Posted By: Zeya Yang on May 22, 2011
Following what seems to be the trend of sharing some topics of discussion in reader emails, I decided to post about comparing the Queen’s Commerce program to some American schools (and I mean this in a very generalized way).
Obviously, there is a pretty huge different in the educational structures and approaches on the two sides of the borders. Canada takes a program based approach – where students apply to a specific stream of study straight out of high school, whereas the vast majority of top American schools take a liberal arts approach, and undergraduate business program or undergraduate engineering programs tend to be a lot more rare.
Consequently, comparisons are quite difficult to make. I think in making a decision between whether to attend Queen’s Commerce or a school in the US, it comes down to how you want to approach your undergraduate education.
At QC, you’ll be given the opportunity to go into any branch of business you want. One really great thing is that people coming in wanting to become accountants can learn more about themselves during their time here and end up pursuing careers in finance or marketing. Someone coming in wanting to be an ibanker will get the chance to interact with people in industry, and decided if that’s the lifestyle they really want to live. This is something that isn’t necessarily available at other Canadian programs.
At a US school, you’ll be given the opportunity to go into any branch of whatever you want. People may go in wanting to do business, but they may leave as politics/government majors. People can go in wanting to be doctors, but leave as consultants. This is something you don’t get to the same extent at Canadian universities. However, should you choose to go into business upon graduation, I think graduates of undergraduate business programs tend to be more versed and better prepared for the initial states of a career.
Another difference would be the recruiting opportunities. While similar firms may recruit at top schools in both countries, the offices which recruit are geographically dependent. If you want to work in Toronto upon graduation, then recruiting at QC/Canadian programs in general will probably be easier. If you want to work in Los Angeles or New York, then obviously it’s a lot easier going through recruiting at an American school. Another difference is internship timing. The American school year is longer than the Canadian one, so if you want to come back to Canada to do internships, then those 16 week internships may not be accessible.
Finally, we come back to the community feel that QC always likes to emphasize. In case it hasn’t been reiterated enough on this website, at QC, you will literally get to know your entire class, and most of your program. Even at very small American schools (1000-1500 students/year), this isn’t really feasible. This may be offset by the greater international presence that top American schools boast, but I don’t think the level of camaraderie attained on those campuses is comparable to that fostered at a program setting like Queen’s Commerce and other Canadian programs. (In fact, if you look at some broader American schools that also feature a specific program, the program association tends to always overshadow the school affiliation.)
The timing for this post probably isn’t the greatest as commitments to American schools had to be made already, but I hope this provides some decent food for thought.
Zeya Yang, Comm 2013