NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: Canada, which has been courting international students aggressively for about a decade now, has gained from Trump’s protectionist rhetoric in the US. Following Donald Trump’s election as president in November 2016 and the tightening of visa norms for students in the UK, Canada has been able to attract 20-30% more MBA students from India this year in Business Schools alone.
At the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, 56 of the 350 MBA students in the class of 2019 are Indian. At Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal, applications from India rose by about 30% in fall 2017 while 51% of the applications to the full-time MBA offered at the Alberta School of Business in Edmonton came from India. The University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business told ET that 60-70% of its international MBA students are Indian.
Admissions consultant Rashmi Seshadri, the founder of Ingeneam, said almost 30% of its clients included one or more Canadian MBA programmes among their options for the 2017 admission cycle compared with only 10% in 2015.
Canada is seen more as a mosaic than a melting pot, said Ted Sargent, University of Toronto’s vice president, international. “During this time, when other countries have an inward-looking approach, Canada has gone a different route with the Canadian PM talking about increasing immigration quota for the best in the world.”
Trump’s protectionist rhetoric could be a major contributing factor to India’s increasing interest in Canada as a student destination. The number of new international students — those enrolled at a US institution for the first time — declined by almost 10,000 to about 2.91 lakh in fall 2016, according to the annual report of the Institute of International Education.
Canadian schools have welcomed the growing inflow of students from India.
According to ETNews, India is a very important market for Canadian MBA programmes, according to Christopher Lynch, a senior director at the Alberta School of Business. “India is the first- or second-largest international market, China being the other. Some students who had traditionally only considered US or UK schools are now strongly considering Canada,” said Lynch. “We have seen this as over 50% of our applications are from Indian students and we are seeing students specifically mention Canada’s visa rules and multicultural society as reasons they are applying to Canadian schools.”
More recently, Canada has stood out among western destinations as a safe, inclusive and stable country, Seshadri said.
“In November 2016, Canada amended its points-based ‘Express Entry’ immigration to award extra points to graduates of Canadian universities when they apply for permanent residency. Additionally, an automatic three-year work permit after two years of education in Canada is increasingly more attractive, given the growing uncertainties in the US work visa landscape,” she said.
About two years ago, it was only those who had relatives in Canada who were applying, said Arun Jagannathan, CEO of Bengaluru-based admissions consultancy Crack-Verbal. “Now, all students who come to us who are applying to the US are also applying to Canada. Canadian schools are recognising this. Even though you can’t compete with a Harvard or a Stanford, Canada has some good MBA programmes,” he said.
Jagannathan added that a lot of Trump rhetoric came up around late 2016-17 and that Canada’s colleges have gained from that.
Another compelling reason is that Indians make for good candidates, Murray MacTavish, MBA director, School of Business at Trinity Western University, pointed out. “We are interested in attracting more qualified Indian applicants. They are attractive applicants as they already are proficient in English, they understand western and global business (and western culture), and many of them come with marketplace experience,” he said.
Michael Wright, associate dean of graduate programmes at Haskayne School of Business, concurred. “India is the singlebiggest country of origin for our international students in the daytime MBA programme and Indian students make up approximately 60-70% of our international MBA students. Their background is typically in engineering or IT. Since 2016, Haskayne accepts students with three-year business degrees from accredited universities in India.”