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Manager
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18 Feb 2013, 20:16
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I want your opinion on what the top 5 business schools in Canada are. I know every publication ranks them differently, but what are your thoughts?

Based on my research and obvious bias, I would say the following:
1. Desautels
2. Rotman
3. Schulich
4. Ivey
5. Sauder

Let the battle begin!
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19 Feb 2013, 08:06
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LOL, this is a topic that comes up with regularity and it is a testament to the strong educational system in Canada that we have so many good Universities. Personally I prefer the poets and quants rankings that amalgamate all the major ranking together to smooths out the irregularities.

1. Schulich
2. Desautels
3. Sauder
4. Rotman
5. Ivey

http://poetsandquants.com/2012/12/18/po ... of-2012/4/

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Senior Manager
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19 Feb 2013, 08:23
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I would not rank 1- and 2-year programmes together. They cater for different people with different needs. Even more, I would even insist that if your shortlist still has programmes from both types you have not finished doing your homework.

Also, it will depend A LOT on your career goals. For instance, if you want to study in Canada, but then move to, say, Latin America, one should only get a degree from Toronto or McGill (sorry, nobody outside Canada has heard of York or Western Ontario). Similarly, you should only apply to schools in the Province where you intend to work. This is true for UBC, Memorial, and everything in between. This makes Canadian business education rather unique. On the bright side, if you know what your career goals are, your shortlist of Canadian universities will never be longer than 2 or 3 schools.

Anyway, if I was forced to give a ranking, I would say:

1-year: Ivey > Queen's
2-year: Rotman > Schulich > Desautels

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19 Feb 2013, 09:48
Ducksworth wrote:
I would not rank 1- and 2-year programmes together. They cater for different people with different needs. Even more, I would even insist that if your shortlist still has programmes from both types you have not finished doing your homework.

Also, it will depend A LOT on your career goals. For instance, if you want to study in Canada, but then move to, say, Latin America, one should only get a degree from Toronto or McGill (sorry, nobody outside Canada has heard of York or Western Ontario). Similarly, you should only apply to schools in the Province where you intend to work. This is true for UBC, Memorial, and everything in between. This makes Canadian business education rather unique. On the bright side, if you know what your career goals are, your shortlist of Canadian universities will never be longer than 2 or 3 schools.

Anyway, if I was forced to give a ranking, I would say:

1-year: Ivey > Queen's
2-year: Rotman > Schulich > Desautels

Once again, Ducksworth, I agree with you. However the temptation to clump all MBA programs together is great, even though they do not necessarily serve the same purpose. Knowing how international you are, I guess there are few better to judge what schools have the best reputations outside of Canada. I`m surprised UBC isn`t one of them, though.
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Last edited by CarlMtl on 19 Feb 2013, 12:19, edited 2 times in total.

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19 Feb 2013, 09:53
LOL, this is a topic that comes up with regularity and it is a testament to the strong educational system in Canada that we have so many good Universities. Personally I prefer the poets and quants rankings that amalgamate all the major ranking together to smooths out the irregularities.

1. Schulich
2. Desautels
3. Sauder
4. Rotman
5. Ivey

http://poetsandquants.com/2012/12/18/po ... of-2012/4/

Good find, Deadlycat! I've spent quite a while on poets&quants and never saw that table.
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19 Feb 2013, 13:58

It looks as though the top Canadian MBA schools are coming together to form an alliance. The alliance brings together Ivey, Desautels, Queen's, Rotman, Sauder and Schulich. The idea of this alliance is to cooperate in the marketing and promotion of Canadian schools internationally. Sounds like a great idea to me.

Hopefully this will also allow students to draw on resources and networks from each of the six schools across the country. In any case, it sounds like a good time to be doing an MBA in Canada!
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19 Feb 2013, 14:28
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LOL, this is a topic that comes up with regularity and it is a testament to the strong educational system in Canada that we have so many good Universities. Personally I prefer the poets and quants rankings that amalgamate all the major ranking together to smooths out the irregularities.

1. Schulich
2. Desautels
3. Sauder
4. Rotman
5. Ivey

http://poetsandquants.com/2012/12/18/po ... of-2012/4/

To DC's point - the education system in Canada works out so that the different between 1 through 5 is a LOT smaller than the rankings would imply.

I've got a high Toronto bias - but If I were to rank it'd go.
1) Ivey: Passionate and highly active alumni base (especially in Toronto) who are outstanding at marketing the program. The only reason I say that Ivey is the strongest is because they place well - but many grads go back to their pre-MBA companies at advanced roles. General sentiment about the program from the non-MBA community colleagues I've met: best program for consulting/ibanking, case-method only. Probably best for career changers.

2) Rotman: Benefits immensely from its location in Toronto. Arguably best corporate recruitment partners and maintains a very large applicant pool. Has the highest average GMAT and enrols the most 700+ scorers (Don't want to get into a discussion about the average GMAT as a measure of quality - but I think its definitely one data point. Rotman may over-emphasize GMAT compared to other programs though). Very large and diverse class - the strongest MBA grads I know personally are Rotman alums, but so are the weakest ones I know. General sentiment from non-MBA community: best finance program in the country, great academic experience (most rock-star professors). Probably best for finance->MBA->finance crowd.

3) Schulich: Tough to place because there are a few flavours including Accelerated and International. My feeling is that the reason Schulich is ranked so high in most international publications is because of the International MBA program is marketed well. Probably best for industry -> MBA ->same industry crowd.

4) Desautels: Again tough to place because there are so few grads in my network here in Toronto (none in fact). But I'd imagine in Montreal its what (Ivey + Rotman) are. McGill is arguably best internationally known Canadian school as far as research goes- so there is definitely a strong brand.

5) Queens: Like McGill - Queens is one of the most internationally well known schools in the country. Many career switchers end up at Queens even though its a 1-year program. For career placements I think Queens probably deserves to be at the top of this list - but my feel is the class is small and doesn't have a strong/vocal an alumni base as some of the other schools. Apparently great for MBAs transitioning into high tech.

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19 Feb 2013, 20:37
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I'm not sure I completely agree with that.

Coming from Asia, none of the MBA programs from Canadian institutions are particularly well known. That said, U of Toronto, McGill and UBC are the most well-known university brands here. Rotman is definitely getting more traction as an MBA brand, and like you mentioned, the sentiment seems to be that it is best for finance.

After doing my own research, I opted to apply for Sauder because it places well in both Toronto and Vancouver/Calgary, has a good international focus, good brand (UBC) overseas... among other reasons.

I always say that "best" is a term that is very relative to the applicant. Each person wants different things and each program will appeal to each person differently. It's up to everyone to find their own "sweet spot" MBA program.

LOL, this is a topic that comes up with regularity and it is a testament to the strong educational system in Canada that we have so many good Universities. Personally I prefer the poets and quants rankings that amalgamate all the major ranking together to smooths out the irregularities.

1. Schulich
2. Desautels
3. Sauder
4. Rotman
5. Ivey

http://poetsandquants.com/2012/12/18/po ... of-2012/4/

To DC's point - the education system in Canada works out so that the different between 1 through 5 is a LOT smaller than the rankings would imply.

I've got a high Toronto bias - but If I were to rank it'd go.
1) Ivey: Passionate and highly active alumni base (especially in Toronto) who are outstanding at marketing the program. The only reason I say that Ivey is the strongest is because they place well - but many grads go back to their pre-MBA companies at advanced roles. General sentiment about the program from the non-MBA community colleagues I've met: best program for consulting/ibanking, case-method only. Probably best for career changers.

2) Rotman: Benefits immensely from its location in Toronto. Arguably best corporate recruitment partners and maintains a very large applicant pool. Has the highest average GMAT and enrols the most 700+ scorers (Don't want to get into a discussion about the average GMAT as a measure of quality - but I think its definitely one data point. Rotman may over-emphasize GMAT compared to other programs though). Very large and diverse class - the strongest MBA grads I know personally are Rotman alums, but so are the weakest ones I know. General sentiment from non-MBA community: best finance program in the country, great academic experience (most rock-star professors). Probably best for finance->MBA->finance crowd.

3) Schulich: Tough to place because there are a few flavours including Accelerated and International. My feeling is that the reason Schulich is ranked so high in most international publications is because of the International MBA program is marketed well. Probably best for industry -> MBA ->same industry crowd.

4) Desautels: Again tough to place because there are so few grads in my network here in Toronto (none in fact). But I'd imagine in Montreal its what (Ivey + Rotman) are. McGill is arguably best internationally known Canadian school as far as research goes- so there is definitely a strong brand.

5) Queens: Like McGill - Queens is one of the most internationally well known schools in the country. Many career switchers end up at Queens even though its a 1-year program. For career placements I think Queens probably deserves to be at the top of this list - but my feel is the class is small and doesn't have a strong/vocal an alumni base as some of the other schools. Apparently great for MBAs transitioning into high tech.

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30 Mar 2013, 17:03
CarlMtl wrote:

I want your opinion on what the top 5 business schools in Canada are. I know every publication ranks them differently, but what are your thoughts?

Based on my research and obvious bias, I would say the following:
1. Desautels
2. Rotman
3. Schulich
4. Ivey
5. Sauder

Let the battle begin!

Interesting perspective. I only ever applied to Ivey in Canada... and was told to only apply to Ivey by someone in the industry. I would've preferred that it were a two-year program but hey. On the street there's only Ivey and Rotman. Nothing else comes close for recruiting for finance and consulting. Rotman has definitely done some amazing things in the past few years and have done really well for themselves. Ivey is the most historic brand for MBA's but their one-year program has drawbacks for career-switchers. As such, the students that attend are mostly looking to return to the same industry. The amount of people I know who have attended Schulich and regretted it are immense. The school is an ESL-fest. Rotman is in danger of going down this path as well. In their recent attempt to match Ivey's incoming student stats, which used to be the highest by a considerable margin, they've started admitting a LOT of internationals who have killer GMAT's and GPA's but aren't quite nuanced in their communication ability yet.

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30 Mar 2013, 17:09
LOL, this is a topic that comes up with regularity and it is a testament to the strong educational system in Canada that we have so many good Universities. Personally I prefer the poets and quants rankings that amalgamate all the major ranking together to smooths out the irregularities.

1. Schulich
2. Desautels
3. Sauder
4. Rotman
5. Ivey

http://poetsandquants.com/2012/12/18/po ... of-2012/4/

I think if you wanted to go to an MBA based on ranking's published in magazines, then it's fine that one would prescribe to the above list. All I know is you go to a recruiter on Bay Street and say "I'm from Ivey' vs 'I'm from Schulich/Desautels/Sauder' and see the difference in reaction. Rotman is good too, but their class is huge so they're more ubiquitous.

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30 Mar 2013, 18:49
maroliv12 wrote:
I think if you wanted to go to an MBA based on ranking's published in magazines, then it's fine that one would prescribe to the above list. All I know is you go to a recruiter on Bay Street and say "I'm from Ivey' vs 'I'm from Schulich/Desautels/Sauder' and see the difference in reaction. Rotman is good too, but their class is huge so they're more ubiquitous.

True, but once you get off Bay Street, Desautels/Rotman/Schulich (Sauder really isn't in contention imo) are far less likely to be looked at with suspicion than Ivey. UWO in general is looked at largely with contempt outside purple circles.

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31 Mar 2013, 09:33
jxcho wrote:
maroliv12 wrote:
I think if you wanted to go to an MBA based on ranking's published in magazines, then it's fine that one would prescribe to the above list. All I know is you go to a recruiter on Bay Street and say "I'm from Ivey' vs 'I'm from Schulich/Desautels/Sauder' and see the difference in reaction. Rotman is good too, but their class is huge so they're more ubiquitous.

True, but once you get off Bay Street, Desautels/Rotman/Schulich (Sauder really isn't in contention imo) are far less likely to be looked at with suspicion than Ivey. UWO in general is looked at largely with contempt outside purple circles.

Yeah, I could see that being true. I'm sure Sauder is looked upon more favourably in Vancouver for instance and Desautels in Montreal.

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01 Apr 2013, 00:11
I haven't looked at Ivey in detail (since I was not considering one-year programs), but my perceptions of Rotman are that it is very heavily focused on finance and consulting, and that you cannot truly gauge the reputation because of the large (and increasing) class size. I would say that if you are planning to work in MC or finance in Toronto, you will probably be okay (but will also be facing competition from peers for the same positions). Other than that, consider where you want to end up. If it's Calgary/BC, Sauder might be a better option. If it's Montreal, consider Desautels.

I would also suggest that don't go solely by what the rankings publications say. They are fairly unreliable. Consider the experience of students/alums with similar goals, and importantly, recruiters in your preferred location/industry.

Good luck!

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01 Apr 2013, 21:45
westsidah408 wrote:
I would say that if you are planning to work in MC or finance in Toronto, you will probably be okay (but will also be facing competition from peers for the same positions). Other than that, consider where you want to end up. If it's Calgary/BC, Sauder might be a better option. If it's Montreal, consider Desautels.

I would also suggest that don't go solely by what the rankings publications say. They are fairly unreliable. Consider the experience of students/alums with similar goals, and importantly, recruiters in your preferred location/industry.

Having lived in Calgary before, I noticed Sauder's stepped up its marketing in Alberta in recent years but I think Rotman/Ivey and even Desautels (purely for the McGill name) have more recognition both in and outside the business community. Calgary's one of those new money places with relatively low regard for education and the lack of respect for UBC around those parts is rather shocking, considering UBC is generally respected even out East. Rotman is probably the safest bet in the Prairie provinces because of its sheer size and the UT brand. (Obviously Haskayne, Alberta, Edwards, etc. will be strongest in their local markets)

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02 Apr 2013, 00:06
1
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jxcho wrote:
westsidah408 wrote:
I would say that if you are planning to work in MC or finance in Toronto, you will probably be okay (but will also be facing competition from peers for the same positions). Other than that, consider where you want to end up. If it's Calgary/BC, Sauder might be a better option. If it's Montreal, consider Desautels.

I would also suggest that don't go solely by what the rankings publications say. They are fairly unreliable. Consider the experience of students/alums with similar goals, and importantly, recruiters in your preferred location/industry.

Having lived in Calgary before, I noticed Sauder's stepped up its marketing in Alberta in recent years but I think Rotman/Ivey and even Desautels (purely for the McGill name) have more recognition both in and outside the business community. Calgary's one of those new money places with relatively low regard for education and the lack of respect for UBC around those parts is rather shocking, considering UBC is generally respected even out East. Rotman is probably the safest bet in the Prairie provinces because of its sheer size and the UT brand. (Obviously Haskayne, Alberta, Edwards, etc. will be strongest in their local markets)

When considering Sauder one of the people I spoke to was a Director at McKinsey's Calgary office who recruits at Sauder. His perception of Sauder was much higher than what you say. McKinsey's Calgary office hires from Sauder, as well as other top b-schools in Canada and the US. Perhaps it is due to the heavy marketing as you mentioned.

To the OP: I think for MC in Calgary, you'll be fine at Sauder or Rotman. That said, if you want to be in Toronto, even though Sauder does place at MC in Toronto, you would do better to go with Ivey or Rotman.

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02 Apr 2013, 09:10
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westsidah408 wrote:
When considering Sauder one of the people I spoke to was a Director at McKinsey's Calgary office who recruits at Sauder. His perception of Sauder was much higher than what you say. McKinsey's Calgary office hires from Sauder, as well as other top b-schools in Canada and the US. Perhaps it is due to the heavy marketing as you mentioned.

To the OP: I think for MC in Calgary, you'll be fine at Sauder or Rotman. That said, if you want to be in Toronto, even though Sauder does place at MC in Toronto, you would do better to go with Ivey or Rotman.

Westsidah, Maroliv, jxcho,

You've all made great points, and I have to agree with most of them. I believe that you need to choose an MBA program based on three factors:
1) Industry you want to work in (IB, VC, PE or MC or corporate/managerial roles)
2) City you want to work in (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Int'l)
3) Are you a career switcher or not? (i.e. 2 yr program vs 1 yr)

More and more, I believe that the student can define where he/she wants to work and what he/she wants to work in independent of the school he/she attends. If you have the balls to cold call enough well placed individuals in the industry, you'll get the interview and it won't matter which of the big 6 MBA schools in Canada you attended. That being said, you can most definitely increase your odds by being at the right school.

I would have been admitted to any school in Canada had I applied (GMAT, GPA, age, military exp, professional exp and extra curriculars are all good). My personal decision to attend McGill/Desautels full time 2yr MBA (double concentration finance and strategy) was made because:
1) I`m aiming to work in Management consulting. (I want to work in MC because I plan to interface the hell out of clients, make a ton of connections, and gain transitional freedom five years into my career. i.e. I don`t want to burn out in IB two years in and have nowhere to go.)
2) I want to live in Montreal long term, if possible.
3) I am a career switcher (my work experience is retail/private banking and industrial engineering/construction).
4) I also feel the brand name of McGill will be able to weather the inevitable highs and lows every MBA program will suffer at the hands of the many annual rankings out there. Industry doesn`t care about rankings.

I think we're lucky to live in Canada. We've got several good schools to choose from, and once you know where your ambitions lie, it's quite easy to choose the right program for you.
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03 Apr 2013, 11:17
What about John Molson ? I am having it as a plan B . Good or bad?
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03 Apr 2013, 13:21
TheNona wrote:
What about John Molson ? I am having it as a plan B . Good or bad?

Molson is respected in Montreal also somewhat in Ottawa and Toronto. It's a good choice as a backup school to Desautels/HEC.

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03 Apr 2013, 16:15
Hey,

What is everyone's thoughts on the lower salaries in Canada vs the US? You need to drop quite a bit in the US rankings to find schools with the same lower salaries as Canada. I am worried about risking a salary that is close to the average at Rotman/McGill/Ivey only to end up in a different job with the same salary. I am not planning on going to school just for a salary bump, but it is definitely a factor to consider when you are playing \$100k to go to school.

Are salaries just lower in Canada, or are there just a lot of MBA students who are taking jobs in lower salary fields?

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03 Apr 2013, 18:41
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mistablair wrote:
Hey,

What is everyone's thoughts on the lower salaries in Canada vs the US? You need to drop quite a bit in the US rankings to find schools with the same lower salaries as Canada. I am worried about risking a salary that is close to the average at Rotman/McGill/Ivey only to end up in a different job with the same salary. I am not planning on going to school just for a salary bump, but it is definitely a factor to consider when you are playing \$100k to go to school.

Are salaries just lower in Canada, or are there just a lot of MBA students who are taking jobs in lower salary fields?

mistablair,

This may surprise you, but Canadian MBA grads do not actually make less than US MBA grads. The reason why you are seeing a difference is because you are comparing the top 6 schools in Canada to the top schools in the US. The reality is that they are in completely different leagues. Try comparing the top 6 biz schools in Canada to the tier 2 schools in the US. It's a hard pill for us Canadians to swallow, but you'll see that salaries are actually quite close to par.

Take a look at this link from the McGill Desautels program:
http://www.mcgill.ca/desautels/programs ... ment-stats

The salary bump/ROI is a huge factor when contemplating an MBA, but there are no guarantees. At some point, you need to take the leap of faith. An MBA alone won't guarantee you that top salary, however it will help you get your foot in the door to the right companies. The top candidates coming into the program are almost always the top candidates leaving the program, so keep in mind how you want to leverage your current work experience in order to snag that great position post MBA.
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