadian MBA soon. I'm not going to say which one but guess away, obviously there are only a few good ones.

A few questions:

For those that got a Canadian MBA:
1. How was recruiting, in general, these last couple of years?
2. How did you feel about your MBA brand recognition in Canada?
3. If you had a high GMAT (>700), did you feel it helped you to get interviews? I ask this because Canadian MBAs tend to have lower GMATs vs US top schools...esp if you discount int'l students from India because they are a strong quant force in Canadian MBA programs. Therefore I presumed one could stand out a little more with a higher GMAT in Canada vs US.

For Canadians that got their MBA in US:
1. How hard was it to find a US employer to sponsor you?
2. Are you considered in the same boat in recruiting as int'l students from India/China?

For Canadians that got their MBA in Europe:
1. Provided you are not a Brit/French citizen. How did recruiting/sponsoring there work?

Comments (25)

May 28, 2015

If you are thinking finance in Canada, there are only two: Ivey and Rotman. Know these schools well and have some insight on Canadian landscape. PM for details, but to answer your initial questions (assuming you are asking about IBD):
1. Recruiting in the last couple of years for IBD has been not bad. Toronto summer numbers are not bad if you look at the average since 2009. Total jobs on the street in Toronto are in the order of magnitude of 10 to 15 at large Canadian banks (top five / six: RBC, BMO, TD, CIBC, Scotia, and NBF). Calgary has some good spots in energy. Montreal is also not bad (but highly prefer French speaking / local). Vancouver (mostly junior mining) you can count on one-hand. Which ever city you pick, almost everyone knows each other.
2. MBA brand recognition of two schools I mentioned is great in Canada, but very "non-target" in the U.S. (I think Ivey actually has higher placement / brand recognition in the U.S., but Rotman does much better in Toronto simply because of proximity for networking... it matters)
3. No one gives a crap about GMAT (unless your grades suck which they shouldn't). I think both Canadian schools have grade disclosure (unlike some of our U.S. counter parts) and grades matter. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. General cut off at most large Canadian banks is 3.6 (between B+ and A- average) and isn't a high hurdle. Networking is way more important.

Didn't get a U.S. MBA, but have some insights on working in U.S.:
1. A little tricky. Need to understand the Visa system well to answer HR/recruitment questions (They aren't always as well versed as you would think). Look into TN (NAFTA) and H1-B or L-1 visas. Know what you do and do not qualify for.
2. God no. I have friends from those parts of the world and they struggle for a variety of reasons. Lots of Canadians in the U.S.

Jun 4, 2015

Thanks buddy. I might PM you later for specifics but in the meantime I'll ask for a few clarifications in case other compatriots want to know.

Canadian MBA and IBD Market:
1. Clarification: you mean 10-15 positions per bank, or total? Does Rotman's 2 year program have a huge advantage over Ivey's 1 year program (since internship isn't possible for 1 year programs)? And what about consulting? The people who end up with coveted McKinsey/BCG offers after MBA in Canada are new-hires or they are usually put there by those firms on leave of absence?
2. That pretty much sums it up for what I expected.
3. This is news to me! I thought undergrad GPA would matter, but MBA GPA (unless you meant undergrad GPA)? Esp since if you are at a 1 year program and recruiting comes mid-school year. I was told by Canadian career office people that IBD use GMAT cutoffs.

May 29, 2015

Canadian MBA and IBD Market:
1. 10 to 15 positions in Toronto for Associates total across all large Canadian banks. Typically each bank hires about two to three Associate IBD summers. BMO usually hires the most... I'd ballpark an estimate at four. Rotman's two year program is very well suited for career switchers with the summer internship. I'd say Ivey is more suited for people who already have finance experience and just want to move on and reduce opportunity cost of a longer program. That's overly simplified of course. Consulting is relatively strong at both schools. Again, I think Ivey enjoys a stronger reputation in the U.S. and Rotman more so in Toronto, but my info on consulting is a bit fuzzier.
2. Yep.
3. Never ask the uni career office people. They mean well, but they aren't as close to recruiting as recent alum. At Rotman I'd recommend talking to the Rotman Finance Association. And yes, your recruiting comes mid-first year. If you are at Rotman, your first half year will be the most stressful period of your whole MBA experience. But if you get it right, after that you can almost coast afterwards. Great mid-year grades + networking --> summer job --> FT (by August year two) and the rest of your MBA is pretty much vaca.

Canadians in U.S.:
1. I think Bankerella did a post a while ago about what schools people came from to get into IBD and there were a surprising number of Canadians. Simple answer is being Canadian doesn't disqualify you, but you need to understand where your advantages / disadvantages are. PM me for details.
2. True. I have several friends / colleagues from those regions and they earn their keep.

Lots of Canadians in the U.S. Many of my classmates and friends have moved down here for a variety of finance roles (not just IBD).

May 28, 2015


May 28, 2015

Regarding Europe

If you are studying in the UK, sponsorship is more or less a formality so it's a non-issue with the vast majority of firms recruiting MBAs. It can be a bit of an issue with smaller firms as if they have never sponsored anyone, they need to register with the government so there might a bit of red tape and planning involved, but it's nothing insurmountable (quite a few of my classmates got a firm to register and sponsor them). Prior to 2011, anyone graduating from a UK college automatically got a 2 or 3 years post graduate Visa. The Tories changed the program in 2011, but even though you know need to be sponsored, it pretty much only mean you need a job offer. There's no requirement for the Visa other than having graduated from a UK school, there's no quota or job test and you can actually start working while the government process your paper so it's very straightforward and very well understood by recruiters.

For non-EU citizen studying outside the UK, it gets a little more complicated as the firm hiring you needs to perform a employment test (ie. try to prove they tried to hire a EU national but failed, similar to the H1B process). I know IBs and MBB don't really care and will sponsor you ( a few friends went to INSEAD and ended up in london after and sponsoring was a non-issue). However, once you move away from these larger firms, it gets harder as there is some hassle involved and there's a lot of competition with EU nationals.

In both cases (at least at LBS and INSEAD), recruiting works more of less the same as with US schools, although I should mention that recruiting is generally done on a regional basis so it can take a bit of legwork if you are not planning to stay in Europe.

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May 28, 2015

Thanks for the UK insight. How was recruiting in the UK last few years? I don't plan on relocating there though it is pretty cool to be there in the Financial Mile...just too expensive.

Guess the Tories had a similar system to Canada with the MBA+work Visa combo. It is helping Rotman and Schulich sell their programs a lot. However, news are filtering back that int'l students in Canada have much greater difficulty getting employment. I don't know how long this would last.

May 28, 2015

I think recruiting has been pretty good overall. There's been a noticeable shift away from Finance at the MBA level so consulting is more competitive than ever (75% of my class applied to McK) and lots of people going to tech (Google hired the most students I think, at least for summer) and while there's still a lot of interest in buy-side finance, interest in IB is really, really down so everyone who wanted an IB job got one (and generally multiple offers). You are right that London is so expensive thought...

May 28, 2015

I'm Canadian who went through this whole US Visa/immigration (recently became a dual citizen).

Note I'm not an immigration lawyer, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But here's what I know.

In the US, it's a company-by-company basis, but for the most part, you'll find that financial services (investment banks), consulting firms (mgmt and IT), and technology firms are the most willing to sponsor internationals for work visas. This is also because they are the most familiar with the process (they have an established system in place, they have their lawyers/law firms that help out, etc), and their workforce in the US traditionally is full of internationals (hence the familiarity and willingness; it's a virtuous circle).

So practically speaking, if you're at a US MBA program (or Canadian one) - if you end up at a bank, consulting firm or tech company (even post Series A startups), there shouldn't be an issue when it comes to getting a work Visa.

But anything outside of these industries, and it really is a case-by-case basis. For consumer products marketing, they typically don't sponsor internationals. Same with non-profits. Utilities/energy is a case-by-case - some will, some won't. F500 is also case-by-case: for example, GE is known for being unwilling to sponsor internationals.

In any case though, the majority of post-MBA positions anyhow are going to be in financial services, consulting or tech.

And yes, you won't be in the same boat as the Indians and Chinese nationals. It's not just an immigration issue, but a cultural one.

Jun 4, 2015


May 29, 2015

Good post. Alex, just out of curiousity, I wonder how the US MBA programs, famous for affirmative action, consider Indian/Chinese-Americans vs. Indian/Chinese nationals. If they are lumped together, that now means Asians Americans not only have to compete with each other in their own US pool, but also against the best/brightest/most connected Asian nationals. Doesn't affect me though, but just thought to ask.

Three different camps: Chinese, Indian, and Asian-American (which includes any Asian who is a US citizen or green card holder, whether they are of South Asian or East Asian descent; so for example, both Harold and Kumar are both considered Asian-American).

May 29, 2015

I've heard RBC is against sponsoring Canadians looks to stay stateside

Jun 1, 2015

head hunter

Jun 4, 2015

Are the Big5 open to MBA students at international schools? Any suggestions on how to recruit for Canadian banks while at a top European school?

Jun 5, 2015