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BruceWen

McGill vs Columbia vs UIUC vs UofT, any advice?

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Hello everyone,

So for now I'v got offer letters from McGill CS and Columbia EE, and still waiting for U of T and UIUC. Applied for both ECE and CS at the latter two. All are MSc programs or something similar.

I'm an international student and my goal is to work in the industry (machine learning R&D that kind of stuff) and stay permanently in North America. Considering the odds of getting permanent residency I would say Canada is more ideal for staying after graduation.

I could really use some advice on following questions:

  • I heard Toronto has more job opportunities than Montreal, is that true? And if it is, by what margin?
  • How would Canadian companies rate graduates from US schools? i.e. how competitive are Columbia and UIUC compared to U of T and McGill, in Canada?

Many thanks!

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Congrats on your offers! I am in another discipline but I can offer a perspective on Toronto versus Montreal as I grew up in TO and have spent a lot of time in Montreal. Toronto is the tech and research hub of Canada - there are far more high-paying opportunities for those kinds of jobs in TO than in Montreal. Not that those jobs don't exist in Montreal - they're just harder to find and won't pay as well. You're also at a disadvantage in Montreal if you don't speak French. I can't give you specific numbers to back this up, but go to a job search engine like Indeed or LinkedIn and do a search for the job titles you're interested in for both cities. You can also compare salaries on PayScale or Glassdoor.

That being said, you can always do your degree in Montreal and move to Toronto after you graduate if you have trouble finding a position. Montreal is a much nicer place to live in many ways - far more affordable for students and the entire city feels more balanced/laid back. Only drawback is the winters are typically much colder, but this is a minor consideration. 

In terms of the job market - if you graduate from an ivy league US school like Columbia you may have a slight advantage with Canadian companies; but if you didn't go to school here you may not be able to get a work permit anyhow. If you really want to settle in Canada then I'd recommend doing your degree here. 

 

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11 hours ago, BruceWen said:

Hello everyone,

So for now I'v got offer letters from McGill CS and Columbia EE, and still waiting for U of T and UIUC. Applied for both ECE and CS at the latter two. All are MSc programs or something similar.

I'm an international student and my goal is to work in the industry (machine learning R&D that kind of stuff) and stay permanently in North America. Considering the odds of getting permanent residency I would say Canada is more ideal for staying after graduation.

I could really use some advice on following questions:

  • I heard Toronto has more job opportunities than Montreal, is that true? And if it is, by what margin?
  • How would Canadian companies rate graduates from US schools? i.e. how competitive are Columbia and UIUC compared to U of T and McGill, in Canada?

Many thanks!

I've lived in/near Toronto my entire life; Toronto certainly has more job opportunities than Montreal for English speakers. That said, I've found the opportunities in Toronto, though comparatively abundant to other Canadian cities, to be fairly competitive. Montreal is certainly much cheaper to live in and arguably a nicer city, but it does seem harder to find an English speaking job; if you're bilingual then this may not be an issue. 

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On 2/21/2019 at 11:38 PM, gillis_55 said:

Congrats on your offers! I am in another discipline but I can offer a perspective on Toronto versus Montreal as I grew up in TO and have spent a lot of time in Montreal. Toronto is the tech and research hub of Canada - there are far more high-paying opportunities for those kinds of jobs in TO than in Montreal. Not that those jobs don't exist in Montreal - they're just harder to find and won't pay as well. You're also at a disadvantage in Montreal if you don't speak French. I can't give you specific numbers to back this up, but go to a job search engine like Indeed or LinkedIn and do a search for the job titles you're interested in for both cities. You can also compare salaries on PayScale or Glassdoor.

That being said, you can always do your degree in Montreal and move to Toronto after you graduate if you have trouble finding a position. Montreal is a much nicer place to live in many ways - far more affordable for students and the entire city feels more balanced/laid back. Only drawback is the winters are typically much colder, but this is a minor consideration. 

In terms of the job market - if you graduate from an ivy league US school like Columbia you may have a slight advantage with Canadian companies; but if you didn't go to school here you may not be able to get a work permit anyhow. If you really want to settle in Canada then I'd recommend doing your degree here. 

 

Thanks for your input!

Language is indeed a concern, as I don't speak French. So I guess in that sense U of T is more favorable to McGill then.

About the work permit, could you elaborate on that a bit? I didn't know there is much difference in getting work permit for US graduates or local graduates, though I know there is for getting permanent residency. 

Thanks in advance!

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On 2/22/2019 at 12:01 AM, s_bellow said:

I've lived in/near Toronto my entire life; Toronto certainly has more job opportunities than Montreal for English speakers. That said, I've found the opportunities in Toronto, though comparatively abundant to other Canadian cities, to be fairly competitive. Montreal is certainly much cheaper to live in and arguably a nicer city, but it does seem harder to find an English speaking job; if you're bilingual then this may not be an issue. 

Thanks for your suggestions!

Yeah one'd need to be able to speak French to live and work in Montreal. That's an important consideration. Do you know anything about comparing Canadian universities and US ones?

Many thanks.

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11 minutes ago, BruceWen said:

Thanks for your input!

Language is indeed a concern, as I don't speak French. So I guess in that sense U of T is more favorable to McGill then.

About the work permit, could you elaborate on that a bit? I didn't know there is much difference in getting work permit for US graduates or local graduates, though I know there is for getting permanent residency. 

Thanks in advance!

I’m not certain about that actually, I just assumed it would be easier to stay and work after graduating on a Canadian student visa then trying to get a Canadian worker visa with no history in the country. I could be wrong though, so I’d encourage you to contact someone from Canada Immigration to ask. 

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4 hours ago, BruceWen said:

Thanks for your suggestions!

Yeah one'd need to be able to speak French to live and work in Montreal. That's an important consideration. Do you know anything about comparing Canadian universities and US ones?

Many thanks.

In terms of schools like Columbia in comparison to McGill or UofT, I imagine they’d be viewed similarly. It’s possible people/Canadians may view the Ivy League US schools slightly more favourably, but I’m not sure. I suppose it’s program-specific, but I think a relevant degree from any of those high-caliber institutions would make you quite competitive when compared to applicants with a degree from elsewhere.

anyways, may be worth talking to an admissions person or university-centre career counsellor to gauge this 

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All your choices are good. I don't see any risk whatsoever. Mcgill or UoT are the top schools in Canada. Montreal has its unique character especially night life and student life. As for the French language, i dont see how this is a problem, especially in downtown Montreal and the western side of the city where English is used very normally. As for your second part of your thoughts, namely visa issues post graduation, i see the odds of residency in Canada are higher, all things being equal. But, in your case, not everything is equal, i would say with a STEM degree from Columbia, all you've got all the chances to land in a descent job and start a good career. 

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1 hour ago, Ilian said:

All your choices are good. I don't see any risk whatsoever. Mcgill or UoT are the top schools in Canada. Montreal has its unique character especially night life and student life. As for the French language, i dont see how this is a problem, especially in downtown Montreal and the western side of the city where English is used very normally. As for your second part of your thoughts, namely visa issues post graduation, i see the odds of residency in Canada are higher, all things being equal. But, in your case, not everything is equal, i would say with a STEM degree from Columbia, all you've got all the chances to land in a descent job and start a good career. 

Thanks!

My friends also tell me that I can't be wrong choosing either of them. I guess I'm too cautious :)

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