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MBAs in Canada

Getting a Master’s of Business Administration or MBA is a great way to get into Investment Banking as an associate in Canada. For the purposes of life quality, having a previous career in another field before doing an MBA and switching into banking may be the best option as you skip the grueling analyst years. If you are in undergrad and set on finance, we still encourage going through the analyst stream as you will be better prepared as an associate and have more money saved up.

If banking is not or no longer your goal, MBAs are a decent way to get into a management consulting position. Sales and Trading positions are also available to MBAs, but landing a Sales position is much more likely as Trading does not care too much for a degree that may be viewed as less quantitative (because it is). MBAs also place well in Corporate Banking roles, as graduates are seen as more polished and client-ready.

As a caution, MBAs from Canada are fine in Canada but are less than desired internationally. An MBA from Wharton will certainly get you a job in Toronto, but an MBA from Rotman will almost certainly not get you a job in New York. If you are doing an MBA in Canada, the quickest way to the US is to get into a Big 5 Canadian bank and then transfer internally after a year or lateral to another bank.

Choosing an International MBA

If prior work experience, a solid GMAT score and good grades from a reputable undergraduate program are satisfactory to get into any top 10 MBA school globally (Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton, INSEAD, etc.), there should be an evaluation of what the MBA is for and which one will best achieve your goals.

For instance, if purchasing a network and having international exposure and breadth are paramount, then INSEAD may be a top choice. If there is a demonstrated interest in finance or real estate, Columbia may be a top choice for depth and more focus in the alumni base. Similarly, certain schools have deeper alumni pools for technology, entrepreneurship, strategy consulting and industry and may be more alluring to certain candidates over others.

Canadian MBA Rankings

Although there are top quality candidates at the premier schools listed below, on average the collective candidate profile is much weaker than any top 10 US MBA and what we would argue are weaker applicants definitely make it into even the best program (Rotman). Average GMAT scores are much lower at Canadian MBA programs vs elite colleges outside of Canada (a rough, but we would argue descriptive measure).

  1. Rotman
  2. Ivey
  3. McGill
  4. Queen’s

We would not really consider any other MBA program as we do not see them as good platforms for landing top quality jobs (definitely appropriate for landing good jobs that are not the focus of this site). There is no point going any lower on the curve because even the top school is not that hard to get into. We will note that UBC MBAs also have access to the SCMP program that undergraduates do, but not the PMF program.

3 thoughts on “MBA

  1. Hi Matt,
    is breaking into IB as associates for MBA grads a norm in Canada? I only found a few people on Linkedin, might be biased though.

    1. It is rare. If you are doing your MBA, top or connected students from Ivey, Rotman and Queen’s will get most of the jobs (only a few for each bank). If you are done your MBA and working in finance or industry, you may be able to lateral in as an experienced hire but this is very rare – not that there are not a few people each year.

  2. Thank you Matt. Do you have any sense of the distribution of each year’s associates among these 3 MBA programs?

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