So I'm a Canadian high school student who just submitted applications to a bunch of top American schools that are target schools. I just want to preface by saying that I'm not some kid gung-ho on IB, I'm not going to choose my school or program based on maximizing my chances at landing some internship and so on. I am really interested in finance though. As much as I don't want my undergrad to be pre-professional, if I don't get in to the States and end up in Canada, I'm probably going to do a B.Com.

I'm pretty much set on McGill if I stay in Canada, with a major in either Mathematics or Finance from Desautels. I was just wondering if anyone knows about the quality of the program and opportunities out of McGill. Would it be hard to get jobs internationally? Is it possible to do S&T with a B.Com if there's a large emphasis on math?

Thanks for the help.

and yeah I know Ivey is the best program etc etc but I really don't want to go to Western.


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Comments (26)

Jan 3, 2009 - 3:06pm

Western and Queens are recruited for London and New York as well. UBC I think is recruited for New York. Haven't heard of any international recruitment at McGill for finance-type jobs.

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Best Response
Jan 3, 2009 - 5:18pm

If you are looking at Mcgill here is the deal. In terms of Canadian schools, McGill would stand on top in terms international recognition simply because of its top notch med & law programs. Alumni networks are strong and have historically been strong which spills over in terms of good recruitment at the school. So although Desautels may not be the best business program out there in Canada, the McGill brand attracts many firms. In terms of banking all top international banks recruit through the career center (GS alongside various divisions GSIP, GSSG, GS IBD, JPM, Citi, Merrill, what used to be LEH, Lazard, CS,MS, SocGen, etc….+ Canadian firms RBCCM, CIBC, Scotia, TD, BMO, NBF). Mostly these banks want to fill positions in their Canadian operations, Toronto, Montreal, or Calgary, but many times these positions are exclusively for NY, Dubai, London, Chicago, or HK. There are also other opportunities in sales & trading at these same institutions. You also get DE Shaw , some boutique Canadian PE firms, and other HF once in a while. Simply put you have the opportunities if you work hard enough and network. With that said you are usually competing not only against other McGill students, but with students from Western, Queens, UofT for 1-2 positions if it's for a Canadian office or other Ivy league schools for positions in the US (the odds are atrocious).
If you are into finance and have the math background, you should look at getting into these programs, if you do well this will set you apart: Honors Investment Management, Joint Honors Finance & Economics, Joint Honors Accounting & Finance. They also have Honors math if I'm not mistaken (stay away from majors if you are looking for quality). If you survive these programs with a decent GPA you should have plenty of options i.e. top Grad schools internationally or landing a solid job. Read up on it, and good luck.

Jan 3, 2009 - 9:23pm

If you want to stay in Canada, you'd probably be better off at Ivey, Queens, hell even Rotman. McGill, however, does have the most prestige internationally. I'd be hesitant to pick McGill, however, since your competition is going to be pretty stiff. I don't know if it's still true, but doesn't McGill traditionally have the highest test scores? (On the canadian CEGEP or whatever?)

Jan 3, 2009 - 11:59pm

Goldnugget sounds like he's been drinking quite a bit of mcgill koolaid... interesting first post on the site.

Jan 4, 2009 - 1:14am

this comes from first hand exp at desautel.

- international reputation
- strong alumni in all industries/regions all over the world, from middle east to asia
- montreal is a great city, excellent night life and culture
- opportunity to learn french and practice
- all top finance firms recruit here including Shaw, I can confirm that

- desautel is not the best business/finance faculty in terms of quality education, western is the best IMHO because of its case based method
- if you go to western ull have many more alumni in Canadian banking industry, from what I have seen this makes a big difference if you want to work in canada.

At times i regret not going to western but the experience of living in montreal was priceless.

Jan 4, 2009 - 2:09am

can anyone comment on western (richard ivey) alumni presence in Asia, particularly HK? I know that the school has an extension school in HK but I'm getting the sense that there are very few alumni in the region.

Jan 4, 2009 - 3:32am

Oh wow, a ton of replies.

I was going to apply to Queen's, but they had a ridiculously early deadline for scholarships. Every other school has a February deadline. I checked out their site on December 2nd (guidance counselors said not to worry about apps until after Christmas break), turns out the deadline was December 1st and at the time I was preoccupied with American applications. Even worse is that they have a $60,000 scholarship for Atlantic Canadians wanting to study commerce. Completely missed the boat on that one. As for Western, I don't want to go basically out of preference. I'd rather spend four years in Montreal and the $110 OUAC fee + $60 Western fee + $100 Ivey fee doesn't seem worth it for what would be my third choice in Canada which all come after all the American schools.

Thanks for all the input though, it's been really helpful. It sounds like there are lots of opportunities at McGill if I work my ass off make the best of what's available.

I applied to Harvard, Yale (deferred SCEA), Princeton, Penn (Wharton), Columbia and Dartmouth in the States. I think I have decent stats and stuff but the competition this year is ridiculous and it doesn't help to be an international. Hopefully at least one shows me some love.

Jan 4, 2009 - 3:45am

sidenote: nauru, are you sure about UBC? It's my second choice in Canada, but I've pretty much accepted that if I go there it would be a massive step down from Queen's/Western/even McGill in terms of finance opportunities, especially abroad.

Jan 5, 2009 - 9:51am
sidenote: nauru, are you sure about UBC? It's my second choice in Canada, but I've pretty much accepted that if I go there it would be a massive step down from Queen's/Western/even McGill in terms of finance opportunities, especially abroad.

UBC has a program called PMF where they give siick placements and historically the grads have done well (or so I've heard). It's tough as nails to get into, but I can't imagine a student who is Ivy-league caliber failing to make it in.

And the Ivey/QC discussion is very interesting! So far I've applied to QC, Ivey and Schulich (for Ontario) and I'm leaning to Ivey because of the career center. Plus, London is a bigger city.

OP: I would rule out QC if you're Chancellor's material. Ivey, if you really don't want to go, then don't...but you're missing out. As far as McGill goes, my friend has been telling me that they're pretty tightfisted with scholarship money. But if you have the money to go to the States for schooling, then I don't get why you want to apply to a Canadian school...maybe consider schools like UChicago, NWestern?

Jan 4, 2009 - 9:27am

I would have thought U of T does reasonably well being a stones throw from Bay Street? Can anybody shed some light on that?

I also understand they are pumping $200MM into Rotman so they maybe stepping up their game a fair amount in the years to come.

Jan 4, 2009 - 11:58am


The difference between Ivey and QSB is that Ivey is prestigious based on its past but is starting to lower its standards. QSB is on the rise and becoming more and more selective every year.

I have never heard of anyone saying "Got accepted at QSB and Ivey but chose Ivey." Only kids who go to Ivey are the ones that didn't get into QSB :)

Jan 4, 2009 - 5:52pm

guys guys you need to chill down a bit. we all know the school you go to is not as important in Canada as it is in NY. These are all good schools but don't look too closely at salary statistics because when these schools say "12% into investment banking" they mean all front office jobs including ER, sales, trading, banking etc not just IBD.

Speaking as someone who has attended 2 of these schools and knows people in banking personally from each of them the rankings for undergrad business programs in Canada should be:

  1. Ivey with 30-40 people going into IBD each year, enough said
  2. Queens with around 20 people into banking, GS Toronto and alot of other globals have huge QC alumni network
  3. Mcgill with their NY placements and international reputation
  4. Schulich with around 15 people, definately went up this past 2 years
  5. Laurier with their co-op program, these guys do pretty well because they compete against virtually no one for winter co-op terms at banks
  6. UofT
Jan 4, 2009 - 7:09pm

Wow Goon your assessment of U of T is pretty bleak, I knew things were bad, but not to that extent. Anyways, I already made the mistake of going to U of T. Fortunately, I'm in a reasonably strong position to make the transfer to Ivey. My GPA is 4.0 and my ECs are strong.

Since there seems to be people who know a fair amount about Ivey in here, how competitive is it to get in when transferring in from another uni as a 2nd/3rd year? I rang up recently and they said there are plans to expand the size classes too?

Apologies for jacking the thread a bit, but hey, decent Canada discussions here are few and far in between.

Jan 4, 2009 - 7:18pm

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