This year, six Canadian business schools have come together to form the Canadian MBA Alliance aimed to draw prospective graduate students from around the world to study in Canadian universities.
In 2010, Indian School of Business, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, China Europe International Business School and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, had formed a consortium to market management education in Asia to students in the West.
The Canadian MBA Alliance includes representatives from Richard Ivey School of Business, Queens School of Business, Schulich School of Business, Rotman School of Management, Sauder School of Business and Desautels Faculty of Management.
"Our programmes see very strong demand, both from domestic, as well as international students. But we are always thinking about how to access different pools of potential applicants. All our schools want to continue to innovate and attract the best talent to Canada," said Niki da Silva, director (recruitment & admissions), full-time MBA programme at the Rotman School of Management, Canada.
Demand for management education in Canada, Niki da Silva says, has continued to increase. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, which conducts the Graduate Management Admissions Test, or GMAT (the most popular and widely used MBA admission test), compared to five years ago, the number of GMAT scores sent to Canadian programmes have risen 28 per cent. Globally, GMAT volume during the period grew 7.5 per cent.
"So, we are truly seeing a major shift in demand for opportunities at Canadian business schools. We firmly believe the Canadian MBA Alliance initiative is going to result in Canadian schools winning more top talent from around the globe, ultimately boosting the collective worldwide market share for Canada's education brand�"a benefit not only for all our schools, but for the country," Niki da Silva said.
Last year, the number of MBA aspirants taking the GMAT for admission to US business schools rose 11 per cent.
The Canadian MBA Alliance has been inspired by the UK's S7 consortium, which includes Esher College, Godalming College, Strodes College, Reigate College and Woking College. Founded in 2002, the consortium is a sixth form college, where students aged 16 to 19 study for advanced school-level qualifications, akin to junior colleges in India.
Canadian MBA Alliance member-schools would hold a series of combined, two-hour information events to promote the merits of business education, especially in Canada.
"International candidates see the unique value Canada's progressive visa policies offer. They understand studying at one of Canada's top schools becomes a gateway to future opportunities worldwide," said Greg Yantz, director (recruiting & admissions), Ivey Business School, Western University.
While the US and the UK have been restricting visas and making it tougher for students to work in those countries after graduation, Canada relaxed its rules in 2008 to allow international students enrolled in a two-year MBA programme to work for three years after graduation.
The success of the Canadian MBA Alliance remains to be seen. The consortium of Indian School of Business and its partners, despite its international standing, hasn't seen much success.