Life and jobs after MBA in Canada: HEC Montreal student blog

Life and jobs after MBA in Canada: HEC Montreal student blog

Remember our friend, Amit Jathar? If not, read this first: MBA after 35 in Canada with scholarship despite low GMAT score to understand his background, aspirations and priorities in choosing HEC Montreal (not to be confused with HEC Paris).

Our Bahubali is back with a sequel, detailing his experiences as a 35-year-old MBA student in a conventional full-time MBA program in Canada, as opposed to an Executive MBA preferred by professionals with his experience.

And he’s not holding back his punches this time either, as he narrates the ups and downs of studying abroad as an international student and searching for jobs in Canada after MBA.
 


My classroom and job hunting experiences after an MBA in Canada

HEC Montreal | International student blog

Amit Jathar

 
I have completed my MBA from HEC Montreal in Canada. Before MBA, I had 10+ years of work experience in the IT industry. A restrictive career growth in my job profile and desire to explore the global career options made me take the decision of pursuing MBA from a Canadian B-school.

I am full of the joy of achieving a long-cherished dream. Yes, I have completed my MBA in Canada. I have achieved a significant milestone in my career. The feeling is absolutely great.

However, I remember my first day at the school. The school has divided our class in the teams with 4-5 people in each team and made sure that the teams are as diverse as possible, with respect to age, nationality, culture, domain/industry, etc. I was teamed up with a Doctor (Pediatrician), an Accountant and an Entrepreneur.

The concept of diverse teams sounds great, but initially, while working we found the team was really crazy. Everyone in my team has different perspective of solving our assignments. Since we were from different cultures, we felt it difficult to get each other’s points and it was very easy to get offended by other’s remarks.

There were arguments among us for the way the assignments/projects had to be presented/delivered. After the storming and norming phase, we finally bonded up very well and learned immensely from each other’s diverse background. It was one of the great experiences the MBA has to offer other than the academics knowledge.

To be very honest, I would not call HEC Montreal a great school as there are big brands out in Toronto which people like to boast off on their resumes. However, HEC is a decent school which provides good quality education. Many of the professors were visiting faculties and work for big American/European schools as well.

Furthermore, some professors were simply great and had the capability to captivate the students. Most of the times, the lectures were interactive and even the grading has around 25-30% weight for your participation in the in-class discussions.

Most of the assignments are based on real life projects such as research about companies/industry/market, figuring out flaws in the corporate strategy, evaluating financial situations of companies, etc. Moreover, every assignment used to end with formal reports, presentations, etc.

We lost so many days and nights working on the assignments/projects which deprived us from exploring the one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Montreal. The sacrifice was worth it though, as the gain out of the MBA was immense and reasonably significant for people watching us from outer frame.

Even though, we did not explore Montreal, we attended a lot of networking events in the city. There are a lot of these events happening around the city.

The major downside of these events is, the primary language used in most of these events is French. Almost 95% people in these events talk in French.

Whenever I attended these events, most of the time, I ended up standing in a group of people and listening to others without knowing a single word. Learning French was not an option, because it is a difficult language to learn in a year and, due to our tight MBA schedule, we did not have enough time to explore this language. It’s really too optimistic (and risky) to think about building your career in Montreal without knowing French.

At the end of the MBA, we were very happy with our academic knowledge. The completion of the MBA (graduation ceremony, friend’s praises, respect in relative’s eyes) gave us the feeling that we are really a rare commodity in the world and companies which would hire us should be fortunate enough. Like any other MBA in the world, we thought that now we have become a “Managerial Material”.

But, the world was ruthless with us and none of us got the job that we dreamed of. Almost all of my classmates are landed in the similar role which they were doing before MBA. No one (or hardly except 1-2 students) got hired by any company because of the MBA degree and got a better role than that of before MBA. No one (except one girl who was our class president) placed in the campus interviews. Also, the career cell was not proactive enough.

To make the matter worse for Indian (and non-French) students, all the companies came to the campus had their seminars in French. Even while searching for off-campus jobs, you could not apply for 70-80% jobs because you will see the deadly requirement “French is mandatory”.

Moreover, The Canadian employers respect local experience more than the MBA degree. The lack of Canadian experience can make you come down by few designations and, getting a managerial role without local experience can only be a distant dream.

Eventually, I also got a job in a software company and back to work on technical stuff. The MBA education is not directly linked with my profile.

The trauma of not getting a suitable role after MBA was haunting for few months but slowly we digested the fact that we should be patient and give sufficient time to ripe the fruit before plucking it. Hopefully, the MBA will bear the fruits someday and help me to move ahead.

Personally, one of the biggest benefit of doing MBA is, it has opened doors of immigration for me and my family. Otherwise, working in Canada was almost impossible as my company would not have sponsored my work visa.

I am enjoying a good quality life which is pretty obvious in Canada. My family is living in a way better atmosphere, infrastructure, getting better facilities in healthcare, education etc. Also, we have a lot of Indians in Canada, especially in Toronto, who are generally very helpful and that makes you feel home.

After completing a 1 year MBA, you are entitled for 1 year open work permit (Some people get 3 years’ work permit as well, but it’s quite random and not guaranteed). The MBA in Canada gives you sufficient CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) points to clear the immigration threshold and can fetch you a PR.

I feel that HEC Montreal is a decent B-school with respect to quality of education, but, it can take a commanding position in the ranking system if you consider its ROI.

The other better schools (or brand names) come with a very heavy price tag. They can be 2 to 3 times pricier than HEC. But, the other schools in Toronto are very well-known locally and have a solid alumni base where HEC carries no recognition in Toronto and has very poor alumni base there.

I feel, if you have plans to come to Toronto (which generally every non-French student from HEC has to do), getting into HEC Montreal is not better than getting into any other substandard B-school in Toronto. HEC might be suitable for older aspirant due to higher average class age, but the younger students can focus on other B-schools in Toronto.

The other important thing to consider is an internship. HEC does not provide internship due to its short duration. It just has a “consulting project” which is a kind of 1 month internship but the time is not sufficient for employers to judge the students and the “intern to employee” conversion rate is 1%. The other schools which have 16-24 month MBA programs provides 4 months internships which plays major role in getting jobs.

The year of MBA was the one of the fastest year I have ever experienced. MBA from HEC Montreal has given me a great roller-coaster experience. I have loads of memories that I would cherish for my whole life.

I thank you for reading my story and I am happy to help you if you have any question for me.

– Amit
 


Also read:
Best MBA in Canada for international students
Work permit process for international students in Canada and other countries
Ivey MBA Canada – Interview with Admissions Director
Sauder MBA program in Canada: My experience as an international student


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin
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11 Comments

  1. Anant says:

    Thanks for an honest assessment . Can you please also advise which colleges to target for MBA in Canada (for a 32 year old Indian with 10 years IT experience )

  2. Nacib says:

    Dear Sameer and Amit,
    Thank you for the valuable article.
    I do have some questions and I will be grateful if you can help.
    1. I am applying for the french program, do you believe that post mba opportunities are important for french speakers? (I want to work in I Banking or private equity)
    2. What’s the class size and how about the week hours? I mean do you have days off?
    3.What can I include in my application to help me to ensure the admission?

    Thank you in advance for your responses.

    • Amit Jathar says:

      @Nacib,
      1) In Montreal, yes. French helps a lot in getting a job (or is mandatory most of the times). But in other cities, it is not a great advantage. Please note, it is almost impossible to learn French while you are doing your MBA (you can count on it, only if you are fluent in French before you go to French city for your MBA)
      2) You have sat/sun off most of the times. I believe, this question is because you might want to get some part-time work and it is possible.
      3) Nothing can ensure admission, only try to make your profile well-rounded and should correctly portray you in front of the MBA adcom.

      • Gary says:

        Hi Aamir,

        Thank you so much for this information! It really helped me a lot and to be honest, all the reasons you have mentioned specially the French issue, all of these issues were already in my list and after reading your experience I can decide correctly.

        I wanted to know if you have any knowledge about MSc IB From Ivey Business School and MBA from Ryerson University?

  3. Hemlata sharma says:

    dear Sameer and Amit,

    Thanks for this forum to understand and get answered to many questions which arise while filling and checking the courses in Canada.

    I would like to do my One year program in HR from Canada. I chose Sheredon college. But in due course I thought of reaching out to IDP to check the procedure.

    They had some concerns and actually to mention disappointed me to apply;
    1. I am going to be 44 years in September 2018, so age will be a concern
    2. I did my last education in 2004, so visa officer will not approve me visa.
    3. I should choose 2 year program from the university rather than one year with a college.

    Now that made me depressed of not been able to do my higher education, thinking because I chose my family and son to be grown up I can’t continue my studies and my dream.

    Can you please guide me on the choices and the concerns mentioned. I am desperate to fulfil my dream for higher education abroad, as this is one life and we understand being mothers taking care of child is our responsibility but certainly this is important. Am I too late to apply? IDP agent said mam invest this money to educate your child than investing now in your studies. I am feeling too depressed with this. Urgent guidance required.

    • Amit Jathar says:

      @Hemlata: I feel the person who has interacted with you from IDP might not have done his Masters even in India, so forget about his capabilities in advising people going abroad for education. First only listen to the genuine and experienced stuff like MBAcrystalball blogs or other websites such as Gmatclub etc. Also, connect with the people on Linkedin who have done their studies in your domain (and preferred school) and ask them about their views.
      As per my experience, i saw people over 50 as well in the MBA school. Some (while not all) schools consider older people very valuable to the class due their seasoned experience and the value they can add to the class.
      So, to answer your questions:
      1) Age is not the only criteria. Age will narrow down your scope of school and you might want to select the schools which have higher avg. class age.
      2) I never heard of any such criteria about last education. I know people coming to Canada for Masters and they had Bachelors completed 20 years back.
      3) I think, going to University makes more sense (not for 2 year or 1 year program) but colleges have younger students compared to than that of the Universities. But, again talking to the your preferred college admission committee and the alumni’s on Linkedin will help you to evaluate your choices.

      Please stick to the genuine sources while gathering information. All the best!

  4. hari narayan mahato says:

    Hi, dear samir & Amit

    I want to send my small brother for his MBA in business Administration.for the period of 2 years. he have finished his bachelor degree from Nepal. does he get job in canada after finished his study MBA.

    THanks

  5. Amit Jathar says:

    @Anant : The MBA school selection depends on what you want out of your MBA and what the school has to offer. If only age is the criteria then you have to check the avg. age of the class to shortlist your schools.

  6. Ansh says:

    Hi Amit!

    Thanks for sharing your incredible journey. I belong to the same age group and experience as yours. I am a dentist with post graduation in public health and have ten+ years of experience in health care and public health management and wish to pursue my career in health care management further. Which schools in Canada would you recommend considering this domain?

  7. Venkatesh says:

    Hi Amit,

    Thanks for detailed experience about MBA journey. I am also having similar profiles like you. I am about 32 now and will be at 33 by the time join. Having few doubts to take step forward.
    1) I am having more than 10 years experience as a mechanical engineer. How is the job prospectus for mechanical engineers after MBA done.
    2) What minimum score required for GMAT & IELTS to get the admission.
    3) How much sure about getting a PR after MBA and post study work visa?

    Kindly help me to clear my doubts.

    Thanks & regards
    Venkatesh

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