15 Best Business Schools in Canada – 2024

January 15, 2024

best business schools in canada

The best business schools in Canada are some of the finest worldwide, with many dating back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. From Halifax to Toronto, Canada offers the culture of Europe with the spirit of the New World. Canada boasts such prestigious business schools as the Rotman School of Management, École des hautes études commerciales, and McGill Desautels. These schools are at the global forefront of innovation, research, entrepreneurship and community-building. Researcher Barry E.C. Boothman writes of the growth in business education in Canada: “In key ways, the second half of the twentieth century was la belle époque for Canadian management education. The enrolment in business programs more than doubled each decade until the 1970s and even then continued to grow at a strong pace.”

While in the past, business programs may have had the reputation of being fairly “cut and dried,” now they represent not only innovation in the areas of finance, sales, marketing, management and accounting, but innovative learning as well, including hybrid programs, case-method and interdisciplinary learning. It is because of this creative approach to business study that continues to make it so popular. From 2020-21, 19% of undergraduates obtained bachelor’s degrees in business in the U.S.

Following is a list of the top 15 best business schools in Canada, ranked from highest to lowest.

 1) University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is listed as the best university in Canada by both Times Higher Education and U.S. News and is ranked in the top 25 globally. Named for Joseph L. Rotman, who made several generous donations to the university in the 90’s, the prestigious Joseph L. Rotman School of Management is located within the university. The school’s website promises: “By choosing the Rotman Full-Time MBA program, you’ll become part of the largest, brightest, and most diverse MBA program in Canada and a core hiring destination for major global employers.” A unique component of Rotman are the “Morning and Evening MBA programs […] designed for ambitious professionals who want to push the limits of what they can achieve in their careers.”

2) University of British Columbia

For the past 7 years, the Sauder School of Business at UBC was ranked Canada’s #1 best business programs by Maclean’s Education Magazine. Completed in 2012, the Sauder School of Business (Henry Angus building) earned multiple awards. These include the 2010 Sustainable Architecture & Building Canadian Green Building Award. Dubbed one of the most “livable” cities in the world because of its richly diverse landscape and “West Coast spirit”—UBC is one of Canada’s oldest universities. It offers a Bachelor of Commerce degree as well as a wide range of master’s and dual degrees. For example, the four-year Juris Doctor + MBA degree. Additionally, the university is dedicated to the “rebuilding of indigenous economies,” partnering with the Ch’nook and Métis Nations.

Top Business Schools in Canada (Continued)

3) University of Montreal

While the École des hautes études commerciales (HEC) has been affiliated with the Université de Montréal since 1915, it is an autonomous institution. A bilingual institution, the school was the first university-level business school in Canada, and one of the first in North America. It offers “nearly 150 management programs, from bachelor’s degrees to PhD, as well as many continuing education options. Over 60 of these programs offer a combination of on-site and distance learning to help balance school, work, and personal life.” As a French language school, it offers students wanting to pursue their French language skills along with their primary studies exciting opportunities to study abroad, including full immersion summer schools and camps.

4) Western University (University of Western Ontario)

Known for its case-method learning approach, Western University (formerly University of Western Ontario) is home to the Ivey School of Business. In 1948, the first MBA program was officially launched at UWO. This development came about when 100 of Canada’s top CEOs and presidents convened to discuss how business education could be expanded and improved. Following the MBA program’s successful launch, Canada’s first doctorate program in business administration was also launched at UWO in 1961. Between 2014-19 and 2022-23, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Ivey the #1 MBA program in Canada. Ivey has more than 32,000 alumni and 15,000 Executive Education alumni in 101 countries.

Best Business Schools in Canada (Continued)

5) McGill University

Rated by Mclean’s Education Magazine as the #1 research university for more than 15 years, McGill University boasts the highest percentage of international students. A quarter of its student body is comprised of students from 150 countries. Further, the university has also been ranked #1 for scholarships for more than 13 years. Founded in 1906, McGill Desautels, MU’s business school, offers an interdisciplinary learning model combining research, practice and teaching. It offers numerous research centers, including the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship and the Desmarais Global Finance Research Centre. McGill Desautel’s international alumni contribute to its Global Expert’s program. Lastly, this program provides students not only with applied learning, but internships and hiring opportunities.

6) University of Alberta

Home to the Alberta School of Business (ASB) is the longest continuously (AACSB) accredited business school in Canada. It started from “humble beginnings” in 1916, and now has more than 33,000 alumni living in 80 countries. While 80% of university students overall study at the undergraduate level, ASB offers a Bachelor of Commerce, an Energy MBA, a Master of Financial Management and a PhD, among other business programs. ASB is a top 5 ranking school in Canada, and in 2022 was ranked #30 in the world by Shanghai Ranking. In 2023, ASB showed its commitment to Indigenous perspectives in business by hosting the Indigenous Business PhD Students’ Mini Conference and Gathering.

Top Business Schools in Canada (Continued)

7) York University

In 2022, The Economist ranked York University’s Schulich School of Business as #1 in Canada. In 2023 it was ranked #1 by the Financial Times. For the past five consecutive years, the Schulich School of Business has also been recognized as a global leader by Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. Schulich Startups is part of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with its top goal being “supercharging student and alumni startups and careers.” This program has 3,000 community members and has supported 150 ventures to date. The Schulich School of Business also has several Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, including the Black Youth Entrepreneurship initiative.

 8) University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo was founded in 1957. However, its Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business School was not founded until 2002. A signature program at the school is the co-op model, allowing students to pursue “an entrepreneurial co-op option in which students start their own business while earning a co-op credit.” More than 120 of Waterloo’s undergraduate programs offer a co-op option. In 2022, Mclean’s ranked the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship #1 in Canada for “most innovative university” and “experiential learning.” In 2022, the business school was also ranked 21st in the world for founders by PitchBook university rankings. Waterloo business alum have gone on to found unique startups such as Instacart, Super and Clearco.

Best Business Schools in Canada (Continued)

 9) McMaster University

Founded in 1887 and named for benefactor William McMaster, who willed the bulk of his estate to the school, the university has Baptist roots. It is located in Hamilton, Ontario, and is home to the DeGroote School of Business. McMaster University is ranked #5 for Best Global Universities in Canada. Additionally, the DeGroote School of Business Master of Finance is ranked #131-140 in World University Rankings. Formerly the McMaster eBusiness Research Center, the McMaster Digital Transformation Research Center was founded in 2017. Its purpose is to “better understanding how the digital revolution is impacting individuals and transforming organizations and society at large.”

10) University of Calgary

Known as the Faculty of Business at its inception, Calgary’s business school was founded just one year after the university itself, in 1967. Later known as the Faculty of Management, the school became the second Canadian University to be accredited by AACSB International in 1985. In 2002, the Haskayne School of Business was named “after legendary Canadian businessman Richard F. Haskayne” after the Haskayne’s donated $16 million and real estate to the university. In 2017, the school partnered with the Schulich School of Engineering. This created Western Canada’s only combined engineering and business degree program. Ranked #7 in Best Global Universities in Canada, Haskayne formed the first-ever Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2020.

Top Business Schools in Canada (Continued)

11) Concordia University

The John Molson School of Business at Concordia University was established in 1974. Its core values are “responsibility, inclusiveness and engagement.” Located in Montreal, the largest city in Quebec and the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris, Concordia University offers students a smorgasbord of art, culture and study. It is one of the most diverse universities in Canada. Bloomberg Business Week ranked John Molson #4 in best business schools in Canada for 2023-24. Also, CEO Magazine ranked its EMBA program #3 in Canada, and #25 worldwide. The school offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, MBA and executive programs. It is also known for its excellent co-op education opportunities.

 12) University of Ottawa

In its “What Sets Us Apart” statement, the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa states: “We’re driven by a passion for delivering positive societal outcomes in line with what we value: people, the planet, and profit.” Further, on its “about” page, the school emphasizes “getting greener, getting heathier, getting happier and getting wealthier” as the pillars of its community, dedicated to “building a better Canada.” The university is ranked #9 in Best Global Universities in Canada. It offers more than 10 interdisciplinary programs alongside its undergraduate, graduate and executive options. Lastly, Notable Telfer alumni in the news include Michelle Savoy and her work “On Supporting Women in Capital Markets”.

Best Business Schools in Canada (Continued)

 13) Simon Fraser University

As a leading research university whose research income has reached $141.1 million dollars, SFU’s Beedie School of Business is based in Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway, Metro Vancouver, BC. The school has consistently placed among the top 100 schools in the world for its research output. In 2023, Maclean’s placed FSU first for innovation in Canada, and second in the world for entrepreneurial spirit. Much like the University of Waterloo, SFU Beedie offers one of Canada’s largest co-op education programs, which “allows our students to build hands-on experience throughout their educational journey.” The first school in Canada to offer an Executive MBA in 1968, the school offers full and part-time MBAs as well as online MBA.

 14) Dalhousie University

Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, “Dalhousie University is Atlantic Canada’s leading research-intensive university,” resulting in a budget of $200 million in research funding each year. Dalhousie’s total enrollment is just under 20,000. However, its research strengths are “big data, sustainable ocean and food security,” just to name a few. It has over 300 partnerships with universities from 67 countries, and its 4,000 international students hail from 120 countries. The university’s founding history is especially colorful. Lord Dalhousie was able to fulfill his dream of founding a college “open to all, regardless of class or creeds”. He did this by investing his share of British Royal Navy treasure taken from American privateers during the War of 1812.

Top Business Schools in Canada (Continued)

 15) University of Guelph

Reestablished in 1964, the University of Guelph grew out of the Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario Agricultural College and McDonald Institute, dating back 150 years. It is home to the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. The school was renamed in 2019 for Stu and Kim Lang after they donated $21 million dollars to the institution. Gordon is “committed to developing leaders with a social conscience, an environmental sensibility and a commitment to their communities.” The school offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs that cover both traditional and unique topics. Examples include entrepreneurship, food and agribusiness, international business and sport and event.

Additional Resources – Best Business Schools in Canada

Want more articles such as “Best Business Schools in Canada?” Check out: