Looking at Laurier’s MBA program

The Wilfrid Laurier University masters of business and administration (MBA) program must compete with other schools which are, in many cases, much larger and more internationally recognized. However, it remains competitive by offering unique alternatives to the traditional business degree.

“Pretty much every university with a business school has an MBA program,” said Joan Norris, dean of the faculty of graduate studies. “We do have some pretty stiff competition out there. But ours has a very good reputation and there are some unique things about our program.”

The tuition for a Laurier MBA, which sits at about $20,000 for the one-year program, is one of the lowest in the province.

Norris speculates that the reason Laurier has lower tuition is that, “It fits with Laurier’s culture, of having accessible education for students coming from our community and other places.”

She adds that it would certainly be more of a money-maker if the fees were raised. Though increasing fees may become a reality in the future, Norris is pleased that the program remains accessible.

“Our program is priced differently, it is more of a privatized program. It’s not as expensive as Ivey, or Rotman, or Queen’s executive MBA,” said Hugh Munro, professor and director of MBA programs.

“It’s targeted more at the aspiring or mobile middle management – the guys who are moving up the ladder.”

Munro added that there are lots of competitors vying for the marketplace, but that Laurier’s program has features that set it apart from other schools.

Norris explained that one of the unique qualities about the MBA programs at Laurier are that a student can take their MBA in conjunction with becoming a Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA) at the Toronto campus.

In Waterloo, using their association with the Schlegal Centre, Laurier offers a program focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.

“All graduate programs tend to have certain specializations within them. Our MBA has that specialization in particular,” said Norris.

“MBA students are awarded course credit for starting their own business. So not only are you working towards actually starting your own business, you get credit for doing it,” she added.

According to Munro, Laurier’s MBA allows students learn the core principles of a traditional MBA while having the opportunity to learn how and when to apply for grants and funding, as well as get necessary mentoring and coaching.

“The notion is that when they graduate, they have a business that is ready to hit the ground,” said Munro.

While Laurier was not the first university to incorporate co-op with an MBA program, it is one of the only schools that offers, and continue to see success in, it.

Laurier boasts an almost 100 per cent placement rate for students; the program is also ranked second in Canada by Maclean’s.

Students working towards the CMA test along with the MBA have experienced a 100 per cent pass rate on the test, and in both 2007 and 2008 Laurier students had the top exam score in Canada.

“Targeted fields lead students to specific career paths, similar to doing a major and a minor,” concluded Norris about why Laurier’s combined MBA programs keep them competitive.

Sidebar:

1976 – Launched the part-time MBA Program

1986 – Started the first full-time, one-year MBA in Canada

1996 – Weekend format for MBA part-time study, it began in Sarnia and has run in downtown Toronto at the St. Andrews Conference Centre for the last 10 years

2000 – Offered the first English-language MBA with CMA option in Canada

2005 – Offered the MBA with CFA option

2006 – MBA with co-op option

2007 – Offered the Innovation & Entrepreneurship MBA option

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