Editorial: Building Canada’s Best Business School

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

When I first came to Laurier in 2015, I saw a big sign in the Schlegel Centre that said “Building Canada’s best Business school.” 

Even though Laurier has climbed significantly in Business school rankings over the past few years, I personally believe there are some improvements that need to be made if we want to achieve that goal.  

Laurier was ranked 16 in the latest Maclean’s business school rankings that were released on October 31, 2016. Furthermore, there were 17 schools ranked ahead of Laurier on the Eduniversal website, which ranks schools by Palme levels and dean’s recommendation rates.  

As an economics major who’s also doing a management option, I have taken several business courses during my three years at Wilfrid Laurier University so far. 

There’s a reason why Laurier is ranked at the top of student satisfactions rankings every year. The school provides tons of flexibility for students no matter what program they are in. 

The biggest issue that I have noticed with every Business course that I have taken is the lack of integration in terms of creative learning. 

I’ve taken a business course at Laurier which consisted of exams with nothing but multiple choice questions. 

Although this makes things easier for students and results in higher averages, it doesn’t necessarily result in students gaining a better knowledge of the business world. 

The Ivey Business school at Western, which is consistently ranked towards the top of the best business schools in Canada, has an intense focus towards case-based learning questions on exams and in the curriculum. 

One of my friends that goes to Ivey recently told me that he had to complete a 2500-word report that asked him to analyze a case about Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in two days. 

This is just one of the many case projects that Ivey students are required to complete on a yearly basis. 

Asking students to solve hypothetical cases forces them to actually learn the material taught throughout the course. 

I often see business students at Laurier studying and memorizing material just a few days before their exam just so they can get a good mark, instead of focusing on the big ideas that are taught in the course. 

I understand that comparing Laurier’s business program to Ivey might not be entirely fair – due to the difference in size and budgets between the schools – but I’m not asking for massive changes. 

Adding a few situational case questions in exams would be a great start. 

I know I might sound like that kid in middle school who reminds the teacher to assign homework at the end of class, but I want to clarify that as a student, I am in no way complaining about not getting enough work to do, or about business courses being “too easy.” 

There’s a reason why Laurier is ranked at the top of student satisfactions rankings every year. The school provides tons of flexibility for students no matter what program they are in. 

However, as a university, expanding the business program and changing some things that require students to think about the material in real-world scenarios is something that I think needs to happen. 

By no means am I saying that the business program as it currently stands is bad. 

The Lazaridis school of Business and Economics has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years – rightfully so – and it has also enhanced its reputation through the building of Lazaridis Hall. 

Projects like “new-venture” and “ICE week” at Laurier are fantastic examples of forcing the application of course material, bringing out the best in students and asking them to think outside the box. 

I think that these types of projects are incredibly beneficial to business students and I really hope to see more in the near future. 

When I saw the “Building Canada’s best Business school” sign for the first time, I felt so good about where I was. 

I still like studying business at Laurier, but I think a few changes need to happen in order to make that sign a reality. 

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