One of Canada’s top-ranked business schools for finance—the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management—was ranked first among Canadian MBA programs by the Financial Times in 2023. Rotman underwent significant growth under the six-year deanship of Tiff Macklem, a foremost figure in the nation’s financial sector, whose tenure saw a prominent rise in Rotman’s academic profile and its reputation for financial education. Macklem announced his plan to step down from his position in 2020 to take over as the governor of the Bank of Canada. However, his successor, Dean Susan Christoffersen, is no stranger to the field of finance herself. Before stepping in as dean, she helped build three finance-related programs at the school and the TD Management Data Analytics Lab, for which she also served as co-academic director.
In addition to its finance-related strengths, Rotman offers a rather unique approach to core business pedagogy. Relying on what it terms “integrative thinking,” Rotman’s teaching model challenges the compartmentalization of traditional functional areas. Students complete a series of core courses in their first year that emphasize generalized business skills and the ability to think across functional disciplines. The Rotman Self-Developmental Lab, which offers feedback on the students’ communication style and behavioral performance via group workshops and personalized sessions with psychologists and management consultants, is also part of the first year of studies. The mission of the lab program, according to the school’s site, is “developing and nurturing in all students the communicative, interactive and interpersonal skills essential to the high-value added collaborative problem solver and decision maker in contemporary organizations.”
In their second year, students are given the option to choose from among 13 different major areas, including Global Management; Sustainability and Society; Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Design; and Finance, while supplementing their focus with a broader array of more than 100 elective courses.
Approximately 125 miles from Rotman, at the University of Western Ontario, stands Ivey Business School, which Bloomberg Businessweek ranked as the best Canadian MBA program in 2023–2024. The Ivey MBA program runs over the course of one year and is, according to the school’s website, designed for “high-achieving leaders who are ready to accelerate their career success.”
At Ivey, MBA students take part in real-world projects and can benefit from optional global learning opportunities and career management guidance, in addition to taking such core courses as “Leading People and Organizations,” “Managing Operations,” and “Communicating Effectively.” Study trips are available to Asia and South America during the electives period, while the Ivey Field Project allows students to form teams and work with real companies to find a solution for an issue or an opportunity before presenting their findings to the company. Students also have the option of developing an idea for a New Venture Ivey Field Project, creating a business plan for the idea, and presenting the pitch to a panel of external reviewers.