When it comes to seeking careers post-MBA, says Shane Moore, Associate Director of Recruitment at Sauder School Of Business, Canadian schools provide a clear next step – and often a springboard to international MBA jobs.
Sauder, part of the University of British Columbia, is one of the best MBA ranking schools in the country and the university has been developing business leaders since 1929.
The business school offers a Full-Time MBA, Part-Time MBA, International MBA and an EMBA in Health Care – as well as Master of Management programs, MSc’s and other joint degrees. Based in Vancouver, a city on Canada’s West coast, the school has just spent $70 million developing a new state-of-the-art campus.
Sauder has smaller than average class sizes, giving MBA students a tight-knit community and closer engagement with faculty. What’s more, the majority of candidates (59 per cent) come from outside of Canada, and an international experience is one of the schools’ key elements. 73 per cent of Sauder's faculty are also from outside of Canada.
What makes Canadian b-schools unique is that opportunities to work in the country post-MBA are bountiful; there are more progressive visa laws than in Europe and the U.S, and a stable economy that has remained relatively free from the economic crisis will be seen as attractive.
But Sauder MBAs aren’t restricted to careers in Canada. Many go on to enjoy lengthy international spells in all regions of the world, says Shane. He speaks exclusively to BusinessBecause readers about what you need to do to land a spot on their top-ranking MBA programs, what you can expect in the interview process, and what makes Sauder – and Canada – a great place to begin your MBA and launch a career.
How long have you been an Associate Director at Sauder School of Business - and do you have an MBA yourself?
I’ve been here for about three and a half years in this role. I used to work in the UK, in student recruitment and admissions roles, before I immigrated to Canada in 2010. It just happened that there was an opportunity here at Sauder and I landed this job two weeks after moving over.
I did study a part-time MBA in Liverpool, England, but my background is in education, rather than business. I can definitely relate to students looking for an international experience and who want to study in a different country.
What characteristics are you looking for in candidates applying for the new Full-Time MBA program?
The key things we try to assess in the process are:
Good communication and interpersonal skills – which is a hard thing to asses – and we look for people with good levels of emotional intelligence; and if people can collaborate and work in teams effectively. We believe that if you have those communication and interpersonal skills that we can help you develop into a strong leader.
We still look into the academic side of things like GMAT score. And we want to see what you can bring and add to the class.
What background work experience is necessary?
No particular industry is preferred. We get a diverse group; this year we’ll have a news reader from India, an ex-professional hockey player, but also candidates from traditional industries like banking. We look to have a varied group of people in the classroom.
In terms of the amount of work experience – the average is a little under five years, but the range is from about two years to 12 years for our Full-Time MBA program.
What can prospective MBAs expect from the interview process?
Candidates submit four short essays and one long essay. They also provide one video-essay, with a response to the question: what motives you and why? The video can be creative.
We then interview our best candidates – usually through Skype for international applicants – for about 40-45 minutes, before making a group admissions-team decision.
What do MBA candidates need to know about the Sauder School of Business?
The business school is research-driven. And that’s important for MBA students; because the professors who produce the top class research are the same professors that teach you in the classroom.
It’s also important to know that we focus on a small, high-quality class of around 110 MBA students in our Full-Time program. And classes usually consist of about 20-25 people. So you develop good connections with professors and will be supported well... you’ll definitely know professors by their first-name.
The program focuses on three key areas; experiential learning, so we have an internship and other practical elements; an international experience in class and on projects during the program; and finally we’re passionate about career development activities. Right from day one we coach and develop you.
What are some common mistakes candidates make in their applications?
Sometimes students apply to more than one school and it’s important for students when they approach each application to do it separately and start fresh; don’t try and mould one to fit another. It’s easy for us to spot if someone has pasted in a paragraph from another application.
Also, before the interview: practice. Often people will be overly nervous and that’s because they haven’t said the things they wanted to say before. Take a friend out for coffee and talk to them about why you want to apply. That will make the interview less daunting.
Don’t let it be the first time you explain why you want to do the MBA – that should roll off your tongue.
Do you have any tips for impressing the admissions team?
Think about yourself. Let me put it this way: how can you add value to us and make the school better? Think about how you can articulate that and explain that to us.
Also, do your research on the school and ask us good questions. You should use the interview as an opportunity for you to interview us. We look for people whom are a good fit, and that’s the candidate’s responsibility, too.
Why should MBA candidates consider Canadian business schools?
Canada has a very stable economy, very stable banks and industries that are performing well. And therefore it’s also a great place for entrepreneurs; there is a strong entrepreneurial community in the big cities.
But I think the key thing is that if you do an MBA in Canada, then you can transfer your student visa into a work visa easily. Upon graduation you can apply to any job in Canada and automatically get a work visa for up to three years, compared to the US or UK where you would need a job offer beforehand.
If you study for your MBA here, then we want you to have the option to stay here and begin a career successfully. And that’s a great opportunity. But a lot of our graduates have international careers and Canada could be a springboard to that. It’s important to consider the next step, and there is a clearer next step for you in Canada.
To find out more about Sauder’s MBA programs, visit: http://www.sauder.ubc.ca/ftmba