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Canadian MBA Alliance Admissions Q&A

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Linda Abraham: Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s Q&A. First I want to welcome all applicants to the webinar today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about the Canadian MBA Admissions Alliance. It is critical to your decision making process and your admission chances that you know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being here today allows you to ask the experts about MBA admission to these top Canadian business schools.

I also want to give a special welcome to our Panel:

Thanks to everyone for joining.
This is your chance to ask questions about the school represented by the Canadian MBA Admissions Alliance but I'm going to take advantage of my position as moderator and ask the first few questions.

What advantage does the Canadian location of your business schools give to graduates of your programs who aren’t from Canada? Niki from Rotman, do you want to start with that one?

Niki da Silva: Sure. I'm happy to, Linda and thanks again for this opportunity. We're quite excited to talk to a group of candidates who may or may not have considered Canada in the past and we all feel quite passionately that every top-aspiring MBA student should consider Canada.

So let me start off with a comment that's probably top of mind for everyone considering an MBA regardless of location and that really has to do with the career potential and job prospects upon graduation from Canadian program. So in thinking about your desired location, knowing that for many students country is an early indicator to start determining a short list of schools, one of the things you should know about Canada, particularly for non-Canadians, is that we have an economy that has been noted as one of the strongest in the world, that has become a model, particularly the Canadian banking system has become a model of stability through our latest economic recession. And what that actually means for you as an MBA candidate graduating from a top Canadian program like those mentioned here is that you really do have tremendous opportunities for your career and your job prospects upon graduation.

There hasn’t been the same sort of volatility of number of job opportunities, sectors hiring because of quite frankly the stability of the economy itself. That's highlighted and I think one of my colleagues will talk even more about this.  But that's highlighted by the fact that all students graduating from a top MBA program in Canada are actually automatically eligible for something called the Post-Graduate Work Permit which allows you to stay in the country anywhere from one to three years after graduation. You don’t need a job offer in hand so there really is stability in our economy but some real stability which is quite a tangible benefit for anyone thinking about possibly Canada versus other schools maybe in the US or Europe where the processes have much more of a risk factor to consider.

Linda Abraham: Shane, do you want to add to that?

Shane Moore: Yes, sure. I think Niki made some excellent points. I will add, as somebody who moved to Canada about three and a half years ago, Canada is a very welcoming country. It's a very cosmopolitan place and it's a great place for international students to make that transition into the next stage of their career. It's an easy country to settle in with some great opportunities. I think as well, you will notice in each of our MBA programs that we do welcome a lot of international students into our MBA programs. So the actual course experience you'll get during your MBA will be a very international one. So you'll meet and you'll work with people from around the world when you study in Canada.

Linda Abraham: Great. How about Renice, do you have any thoughts on this question?

Renice Jones:  Yes. Actually just building upon that idea of Canada being welcoming and diversity. I'm not sure how many of our participants are actually aware but about 20% of the population in Canada is foreign born and so that's essentially one out of five. I think that if you really do want to study in an environment that is completely international and offers you that opportunity to connect with those that are from many different countries, then definitely Canada is a place that you want to consider.

The majority of those that do immigrate to Canada from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, and from South and Central America, they often settle into Ontario, BC, Quebec and Alberta. So a lot of the schools that are presenting today, we are actually in those major provinces. I think that within all of the provinces and cities in Canada, you'll find that there are strong diverse neighborhoods, definitely welcoming as Shane echoed. I think that for international students that having that diversity actually aids in that transition into the new environment.

The one other piece I would add is that all of the institutions that are represented today on this webinar, we really value diversity. At many Canadian schools, you'll find that about 40% to 50% of the population is international and if you're familiar with the structure of the MBA classroom and learning environment, you'll know that a lot of the things that you do in the classroom require group work and a lot of discussion. And so, having those different perspectives, having that diversity, it really adds value to what you're able to take away from the MBA.

Linda Abraham: Carine, do you have anything to add? 

Carine Nahman: Yes, I would like to speak about the safe environment of Canada. The criminality is very low throughout the country so this is encouraging for somebody who's coming to Canada to study. I won't mention more of the multicultural side but the fact that also Canada has an amazing landscape, the outdoors throughout the country, you can live the four seasons and experiment the amazing winter and summer sports for those of you who are active. The culture also is much diversified so the beauty is that wherever you are in Canada, there's going to be international festivals of films, of jazz, of different cultures that are celebrated throughout the country. So it’s a very welcoming country and I should say that it's been the host for a few Olympic Games so we have amazing sports facilities also throughout the country.

Linda Abraham: Wonderful and Teresa?

Teresa Pires: Yes. Hi. Thank you. I would say that Canada is consistently ranked amongst many different rankings and I would say that it is consistently ranked the most livable city in the world based on living factors, as some of my colleagues have already touched on most immigration, multiculturalism, standard of living, etcetera. But another factor that I'd like to talk about in terms of why we're consistently ranked culture, healthcare, economic stability, education and infrastructure, focused specifically on the student experience and lifestyle so all of our top schools are provided the latest and sophisticated technology and countless other amenities on each of our campuses.

And Carine talked about the Olympic - quality sport facilities, world-renowned museums and art galleries, Canada’s secondary campuses offering enormous possibilities for learning and leisure, plus you'll have multiple opportunities to work with international students. And Renice mentioned most of our programs offer student populations at 40%, 45% international. We're giving valuable experience through student-run organizations, clubs and societies. So it's an extremely valuable experience in each of our programs to have that international exposure but also to be very aware that all of our schools provide the latest in terms of sophisticated academic opportunities as well.

Linda Abraham: Hillary, do you have anything to add?

Hilary Lemieux: Sure. I'd actually like to just circle back a bit more to Canada's economic strength and I think the reason for this is career for a lot of folks and Niki hit some great points around career already. But it really is top of mind for why people want to do an MBA and I think there's more of a risk factor when you are someone that's looking at doing your MBA in a completely different country. And I think especially when you look at what’s happening in Europe, what's happening in a lot of areas in the US, the type of business environment that you can expect to work, study in becomes that much more important.

Canada is the 11th largest economy in the world. We are one of the world’s strongest of course as Niki had mentioned too. But we're one of the most diverse as well and I think this is why we've been able to kind of whether the storm, if you will, of what the economic downturn of '08 and '09 and what still kind of continues in today. You will find an economy here in Canada that is driven certainly by the service industries, the oil and gas sector, mining sector, healthcare, financial sector, logging, auto, and aircraft. There are a lot of different opportunities for MBA graduates. It certainly is not somewhere where we've only got people going in financing consulting roles. There are a lot of different opportunities and what's great and my colleagues alluded to this already as well, that when you are someone that's stepping out of a top Canadian MBA program, you have access to these different sectors in the different locations across Canada.

There's also a really interesting emerging startup tech space that's really happening and I think anyone that's entrepreneurial or can see themselves doing something like that one day, Canada has become a place that needs to be considered right up there with California, New York, Berlin, to name a few. Canada has four of the top ten banks in the world. I mean we're a stable, we're a predictable economy and IMF actually just released today that they're predicting growth year over year for Canada to improve even more in 2014. So really good news and I'm excited that everybody online is considering Canada. Looking forward to chatting more. Thanks.

Linda Abraham: Great. Thank you, Hillary. So we've kind of covered, if you will, the common advantages of your programs, of the Canadian MBA experience. Now, I'd like you to talk a little bit, before we turn to the audience's questions. In a minute we'll be taking questions from the audience. I'd like you to address what's new at your schools? What's new or unique or special about your individual programs? I'll tell you what, in this case, why don’t we ask Shane to start.

Shane Moore: Okay, great. Thanks. So I'm based at the Sauder School of Business which is part of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. So Vancouver is right over on the West Coast of Canada. It's a really exciting place to be. Vancouver is a very sustainable and forward-thinking city. It's actually planning to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. It's a real hub of innovation. As Hillary mentioned, Canada is a great place for startups on high-tech business but also in terms of innovation. For example, the TED talks that I know many of you will watch at home. So the TED and the TEDx talks are going to be filmed and produced in Vancouver over the next year and as well as that, we see a lot of high-tech startups happening in Vancouver, such as HootSuite which is a social media aggregator. This environment has attracted some of the big players such as Facebook and Amazon announced last week, it's going to open an office in downtown Vancouver, employing around a thousand people.

So these values of sustainability, of innovation and entrepreneurial activity are really infused into our MBA program at Sauder. The program itself is a 16-month, full-time program and it includes a four-month experiential learning component. So during those four months, you can do a paid internship or you can actually develop your own business idea if you want as well. Like all of the other programs in Canada, it's very international and as well as this, we really believe in collaboration and community. We have a relatively small class size and so you can be guaranteed some good support in terms from your professors and also our career development team.

Linda Abraham: Wonderful. Renice?

Renice Jones: So I am with the Schulich School of Business which is part of York University in Toronto, Ontario and two of the graduate programs that we offer are the MBA and the International MBA. Now our International MBA is ideal for someone who is looking at developing an international profile for strengthening and existing international profile and allows students to choose a region and language specialization that will be their focus throughout their study. Within that program, there's also a work term experience and possibility for studying abroad. And that program itself is very small, about 40 students that start each year.

Our MBA program really is quite flexible and offers a lot of choice for those that are interested in creating an MBA that's going to fit their particular needs. The program can be completed in 16 months full time or 20 months and it will be 20 months long if someone who chose to do an internship as part of their study plan. The flexibility has to do with a number of specializations that are offered. So within the MBA, students can choose two from 19 different areas of specialization and the areas of specialization that we have, really they're focused in management functions, special industry sectors and special topics and so there's a lot of choice.

And lastly, within both the MBA and the IMBA program, there is an opportunity for a strategic field study which is in essence a six-month consulting project that allows students to put everything that they've learned into practice because they're working with a real organization in real time and learning how to navigate everything within the business environment.

Linda Abraham: Okay, great. Thank you. Carine?  

Carine Nahman:  Yes, the McGill MBA in Montreal is situated in the province of Quebec so I will say that the uniqueness of Quebec is where Europe meets North America. Because Quebec is a French province but in Montreal everybody is bilingual, so for those of you who are not very fluent in French, it's okay to come and study in Montreal. Our school offers classes only in English basically and the beauty of McGill is that we have small classes. So we have classes between 70 and 80 students that are split in two. So it makes smaller classes of 40 students for the core and then everybody chooses their specialization afterwards. So they could choose between global strategy and leadership, finance, marketing, technology and innovation management.

And the good side of our program is that you can really tailor it to your own needs. So depending on, for example if you're thinking of changing career, you want to focus maybe on one specialization or maybe if you're thinking of opening your own business, you want to try to specialize in two different concentration, it’s up to you to decide what you need for your future career. Also, if you're thinking of maybe living the true international experience, in our class we have 55% of our students that are from all over the world. And the professors, 70% and more come from different parts of the world and the beauty of it is that they even studied in a different part of the world. So it really broadens their vision and their outlook on business.

Also, so if you're thinking of a more international experience, we have the study trip that is mandatory for all of our students, so you leave for 10 days somewhere in the world and learn about how they do business there. There's also the opportunity to do an exchange program. If you're thinking maybe of opening up your own business, you can do a practicum which will allow you to sit with a prof and develop your own business plan. So by the time you're done with your program, you'll be able to start your business right away. So it's very diversified and again, it's for you to make the right choices that will bring you where you would like to. Also before I finish, just to speak about our career services that are very present and because of our group is smaller, they will get to know you by your name and we have dedicated advisers for each specialization that you decide to choose. And we offer also a mentoring program to our students. Thank you.

Linda Abraham: Great, thank you Carine. Teresa, what can you tell us about Queen's School of Business?

Teresa Pires: : Great, thank you. So at Queen's we have four different MBA programs. We have the full-time MBA program which I will talk about in more detail in a second. We also have the part-time for business undergraduates and two executive programs, the Executive MBA as well as the Cornell Queen's MBA which is a dual experience actually from Cornell and Queen's. So the full-time MBA program runs from January to December. It is 12 months in length. Queen's is located in Kingston, Ontario, which is two and a half hours from Toronto and an hour and a half from our capital city of Ottawa. Queen's has just been recently reported in Jetpac City Guides as one of the happiest places to live and that was in the global news a couple of weeks ago.

Our cohort is approximately 70 students and what makes us unique is that we put you into small teams of six or seven students for the entire year program. So we feel that one of the greatest benefits is this team-based approach and the opportunity to develop your team and leadership skills, skills that are essential in business today. So at Queen's you don’t just learn about team work and leadership, we essentially have you put it into practice every day and each team member is given many opportunities through leading projects, who aren’t contributing in some way or another in the projects or through stimulations and presentations.

We also have a core opportunity which you will find that most programs are similar that there's a core opportunity to specialize. So we have different types of specializations as well and we just added a new help for management specialization the opportunity to obtain this each year, the certified health educators and certification upon the healthcare specialization. We also have of course the consulting entrepreneurship and innovation, finance, marketing and sales and of course you can choose to just do a general management. And two key points, we have 42% of female enrollment this year so we're extremely proud of that and as well as most programs here today, we are extremely multicultural with 45% international students.

Linda Abraham: Hillary, a little bit of information about the Ivey?

Hilary Lemieux: Ivey Business School is part of the Greater Western University. We do have an executive MBA program, as well as, a relatively new master's in international management MSC program but I will chat about our one-year, full-time MBA program. Two quick takeaways about us that I'd like everyone to remember, if you can remember anything at all from what I'm going to say is that the first thing is we are a case method program which means that you'll be learning by doing all year long at Ivey. So this case approach means that your in-class learning is driven by the case method in the case you are in the shoes of a decision maker facing a real business problem. We'll do nearly 350 cases in one year.

The second thing is our location in London really does mean an immersive learning experience, a smaller class size about 140 to 150 each year. It means that a very different learning experience for students. We're a non-commuter school. It's really about what happens in the classroom and also what happens outside of the classroom. Thank you.

Linda Abraham: Hillary, thank you very much. Applicants who are here have been really patient with their questions. I have one question for applicants. In the question window, I'm wondering if you can just type, where you are located. I always get a kick out of the international nature of these events. India, okay anybody else? India, good representation from India, Saudi Arabia, welcome. Anybody from the United States besides me? I guess not. So good representation from India and at least one from Saudi Arabia. Thank you very much.

Now let's get to some questions here. I'll tell you what, the first question is from  (attendee) and he asks, "Though Canada is a great place to do an MBA, how is the growth of banking jobs especially investment banking in Canada? Specifically can you highlight the number of jobs generated every year versus number of students getting out of these schools interested in finance?" I guess the question here for your schools is, approximately what percentage of your grads go into specifically investment banking? Anyway, Renice you want to start with that one?

Renice Jones: We lump all finance careers together and so we have about 33% of our students moving into finance after they complete their studies at Schulich and that just accounts for the MBA and the International MBA program. Our master finance students would be lumped into a different type of salary service.

Linda Abraham: Anybody else want to share their stats in this area? Carine?

Carine Nahman: It's about the same. We have 32% of our students that end up working into finance so it involves portfolio management, banking and anything that has to do with finance. So it's not specifically into banking.

Linda Abraham: Got it. Anybody else have significantly different stats?

Niki da Silva: Not much a difference. Niki DaSilva here from the Rotman School of Management. What I would just say in terms of the comment, I think it's a great question and it's an insightful question thinking about the industry of investment banking. You'd be right in identifying that it is a small, relatively stable but quite competitive industry. What we've seen in Canada is that the sheer number of investment banking jobs isn’t necessarily growing specifically in Canada. So what our students are actually doing is thinking about investment banking opportunities, sure as maybe plan A but plan B, there's actually been a tremendous amount of growth in risk as a career that's closely related at least initially out of the school to investment banking.

But I think in being transparent, thinking broadly about what our economy has looked like and what the job opportunities for MBA has been, absolutely we still have strong placement in investment banking but it's not a growth area for Canadian investment banks and really any investment bank around the world. So having a plan B is a good thing if investment banking is your top career choice.

Linda Abraham: Great. I also want to just go back. Somebody pointed out to me that I did not let Niki speak about the Rotman School. So can we just go back and Niki if you want to highlight what's special in - my apologies.

Niki da Silva: I can be short and sweet just to give folks some context about Rotman. So we are Rotman School of Management with the University of Toronto located in downtown Toronto and I'll talk specifically to our full-time MBA program which is a 20-month program and eight-month study term, four-month internship and then final eight-month study term. So just quickly, we do have a large full-time MBA program of 350 students and that's been a deliberate strategy to grow what we've seen in terms of I think what's new at Rotman. As we've expanded to 350 students, we actually now have a roster of global recruiters that have made Rotman a core school. So not just Canadian opportunities but interestingly now places like Microsoft Global, Coca-Cola, Nike. Firms who haven't come to Canada before have been recruiting at Rotman. So it's an exciting time to be thinking about the school.

The other thing, in terms of what's new that's timely here at Rotman is we are actually launching for the second year something called the Rotman Problem Solving Challenge where students have an opportunity to submit a thousand word essay. We then invite the top 100 submissions to come to the school and compete over the course of the weekend on March 28th and 29th to actually win over $300,000 in scholarship funding. So there's a deadline of February 14th to apply so I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight that and note the deadline.

Linda Abraham: Great. I thought it was a pretty exciting opportunity. So there is a post about it both on Accepted's blog and obviously a much more detailed information on the Rotman website. Now getting back to the applicants' questions, [attendee] asks, is there financing options for international students at your programs? Let's see, Teresa do you want to start?

Teresa Pires: Yes, there are financing options of course through scholarships as well. Typically our scholarships, we'll leave that to each candidate's own research because our scholarships are different amongst each school but all the information can be found on each of our websites. Typically they are merit based and they range for us specifically from partial to the entire cost of the program. And most schools don’t have a separate application for scholarships. Upon your enrollment or acceptance to the program you'd also receive a notification of your scholarship and at that point as well. And then just to add to that, we do have a longstanding relationship with the Royal Bank of Canada so RBC which will loan to our students both domestic and international.

Linda Abraham: Great. Does anybody else have significantly different response for their programs in terms of funding options, loan options for international students?

Shane Moore: No.

Linda Abraham: Okay, then we're going to go on to other questions. [Attendee] asks, I would like to know if it’s too late to apply to Canadian Business schools for the 2014 academic year? Are you still accepting applications? I'll tell you what, Hillary why don’t you answer that.

Hilary Lemieux: I'll jump in, Linda if that's okay?  

Hilary Lemieux: Great. So we're actually a bit different than the other folks on the line. Our program starts each year in April. Can you hear me okay?

Linda Abraham: Yes. This is Hillary by the way from Ivey.  

Hilary Lemieux: From Ivey Business School replacing [Greg Yantz]. So we start every year in April. We are putting the finishing touches on the class that will come in in April but we are still accepting applications. So if anyone's interested for the 2014 class, it's not necessarily too late depending on whether you have your GMAT and whether which country you come from, what kind of visa requirements and stuff like that but that's something to consider and I'm sure the other schools on the line also depending on when they start. It's kind of one of those things that each school will be a bit different I think with their response.

Niki da Silva: So we're a fall start program, a September start program and we do technically recommend that international students apply by round three which for us is a March deadline so it's not too late. But I would absolutely to Hillary's points, make sure that you do your homework before submitting an application, about how long it’s going to take you to get not only your student visa but your funding and financing in place because you certainly don’t want to end up with an admissions offer from a program that you're unable to accept because you didn’t do the planning and homework upfront.

Shane Moore: At the Sauder School of Business in Vancouver, our program starts at the end of August. Our next deadline is February 17th and our final deadline is April 21st. We process applications in the order that we receive them. So I would say there is time. A good thing for you to do I think would be to connect with each of the schools that you're interested in because certainly we can offer individual support and some advice because the important thing is that you have the time to get the student visa and make the move over to Canada. So make sure you're applying to the MBA program at the right time for you but certainly for some of the programs on the line you definitely have time to start soon.

Teresa Pires: Yes, similar with the Queen's School Business. Our program doesn’t start until January so you have quite a few months yet. We do recommend as most schools that you apply within the second or third deadline for international candidates to ensure that you're getting the visa and funding in place.

Renice Jones: At Schulich there definitely is still some time to be considered for this fall. We also start in September and there is a January start date as well. So if you want to start in 2014 this September or early 2015 in January, both are still possibilities for international students.

Carine Nahman: And same for McGill, you have until March 15 to apply as an international student as we start the beginning of August.

Linda Abraham: Great, thank you. [Attendee] asks, "Are Indian students exempt from the TOEFL if the transcripts [inaudible] instruction was English for undergraduate studies?" I'll tell you what, Niki, you want to answer that question for Rotman and then we'll see if everybody else has the same policy?

Niki da Silva: Yes. We do have a TOEFL exemption for exactly that reason so we do not require the vast majority of Indian students to write the TOEFL.

Linda Abraham: Does anybody on the panel have a different policy?

Shane Moore: No.

Linda Abraham: So there's your answer. [Attendee] asks, "I'd like to know the other major business domains other than banking and financing in Canada that will look for to the talent that graduates from the MBA?" I'm going to modify this question a little bit and I hope it's okay with [attendee]. What are the three top sectors that your graduates go into? Niki, do you want to start with that one?

Niki da Silva: Sure so in true transparency, finance is the number one sector. So if we go with other than finance the next three, consulting is a close second to finance in terms of placement. Technology is the next space and actually healthcare is a fairly significant space for placement as well.

Shane Moore: Yes. I think our strongest area would be consulting and that's followed by finance in terms of the sectors that our graduates go into. And then we do have quite a diverse mix of other areas that our graduates go into but I'd say the next or the third on the list would be marketing and brand management which is something where we're coming stronger in.

Renice Jones: At Schulich, finance is definitely number one and second would be marketing and third would be consulting. Just because there are so many different areas of specialization, we see students move into non-traditional areas such as healthcare, non-profit, arts, media and sustainability.

Carine Nahman: Yes, it’s about again the same. We have finance the strongest with 32% then comes consulting with 21% and marketing with 18% equal to general management. And for the industries that you were asking, yes, apart from finance we have also aerospace, technology. There are a lot of different industries in Canada that you can look into.

Teresa Pires: They are similar to what my colleagues have said. Finance is the top industry that our alumni tend to go into and management consulting.I will say at the public sector, a lot of education and healthcare.

Hilary Lemieux: Sure. I wouldn’t feel discouraged if you are someone that isn’t interested in kind of the financing, consulting, marketing world. A lot of our programs, the other category, nontraditional industries I think are growing more than ever. We're seeing more than ever at Ivey, people thinking about going out west to get into the oil and gas industry, get into the mining field, healthcare, again and that startup tech space. A lot more people want to work at the next Google or the next Instagram which I think is really exciting as well. So a lot of opportunity coming out of B school that aren’t in those kind of traditional paths.

Linda Abraham: Now a couple of people are asking this, they're asking almost the same identical question. "Why have the rankings of Canadian MBA programs gone down specifically in the financial times rankings?" Do any of you want to address that? I'm not trying to put you on the spot. Obviously it's a concern so I figure this is your opportunity to address it head on.

Niki da Silva: I'm happy to start the discussion. Quite frankly for candidates who are looking at the rankings, I hope you're doing your due diligence in drilling down to figure out, how are these rankings actually calculated? What you'd find after some fairly quick research, is a primary reason that Canadian schools are in many ways structurally disadvantaged and a ranking like FT is just due to what Canadian salaries are relative to either US salaries or PPT adjustments in international markets. So the biggest reason is that if you were to graduate and go work in Toronto versus New York City, Yes, your salary is slightly lower to work in Canada but that's not usually their primary reason that students are considering all of our business schools in Canada. Yes, salaries are competitive. The cost of living is quite manageable, maybe relative to some of the cities in the US but the number one reason that our schools not only took a hit in the rankings but are quite candidly structurally disadvantaged. It will be impossible for a Canadian school to be in the top five FT strictly due to the reality of what Canadian salaries are.

Shane Moore: Just to add to that as well, if you look at Canada compared to other countries, it really does punch above its weight in terms of the FT ranking. Canada typically has five or six schools in the top 100. For a population of around 30, 35 million it really is doing much better than most of the developed nations. So I would argue that maybe we've seen a little bit of a dip this year but generally the Canadian schools perform better and the Canadian education system has a very strong foundation, really well-established business schools which are doing some really innovative and very different things from other schools around the world.

Linda Abraham: Great, does anybody want to add anything further? No. I want to add something. I think it's absolutely critical when you look at the rankings whether it's the Financial Times or Business Week or US News, Forbes, whatever it is, maybe I'll publish my own ranking some time. I think it's really important that you understand what's actually being measured and ranked. Now Niki and Shane I think have pointed out some possible structural weaknesses to the Financial Times. If you go to Poets & Quants, John Byrne has a very detailed critique of the Financial Times and some anomalous results that come up there.

I think the key point for applicants in using the rankings is to use the data that the rankings contain, understanding whatever data is there, potential weaknesses for example, the PPP, the Purchasing Power Parity is good and can also have some negative consequences. But also to realize that the rankings themselves, the rankings that counts is the one that you make. It's what you determine is important to you. So there might be some things that the Financial Times is ranking that aren’t terribly relevant to you. There might be some aspects of Business Week - Business Week asks for recruiter feedback. Well some of what's important to the recruiters might be convenience, how convenient it is for them to get in and out of a school to handle interviews. That's a sign of a good career placement center. Is it really going to reflect on your education, recruiter convenience? So use the data the rankings contain but also use it with a large grain of salt and understand what they're measuring, understand what's important to you.

Let's go back. Anything else that you want to add to that or that anybody disagree with me? Let's go back to the questions. I also have some questions that I might want to ask. One person is asking about, "How is it easy for students to change industries after a Canadian MBA?" And I would guess it depends on the individual's circumstances really and their background and their school. Here's a question I have for you. When you are evaluating applications and the number are on the ballpark, what puts one applicant in the admit pile and others in the rejected or waitlisted pile? Hillary you want to start with that one?

Hilary Lemieux: So I think this is definitely something that either needs to be asked at every school online now or definitely asked…

Linda Abraham: for the candidates perspective. So definitely connect on every school that you're thinking about applying to on this. At Ivey, every applicant that eventually gets into the program is put through an interview and our interviews are actually done with our career management team. The interview becomes a really crucial component as we take a look at the overall candidacy of somebody because it's really all about kind of determining that fit of that candidate to our specific program. So for us the interview can really, I don’t want to say make or break but it certainly becomes a very heavily weighted component along with the GMAT and all of the typical things that most MBA programs would look at.

Teresa Pires: I would echo what Hillary said in terms of the interview and most specifically with Queen's. We're a team-based program so we have to ensure when we're putting our teams together that you work well in teams and that you've had that prior experience. And we also are looking of course at the entire application as a whole thing that you could add in terms of value to not only your classroom but to your team. So essentially, what we're trying to do is put whole minded thinkers together, like-minded individuals that have similar trajectory paths in terms of where they're going post MBA.

So it is important to come to the interview as well prepared as you can. Treat it like a job interview, as well as, talk about things that we couldn’t otherwise find on your application, as well as, some schools that don’t interview, they have essays. It's very similar in that, point out your strengths in other areas other than your transcript or your quantitative abilities. Although those are very important, it is also important for us to get a sense of who you are outside of what you can provide academically but your personal skills, the soft skills, the skills that are going to be extremely crucial in going into interviews and during campus recruitment because essentially that could be the deciding factor in getting the job as well and that's ultimately what we as business schools are looking for is to ensure your success post MBA.

Carine Nahman: As everybody else, the overall candidacy is very important so we don’t look at only one aspect of your application but we look at everything. We're going to look also at your international experience, if you have or if you've done any volunteer work, anything like Teresa was mentioning, something that will make you different from the other applicants. It's important to let us know if you've been an athlete of some kind because of course the scores are important, the GMAT, your transcript because why do we look at that? We want to make sure that you'll be able to follow the program. We want to make sure that when you went there, you'll leave with a diploma so that's why the academic side is very important but the rest of your experience also.

So your work experience, what kind of work experience you have, did you grow fast in your application? There are a lot of different aspects of your application that are important to us and at McGill, we will call you for an interview only after our first screening. So if we think that you have the right fit for our program because that's really important also. Is our program the right fit for you and are you the right fit for us? It really needs to be a good match between the candidate and our school.

Renice Jones: I would just have to echo everything that my colleagues have said. I really do think that all of our schools will be looking at all of the different components of the application and it's often an interview that can be really helpful in understanding candidates, something hasn’t been clear, depending on the program or the area of specialization that the students applied to. We'll be looking to see that you can meet their expectations and that you can provide them with the type of learning environment that they're looking for. And also of course if they're going to be a fit, if they're choosing to study at Schulich.

Linda Abraham: Shane again, what makes an application more admissible once a candidate basically shows that they're qualified?  

Shane Moore: Just one piece of advice really. I think it's really important whichever business school that you apply to that you clearly articulate in your essays and at the interview why that particular MBA program is right for you to achieve your future career aims. So we see a lot of applications that tell us why an MBA is important for them but the ones that stand out for me are the ones that clearly articulate why the UBC MBA is going to help that person move forward in their career into the next stage of their life. So whichever program you apply for, if it's McGill, Rotman, Schulich, Queen's, Ivey, Sauder, just make sure you're clear about why that particular program is going to help you.

Niki da Silva: Maybe the only other thing to add to what's already been said, the difference between - and in many ways it's a yes or a waitlist or a refusal to the question is actually, it's not whether or not we believe you'll be successful academically as I think the question was framed. You've probably demonstrated that already but the other big question that will wind to answer in making an admissions decision is do we believe we're the right place to set you up for career success as you've defined in your application. And quite frankly if we're concerned about our ability to support you in those goals post MBA, it doesn’t feel like the right thing to admit someone where we're not sure we're the right place for them.

Linda Abraham: That's really clear. Okay, great. Thank you. The next question is from [attendee] and this is specifically for Ivey and Queen's so specifically for Teresa and Hillary. His question is, "Do you evaluate an application the moment it is submitted and complete? I believe it's too early for the 2015 application cycle."

Teresa Pires: Do you want me to go ahead? Yes so naturally we've opened our admissions for the 2015 session and so we are on a rolling admission basis. So once your application is complete, we will review it and ask you for an interview and we do our interviews preferably in person. However, we will do them via Skype or the same platform that we connect and if your technology has failed, we will consider doing phone interviews as well. However, I will just say that we will be in India in the next couple of months so check out our website as we would prefer to schedule in-person interviews when our representative is on the ground in India.

Linda Abraham: Okay, great. That was Teresa from Queen's. Now Hillary from Ivey.

Hilary Lemieux: Sure. So similar to Queen's we are also a rolling admissions program. Our application for the class that will come in April 2015, that will be open likely end of February, early March and then once that's open, basically as applications come in we take a look at them which is the definition of rolling admissions. We have an interview process and that's by invite only and so once your application is reviewed, if you're invited for an interview then similar to Queen's we will connect with you via Skype or in person depending and then we'll go from there. That's what it looks like.

Linda Abraham: Okay great. This is going to be the last question. [Phonetic] [53:36] and one other person is asking about GRE versus GMAT. Does anybody in the call not accept the GRE?  

Teresa Pires: In Queen's we don’t.

Linda Abraham: Queen's does not accept the GRE and who else doesn’t?

Shane Moore: Actually UBC doesn’t accept the GRE at the moment.

Linda Abraham: So for those of you who accept both the GMAT and the GRE, do you have a preference? Niki, do you want to answer that one?

Niki da Silva: We don’t necessarily have a preference but one thing that candidates should know is depending on your post-MBA goals, if it's something like strategy consulting or global investment banking, those recruiters may request your GMAT as part of their sort of score card for interviewing. So from an admissions perspective, we don’t care. Both tests demonstrate sort of your intellectual horsepower but you may want to do a little bit of research if you're selecting which tests to write to see if it does or doesn’t have an impact on what your recruiting chances look like out of the program.

Linda Abraham: Great, Renice?

Renice Jones:  I think that that would definitely be the case and with Schulich. The GRE is not accepted for the MBA but our International MBA program it is. So for the international program you can write the GMAT or the GRE. And so often times students will choose the one that they feel most comfortable with especially if they're coming from a nontraditional background. They may find that the GRE just is an easier test for them to do but again you'll have to look to see if you will need the test score in the future and all when you're deciding between the two.

Linda Abraham: Great. I think there was one other school that accepts both tests. I'm not quite sure which one. Am I wrong?

Hilary Lemieux: Ivey accepts both tests.

Linda Abraham: Ivey accepts both tests and do you have a preference or is it…

Hilary Lemieux: No preference but I think it's really important for candidates to look at post-MBA goals and what Niki was saying and I mean if you really want management consulting or you really want I-banking, those firms just don’t understand the GRE. The GMAT is really going to be something that I would encourage you to take a look at in writing versus doing the GRE.

Linda Abraham: Okay, great. I want to thank everyone for coming here today, special big thanks to Niki, Shane, Renice, Carine, Teresa and Hillary. I really appreciate it.

If you have additional questions for our panel, please email any questions to the schools directly:

Rotman School of Management
Ivey School of Business
Schulich School of Business
Queen’s School of Business
Sauder School of Business
Desautels School of Business

We look forward to seeing you at future Q&A's and admission events.

Visit our event schedule page for our full list of upcoming events and details, or to register. You can also subscribe to our events list by clicking reminders on our event schedule page.

Good luck with your applications and once again Niki, Shane, Renice, Carine, Teresa, and Hilary, thank you so much for your participation. I want to also let you know that thanks are coming into the question window so they're coming to me but you're the ones who deserve it. So thank you again. Have a good day everybody.

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