In the Spotlight: Concordia University's John Molson School of Business MBA
Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business (JMSB) full-time MBA offers a well-rounded core curriculum and a wide variety of electives that enable students to customize and specialize their MBA to meet the demands of employers. The in-classroom and beyond-the-classroom experiential learning allow students to learn through hands-on experiences and project-based community initiatives. Located in the heart of the “#1 Student City in the World”, JMSB is one of Canada’s largest business schools. For those interested in penetrating the financial sector, JMSB also offers a three (3) – year MBA in Investment Management, which integrates the “Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)® Body of Knowledge™ into its curriculum.” Offered through the Goodman Institute of Investment Management, the MBA-CFA candidates are “prepared to write all three levels of the CFA” while simultaneously earning their MBA.
To learn more about the JMSB MBA programs, its culture, admissions, and alumni, we connected with Beth McKenna, Graduate Student Recruitment Officer with JMSB’s MBA programs. Her insights are outlined below.
Understanding the culture of an institution is integral in projecting one’s fit within the university. Can you describe the culture of JMSB?
JMSB’s MBA culture focuses on practical hands-on learning and skills for the real world. Our MBA students learn skills that are sought by employers, as our faculty continues to be active in the business community, providing students with insight on real-world skills and issues. The MBA program offers a wide variety of experiential learning, including out-of-classroom elective options that enable learning focused on real business cases. JMSB is devoted to developing next-generation business leaders, who have the education needed to find innovative solutions to solve 21st-century problems. We also pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive core MBA curriculum to develop well-rounded graduates with the flexibility to meet every student’s needs, career goals and specializations in a collaborative environment. At JMSB, we offer a wide variety of graduate programs designed to meet the needs of our students at any level, providing them with the tools for success and advancement in their future career.
Located in the #1 Student City in the World, JMSB distinguishes itself by engaging students in applied, hands-on learning in the industry, learning skills that are highly sought by employers. We have a diversified community of students and faculty from over 140 countries around the world. Students at JMSB create and have access to unique global networks and connections after graduation. Our full-time/part-time MBA program offers a comprehensive overview of all parts of business administration with a wide variety of electives (1/3 of the degree’s credits) to specialize the MBA to the interests of the student.
What distinguishes JMSB from other top MBA programs?
JMSB is home to the largest MBA International Case Competition in the world. Students who are organizers of this event receive elective credit towards their MBA for their work with leading and organizing all aspects of the event. We are proud to have faculty who are invested in student success, provide interactive and hands-on classroom learning and collaboration opportunities to solve industry issues and learn first-hand. Our program promotes cross-disciplinary themes, customizable curriculum in the full-time/part-time MBA program and flexibility to meet the needs of students.
Students also participate in competitions and engage in development and collaboration projects worldwide during their studies. Our program focuses on networking, integrating the students actively and collaboratively into the business community in Montreal and beyond.
On the academic side, our students continue to reach success in the workforce after graduation. 87% of our graduates land jobs within three months of graduation, and 95% of them stay and work in Canada. We recently changed our program from 57 to 45 credits, making the program possible to complete in between 16 months and two years in total (full-time studies).
What are recent developments in your program you are most proud of?
- Our MBA-CFA program continues to show excellence in the CFA exams. Our program shows a consistent nearly-double pass-rate for the CFA Level 1 exam over the past 15 years.
- Our students continue to find hands-on-learning success in our International Exchange Program, Community Service Initiative, Co-op, Small Business Consulting Bureau and MBA International Case Competition (for which JMSB has one of the oldest and largest in the world!).
- Concordia University was recently ranked in the top 1.6% of universities worldwide and continues to climb rankings within Canada and internationally today.
- We maintain our AACSB accreditation, making our degrees and diploma programs recognized worldwide.
Like many MBA programs, Concordia’s JMSB has its own list of requirements. Can you describe the traits you see in your most successful applicants?
For JMSB, there is no exact profile of a successful applicant. We look for students who are community engaged, career-focused, academically-driven and successful, ambitious, striving for success, team leaders, connected/networked and active in their industry and work professionally. Our students strive to improve and develop themselves, to learn and to excel in their professional career.
The Statement of Purpose is essential in the application process. What distinguishes the top and most memorable essays, regarding prior achievements, personality, goals, etc.?
Successful applicants to JMSB’s programs show a drive for success to develop themselves as engaged leaders. These applicants can identify how JMSB’s MBA program will develop them further and help them reach their goals, but also how they fit into JMSB’s community and what they can bring to JMSB.
The application process includes a recorded online interview for the John Molson Full-time MBA program. What advice would you give a candidate preparing for said interview?
At JMSB, candidates are all interviewed online using our KIRA Talent application. We use the interview as a means to assess a candidate’s communication skills, their ability to sell themselves as a fit for the program and to get an idea of how they are, off the pages of their application.
Treating the MBA interview like a job interview is important. We recommend that our candidates reflect on their suitability for the MBA program, their experiences professionally, their weaknesses and strengths as well as their fit in JMSB’s community. We encourage students to dress for the interview, to remember that it is recorded, that there is no person on the other side, and that questions are timed. When the timer runs out, the app stops recording.
Montreal is an international cosmopolitan city, what percentage of your admitted candidates are international student?
In the full-time/part-time MBA, 49.2% of students have an international background; while, in the MBA-CFA program 45% of the student body is international.
Selecting an MBA program is a challenging endeavor. What advice would you give a candidate considering an MBA at JMSB?
- Ensure that your application is very well rounded. Make sure that your application is competitive (that you are well above the minimum requirements—minimum requirements do not guarantee an offer of admission).
- Take time to prepare for GMAT properly. We often recommend six (6) weeks to three (3) months of preparation to take this test. Leave time to re-take it if need be (there’s a waiting period of around two weeks before you can re-take the test)
- Give your referees a copy of your CV, or take them out for a coffee to reconnect and ensure that they know the full extent of what you have been up to. This helps them write the best reference letter possible, highlighting your achievements and how this program is a great fit for you, how you are a great fit for the student community as well.
- Compare MBA programs, and have an idea of why you want to pursue the program, how does it fit into your career goals?
- Ensure that you can devote the time to coursework, group projects and homework before applying for the program. We recommend allowing for 9-12 hours per week per course, for out-of-class projects and group work as well as readings.
What opportunities are offered to students to work and/or network with your alumni?
Many of our graduates become employers who seek to hire JMSB students and new graduates. Our alumni are all over Montreal, Canada as well as in the global community. They are often connecting with students through Co-Op opportunities, as judges in our MBA International Case Competition, through networking opportunities and as recruiters coming to JMSB to meet students for career opportunities
Spotlight is a periodical profiling top MBA programs. The series’ aim offers universities an opportunity to expand their reach and prospective students an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the institutions. Universities differentiate themselves by focusing on the program’s culture, its distinguishing features, and its enthralling characteristics; prospective students gain insider knowledge on the program and the culture, facilitating their university selection and ensuring programs fit their personal and intellectual needs.
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