Here are the Target Undergraduate Schools in Canada

thefinancekid
Rank: King Kong | banana points 1,216

EDIT: Changed rankings to place Ivey in 1st place instead of UBC Sauder PMF as people I've talked to think it's unfair to compare the top 7 kids at Sauder to entire schools. And, to be fair, the top 7 kids at Ivey/QC place comparably to Sauder PMF kids and Sauder as an entire school doesn't crack the top 3.

I've seen a lot of posts asking about target schools for finance in Canada. Since I've done a lot of research, I'm going to provide a quick summary to current/future students in Canada looking to break into Bay Street or Wall Street right out of college (without MBA, CFA, etc.)

The major difference between US schools and Canadian ones is that Finance recruits almost solely from undergraduate business programs whereas in America, as long as you study any subject at a prestigious university with lots of alumni connections like the Ivy Leagues, you are considered in a target school. So in Canada, you kinda have to know you want to do finance/business early on if you want to break into the industry out of college.

  1. Richard Ivey School of Business (HBA Program) - This is a 2 year Case Method-based program that takes place 3rd year and 4th year in class of ~600 students. In the class of 2016, 32% grads worked in Finance (with avg. compensation of $90k) and 14% worked in Consulting. Ivey is the most significant Wall Street target in Canada with about 10% of grads working in the states. In class of 2016, 9 Ivey grads got FT IB positions at Goldman Sachs (compared with 11 for Wharton Undergrads class of 2016... pretty darn good for Canada). Elite boutiques like Evercore and Moelis and Qatalyst Partners recruit Ivey grads regularly. There are places that take students only from Ivey such as Silverlake and GS LA. Ivey has the best career guidance, networking guidance, and on campus recruiting. The alumni network is OP (grads have been recruited to GSIP, Leonard Green, and others b/c of alumni networking). They likely have the most extensive network in high finance in North America out of all Canadian schools. Consulting firms like Bain also love Ivey students b/c the case method IS essentially consulting. S&T recruitment is decent but definitely not the focus of Ivey.
  2. Queen's Commerce (QC for short) - This is considered Ivey's rival school and in some aspects it's the same/as good as Ivey but Wall Street recruitment is not as strong. About 26% of grads work in Finance and 10% in Consulting. There's a club named QUIC that has members/executives who regularly make it to Wall Street/Bay Street - though only 4% work in USA. QC is known as a haven for privileged incoming private high school students who dominate networking and get most of the prestigious club positions and ultimately jobs. It's a 4 year program so there are some benefits for students who want to solely study business. Many say Bay Street has more QC students than Ivey but I haven't found info/data to support this. QC has less attention from Elite Boutiques compared to Ivey but QC still gets awesome regular recruiters like GS NYC and Morgan Stanley... and if ur interested, QC sent 7 of 2016 grads to Goldman IB.
  3. McGill Desautels - Students from Desautels BCom program is also a notable school. Particularly praised is the Honours in Investment Management Program/Major that sends a quite a few kids to Wall Street and a lot of Bay Street including a few to Goldman Sachs. The alumni network and campus recruiting/guidance are definitely not as substantial as Ivey/QC. The program has a lot of international students. 9% work in the states and 16% work internationally (Non-US) after graduation. Employment statistics are not up to par with Ivey/QC in terms of grads' ability to find jobs and graduating salaries.

Other Schools to Consider (in no precise order):
UBC Sauder (as a entire school, not just PMF program) - UBC has a lot of international students and although generally it isn't considered a target by any means, Sauder has the most presence in Asian Pacific Finance b/c of alumni connections. However, you likely have to be asian and have connections to the region to get these positions. UBC occasionally sends kids to Goldman S&T most likely because the first female S&T MD in GS NYC is a Sauder grad. Vancouver is a not a great finance location in Canada - much less going on here than in Toronto and Calgary. Vancouver has a lot of wealth/asset management firms because the city is home to many wealthy retirees and immigrants.

UBC Sauder portfolio management Foundation (PMF) - this is a program within Sauder that selects about 7 kids per year during second year. It's really competitive to get in so don't go to Sauder just to bank on getting into the PMF program. PMF manages a real multimillion dollar investment fund and PMF students have GUARANTEED internships at top firms as well as mentors and access to networking with top Sauder finance alumni. Grads of PMF go on to work in the most prestigious positions such as in Goldman Sachs Investment Partners (GSIP) or in KKR as a PE analyst.

Waterloo University - Waterloo is the NUMBER 1 PLACE FOR QUANTITATIVE FINANCE!! If Math, Computer Science, and Finance is your jam, Waterloo has a lot of grads placing in US quant hedge funds (like D.E Shaw and Citadel) and in other quant roles within Banks. Waterloo also has pretty good amount of Sales and Trading opportunities too. The Waterloo Math/Computer Science and Laurrier BBA Double Degree is an example of a strong program at Waterloo. Sales and Trading is also becoming popular and extremely strong, especially with the increasing demand for technical skills like programming in S&T. Prop Trading firms also strongly recruit Waterloo grads - an example is Jane Street.

UofT Rotman Comerce - Although Rotman's MBA program is stellar, it's undergrad program isn't great. The Finance and Economics specialist isn't that useful (Academic/Theory/Research focused). Career services is really trash and you most likely have to rely on your own ability to network in order to find placements. However, being the the center of Toronto does give you an edge with accessibility to networking and unique opportunities like part time jobs in the city. Rotman is not known to send many students in finance. The Rotman Commerce classes/offices are located in the basement of Woodsworth College - you don't actually get hang around in the nicer MBA building often. Rotman also a lot of international students. Talking to Rotman grads, all in all, they send about 5-10 grads into Banking each year which is not ideal.

University of Alberta - Like UCalgary, UAlberta sends a lot of grads to energy-related finance and IB in Alberta. The PRIME program (which manages an Investment Fund like Sauder's PMF) is where all the finance-keen students are. Regional S&T is also strong here as well as regional IB BB offices (though these offices tend not be as good at ones in NYC & Toronto due to prestige, pay, and deal-flow). UAlberta is a powerhouse for energy-related finance such as commodities trading, Acquisitions & Divestures, etc.

University of Calgary Commerce - UCalgary is seimilar to UAlberta when it comes to banking in Alberta region which fyi is the energy rich area of Canada. For example, JP Morgan has an IB office located there which regularly takes UCalgary's Bcom students. However, UCalgary isn't known to place well in Bay/Wall Street.

York University - Schulich School of Business
Does decent for Bay Street but presence on Wall St. is non-existent (w/ few exceptions like ones who go to GS Equity Research in Salt Lake City which is not as good at IB). Schulich recently placed ~10 students in IB, S&T, and ER altogether.

Feel free to comment to add anything I missed! I might add other schools to the list later but they really are insignificant and not really considered "targets".

Comments (64)

Apr 28, 2017

I graduated from a top 3 from your list and work at one of the names you mentioned. Good list you gathered - can confirm these seem accurate.

I would put Waterloo / Laurier's AFM (not sure if spelled right) program up there. It's not quite at Queens / Ivey / PMF level but it is certainly on the rise.

Also, I would emphasize not going to UBC just for the PMF program. The best chance you will get breaking into finance imo without any family background is Ivey. Queens is not 100% based on merit and PMF could be a crap shoot. Ivey has a ton of flaws in its programs but I would say in general (note I said in general), it gives the best chance for finance recruitment.

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Apr 28, 2017

Thanks for the feedback. Will add Laurier BBA/Waterloo on there. Do you mind sharing your thoughts on the "flaws" of Ivey?

Best Response
Apr 30, 2017

I'll briefly mention pro along with cons. Aside from the good things you hear about Ivey (good alumni network, OCR, etc.), the biggest strength people don't really mention is how tight the finance community is at the school. When recruiting comes around for HBA1s, HBA2s will go out of their way to give them mock interviews. Other schools do it to some extent but Ivey from what I have seen does it the best. Ivey finance alum are more inclined to help out than other schools because they were helped when they were in Ivey so it is just paying it forward.

Now onto the flaws of Ivey - just thinking off the top of my head based on what I have heard so others feel free to chime in:

  1. The case based method is a very subjective way of marking a student. The more outspoken ones are more likely going to get higher grades than the quiet ones even if they are just spewing verbal diarrhea. Your contribution grades are marked based on the perception your peers and professors have of you. This matters because in order to get great marks you need good contribution marks (it has the highest standard deviation compared to 48 and exam, generally speaking). In order to get your prefigious interviews in finance, you generally need 85+ to be safe (along with EC and prior internships). This means being top 5 - 10% of your year. However, I would say most people get what they minimally deserve so among uncertainty, vast majority of the people that do want it will break in just fine
  2. Given most finance recruiting is getting earlier and earlier these days, the kids at WIC will have a tremendous amount of advantage. You are in best shape if you know you want to do finance as early as possible in university so you can tailor your courses and ECs and internship experience towards finance. This defeats the purpose of exploring another degree in your first two years (2+2)
  3. Because of keen fucks like WSO readers being in Ivey, you might feel compelled to do IBD or consulting when interviews do come out even if you are not sure (same with other competitive programs, probably more so at Ivey from what I know). Great for kids that know that know what they want, bad for kids that do not know what they are getting themselves into
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Apr 30, 2017

Thanks for mentioning those points! +SB

May 1, 2017

Great points. Just to expand on that, if you're involved in things like WIC or some of the other big finance clubs you'll get a lot of help from them even in first year. This year the WIC guys were so helpful in helping me prep for my first real summer interviews, they sent me the relevant Breaking into Wall Street Prep stuff, gave me some good recommendations to help with my accounting and ran some mocks with me. Its the little things that people do for you that make all the difference.

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Apr 28, 2017

How does SFU Beedie compare?

Apr 28, 2017

SFU Beedie is not a target for Wall Street AT ALL if that's what you're wondering. However, it does place decently for Bay Street if you are part of BEAM (similar to Sauder PMF but not as good of a program). SFU BEAM kids also do extremely well for finance jobs in Vancouver but that may not be what you are hoping for.

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Apr 28, 2017

This is a very Toronto specific/NY specific list which I agree with. But I think there are great opportunities at top Alberta schools to score IB opportunities in Calgary and Houston (UCalgary, UAlberta)

Apr 28, 2017

Agreed! I forgot to about that - Will definitely add Alberta banking targets to the list later! Thanks

Apr 28, 2017

I have a few issues with your list (and I ran recruitment for one of the big 5 banks). As other have mentioned, you are missing quite a lot of targets that get OCR from regional offices (HEC, Concordia, UCalgary, UAlberta). Schulich and Laurier get OCR. Also, banks will do resume drops for a few more schools which will can include, but are not restricted to Dalhousie, U of Manitoba, U of Saskatchewan (I guess are considered semi-targets).

PMF is definitely a good program, but it's relatively new and not well know so I really disagree that it's the best program in Canada. Ivey is recognized by pretty much everyone to be the best program in Canada. In terms of Canadian recruiting, I would also say that logistics aside, it doesn't really matter where you go to school. Obviously if you want to go to NYC, then it's a different question as Ivey, Queen's and McGill benefit from OCR.

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Apr 28, 2017

Yea the list is really geared to Bay Street/ Wall Street recruiting. I will try to add some of other schools to the list for regional finance recruiting. PMF is the best program - it's not relatively new, it's been there for decades. If you look at PMF grads, all them are funneled to wall street.

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May 2, 2017

PMF is NOT a new program. It was established in 1987 well before any other student-run investment funds in Canada. It is precisely the reason why the organization is so renowned. The history, alumni (google Jacki Zehner), and GLOBAL recognition (ties to the top firms in New York, London and Hong Kong) are unparalleled. Just look at the list of PMF's employers the past couple of years: KKR (SF & NY offices), Apollo (NY), Lazard (SF), Goldman Sachs IB, Goldman Sachs trading, Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Liberty Harbor) and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners.

Don't get me wrong. If you're looking for the best school it's Ivey. However, having the PMF attached to your name IMO exceeds an Ivey degree or WIC...which is why the OP justifiably ranked it #1.

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Apr 30, 2017

There's a reason why Ivey has the highest tuition...

Jul 8, 2017

Ivey has high tuition but it's not that far off from Queen's and Rotman Commerce if you were to add up the tuition and costs of living for 4 years without doing any Present Value calculations - Ivey's only 2 years. But yea, 26k per year in tuition is still definitely hefty for a Canadian school but worth it to many.

May 1, 2017

It is actually less tuition than what international students would pay for in Computer Science or Engineering at U of T. Last 2 years of Ivey runs for about 36k for international students whereas the programs I mentioned at U of T costs for more than 45k a year for all 4 years. So I guess international students value engineering or science education more than business.

Apr 30, 2017

Sounds like a very reasonable list both from a banking and consulting perspective. Great post!

Apr 30, 2017

Thank you!

May 1, 2017

get drunk and eat chicken fingers

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May 1, 2017

Alright

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May 1, 2017

What are target GRADUATE programs in Canada?

May 1, 2017

That sir, i haven't researched well enough

May 1, 2017

It's really only Rotman.

May 1, 2017

Yea probably wouldn't want stay in Canada for MBA ideally

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May 2, 2017

From the research I've done it seems that US graduate education is unparalleled worldwide in terms of opportunities and career impact.

Maybe INSEAD can compete if you're talking about management consulting.

May 1, 2017

Thanks for doing this! Do you have any thoughts on Laurier's BBA, with or without the double degree?

May 1, 2017

Laurier BBA is not really known as a strong finance or consulting school. They send a few kids to Toronto banking each year at best. The double degree with Waterloo is a much stronger program (although it takes 5 years and is much more rigorous than normal BBA b/c of Waterloo's math/computer science difficulty). Double degrees get best of both worlds - having access to Laurier's business network and Waterloo's quant network. However the double degree isn't really strong at BOTH ends - quantitative finance or IB. If you want to do quant finance, just get a waterloo maths/comp sci single degree. If you want to do straight up Investment Banking or Private Equity, just go to Ivey or Queen's.

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May 1, 2017

well if u are looking to transfer to one of these schools, go to Ivey

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May 1, 2017

Ivey sends a lot of people as an absolute number into great places, but remember the class is ~600 (the largest in Canada) so not everyone coming out is going to a BB. Still a great option though.

May 1, 2017

It's still considerably the best in Canada. sure it won't beat Wharton or Stern but proportionally, it does better than Queen's Commerce, Sauder, or any other program in terms of % of grads going into Finance and Consulting. 600 is not that large anyways, i believe Rotman Commerce has like 800 and so does Sauder.

May 1, 2017

Damn, you're right about the size--didn't think UofT/UBC were that big.

May 1, 2017

Wharton and Stern both have around the amount of students per year as Ivey too. And i believe it's not too far off from the number of kids at Queen's Commerce

May 2, 2017

Thoughts on York Schullich vs UofT Scarborough Campus for Finance Co-op? My younger brother has to choose between the above and UofT Rotman Commerce due to financial reasons. We're not too sure if we can consider sending him to Ivey as a transfer student for the last 2 years as an option. We attempted to transfer in my other younger brother to Ivey but UofT Rotman had that stupid strike back in 2015 and messed up his grades/his application to Ivey as a result. FYI I think you should mention how big the transfer class is for Ivey as I've heard there's only about 1 section or classroom of transfer students that get in (30-50?)

Looking for some Canadians for chime in on Schullich vs UofT Scarborough Finance Co-op!

May 2, 2017

There are about 40 transfer spots available. I'm not sure about how many apply many apply and thus the acceptance rate for ivey transfers. Tbh idk much about UTSC vs Schulich. Just curious, is your younger brother choosing UTSC/Schulich over Rotman? If so, why (just curious)? I think when it comes down to it, both Schulich and UTSC are decent schools but not really targets. I don't think going one over the other will give you huge advantages when if your aim is finance. I think it's more important to see which program your brother likes better.

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May 2, 2017
thefinancekid:

UofT Rotman Comerce - Although Rotman's MBA program is stellar, it's undergrad program isn't great. The Finance and Economics specialist isn't that useful. Career services is really trash and you most likely have to rely on your own ability to network in order to find placements. However, being the the center of Toronto does give you an edge with accessibility to networking and unique opportunities like part time jobs in the city. Rotman is not known to send many students in finance. The Rotman Commerce classes/offices are located in the basement of Woodsworth College - you don't actually get hang around in the nicer MBA building. Rotman also a lot of international students. Talking to Rotman grads, all in all, they send about 5-10 grads into Banking each year which is not ideal.

So basically I'm the oldest of my two other brothers and the middle brother is currently graduating from UofT Rotman Commerce. He initially was doing finance then strike i mentioned screwed around with his grades/app for ivey thus he thought about switching to com sci but he stuck it out with accounting. During his application process he spoke with the career centre alot about getting the documents and what not to transfer however they actually tried to stop him from transferring. His arguement was that he wanted statistics that the ugrad program was actually getting students' jobs and what not. Career centre made up some bs and TL;DR - Ugrad Rotman Commerce doesn't mean crap now.

Based on my personal experience/network, Schullich is the best within Toronto to get into IB at least (If you have to stay due to financial reasons). Based on what i've seen on LinkedIn, a lot of them get into the big 5 banks/i know the few that have gone onto Goldman Sachs in the SLC office. UofT Scarborough Co-op has gotten a decent amount of students into a variety of finance roles with the Co-op program although not as much for IB/S&T/Consulting for full time.

I'm on the end of the stick with the non target of Toronto and I can only say our Business Technology Management is decent (A lot of alum in tech consulting at big 4/IBM) although we have a brand new program similar AFM at Waterloo now. The business program isn't the greatest however there's a few doing capital markets back office roles, commercial banking and some doing boutique/small shop IB. I know a few people that have come to attend just so they can fix their grades up and transfer to Ivey because they couldn't get AEO status during high school.

May 2, 2017

Crush Schullich and your brother will be fine. They even have a track record of sending to management consulting which is something UTSC students have nearly zero chance at (MBB).

May 3, 2017

I always thought of Rotman as pretty sketchy. They are really hiding their career stats and yet they are still trying to get as many Rotman students as they can by posting anecdotes of their occasional rotman student who gets recruited to Deloitte or smt.

May 3, 2017

Funny that you mention that. My brother found some sort of internal memo that mentioned to specifically not hire from Ugrad UofT Rotman Commerce for Monitor Deloitte (Management Consulting Division) during one specific year

May 3, 2017

Interesting... Do you know why Deloitte refrained from hiring Rotman Commerce students?

May 3, 2017

As an Ivey undergrad alum who went after going to Waterloo initially, this info is wrong. Only about HALF the class are AEO (ie. students pre-accepted into Ivey), while the other half are students who either apply from University of Western Ontario (UWO, which is the broader university Ivey is a part of) or from other schools. There are probabaly more than 40 spots.

May 2, 2017

Idk when you graduated but I talked to current students at Ivey and they all said around 40 transfers came in last year. I'm guessing UWO is taking in more and more AEO students rather than relying on transfers to fill the class.

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May 3, 2017

I think the difference is AEO vs students applying from UWO vs students from other schools. So while only half are AEOs, probabaly a majority is left for students from UWO, hence the small number from other schools.

May 3, 2017

from my understanding though, I had a friend from class of 2014 said there was only 1 "section" or class for transfer from non UWO

May 4, 2017

I doubt they out all the non UWO kids into same section. He was probabaly referring to numbers. One section is about 70 kids.

May 2, 2017

Great post; speaking from experience, your comments on Rotman undergrad are spot on! I would definitely say the main strength of UofT from a finance perspective is the location. Being in proximity to Bay St. allows obvious benefits including firm presence at on-campus events & networking opportunities. I would agree that Career Services do not do much to help, their counselors are few and overworked. It really is up to the initiative of the individual at the end of the day.

May 2, 2017

Thank you!

May 2, 2017

Would you recommend transferring to McGill for finance (not HIM) if I am currently at a non-target?

May 2, 2017

This is about the best breakdown of finance recruiting in Canada I have seen.

As a former Ivey/HBA, I agree that the US recruiting is excellent. If you go on Evercore's website, Ivey is actually an undergrad target school.

I would just add one thing that Waterloo also has a very strong actuarial science program that is a backdoor into finance for a lot of people. I used to work with a lot of the pension/insurance derivative teams at investment banks and the investment/portfolio management arms of fixed income shops like PIMCO/Prudential etc. You would be shocked by how many Waterloo actuaries you run into.

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May 2, 2017

Thank you! I'll add the Evercore thing in the post

May 2, 2017

@Starberry My cous is actually trying to decide between Waterloo and Ivey or Queen's Commerce. Which sets you up for a better and higher-paying career in finance in long run? The waterloo quantitative path or the traditional ibanking path with ivey/queens? I've been telling him to got to waterloo

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May 3, 2017

Well, it depends on what your cousin is good at right?

If he is good enough at the quant stuff, go to Waterloo. Just know that your cousin will probabaly need a masters degree or even a PhD to be REALLY competitive in that field.

If it's corporate finance, it's Ivey and not close.

Also, going to Ivey was a MUCH better college experience vs Waterloo where it was a bunch of dudes in comp sci.

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May 22, 2018

hey do you think waterloo CFM is a great program? im interested in both cs and finance

May 3, 2017

Thank you for the list and the comments here. All very helpful.

May 3, 2017

Glad you found it useful!

May 7, 2017

Very well said & explained. Really helped my decisions on post secondary educations!

May 7, 2017

Glad it helped fellow Canadian :)

May 9, 2017

Good post overall. I graduated from a top 3 on the list and confirm it's mostly accurate. I would add that GS LA does not recruit exclusively from Ivey anymore. QC placed one FT GS LA from class of 2016 and there is another joining from class of 2017. I would also add QC had its first full time placement with The Blackstone Group PE from its class of 2015. Also Moelis NY is starting to hire more from QC with a couple placements over the last two years. Just some recent developments in QC recruiting.

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May 9, 2017

great! thanks for adding on

May 31, 2017

What are your thoughts on McGill Desautels for finance? Since I never studied english, I am also considering HEC Montreal. I have a 33 r score in cegep (92% school average) and I am trying to get in honours at McGill. Thanks alot!

Jun 15, 2017

Thanks man! And about postgraduate for international (EU) students do you suggest something?

Nicest haircut than Bateman

Jun 19, 2017

Awesome post and I would say very accurate in terms of the business undergrads offered in Canada. Would you be able to offer any insight into the MBA scene in Canada? Granted I know it is not as competitive and likely as value added as attending a M7/T15 US MBA but does it still allow the opportunity to break into MBB consulting? Specifically wondering about the strength of Rotman for consulting as it is traditionally seen as a finance focused MBA. Thanks!

Jun 19, 2017

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