McGill M.B.A. program goes private

Tuition will jump next year by 1,663 per cent—from $1,500 to $29,500

McGill M.B.A. program goes private“You need to spend money to make money.”

It’s an old business adage that McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management is taking to heart. Next year, tuition for its two-year M.B.A. program will increase to $29,500 per year. That’s a massive hike—as much as 1,663 per cent—from the current rates of just over $1,500 for Quebec residents and $4,675 for out of province students (international students already pay upward of $20,000 per year). The increase means the school will become entirely self-funded, making it one of the last M.B.A. programs in the country to do so.

The tuition bump has been in the works for several years, and was introduced in part to enhance McGill’s international reputation. Desautels ranked third among Canadian business schools in a recent Forbes survey, behind York University’s Schulich School of Business and UBC’s Sauder School of Business, both of which are self-funded. (Université de Montréal’s HEC, which offers a highly regarded one-year M.B.A. program, remains publicly funded.) Higher tuition fees will mean the school can afford to hire world-class teachers.

A McGill M.B.A. “costs” the school $22,000 a year in professor salaries and other fees, says Desautels spokesperson Ron Duerksen, an amount hardly covered by the current tuition model. The remainder is subsidized by the school. “Right now, you have a situation where the arts faculty is subsidizing the M.B.A. program when M.B.A. graduates make double what an arts graduate makes.”

It might seem odd for students to welcome a tuition hike, but those at Desautels are satisfied with the decision. “A definite majority is in favour of the change,” said Allison Aab, president of the Desautels M.B.A. Student Association. “Most students realize that the current model is unsustainable.” Still, Aab is happy to be among the last students to pay the cut rate. “We squeaked by.”