Queen’s Commerce vs Ivey HBA: Strengths and Weaknesses

The Queen’s Commerce and Western’s Ivey HBA programs are among the top undergraduate programs in Canada and the best business undergraduate programs in Canada. Both programs are incredibly selective,  with an acceptance rate of 7% for Queen’s Commerce and 8% for Western Ivey, and attract a very high calibre of students from across the globe. 

This article provides a completely unbiased view, from graduates of both programs, of the strengths and weaknesses of both the Ivey HBA and Queen’s Commerce programs to help aid your decision in determining which program is right for you. 

Understanding the Programs: Queen’s Commerce vs Ivey HBA

Before delving into the advantages and disadvantages of each program it’s important to have a good understanding of how their curriculums differ. While both programs are undergraduate business programs, they differ in their teaching methods and program length.

The Ivey HBA program takes place only in 3rd and 4th year and accepts both conditional applicants out of high school and university applicants from 2nd year. Students will participate in a faster-paced program that involves lots of case-based teaching. This means that students will take part in lots of discussions on business situations and real-world examples. If you’re interested in applying to Ivey HBA check out this post on its prerequisites and requirements.

In contrast, the Queen’s Commerce program has a more traditional undergraduate layout. Students apply to the undergraduate program straight out of high school and start their business degree in 1st year and study business for a total of four years. Learning is largely presented in a lecture format where professors teach in front of about 100 students. Queen’s does have some case-based teaching, however not as much as programs such as Ivey HBA.

Queen’s Commerce and Ivey HBA Strengths and Weaknesses

Queen’s Commerce – Strengths

  • Four years of business education, as opposed to two, is great for students who know they want to go into business and develop their network sooner
  • Queen’s Commerce offers and encourages a lot of exchange opportunities for its students
  • Admission to the program is straight out of high school and is a guaranteed spot
  • Students interested in a more lecture-based approach to learning, compared to Ivey, will be more interested in this program
  • The smalltown experience from Kingston is great

Ivey HBA – Strengths

  • The Ivey HBA program allows applicants to study anything they want in their first two years of undergraduate study. This allows students to experiment and learn more outside of business.
  • From an international perspective, Ivey HBA can be seen as a higher-ranked program
  • The Ivey HBA employment report shows slightly higher initial employment statistics than those of Queen’s Commerce Graduates
  • For students interested in group work, discussions, and case-based teaching this program can be a more appealing option
  • Great residence and atmosphere

Queen’s Commerce – Weaknesses

  • Sometimes the curriculum can seem extremely theoretical, especially in first and second year
  • As an international program, Queen’s Commerce is less known than its Western counterpart

Ivey HBA – Weaknesses

  • Acceptance to the Ivey HBA program from high school does not guarantee a spot in the program in 3rd year. Many students do not meet the condition of their offer in university.
  • Shorter overall program length leads to lots of material being covered in just 2 years

Which Program Should I Choose: Queen’s Commerce or Ivey HBA?

Overall both programs are extremely competitive and are great choices for your undergraduate business degree. Getting accepted to either program is an amazing accomplishment. Recruiters from many of the major companies in Canada go to both programs so it’s hard to go wrong with choosing one program over the other.

At the end of the day, the decision is up to you. Each program has its own strengths and weaknesses, which may make one program more appealing to you over the other. In addition to using this information in guiding your final decision, we encourage you to talk to students and alumni of both programs and check out both the Queen’s Commerce and Ivey HBA websites for more information. 

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