McMaster Commerce vs McGill Arts (Joint Honours Econ/Finance)

Hello All,

I am currently a Gr.12 student from Canada who wants to pursue Finance, and moreover Investment Banking (cliche, I know, haha).

I applied to the top business schools here: Western Ivey, Queen's Commerce, McGill Desautels, Laurier BBA, etc. and got rejected from all of them. Thus, I am left with the two best options in the title. Now, I would like to compare what I have learned about each programme.

McMaster DeGroote Commerce:

McMaster DeGroote is not a target school for Finance, and I realize that. But, I do think it could serve me well as a stepping stone towards bigger things. I recently spoke to an alumnus of the program, and he said told me that he graduated with a 3.2 GPA, and didn't know he wanted to go into Finance until his senior year of university. But, he was able to get an MBA at a US School, and now works at a top Middle Market Investment Bank in NYC as an Investment Banking Analyst. He also told me that it wasn't a very hard program and if I focused I could do well.

Therefore, with this information my plan would be as follows, should I go to McMaster:

  • 1st year at Mac Commerce with ~4.0 GPA and good ECs-> Attempt Transfer to QComm and McGill Desautels (Both Seem Highly Unlikely) -> Finish 4 year degree at those universities with good GPA/Finance clubs, etc. -> IB

If that doesn't work, then go for:

  • 1st and 2nd year at Mac with ~4.0 GPA and good ECs -> Apply to Western Ivey, Get in -> IB

Finally if that doesn't work:

  • Finish Mac Degree with near 4.0 and Leadership experience on Finance clubs-> Work experience in Canadian banks -> MBA at top US School -> IB

McGill Bachelor of Arts:

McGill University is known as a target school for Finance, but that stems from their business school. Since I have not been admitted to their business school I feel like I may be at a disadvantage by not being able to access their career services and what not. However, I would like to pursue their "Joint Honours Economics and Finance" major in the Arts programme, which allows you to take pretty much the same courses as the Management students. But, I will graduate with a B.A instead of a B.Comm. However, I need a 3.5 minimum GPA to get into the Honours majors and apparently the coursework is hell, and most students (Above 50%) drop out of that.

Therefore my plan would be:

  • 1st year in Arts taking easy (bird) classes, and the math requirements (Calc 1 and 2, Linear Algebra) w/ an overall 3.7-4.0 GPA -> Apply for transfer to DeSautels and get in -> IB

If that doesn't work, then:

  • 1st and 2nd year at McGill with as close to a 4.0 GPA as possible and good ECs -> Apply to Western Ivey -> IB

Finally, if that doesn't work

  • Finish McGill B.A Degree with as close to a 4.0 and as much Leadership experience as I can get on Finance clubs-> Work experience and crazy networking? -> (Possibly) an MBA at top US School -> IB

My Thoughts on Each University:

I feel like that although McGill is a target school, I will have a much, much harder time getting a good GPA and I will be disadvantaged by not being able to access the business school resources. This will hinder me from not only transferring into their business school (3.5 to 3.7 minimum to be considered) as well as from being able to transfer into Ivey (Mid to High 80s avg. minimum to be considered) after my second year. Finally, this plan works twofold for applications to an MBA, because it is a more known school but constrastingly, I would likely have a much lower GPA than if I went to McMaster. But, I am not too sure how MBA admissions work so if someone could inform me, that would be great.

However if I go to McGill, I will be able to state on my resume I went to a more prestigious and well known school, and I can also benefit from the fact that substantially more IBs do On-Campus Recruiting at McGill than McMaster. But, it is my assumption (not sure if it is true) that since I am going for the B.A, my application may just get thrown out and I won't be able to get into those relevant Finance ECs, as B.Comm students will be more experienced and get them before me.

Now, with McMaster, although, it is not a target school for Finance, I think I will be able to achieve a much higher GPA and be able to access their business school's resources as well as be able to get into the Finance clubs way easier. This will lend itself well to my subsequent transfer applications to Ivey, and possible MBAs in the future.

However, from my understanding students already studying B.Comm's are not favoured in admissions to these other business schools, and they prefer students studying other fields for transfers. Therefore, I may be disadvantaged in that sense. Additionally, I will have to deal with the "stigma" of going to a less-renowned school and I know that prestige is key in IB. But, I feel like I can overcome it through participation in effective ECs and having a higher GPA than most and it is possible, as I spoke to the Alumni mentioned before.

In Conclusion:

I am really faced with a dilemma here. I want to make the best choice for my future, and it is nerve-wracking, as the deadline for decisions is June 1st. As well, I am not sure I will be able to access as many good ECs because 1st year is going to be online due to COVID-19.

Now, to those who are going to tell me to do another year of HS and reapply, it doesn't look to appealing to me. For undisclosed reasons, I got suspended from my high school and I am probably going to get expelled from my school board, so it seems like going back to high school is not going to really be an option for me anymore. Plus, I will still be stuck in the high school mindset, and I just want to move forward in my life and pursue bigger things. COVID-19 is hindering those things, and I wish I could take a gap year, but a lot of schools are not allowing them, and I feel like I won't be able to get a job or be productive sitting at home for a year, so I might as well jump-start my university career.

That's all I have to say, and I appreciate you for reading this far. I am open to any advice you all can give me, and if you could connect with me with alumni from these respective schools who were in a similar situation as me, that would be amazing. Thank you all, and I hope you all have a great day.

Tl;DR: Gr.12 student from Canada trying to pursue Investment Banking and break into the Finance industry. Rejected from all the top business schools (QComm, Ivey, etc.), but has plans to transfer from McMaster Commerce or McGill B.A, to those top schools, or apply fron a top US MBA. Grade 13 not really an option anymore due to personal circumstances. Needs advice and guidance...

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Comments (5)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 21, 2020 - 7:19pm

IB in Canada is a bit unique in the sense that "target schools" only refer to the commerce/business portion of the school

unless u can transfer to mcgill business, chances are low for a non-commerce major

May 21, 2020 - 8:39pm

I'd go with McGill. The school is prestigious and should help you land interviews even if you're not in Desautel. As well, Montreal is a way better city to live in. In fact, its probably the best city in Canada to go to school in.

Once you start school, reach out to shops with offices there like ONEX, PSP Investments, Fierra Capital, Bell (Treasury & M&A Team), Mercier etc... You should be able to get a solid 1st year internship which will get you a leg up.

Try to transfer into Desautel in 2nd year or Ivey for 3/4. If you don't manage to, at least you're in Montreal and have a good brand name.

  • Intern in S&T - Equities
May 22, 2020 - 1:38am

yea don't go to Mac for ib unless you are prepared to grind ie reaching out to multiple people. I'm a Mac student, the classes aren't difficult tbh I remember taking a finance class where the professor got fired because the first midterm was too difficult lol. If you are a good student for your first two years, which is extremely do able, I would go to Mac then transfer to Ivey. Ik a couple of kids that did that my year. if it was me I would go to McGill tho, I'll rather be in the school and network with upper years in the business program than at Mac where you a left for dead.

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