The McGill brand makes this program super attractive. However, you need to keep in mind that the program was completely revamped in 2010 and is still going through some teething problems - so expect a slightly bumpy ride. There are a few things that are really good about the program - the small yet diverse class size, some exceptional professors, and a lot of flexibility to tailor your experience.
The class size deserves special mention because the community feel at Desautels means that you feel at home for the duration of your MBA. You literally become a part of a family, one that will extend far beyond your school years. You will know and hopefully get to work with every single person in the program - and this means that your skills will be authentically endorsed by your peers. The class is also highly international (with a distinct Indian bias), and the exposure to different cultures and backgrounds is a huge advantage. Of course, there are downsides to this - it is harder to attract companies to the campus - but these problems are acknowledged and the faculty is working towards fixing them.
The location in downtown Montreal is a huge plus and keeps you right in the middle of activity. It also means that you can sneak in networking coffee chats between classes. Montreal itself may not be the best job market in Canada, and for most jobs is behind Toronto and Vancouver. However, the city is a hub of activities and there is so much to see and do beyond the classroom. My classmates have joined fencing , swing dance, quidditch, and board games clubs across the university - just to give you an idea of the diversity of options available. McGill University is beginning to strongly lean towards innovation and entrepreneurship and there are many exciting programs and cross-departmental collaboration opportunities across the campus. Special mention must be made for Gerts and Thomson House - the two on-campus watering holes that have led to many memories over the years.
Of course the focus of an MBA program is on career be it progression, acceleration or switching. Like all other B-Schools, and some may blame it on how magazine rankings work, Desautels also has to focus on finance and consulting as the leading career options for its students. Expect lot of support, events and workshops to prepare you for a career in these. Of late there has also been a focus on analytics, including starting a new concentration on business analytics. This is not to say that other career choices do not receive support - it just may not be as obviously visible as some others. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, there are tons of resources across the university including the Dobson Center, and it is not really difficult to blaze your own path. Also for many students, myself included, Toronto ends up becoming the target job market, and the school organizes a really good Toronto Networking event and is looking to increase their profile in the city.
Remember I spoke about the international exposure? One of the most stellar parts of the program, and something of a once-in-a-lifetime experience is the international study trip. A fantastic way to cap off the first year, it will be an intense immersion into how business works in an international context different from Canada. With the program's focus on integrated management, synthesis, and reflection - I feel the program does create a unique type of leader.
For future applicants, I would recommend carefully evaluating whether Desautels is the right fit for you. It is a stellar experience even if not completely faultless, but the experience is not for everyone. Everyone here is super-friendly and will be more than willing to take time out for a coffee chat or a phone call to discuss the program and their experiences with you.
About professors, classes and curriculum
While I wish I could talk about every single class and every single professor in the program, it is only fair that I stick to the ones I studied under. And I must give a special shout out to a few of them. Philippe Levy will be one of the first professors you meet, and he will help you look at accounting in a completely different way. I hope that Demetrios Vakratsas comes back to teach marketing because there are few people who can make the topic as exciting as when he teaches. Sujata Madan's classes will be unlike any you take and her warmth and infectious joy add to the personal touch of the program. Corey Phelps' lectures are the best you will take in the MBA core (and maybe the best in the program) and the only complaint is that there are so few of them. Beyond the core, there are a couple of classes that you must take regardless of your concentration. The first one is Managerial Negotiations with Jay Hewlin - a street-smart take on one of the most essential skills you will cultivate during the MBA. The second one is Strategy in Context, the capstone course for Strategy and a mixture of critical life and business lessons, with Elliot Lifson, probably one of the nicest people you will meet. You must also take at least one marketing class with Louis Gialloreto, and be prepared for an intense, fast-paced, deep dive into the world of marketing that bears more than a passing resemblance to finance. I would also recommend taking a class with Margaret Graham or Reuven Brenner - they will force you to challenge your assumptions and teach you to look beyond the surface. These are but some of the excellent professors at Desautels. Luckily you can shop for classes and figure out which classes suit you best. Even more luckily, you can do cross-disciplinary classes to complete your concentration requirements - meaning that even if you do a dual concentration, you can mix in select important classes from other concentrations and make your MBA curriculum a lot more holistic.
About job placement process
The recruitment scene in Montreal is not the best. Most of career services will work hard and selflessly to support you the best that they can. However, to be honest, it is a matter of getting a return on the effort you put in. If you work hard on landing your dream job from day 1, you will be well off. The longer you wait, and the less honest you are with yourself, the harder it becomes. The statistics are not the most inspiring, and may not be transparently available at all times - but then they also do not tell you many things. Just don't expect things to be handed to you on a platter here - job placements are tough to secure and the Canadian market really values word-of-mouth recommendations and personal connections.
The biggest recruiters from the campus are the banks - RBC, TD, Scotiabank, CIBC and BMO. Consulting firms - McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte, KPMG, Accenture and the like - also do hire from Desautels but they are very selective. The faculty does have a strong connection with McKinsey and has a good track record with placements in the Montreal office. Several people do go on to work at other big Canadian firms - Rogers, Telus, Bell, Bombardier, and CGI to name a few. Alumni are also to be found at Google, Amazon, Microsoft, SAP and IBM. Beyond this, students have also gone on to work with P&G, Walmart, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Aimia, Pfizer, Sephora and many more. Students have also gone on to found their own ventures - some while they were also at school - and a quick google search will throw up several such names.
Overall BSchool experience
Strengths of the program:
Curriculum, Classes, Professors
Student body, diversity
Best fit at this program:
Can be improved:
Career opportunities provided by school
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