The business world can be as complicated as it is rewarding. If you look at some of the top executives and wealthy billionaires in Canada, you’ll find that many of them started their career by obtaining a degree in business administration or management.
A business degree will teach you all of the skills you need to know in order to manage and operate a successful enterprise.
Below, I’ll go over some of the best universities in Canada for business. I’ll give you a bit of background behind each, explain what they offer, and what new students can expect.
An undergraduate or graduate degree in business can be the start of a great career in upper-level management or could catapult you into an entrepreneurial journey as a small business owner.
Below, I’ve listed some of the best universities in Canada for business to give you some ideas to consider.
They’re not ranked in any particular order, as this is highly subjective, and opinions can vary strongly depending on the individual in question.
1. University of Alberta
- Average Graduate Salary: $96,000
- Location: Edmonton, Alberta
The University of Alberta is one of the top-rated business schools in the country and was among the first universities in Canada to receive accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in 1968. The school has grown its student body in recent years and is currently home to:
- 2,000+ undergraduate students
- 750+ graduate students
- 50+ PhD students
This is the university that I went to, and my education here has paid off in many ways! One of the things I really liked about the U of A is that the school puts a strong focus on entrepreneurship in all of its business majors.
This means that you’ll not only be taught all of the basics that you need to make it through the ranks of corporate management, but you’ll also be given all of the tools you need to start your own business one day.
Some of the top undergraduate programs at UAlberta include HR management, economics and law, and accounting. This provides a wide degree of specialization opportunities for undergraduates who already know where their career is headed.
Progressing into graduate studies, UAlberta offers even more opportunity for specialization, with five options for MBA applicants to apply for.
Applicants can also choose between a fast-track, part-time, or a standard full-time MBA track, which is great for applicants who already have a stable career and need an MBA program that fits their busy lifestyle.
2. Smith School of Business at Queen’s University
- Average Graduate Salary: $64,737
- Location: Kingston, Ontario
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, Smith School of Business at Queen’s University should definitely be on your list of schools to look into. Queen’s University is located in Kingston, Ontario, and the Smith School of Business has its own separate campus.
Upon application, students will be able to choose from the following six focus areas:
- Corporate reporting and professionalism
- Business venturing
- Social impact
- Sustainable finance
- Business research
- Customer analytics
While much of the base curriculum is the same, these specialization areas will include additional classes designed to turn students into fine-tuned business professionals.
In total, Smith School of Business is home to just over 3,000 students, including undergrads, masters students, and those pursuing their doctorate degrees.
The school has a number of corporate business partners (including Scotiabank and IBM), which offer grants to eligible students and provide funding so that the school always has access to the latest tech and business software.
It’s worth mentioning that the Smith School of Business is one of the hardest business universities in Canada to get accepted into. The current cutoff rate is 87%, which means that it’s quite competitive.
That being said, 94% of students find gainful employment in their chosen field within six months of graduating, so this school can really catapult your career.
3. Rotman School of Management
- Average Graduate Salary: $127,000
- Location: Toronto, Ontario
The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management is one of the top business schools in Canada. On average, graduates earn between $91,000 and $150,000 per year, which is higher than almost any other business school in the country.
Undergraduates can apply for a bachelor’s in commerce degree, which will involve classes on the University of Toronto campus as well as the Rotman School of Management campus.
Rotman also offers a number of student organizations, which allow students to network and further specialize to become the best in their field.
Rotman School of Management also receives very high ratings for its MBA program, allowing students to study:
- Financial risk management
- Professional accounting
- Finance (general)
Recently, Rotman introduced a major centred around the study and application of cryptocurrency and blockchain finance.
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have been widely invested in and adopted throughout Canada, so if you see a future career in this fast-paced sector, then Rotman should be at the top of your list.
Lastly, Rotman is known for its Women in Business initiative, which provides specialized training to aspiring female entrepreneurs and business professionals in the following areas:
- Leading growth
- Professional performance
- Transition support
Overall, the Rotman School of Business is guaranteed to land you a high-paying (or at least higher than average) job upon graduation, which is what makes it one of the best universities in Canada for business.
4. McGill Desautels Faculty of Management
- Average Graduate Salary: $94,000
- Location: Montreal, Quebec
McGill is one of the biggest schools in Montreal, and the McGill Desautels Faculty of Management allows students to specialize in business studies and take their careers to the next level.
The school has just over 2,600 hundred students, with about 300 pursuing postgraduate studies and around 2,300 enrolled in an undergraduate program.
Undergraduate applicants will be able to choose between 12 specialized majors, and post-graduate applicants will be able to specialize in:
- Retail management
- Organizational behaviour
PhD students can also opt to study a combination of the specializations mentioned above. In particular, the school is known for helping graduates land high-paying positions in upper-level management.
The fact that it’s located in the heart of Montreal also means that students will be able to pursue internships with some of Quebec’s top-rated firms.
McGill has received international acclaim, and many of the students you’ll be studying alongside are foreign students.
This is a great opportunity for any student seeking to start a career in international business relations and will allow you to connect with motivated professionals from around the world. /
The McGill Desautels Faculty of Management has a GMAT score of 670, which makes it one of the top-rated universities for business in Canada in terms of graduate scores.
5. DeGroote School of Business
- Average Graduate Salary: $77,000
- Location: Hamilton, Ontario
McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business is one of Ontario’s top business schools aside from Rotman. On average, 94% of graduates receive job offers with an average starting salary of $77,000, which is quite fair./
In particular, DeGroote is known for its simulated trading floor. Here, students can access Bloomberg terminals, Reuter’s stations and view live stock market data. This makes the school a great choice for any students who want to pursue a career in trading or investment.
Undergraduates can apply for a bachelor’s degree in commerce, which will teach them all of the foundations they need to land a job in their desired sector.
DeGroote has partnered with major brands, such as Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Ford, and RBC, to provide a range of internship opportunities to its students.
6. Ivey Business School
- Average Graduate Salary: $74,903
- Location: London, Ontario
The Ivey Business School in London, Ontario, is one of the best universities in Canada for business and is notable for its case-method learning opportunities.
This basically means that students will be placed in simulated situations where they’ll need to make real-time decisions as if they were actually working in their chosen careers.
Ivey offers several undergraduate programs, each of which is designed to push students to succeed in their desired career fields.
The undergraduate programs lead directly into Ivey’s MBA programs, which are designed to build on the knowledge that students learned while pursuing their bachelor’s degrees.
According to the school’s latest statistics, 94% of graduates received job offers in their chosen career fields within three months of graduating, and 98% of graduates received offers within six months of graduating.
The average graduate salary (including sign-on bonuses) for 2021 was $74,903.
Attending Ivey Business School and graduating with good marks is a great way to solidify a future career as a business professional.
7. HEC Montreal
- Average Graduate Salary: $51,104
- Location: Montreal, Quebec
HEC (Hautes etudes commerciales) Montreal is one of the oldest business management schools in Canada and dates back to 1907. HEC Montreal is one of the largest business schools on this list, with an average of 10,000 undergraduate students and over 3,000 postgraduate students.
HEC’s bachelor’s degree program lasts three years and courses are available in French (Quebec’s primary language), English, and Spanish.
As far as MBA programs go, HEC offers two options to students:
- A full-time MBA through HEC Montreal
- A full-time EMBA program in partnership with McGill
The EMBA program is notable because it provides students with a greater number of contacts and networking opportunities compared to HEC Montreal’s standard MBA. However, both postgraduate programs receive high ratings.
As you’re researching universities in Canada for business and trying to find the best match for your skills, some of the deciding factors you’ll need to keep in mind are:
- The school’s location
- Your desired specialization/major
- The cost of tuition
- Networking opportunities at the school
The location of the school can play a big part in your decision. Some schools offer lower tuition for residents who live in the province and higher tuition for students coming from another province.
Additionally, you may want to do a bit of research on the city that the school is located in to see if it’s somewhere that you could see yourself living in for a few years.
Much of the core knowledge you’ll learn as an undergraduate student will be the same across colleges. However, once you get into your final two years as an undergrad, you’ll really start focusing on your main specialization and major.
Each school offers slightly different opportunities when it comes to specialization, so you’ll want to make sure that the school you’re looking at offers majors aligned with your chosen career path.
This is especially true when it comes to MBA and doctorate programs. Studying a specialized major will make you stand out to hiring managers and may allow you to land higher-paying positions.
The cost of tuition is another major factor you should consider when applying to school. If you’re eligible for grants and scholarships, then a portion of your tuition could be covered. However, you’ll need to have a plan for financing your education outside of this.
In addition to the cost of tuition itself, full-time students should account for general living expenses, such as:
- Paying for apartment rent and utilities (if they’re living off-campus)
- Food and everyday essentials
- Transportation (car payment, ridesharing, etc.)
- School supplies (laptop, bags, tech, etc.)
Thankfully, it’s not hard to apply for a student loan. However, the less debt you can graduate with, the better. You’ll usually have to start paying back the loan once you land your first job.
One of the key factors that differentiate a standard business school from a top-tier business school is the opportunity for networking that students have at the school.
You can study business at almost any college in Canada. However, the best universities in Canada for business have one thing in common – students have ample opportunity to network.
Networking opportunities can take many forms, including:
- Student organizations
- Alumni programs (allowing graduates to keep in touch)
- Internship opportunities
- The school’s corporate partnerships
Students who take advantage of these networking opportunities are far more likely to land higher-paying jobs, as they’ll have a wider network of connections to tap into for employment opportunities.
Pursuing a degree in business can be the start of a successful career and will open doors to working at some of the top Canadian and international firms.
Whether you want to specialize in accounting, business management, finance, risk management, or other majors, attending one of the best universities in Canada will increase your chances of landing a high-paying position.
Getting a degree in business is a great way to start climbing the corporate ladder or starting your own entrepreneurial journey.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, then be sure to check out my list of the best quick and easy online businesses to start next!