Canada’s Best Online MBA Programs of 2020

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Fun fact: Canada is home to the world’s first fully interactive online MBA program, launched by Athabasca University in 1994. Once considered a degree you had to get in person, the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) has evolved considerably since then, in large part due to the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which allowed students to audit courses from Ivy League universities like Yale and Oxford. As MOOCs proved the concept of learning business online was valid, more and more universities began experimenting with new ways to offer graduate-level business degrees to qualified students anywhere in the world.

Today, nearly a dozen universities across Canada have stepped up to fill the growing demand for online MBA programs from domestic and international students looking for a more flexible, Canadian business credential. The MBA may be going remote, but with it, universities are bringing the degrees’ hallmark benefits of one-on-one access to business leaders, practice dissecting real business cases, intensive collaboration with peers, and ongoing career and networking support. Here’s a comprehensive look at the schools that are leading the (virtual) pack in 2020.

1.

Ivey Business School 5/5

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2.

Smith School of Business at Queen's University 5/5

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3.

DeGroote School of Business 5/5

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4.

Dalhousie University 5/5

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5.

University of Guelph 5/5

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6.

University of Fredericton 5/5

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7.

Athabasca University 4.75/5

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8.

Laurentian University 4.75/5

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9.

University Canada West (UCW) 4/5

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1

Ivey Business School

5 out of 5
ivey-business-school
$ $ $ $

A prominent research university formerly known as the University of Western Ontario, Western University’s rebrand in 2009 signalled the institution’s move from regional university to global player. Known for its medicine and business programs, the university has produced world-renowned doctors, medical researchers, and business leaders.

What Sets the Ivey Business School Apart? 

Announced in 2019, the Ivey School of Business’ blended online MBA is built for working professionals in the GTA. The program is 12 months long and is delivered primarily online, with one 3-day weekend (Friday to Sunday) required per month at Ivey’s outpost campus in Toronto. Taking the same elements as Ivey’s immersive on-campus 12-month MBA program, the blended program aims to give more flexibility to student-professionals who can’t make the move to Western’s primary campus in London, Ontario.

What Students Are Saying

While many other business schools in Canada offer graduate business degrees few if any have the global depth and breadth of the Richard Ivey School of Business. Although I graduated from Western University in 2000 – Ivey’s home base – I did not consider a post graduate degree from Ivey until much later while on a business trip to Hong Kong. Ivey has a huge presence there and has for 20+ years. The value of having bricks and mortar campuses in Toronto, London (Ontario) and Hong Kong is an uncountable until you venture into the global business world. While attending I was very proud to find our Hong Kong dean keynote speaking at the 2014 Asian Financial Forum. If you plan on working with or for a multinational firm it goes without saying that the more international exposure you get the more valuable you become.

Ryan McClure, Executive MBA

The Curriculum

Ivey’s MBA program is built for working professionals who are ready to make the next leap on the career ladder, whether to a new job or to a promotion. Classes are structured for this career-focused curriculum, leading to foundational courses like marketing products or macroeconomics and elective courses ranging from international field trips to real-world projects with partner businesses, all depending on individual student career ambitions.

Locations

Online and London, Ontario

2

Smith School of Business at Queen's University

5 out of 5
Smith School of Business
$ $ $ $

With a focus on helping students make connections, Queen’s University has built a robust network of student groups and clubs plus an extensive international exchange program. The university pulls from its multidisciplinary departments for all degrees and programs, meaning that whatever your focus, you will have a well-rounded education from a globally-ranked university.

What Sets the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University Apart? 

Taught via Queen’s University’s dedicated interactive teaching studio, this online program aims to give students the full in-person experience. The custom-built technology platform for online students boasts discussion capabilities, team collaboration tools, and personal or group coaching for students. Queen’s also encourages virtual networking as a key element of career progression and facilitates networking opportunities like employer roundtables, 1:1 networking, and other special events.

The Curriculum 

Queen’s fully online program is geared towards careers in management consulting and banking (including private equity and venture capital). Courses lean on Queen’s three-pillar framework of experiential classes with real businesses, simulations to model innovative outcomes, and case studies to learn from what worked and didn’t work in the past.

Locations

Online, Toronto and Kingston, Ontario

3

DeGroote School of Business

5 out of 5
degroote-school-of-business
$ $ $ $

McMaster University is one of Canada’s most prestigious institutions and has grown into prominence in multiple disciplines, thanks in part to generous donations from the DeGroote family to establish the DeGroote Schools of Business and Medicine, respectively. From its campus in Hamilton, Ontario, the university delivers world-wide cited research and welcomes 30,000 students between its on-campus and online programs.

What Sets the DeGroote School of Business Apart? 

The blended, part-time program is built for students who are working while getting their degree. Half the program is delivered online, but in-person requirements are only three weekends a semester, making it manageable for working professionals. Further, in many cases the program allows you to complete required ‘work-integrated assignments’ at your place of employment, giving student-professionals ultimate flexibility to complete their degree and work at the same time.

The Curriculum

Leaning heavily on two of McMaster’s strengths – finance and health – coursework sets students up to move into careers in the financial markets, with courses like predictive modelling for investment banking, or into the healthcare field, with courses like health policy governance.

Locations

Online and Hamilton, Ontario

4

Dalhousie University

dalhousie-university
$ $ $ $

One of the oldest universities in Canada, Dalhousie University grew from a regional educational institution to a globally recognized university. With around 19,000 students across all programs, the university is large enough to have all the resources its students need but not so big that students feel lost in the crowd. The university also attracts students from around the world, making diversity a key element of the Dalhousie experience.

What Sets Dalhousie Apart? 

Despite being labelled a ‘blended’ program, Dalhousie’s Blended MBA is delivered 90% online. You only come in-class at the end of each course for an ‘intensive’ on campus, including group work and other career services for students. Further, the program intensives are 3-5 day sessions that are offered in different cities across Canada, making it even more flexible. Only once during the program do students have to go to Dalhousie’s Halifax campus, which is for a 5-day summer capstone seminar.

The Curriculum

Dalhousie’s blended MBA program operates in one of two streams: Financial Services or Leadership. Depending on which stream students choose, courses will gear them up for the high-finance world of banking, venture capital, and private equity or the leadership track to take on the global management world, handling people issues, learning and development, and change management.

Locations

Online and Halifax, Nova Scotia

5

University of Guelph

5 out of 5
university-of-guelph
$ $ $ $

One of the premier universities in the world for agriculture, hospitality, and environmental sustainability, the University of Guelph takes those strengths into all its degree programs. Over 24,000 students attend the university between its on-campus and blended online programs, and over 800 faculty conduct thousands of research projects across all departments.

What sets Guelph Apart? 

Because the MBA program draws from the University of Guelph’s core strengths of agriculture, hospitality, and sustainability, it may not be a fit for the finance-intensive MBA candidate. However, if you’re looking for education in business within those specialities, Guelph is one of the strongest options in the world. The blended program takes place over 2 years, with the majority being online. During the program, students participate in three ‘residential periods’ where they are on campus, ranging from 5-11 days each.

The Curriculum 

Combining both online and in-class learning, Guelph’s MBA coursework is uniquely connected to the physical world, with courses around environmental business sustainability, hospitality, and the business of forestry. Graduates will be well set up to work for major construction companies, import/export companies, or utilities companies that deal in natural resources.

6

University of Fredericton

5 out of 5
university of fredericton
$ $ $ $

With a key focus on applied professional education, the University of Fredericton offers a variety of degree, diploma, and certificate programs for professionals. Based out of Fredericton, New Brunswick, the university boasts extensive online education and does not charge international students more than Canadians, leading the university to have a global footprint and alumni network.

What Sets the University of Fredericton Apart?

The part-time, fully online MBA program offers 9 specializations for students to hone in and focus their education, from real estate to innovation to social enterprises. Further, the program has four pillars to their online education including live virtual classes, collaborative group work, online campus environment for student and professor connections (including office hours), and a virtual library for students. Every student also ends the program with an integration project to deeply research a topic they are passionate about, which can be done remotely or via an international field study trip.

The Curriculum

UFred’s online program is geared towards providing all students with a rock-solid foundation in business, including accounting, leadership theory, global economic impacts, change management, and more. Students then get to select a speciality in one of 9 specializations like real estate, consulting, or HR. From there, students do a capstone project based on applying the foundational learning into their specialization.

Locations

Online and Fredericton, New Brunswick

7

Athabasca University

4.75 out of 5
athabasca-university
4.75/5
$ $ $ $

Athabasca University was founded on the premise of openness and flexibility. Whether undergrad or graduate education, the university has many different ways to learn and was a pioneer in accredited online learning for higher education. It also aims to make it easy for students with previous education to transfer credits over, enabling them to complete their degree from a reputable university with more flexibility and potentially lower costs.

What Sets Athabasca Apart? 

Founded in 1994, Athabasca University boasts creating the world’s first fully interactive online MBA program. In the 25 years since, the fully accredited program grew in prestige and is now recognized globally. It’s specifically made for working business leaders, and the online format is developed for as-you-can flexible schedules, including people with extensive work travel or those who work long hours.

The Curriculum

The fully online program at Athabasca is geared towards developing people leaders and organization-wide thinkers. Courses revolve around developing high-level strategic viewpoints, increasing interpersonal and career skills like networking and communications, and courses in management theory and change management using real-world business case scenarios.

8

Laurentian University

laurentian
$ $ $ $

In the heart of Northern Ontario, Laurentian University is explicitly “tri-cultural” (English Canadian, French Canadian, and Indigenous Canadian) and bilingual in its instruction, culture, and programming. Students on-campus get to embrace the rural setting with lakes, waterways, fields, and forests. For online learners, Laurentian’s programs share the culture and mentality of an open rural university via the internet.

What Sets Laurentian Apart? 

Delivered in either French or English, Laurentian’s online MBA program welcomes people from all over the world. Fully embracing Laurentian’s ‘tri-culturalism,’ courses focus on managing complex information systems, the ethics of business, and operating within a globalized context.

The Curriculum 

Laurentian’s online MBA program focuses its coursework on students who want to become ethical leaders with courses around managing complex information and ethical decision making. The program, anchoring on Laurentian’s ‘tri-culturalism,’ sets graduates up for careers in social impact, government, diversity & inclusion, or corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Locations

Online and Sudbury, Ontario

9

University Canada West (UCW)

4 out of 5
university-canada-west
$ $ $ $

With a mix of blended, online, and on-campus programs, the Vancouver-based university focuses exclusively on professional and business education. It’s also part of the Global University Systems, an international consortium of universities. With a key focus on employability skills, the university boasts a 100% employment rate for its MBA program graduates.

What Sets UCW Apart?

The UCW online MBA program focuses on building critical thinking capabilities as a foundation for everything else. As the business world changes rapidly, UCW aims to make sure its students understand how to strategically plan, conduct data analysis to make the right decisions, and how to communicate their ideas so people get behind them.

The Curriculum 

UCW’s online program is geared towards partnering students with businesses to learn theoretically in class but in an apprentice model in the real world. The university partners with organizations like Salesforce and IBM to build direct-to-career courses such as analytical foundations, management principles, and consulting case practice.

Locations

Online, Vancouver

2 thoughts on “Canada’s Best Online MBA Programs of 2020”

  1. I love this website! I heard from my top 3 schools within 24 hours of requesting a course package on your site. Feels like I’m closer than ever to earning a professional degree. And I’ll be the first member of my family to do so. Grazie!

  2. I’ve been attending the University of Fredericton for two years and it has been great thus far. I signed up for UFRED because of the virtual classroom, and it has been a blessing in the time of COVID-19. People ask me mainly “how do group projects work?” Group projects work very well, we have charters and use Skype and Google Drive (Docs/Sheets/Slides) to collaborate.

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