Top 10 MBA Programs in Canada 2019 |

Top 10 MBA Programs in Canada 2019

By Niamh O

Updated March 20, 2021 Updated March 20, 2021

The QS Global MBA Rankings 2019 have been released today, ranking business schools from around the world. The rankings are also split up into regions: Asia, Europe, Canada, Oceania, Latin America, and the US.

MBA programs worldwide were ranked based on the indicators of employability, entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, return on investment, thought leadership, and diversity. You can discover more on our methodology here.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the top MBA institutions in Canada, which features 16 business schools from across the country. North America’s business schools top the global rankings time and time again, and while Canada’s institutions might not have the same reputability as some of their US counterparts, they’re still among the best in the industry.

10. The Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

Beedie School of Business

Rounding off our top 10 MBA programs in Canada is the Beedie School of Business. Founded in 1965, the business school features multiple campuses across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Globally, Beedie ranks in the 151-200 region, but in Canada, it ranked sixth for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, eighth for return on investment, eighth for diversity, and 10th for thought leadership and employability respectively. The MBA program costs $39,581, with graduates hopefully raking in US$52,558 post-MBA compared to $32,948 before studying. One tell-tale sign about Beedie is the cohort consists of 53 percent women, showing gender parity can be reached.

9. Alberta School of Business, Edmonton

Alberta School of Business, Montréal

The Alberta School of Business is now more than 100 years old, and for those unaware, was actually the first business school in Canada to earn AACSB accreditation. Globally, Alberta School of Business is ranked 141-150, but in Canada ranks sixth for thought leadership, eighth for employability, 12th for return on investment, 14th for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, and 16th for diversity.

Tuition for the 20-month MBA program is US$46,119, with graduates earning on average US$54,033 post-MBA compared to US$33,230 before studying. The class size is smaller than some MBA programs with only 59 students per class, while the average student is 28-years-old with four years’ work experience under their belt.

8. John Molson School of Business at Concordia University, Montréal

John Molson School of Business, Concordia University

Brand new to the rankings this year and jumping into the top 10 is John Molson School of Business, the second Montréal institution landing into the region's coveted top 10, and is ranked globally in the 111-120 spot. It landed Canada's top spot for return on investment in its first year, seventh for diversity, ninth for employability, 12th for thought leadership, and 13th for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes. The 16-month MBA program costs US$10,592, which may feel like a blessing to students thanks to the average spike in salary post-MBA to US$69,287 from US$33,449.

At John Molson, there are roughly 81 students in class, with an average age of 29 and six years' work experience. The business school opened its doors to students from 25 nationalities, with 68 percent international students on the cohort. 

7. The UBC Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

UBC Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

First established in 1956, the UBC Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration was renamed the UBC Sauder School of Business in 2003, courtesy of a generous $20 million endowment from Dr William Sauder. It’s ranked 101-110 position, up from 121-130 last year, but for individual criteria in the Canada region, it comes third for thought leadership, third for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, sixth for employability, 12th for diversity and 15th for return on investment.

Sauder's tuition for the MBA program is US$61,786, and although relatively cheap for some MBA programs, the financial boost after graduation isn't extremely high at US$59,627, compared to US$52,410 before studying. But similar to the previous business school, Sauder's MBA students take part in a small to medium size class with 97 students, while students in the cohort are 29-years-old on average, with six years' work experience.

6. HEC Montréal

HEC Montréal

With more than 100 years in existence and over 70,000 students educated at HEC Montréal it’s clear to see why the business school has retained its sixth position in Canada’s top 10 for the second year in a row. The institution just misses out on a top 100 spot in the global ranking, as this year the business school is situated in the 101-110 ranks. Within Canada, it ranks third for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, fourth for employability, fifth for return on investment, ninth for thought leadership and 10th for diversity.

The students on the MBA program at HEC Montréal are slightly older with more experience than previous schools listed. On average, students are 31-years-old with seven years' work experience. The 12-month MBA program is cheap in terms of MBA programs in North America at US$26,440, and graduates can hope to earn US$63,835, up from US$57,742 pre-MBA studies.

5. The Smith School of Business at Queen's University, Ontario

Smith School of Business, Queen's University

Although the Smith School of Business remains at fifth position for Canada. Smith has moved up the Global MBA Rankins this year to 85th from 88th. Smith is now ranked first for employability in Canada (up from second), seventh for thought leadership, remains eighth for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, 14th for return on investment and 11th for diversity.

The 12-month program costs US$67,689, but the average salary post-MBA is US$87,071.

4. Schulich School of Business at York University, Toronto

Schulich School of Business, York University

Now we have our second Toronto institution in the top 10, which has also managed to keep its position for a second year in a row. The Schulich School of Business prides itself on being a global school, and describes its MBA as a passport to success. For the Canada region, it’s second for return on investment, fourth for diversity, fifth for though leadership, seventh for employability, and seventh for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes. Schulich also rose in the Global MBA Rankings from joint 82nd to 76th.

2= Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario

Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario

Sharing the podium with Desautels is last year’s number reigning silver institution Ivey Business School. As one of the most prominent business schools in Canada, it’s no wonder Ivey held onto its position for a second year. Ranked 61st in our Global MBA Rankings 2019, Ivey’s ranks second for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, third for employability, sixth for return on investment, fourth for thought leadership and sixth for diversity.

The cohort class consists of 170 students, which seems to be quite a bit higher for Canadian business school. On the financial side, the 12-month MBA program will set students back US$84,817, but there is a slight rise post-graduation with salaries to US$59,490 from US$51,774.

David Wood, Ivey MBA Program Director, says “Ivey develops leaders through a unique program of experiential learning. Our students not only understand the fundamentals of business, but the application necessary to succeed over their career. The program focuses on developing wisdom and not simply knowledge.

“Our reputation as one of the top business schools has been developed through the success of our alumni. 52 percent of our alumni hold an executive level position in their organizations. Each year more than eight thousand alumni engage with Ivey. Their MBA experience has been transformational not only for their career but for their leadership development.”

2= The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Montréal

Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Moving up into silver position from bronze in our Canadian ranking this year is the Desautels Faculty of Management. Globally, Desautels has moved up to 61st from 66th, whereas in Canada, Desautels has soared to first spot for diversity (up from sixth place last year), and landed first position for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, second for thought leadership and employability respectively, third for return on investment. In fact, Desautels has managed to improve all five of its indicator scores.

Desautels has almost reached gender parity as 45 percent of students in the cohort are female, and with 21 nationalities and 84 percent international students you could say it's quite a diverse cohort. The 22-month program costs US$70,880, and graduates seemingly strike it lucky with their salaries, earning US$74,179 on average post-MBA compared to US$38,292 before their studies.

Professor Alfred Jaeger, Academic Director, MBA and PMBA Programs (Desautels Faculty of Management) says, "What sets us apart is the intimate cohort size, which creates a close-knit community.

"Combined with a personalized environment, the small cohort fosters unparalleled opportunities for students to get involved in extracurricular activities, have direct access to their professors, and network closely with their peers, career coaches, and members of the business community who regularly come in to guest lecture.

"Not only do we weave in industry expertise into the MBA, we integrate our latest management research into our teaching. Our professors come from all over the world, most have worked on research projects abroad and many continue to have research collaborations, thereby bringing a strong global perspective to the classroom."

But what does Jaeger think of rankings? HE says, "Rankings are a good starting point for candidates to research about the MBA programs but only tell part of the story. At Desautels, MBA candidates are successful and have impact on their communities in a variety of ways that are not always quantifiable. Therefore, it is important for prospective applicants to find the school that best fits their priorities from an academic, professional and experiential perspective."

 1. The Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Rotman, part of the University of Toronto, is on a mission to become one of the world's top business schools, and at number one for the Canada region, the b-school is definitely going places.

The competitive school prides itself on being selective, which clearly works as it also landed a spot in the top 50 institutions globally at 43rd. Within Canada, Rotman is ranked first for thought leadership, second for diversity and also for employability, third for return on investment, and fourth for entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes.

Students seem to be slightly younger at Rotman, with an average age of 27 and four years' work experince. However, Rotman has one of the largest class sizes in Canada with 350 students. The 18-month program costs US$92,868 and graduates earn US$73,853 on average. 

The class is made up of 41 percent female students, 52 percent international students, and 35 different nationalities.

This article is based on 2020 data, check out the latest Global MBA programs rankings here.

This article was originally published in September 2018 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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