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“Finding the Right Fit – Beyond the Classroom” – Part 2

August 20, 2018
By Beth McKenna

When exploring options for graduate studies, there are many things to consider. All schools are different, varying in what they offer students, different faculty, approach to learning, alumni, industry and community connections and support in finding a job after graduation. While reviews, rankings and articles by third parties can provide some insights, it is important to consider many things in finding the school that fits you.

Location, Location, Location!

In choosing a school and considering graduate studies, location is key. Where your school is located will determine your future networks in the industry, opportunities to develop yourself beyond the classroom and chances of landing a job after graduation. Where your school is located will also affect your quality of life, based on standard living costs of the area and amenities/services offered nearby.

Montreal, where the John Molson School of Business is located, is ranked as the #1 Student City in the World by QS, due to affordable rent, efficient transit, cheap living costs and a plethora of activities and opportunities to be active in the community beyond the university.

Montreal is also home to many head offices, major corporations, industry-leading companies and innovation start-ups, with a wealth of opportunities for new JMSB graduates. One of Canada’s largest business schools, JMSB maintains a strong connection to the Canadian business community, with many of our graduates going on to industry-leading careers within Canada.

Larger business schools generally offer more programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, have more staff and faculty, often with a more diverse student population and more opportunities for student development beyond the classroom and growing in the community. Attending a larger school may connect you with students who are doing a wide variety of programs within business, and potentially offer more in the way of electives and learning options.

Smaller schools can offer smaller class sizes, tight-knit student communities and a variety of different opportunities depending on the geographic location and neighboring cities.


Attending a university isn’t only about the connections you make in the classroom as much as it is as who you connect with and what you do outside of the classroom. Extra-curriculars enhance student life, develop networks, build skills and give hands-on experience beyond the program’s curriculum.

During graduate studies is an excellent time to add new experiences to your lifestyle and explore new interests, hobbies and initiatives. Concordia offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities, clubs, sports, community service, international service and ways to get involved within and beyond the JMSB classrooms. This adds more to the student experience as well as skills, networks and professional development.

Employers often value applicants who have always looked to do more beyond their degree, to get involved and build their own lifestyle, to give to the community and to develop interests outside of their studies.

Beyond-the-Classroom Opportunities:

Looking to get both hands-on experience and applied learning environments to bring to potential employers? Many universities offer experiences such as Co-op, Teaching assistantships and Research assistantships, as well as opportunities to get involved in case-competitions, international exchanges, for-profit/non-profit consulting opportunities, investment portfolio management teams and more. Students are no longer limited to only learning on-campus or within their own city, but to take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime international opportunities as well!

It is increasingly common for universities to offer more applied learning opportunities in competition with each other and to attract students. This feature creates student success and competition in the job market, to develop relevant and current skills for today’s industry issues, and gradually building a great reputation for the university with prestigious employers.

When choosing a school for grad studies, there are so many different factors to take into account. Students should have an idea of how this graduate program fits into their career aspirations and future plans for professional development. There are programs to fit a wide variety of learning styles, focuses, industries and specializations and it is important to consider individual needs and goals from completing graduate studies.

Consider your needs, goals and long-term plans and look at all possible resources when exploring possible options (ie: connect with current students if possible, alumni, recruiters and attend info sessions/open house events), and the specific program’s curriculum, offerings and alumni success/job placement.

If you’re starting to consider JMSB’s graduate programs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at to set up a meeting (phone, in-person or Skype) to discuss your future at Concordia!

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