Canada: The dynamic and competitive landscape post-COVID

Canadian universities
Canadian colleges and universities often top international education rankings. Source: Simon Fraser University

If you hunger for a dynamic journey, growing strength to strength, from university to career, it’s harder to find a better country to do so than Canada. 

This North American powerhouse has so much to offer. It’s the popular choice among soon-to-be, current and former students. Just look at Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Quebec’s large international student populations. 

With top-ranked universities, affordable tuition and living costs, it won’t be long until you say “this is the country I want to study in.” From major research institutions to small liberal arts schools and universities, Canadian institutions offer a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programmes. 

These features are more stark in the middle of a pandemic. Where other countries shut their borders to international students, Canada did not waste time to come up with policies to welcome them back as soon as possible. Where aid was closed off, it provided financial and other forms of help to those impacted by COVID-19.

In 2021, it’s expecting the economy in all Canadian provinces to recover. A broad-based recovery is predicted, spurred by vaccine rollouts and a rebound in energy, tourism, and exports, according to The Conference Board of Canada. 

This year’s economic growth is set to “largely offset the losses of 2020,” says Pierre Cléroux, Vice President of the Business Development Bank of Canada. “Strong consumption and a rebound in exports will give the Canadian economy a boost. Bringing forward government investment projects should also provide a tailwind to Canadian economic growth.”

Whether your interest lies in business or medicine, the best Canadian degrees can take you places in this country ranked no. 1 in the 2021 edition of US News & World Report’s annual Best Countries rankings released on Tuesday. Here are four Canadian institutions to set you on a path to success:

Simon Fraser University: Beedie School of Business

One of the most liveable cities in the world, easy to get around, safe and secure community, diverse population, beautiful sceneries — Vancouver’s charms are well-known. Lesser known, but no less significant, are two other advantages for those looking to launch or accelerate their career in Canada: a thriving (and increasingly green) economy and Simon Fraser University.

Canadian universities

At Simon Fraser University, students dive deeper into the world of innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Source: Simon Fraser University

At the Beedie School of Business, they will find a impactful learning experience, opportunities to build close contacts with talented peers, rigorous curricula taught by world-class faculty, a downtown Vancouver campus and outstanding career support. It’s an experience worthy of its recognition: ranked among Canada’s leading business schools according to Maclean’s 2020 rankings; and accreditations by AACSB and EFMD (EQUIS).

Two postgraduate programmes showcase the finest of an SFU Beedie education: the Full Time MBA and the MSc in Finance. The former provides a comprehensive curriculum that incorporates real-world business challenges and explores relevant topics such as sustainability, new ventures and international business. The latter provides a foundation of financial theory and real-world experience where students choose between two streams: Investment Management and Risk Management.

Both programmes are brought to life by unique perspectives from world-class faculty and experiential learning techniques, such as the opportunity to actively invest around 20 million Canadian dollars of real university endowment funds through the Student Investment Advisory Service (SIAS) Fund.

Both programmes are also underpinned by international perspectives and an emphasis on cultural understanding. This translates to an MBA cohort made up of 55% international students and an impressive male-female balance in both MBA and MSc Finance cohorts. This wide range of nationalities, languages and experiences make the SFU Beedie campus lively and dynamic. It’s an apt reflection of Canada, named 2021’s best country in the world in an annual ranking that assessed 79 nations using 76 different metrics.

Upon graduation, history shows SFU Beedie graduates are set to get the jobs they want — in 2019, 96% of FT MBA graduates found jobs within three months of graduation and 94% stayed in British Columbia after completing their degree. Opportunities abound in Vancouver’s job market, home to companies such as SAP, Microsoft, EA, Lululemon, HSBC, Deloitte, KPMG and start ups.

University of Toronto: Temerty Faculty of Medicine

Canadian universities

A U of T education is rigorous — every aspect is geared to prepare students to improve the world. Source: University of Toronto Facebook

Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto is driven to invent and innovate. An education here is rigorous — every aspect is geared to prepare students for the world.

“It’s like you sit in a classroom with a research paper and the person who wrote the paper is the professor in front of you. That kind of experience you don’t get at many universities,” explains Vishal, an international student from Dubai. 

At the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, students interact closely with world-class faculty and a diverse student body, each a collaborator in learning, in research, and in service. What sets the faculty apart is its talent, interdisciplinary excellence, and collaboration with partners. 

Here, research is focused on both discovery and translating discoveries into improved healthcare, powered by major programmes of research into diseases and health challenges.

The faculty offers a wide range of undergraduate courses in a wide range of areas such as Division of Anatomy; Biochemistry; Immunology; Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology; Molecular Genetics; Nutritional Sciences; Pharmacology and Toxicology; and Physiology. For students who want to take it to the next level, a selection of Professional Master’s Programmes are available. 

University of Alberta: Faculty of Engineering

Five campus locations, 38,000 students, 18 faculties. The University of Alberta is a global centre for teaching and research. Here, students, faculty and staff embrace innovation and challenge the status quo, placing the university at the forefront of discovery, learning and engagement.

Canadian universities

The University of Alberta is a global centre for teaching and research. Source: University of Alberta

The Faculty of Engineering offers 21 fully accredited undergraduate degrees and a wide range of graduate degrees. Each creates the next generation of skillful graduates through broad knowledge, practical skills, and a spirit of innovation and integrity. 

The faculty’s mission is to solve the world’s greatest challenges and build a better future for society. This is done through their selection of programmes at the departments of Biomedical Engineering; Chemical and Materials Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Mining & Petroleum Engineering; Electrical & Computer Engineering; and Mechanical Engineering.

It’s a close-knit experience at the Faculty of Engineering. As first-year students, they join groups of 30 to form cohorts, sharing lectures, labs and seminars together, creating a community. This can take them on extraordinary journeys.

Last year, a team of fifth-year Mechanical Engineering joined the Western Engineering Senior Design competition. They won the University of Alberta’s design competition and so went on to represent the university at the Western Engineering competition in Saskatoon. 

The team entered the U of A competition out of a desire to test their knowledge and prove their skills. “We just decided to apply our engineering skills to solve a problem,” says student Adesh Sangione. “We wanted to prove that what we learn in school can actually be applied.”

The school is also closely linked with industry, offering scholarships, collaborative research, professional consulting and involvement with national and international professional bodies. 

Seneca College

Solving today’s complex problems requires knowledge that crosses traditional boundaries. True to its roots, Seneca College encourages both intellectual and practical pursuits, and has attracted some of the most eminent interdisciplinary scholars and teachers.  

Canadian universities

Seneca’s academics are boosted by its inherent culture and ecosystem of innovation. Source: Seneca College Facebook

Seneca’s academics are boosted by its inherent culture and ecosystem of innovation. You name it, if it’s cutting-edge, the university’s faculty — and students— have their hands in it. 

Here, learning takes place both inside and outside of the classroom. From programmes in aviation, business and fashion to law, media and science, there’s something for everyone. 

Experiential classes bring these programmes to life, preparing graduates for future careers. “Seneca’s Social Service Worker – Gerontology Programme not only taught me the theoretical content that I needed to become a working professional in my field, it challenged me to grow personally,” shares graduate Sharron Spencer. 

“The practicum portion of the programme helped me to develop the practical tools needed and gave me hands on work experience. The faculty are supportive and work with students to encourage success and continue to be a valuable resource and support after graduation.”

Emma Bannister, who graduated from the Child & Youth Care Programme adds, “Classroom learning is completely relevant to the field of child and youth care. Experienced professors encourage intelligent discussions which are fostered by small class sizes.” She is now a Child & Youth Worker, York Region District School Board.

For students who want to pursue a career in IT, Seneca is the place to be. Students are spoilt for choice with a vast selection of programmes such as Business Information Technology; Computer Engineering Technology; Computer Networking and Technical Support; Computer Programming; Cybersecurity & Threat Management; and Computer Programming & Analysis.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International