Comparing Canadian Business Undergrad Programs

If you are looking to go into a business program in Canada and have no clue where to start your research, this is the guide for you!

Ivey HBA (Western University)

Admission Requirements

  • 90%+ grade 12 average
  • Prerequisite: Successful completion of a 4U math course
  • Strong extracurricular/volunteering/work experience


  • First two years: ~$70,000 – $14,000 per year
  • Last two years: ~$28,000 per year

Program Characteristics

  • 2+2 program (two years of general studies, two years of HBA)
  • If you are applying from high school, you must maintain AEO Status for two years in order to enter the HBA Program in your third year
    • Pro: Suitable for those who are unsure if a business career is right for them
    • Con: Maintaining AEO status requires a 80%+ average and multiple extracurricular activities, which may be stressful.
      • Solutions: Carefully pick your backup degree & take electives you genuinely enjoy
  • Broader types of material
  • Case-based learning
    • Virtually no theory-based lectures
    • More reliant on soft skills
  • Small number of students

Work Opportunities

  • The most domestically and internationally recognized of all Canadian business programs
  • Has better connections with companies and a stronger alumni network
    • There is an especially huge advantage for finance
    • NOTE: This is not an automatic ticket to finding work after you graduate. Employers care about education experience for only a few years.
  • Median salary of $73,000

Campus and City Life

  • Beautiful residences
  • Community-oriented (eg. generally cooperative culture, many student events and study groups, etc.)
  • Cheaper living expenses in London compared to larger cities
  • Not the most vibrant city, but offers enough places to visit
  • Less food choices

Smith School of Business (Queen’s)

Admission Requirements

  • 87%+ grade 12 average
  • Prerequisites:
    • ENG4U, minimum mark of 80%
    • MCV4U, minimum mark of 80%
    • One other 4U course in math, minimum mark of 80%
    • 3 additional 4U/M courses


  • ~ $18,000 per year

Program Characteristics

  • 4-year program (two years of general business classes, two years of specialization)
    • Pro: 4 years to learn about business and build network
    • Con: Harder to switch out if you decide to move to another career path
    • Con: First and second-year students have little to no freedom in course selections
  • Slightly more technical curriculum, with lots of math in the first two years
  • Smaller class sizes, lots of groupwork

Work Opportunities

  • Many industry events throughout the year
    • Recruitment starts in the fall, but different industries recruit at different times
  • Great support network (eg. mock interviews with career center, cover letter reviews)
  • Average base salary of $80,000

Campus and City Life

  • Huge array of restaurants
  • Not the most interesting town
  • More competitive environment
  • 200+ clubs

Rotman Commerce

Admission Requirements

  • 85%+ grade 12 average
  • Prerequisites: ENG4U + MCV4U + four other U/M courses


  • First two years: ~$7,000 per year
  • Last two years: ~$18,000 – $20,000 per year

Program Characterisitics

  • After 1st year, specialize in Accounting, Finance and Economics, or Management
  • Focus on hard skills, more academically challenging
  • Larger classes

Work Opportunities

  • The school as a whole has strong international reputation
  • Offers co-op for some specializations
  • Career services is not as useful
  • Lack of strong alumni network

Campus and City Life

  • Exclusive Rotman clubs and events
  • Bright and bustling city
  • Able to interact more with the city, not just the campus

Other Programs to Consider

  • Waterloo: AFM
  • McGill: Desautels
  • Laurier: Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

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