Seven of Canada’s business schools have teamed up to promote Canada as a great place to study. Western’s own Richard Ivey School of Business is working with business schools at HEC Montreal, York University, McGill University, Queen’s University, the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. The group has been termed “Yes You Canada,” and they’ve been making rounds at international MBA fairs for the past year.
The initiative began with three university representatives having a conversation between flights in the Bogota, Columbia airport. One of them, Jonathan Khayat, associate director of admissions at McGill University, recalled the topic of discussion was “How can we […] bring more students to Canada?”
Jenni Denniston, associate director of MBA recruiting and admissions at Ivey, explained the goal of Yes You Canada is to attract potential students to the country.
“At a lot of the events we do internationally, when we’re talking to international candidates and they’re thinking about studying in North America, they automatically just think about going to the States,” Denniston said.
But aren’t these seven schools competing for the same students? Khayat pointed out that not all business schools in Canada are the same.
”If you want to live on the East Coast of Canada or the West Coast of Canada, [or] if you’re interested in the one-year program versus the two-year program [...] if you look into our programs, you’ll realize they are very different,” he said.
But Yes You Canada isn’t just focused on attracting students to Canada. The long-term goal is to get the government of Canada involved. Denniston brought up that money is a major concern for students from overseas.
“Right now, one of the biggest challenges for international students in Canada is financing. Typically, the banks don’t offer loans to candidates who don’t have Canadian credit history or don’t have a Canadian co-signer,” she said.
The group hopes to work with the government to either “open up specific loans for international students” or help international students get “more leniency in terms of what’s required to get a loan from some of the bank programs,” Denniston said.
Denniston recognized that these aspirations would be difficult for Yes You Canada to achieve.
“There’s a lot of bureaucracy and red tape to go through,” she explained, but remained set on relieving international students’ financial burdens. “It’s a wishlist item, for sure.”