Are you one of our hyper-focused high schoolers that’s considering a career in business? There are several reasons you might consider pursuing higher education in Canada.
Some prospective students are attracted to the lower tuition prices and higher acceptance rates of top Canadian schools versus stateside schools. Others love the exceptional international flair found in cities like Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. You might love the fact that Vancouver is consistently listed as one of the world’s most livable cities and Montreal as one of the world’s best cities for international students. For some of those reasons, or maybe due to a strange affinity for cold weather, there are many top business students who enroll in universities in Canada every year.
Below is our list of top 10 Canadian undergraduate schools for those hoping to launch a career in management consulting. We’re excited to be launching a new MC Rankings series of posts in the upcoming months – so stay tuned!
1. University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management)
Consistently ranked as one of the top 25 universities in the world and as the top university in Canada, U of T hosts 80,000+ students across its 3 different campuses – it’s larger than most cities in Canada! With a broad range of academic programs and a top-3 North American university library (giving Harvard and Yale some key competition), the school has developed quite a prestigious reputation.
All 3 of the MBB firms as well as several of the Big 4 and Tier 2 firms (Accenture, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Mercer,PwC) have their offices within 2 miles of the university’s downtown campus, providing extraordinary opportunities for interactions between university students and the firm.
In addition, and perhaps more importantly, all of the top 3 firms (and numerous other firms including the ones mentioned above) consistently recruit from the University of Toronto, making it an ideal launchpad to break into consulting.
2. University of Western Ontario (Richard Ivey School of Business)
The University of Western Ontario (commonly called Western University by Canadians) is located about 2 hours southwest of Toronto in London, Ontario and has 28,000+ students.
Although UWO offers a wide variety of academic programs, MBB firms only recruit students from the Richard Ivey School of Business. Richard Ivey ranks among the top Canadian business schools making it a suitable school for Canadians looking at breaking into consulting.
3. Queen’s University
Situated roughly halfway between Toronto and Montreal, QUEEN’s University is located in KINGston, Ontario. (Man, these Canadians seriously can’t get enough of royalty!)
Queen’s has a student population of 24,000+ students, which is smaller than most of the universities listed above (the exception is HEC Montreal). McKinsey, BCG, and other firms love recruiting from Queen’s University, although Bain doesn’t recruit nearly as heavily from there.
4. McGill University (Desautels Faculty of Management)
Consistently ranked among the top 25 universities worldwide and also among the top 20 most beautiful university campuses, McGill University is another strong candidate for those looking to break into management consulting.
Although located in the bilingual city of Montreal, Quebec, McGill is considered an English speaking university and therefore knowing French is not mandatory (unless enrolled in McGill’s law school). If French is your strong suit, however, you may choose to submit assignments and exams in French.
McGill has 34,000+ students with about 20% of them being internationals. As McGill is a top ranked university, MBB and numerous other firms target top McGill students to fill their Montreal and Toronto offices. McKinsey and BCG’s Montreal offices have particularly strong ties to McGill.
5. HEC Montreal
HEC Montreal is the oldest management school in Canada; it is Université de Montréal’s independently affiliated business school. The school trains 12,000+ students a year and attracts recruiters from all 3 MBB firms and numerous other consulting firms.
Unlike McGill, proficiency in French is a MUST for undergrads as programs offered are either bilingual (English and French) or trilingual (English, French, and Spanish).
6. University of Waterloo
The University of Waterloo is located just over 1 hour west of Toronto and has a student population of 31,000+ students.
The school was initially founded with the intent of training technicians and engineers in 1957. Since then the school has consistently had a strong academic programs that have drawn recruiters from McKinsey and Bain and other firms, though not from BCG.
7. University Of British Columbia (Sauder School Of Business)
Finally, a school outside of Ontario and Quebec joins the party. UBC is the top West Coast Canadian university and is located in the beautiful city of Vancouver. The school has 55,000+ students. It’s located on a picturesque peninsula and is situated 1.5 hours away from world class skiing slopes.
Because UBC boasts a top business program, you might ask why UBC isn’t ranked higher on our list. The answer lies in a variety of factors. One is that Toronto and Montreal are the biggest business hubs in Canada, which in turn means that the 2 cities have a significantly higher demand for management consultants than Vancouver does.
Evidence of this is seen in the fact that none of the MBB firms have an office in Vancouver although several other firms like Accenture, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Mercer, PwC do. McKinsey’s Calgary office, however, does consistently recruit from UBC.
8. York University (Schulich School of Business)
York University, like many other top universities, is located in Ontario, and more specifically, in Toronto. The school has a student population of 54,000+ students and has a business school with a fun name, Schulich.
Bain is the only of MBB firms that recruits from York and it recruits specifically from Schulich.
9. University of Alberta
U of A is the coldest university on this list. Located in Edmonton, Alberta, the university has an average winter temperature of 5F (-15c) and recorded lows of -45F (-43C).
Don’t be scared too quickly though, as Edmonton is one of the most economically well-off cities in Canada and is also home to one of the world’s largest malls, West Edmonton Mall. U of A has 40,000+ students and is ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide and in the top 5 in Canada – although it’s only #9 on our Canadian Schools for management consulting ranking. McKinsey’s Calgary office recruits from U of A consistently, though Bain and BCG don’t.
One side note about McKinsey’s Calgary office: if hired there, expect to work with a substantial number of clients in the oil and gas industry due to the fact that energy is Alberta’s largest industry.
10. University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is located in Southern Alberta, where the temperature is more manageable than Edmonton and the world-renowned national park, Banff, is only 1.5 hours away.
That’s our list of top 10 schools for management consulting in Canada. If we were 18 and preparing to attend a school in Canada with the prospects of being a consultant, we’d aim for the top 5 schools. That’s just our 2 cents though – maybe you enjoy being really cold (if so, see option #9).
Again, Canada has top universities that provide launchpads for management consultants. Though these top Canadian universities might not be quite as prestigious as Harvard, Stanford, or other Ivy League U.S. colleges, they provide an option for those who enjoy lower prices, higher acceptance rates, great quality of life, and vibrant international culture.