The 10 Best Business Schools in Canada

When one thinks about the world’s best business schools, what comes to mind? 

Surely Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University, or the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All impressive choices, to be sure.

But a serious business student is missing out if they restrict themselves to just the United States. 

America’s neighbor to the north offers some of the finest business schools on the planet, places devoted to innovation. Nestled in truly cosmopolitan cities such as Toronto and Quebec, these Canadian institutions understand the tools needed to compete in a global economy.

That’s particularly true of members of the Canadian MBA Alliance. Formed in 2013 to recruit the brightest business minds in Canada and beyond, the MBA Alliance consists of six great schools, all of which appear on this list. 

The sextet not only enjoys top rankings from outlets such as The Economist and Bloomberg Businessweek, but they also work together to share resources and bring in faculty and students from around the world.

The methodology for this list is an aggregation of other ranking lists on business schools in Canada. Essentially, this list is created by observing where each program ranks in other publications, then determining every school’s average ranking across all lists. Sources for the aggregate list are provided at the end of the article.

Here are Canada’s best business schools.

10. Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business (Burnaby, BC)

The Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University may not have officially opened until 1982, but its roots go back farther. 

When Simon Fraser launched its Executive MBA program in 1968, it was the first of its kind in Canada, effectively changing business education in the country.

Today, Beedie carries on this tradition of innovation. In 2011, the school took its EMBA program over national borders, partnering with Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, Vanderbilt University in the U.S., and Brazil’s Institute of Management Foundation to offer the degree across the Americas. 

Beedie also began the Indigenous Business Leadership Executive MBA program in 2011, the first of its kind on the continent,

Not content to rest on its laurels, Beedie continues to find new ways of thinking about business. In 2016, the school opened its Charles Chang Institute for Entrepreneurship. Through the Chang Institute, entrepreneurs gain the tools they need to start and support their businesses.

9. McMaster University DeGroote School of Business (Hamilton, ON)

Like all of the other schools on this list, McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business offers an MBA degree.

However, DeGroote stands apart from others with its Co-op MBA, which gives students practical experience. While pursuing a Co-op MBA, students not only attend traditional classes on campus but also earn credit while working in local companies. 

Thanks to this experimental approach, students can immediately make their learning real and profitable.

DeGroote also offers several first-class facilities, including the Gould Trading Floor. Designed to help students better understand how financial markets interact, Gould Trading Floor allows students to examine real-time data from all North American exchanges via its three Bloomberg terminals, seven NEC displays, and 21 Thomson Reuters Eikon stations. One of only 30 such floors, the Gould Trading Floor is one of the most unique educational tools in the world.

8. HEC Montreal (Montreal, QC)

Thanks to its focus on research and theory, HEC Montreal is ranked among the best business schools in the entire world. Allowing students to study in either English or French, HEC brings in students from around the globe, resulting in a complex multinational education.

Because of this transnational focus, HEC ranks highly not just on this list, but on most lists of the best business schools in Canada and worldwide. 

Bloomberg Business Week puts HEC Montreal as the 31st best business school on the planet, thanks to the salaries earned by its alumni and student happiness. 

In 2015, Forbes magazine ranked the school even higher, putting it at 17th place on its non-US business school list.

But perhaps the most impressive ranking came from Canadian Business. On the magazine’s 2016 list of best value MBA programs in the country, HEC came in first place. 

As these rankings show, HEC is an excellent place to show your business savvy, earning a top-notch education at an affordable price.

7. Queen’s University Smith School of Business (Kingston, ON)

As impressive as every school on this list certainly is, they are all walking in the shadow of the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. 

Before any other Canadian school, Queen’s began an undergraduate business degree in 1912. Ten years later, Queen’s became the first Canadian institution to confer a business degree on a woman.

The evidence of Smith’s continued history of groundbreaking business education can be seen in the quality of the school’s alumni.

After graduating from Queen’s with a business degree in 1963, Douglas Peters earned a Ph.D. at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. 

With the training he received at those schools, Peters became senior vice-president of the Toronto-Dominion Bank and was elected to public office, eventually serving as Canadian Secretary of State.

6. York University Schulich School of Business (Toronto, ON)

York University Schulich School of Business
SchulichBP, McEwen Building Summer2021-1, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Schulick School of Business at York University knows that studying business requires first-class facilities. To that end, Schulick features some of the finest resources in the country, well-apportioned centers, and buildings to equip future business leaders with the tools they need to succeed.

Built with an $8 million donation, the 67,000 square-foot McEwen Graduate Study & Research building offers not only fine amenities, including a café and a fitness center but also several communal study spaces. 

Students can meet in the McEwen atrium and courtyard to map out their entrepreneurial plans and debate economic theory.

While most business classes occur in the Schulich building on York’s Keele Campus, the school also maintains connections across the world. 

In addition to satellite centers and campuses in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, São Paulo, and Seoul, Schulich maintains an executive education center in Toronto’s financial district. Thanks to these sources, Schulich students understand the global nature of commerce.

5. Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

Although the University of Alberta was not the first in the country to offer a business degree, the Alberta School of Business is the first to be accredited by the Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. 

That marker demonstrates the importance of research to Alberta’s program, one that knows a good business leader must take a comprehensive view of economic happenings.

Several research centers operate on Alberta’s campus, including the Alberta Business Family Institute. The Institute exists to help family-operated businesses by offering research-based education programs. 

In addition to equipping families with entrepreneurial tools, the Alberta Business Family Institute helps participants understand the wide range of options available to them.

At the Centre of Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment, Alberta students work alongside faculty members and subject matter experts to analyze energy and environmental concerns from an economic perspective. 

With the information they find, members of the Centre provide policy briefs, helping to guide Canadian law.

4. Western University Ivey Business School (London, ON)

Ivey Business School
Chad0119, Ivey Business School , CC BY-SA 4.0

Continuing the succession of firsts on this list is Western University’s Ivey Business School. The first Canadian school to offer an MBA degree, and the first school outside of the United States to do so, Ivey strives to improve the quality of Canada’s business leaders.

To that end, Ivey has been involved in a number of other significant firsts. The school was the first in North America to open a Hong Kong campus of its business school, teaming with Cheng Yu Tung Management Institute to operate an Executive MBA program.  

Ivey continued that global trend in 2010, when it added a CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education degree, the first North American school to do so.

As this evidence demonstrates, Ivey helps Canadian business people prepare for the future. Thanks to its global focus, the school recognizes that commerce can no longer be held within a single nation’s borders.

3. McGill University Desautels Faculty of Management (Montreal, QC)

It comes as a surprise to no one to see McGill University ranked so high. Considered by most to be the Canadian equivalent of an Ivy League school, McGill garners respect from scholars across the world. McGill’s Desautels School of Management matches the vaunted reputation of its parent institution.

As part of a world-class research institution, McGill University operates a number of centers and institutes designed to increase our understanding of commerce.

Established in 1956, the McGill Executive Institute works to provide continued learning opportunities to executives at all levels. 

Students pair with faculty members from the departments across McGill, including law, arts, and medicine, to give participants a unique cross-disciplinary education. 

Through the Institute, students have the opportunity to work with some of Canada’s most important private, public, and non-governmental organizations.

2. University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business (Vancouver, BC)

University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business
Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

Although only accredited by the Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in 2003, the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business wasted no time in becoming one of Canada’s best business schools. 

Of course, it helps that the school can pull from nearly fifty years of history, having been founded in 1956.

In addition to its outstanding resources, Sauder features some of the country’s most unique educational programs.

UBC students can participate in Sauder’s Portfolio Management Foundation, a two-year extracurricular program that offers training in Capital Markets. 

Students learn about the complexity of investments by managing a multi-million dollar endowment fund, gaining valuable experience they can take into their future careers.

Future realtors and mortgage brokers can study at Sauder’s real estate division, which offers online and in-person courses in mortgage brokering and licensing. 

Additionally, students can take licensing exams through the real estate division, all backed by major Canadian regulatory bodies.

1. University of Toronto Rotman School of Management (Toronto, ON)

Rotman School of Management
SimonP, Rotman School, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto takes the top spot for a simple reason. 

It may not be the oldest business school in Canada, nor the one with the lowest tuition. But it is among the most diverse, offering a wide range of approaches guaranteed to produce well-rounded graduates ready to succeed in the complex world of global finance.

Top Universities’ 2022 QS Global MBA Rankings puts Rotman among the top 50 business schools in the world and ranks it the best in Canada. 

The Financial Times gives Rotman the number one spot in Canada on its lists of MBA and Executive MBA, ranking within the top 80 business schools across the globe.


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