Michael's University Project

An Analysis of 5 Ontario Unversities

Why?

Which university and which program I choose is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions I will make in my life. It will affect my career, dominate the next 4 years of my life, and ultimately heavily impact my future. Thus, it is important that my decision is informed and well thought-out. Below, are my top 5 universities and programs which are ranked on 6 different criteria. The universities and programs are Waterloo's Accounting and Financial Management, Western's Ivey School of Business HBA, Toronto's Rottman Commerce HBA, York's BBA Schulich, and Brock's Honors Accounting. These universities/programs cover both Accounting and General Business streams, representing the two areas I am most interested in.

The Scoring Matrix

This 5x6 matrix shows the scores of the 5 universities in 6 categories: Acceptance Average, Co-op and Internship Opportunities, Teaching Quality, Parental Preference, International Experience, and Student Satisfaction. The scores are all out of the same number (10), which ensures that differences in scoring method does not affect the overall score, improving consistency and accuracy.


Globe and Mail Student Survey

One of the main sources I used to calculate scores is the Globe and Mail Student Survey, which rates various universities on a variety of different criteria. They do this by assigning each university a letter grade, from A+ to D-, in the different categories. This results in 12 possible scores (4 letters * 3 signs). The highest, A+, receives a 12. The next highest, A, receives a 11, all the way down to D-, which receives a 1. These numbers, from now on referred to as Ranking Numbers, will be used several times in my formulae


Acceptance Average (Weighting: 10%)

Acceptance average (the mean Grade 12 mark of incoming students) is a good way of measuring the difficulty of the program, which is definitely a key criterion for me. The higher the acceptance average, the greater the difficulty of the program. However, it is important that the average is high enough that I feel engaged and am among peers. An acceptance average of 88 would be preferable, as it is high enough for me to be academically challenged yet low enough that I can enjoy my time at university instead of devoting myself solely to work. The formula to calculate this is 10 -|(Acceptance Average-88)| to a minimum of 0. This formula measures how far from 88 the acceptance average is; the closer it is to 88, the higher the score, out of a possible 10.


Co-op/Internship Opportunities (Weighting: 20%)

Co-op work placements and internships offer an opportunity to gain work experience and build vital industry and workplace connections. They will also provide me with a potential source of income to help support me through university. Thus, co-op becomes a key criteria in the decision of applying to university. I have rated co-op/internship opportunities on three vital factors: number of terms, placement rates, and quality. The formula used is 2X + 5Y + 3Z. X is based on the number of work terms. The ideal number for me would be 4, which is enough to provide me with considerable experience and money, but will still give me time for my studies. The formula for X is 1 - 0.25*|4-(Number of Work Terms)| to a minimum of 0. The closer the number of work terms is to 4, the higher the score. Y is the percentage placement rate for either co-op or internship, expressed as a decimal. It receives the highest rating as regardless of how good the work placement is, if I cannot receive a placement, then the quality of the co-op is a moot point. Z is based on the ranking from the Globe and Mail Co-op, Internships, and Workplace Preparation survey, using the Ranking Number found using the method described above in the Globe and Mail Student Survey section. The formula for Z is 10/12(Ranking Number). This results in the highest score (A+) receiving a 10, the lowest score (D-) a 0, and the other scores equally distributed between the two.

Note: Schulich is a special case. Although they will award credits upon completion of an internship, Schulich itself does not aid students in getting an internship, nor is time to complete an internship built into their program. As a result, I have decided to award them arbitrary score of 2, as they lack sufficient data to satisfy the formula.


Teaching Quality (Weighting: 20%)

The professors' ability to teach is definitely a major factor in my decision, as this will affect my academic ability and grades. Additionally, it can also help to improve my experience and help me to enjoy classes more. This can be evaluated through using the Globe and Mail survey. The formula used is 10/12(Ranking Number).


Parental Preference (Weighting: 10%)

Although it is ultimately up to me which program and university I choose, and it will be my life that is most shaped by this choice, my parents’ opinion and ideas will be important. My parents have ranked their choices 1 to 5 (1 being the highest and 5 the lowest), which will help me assign a numerical value to each university. The formula for this is 12.5 – 2.5(Parents’ ranking). This will assign each university a value from 0 to 10, with my parent's highest ranking being given a 10, the lowest a 0, and all other values equally distributed between the two.


International Experience (Weighting: 10%)

One of the opportunities that I have always wanted to experience was to work/study abroad. It will allow me to continue my studies while also getting a chance to experience a different culture. Thus, a university that offers me an opportunity to do so would be far more attractive to me than one that does not. In order for the international experience to be truly beneficial, it must be program specific (as to maximize what I can get out of the experience), and not a general university wide option. The formula for this is 10X. X is 1 if there are international co-op/internship placements, 0.5 if there are international study placements, and 0 if there are no placements whatsoever. I have rated work placements as higher than study placements due to the language and culture barrier, which may lead to poorer work performance or weaker marks. Lower performance in the workplace is not as important however, as it will not affect my marks. However, studying abroad could have a negative impact on my mark, which I might need to apply to a post-grad program.


Student Satisfaction (Weighting: 30%)

Despite university being an important phase of my life, which could affect my job prospects, career, and life path, it is also important that I enjoy my time there. The Globe and Mail satisfaction survey can help me to judge the happiness of students. By using the Ranking Number of each university, I can create a numerical representation for this category. The formula used here is 10/12(Ranking Number).

The Weighting Matrix and Matrix Multiplication

The 6x1 weighting matrix assigns each category a percentage, which allows more important categories to have greater impact on the final score. The final score is a result of multiplying the scoring matrix and the weighting matrix, resulting in a 5x1 matrix. It is then divided by 10, which serves to give it a score out of 100, a more manageable and meaningful number than 1000 or 10.


Conclusions

As shown above, Waterloo places first, followed closely by Western, then Brock, Toronto, and finally, York. This was not particularly surprising. I knew that either Waterloo and Western would be my top, and I suspected York would place last. What did surprise me was how high Brock placed and how low both York and Toronto placed. This is especially interesting considering the prestigious reputation that both the Schulich School of Business and the Rottman School of Commerce have. Another interesting point to note is how close all universities scored in the Teaching Quality section (all universities were within 1.7 points of each other). This suggests that teaching is fairly uniform across different universities. With this information, I can now better decide on a university, and hopefully choose the one that I will benefit the most from. Which university and which program I choose is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions I will make in my life. It will affect my career, dominate the next 4 years of my life, and ultimately heavily impact my future. However, now armed with this data, I am ready to make this decision.


Raw Data/Research

Waterloo

  • Acceptance Average: 87
  • 4 Co-op Terms, 96.4% placement, Globe and Mail Ranking: A
  • Teaching Quality B
  • Parent's Rating 1
  • International work options
  • Student Satisfaction survey B+


Ivey


  • Acceptance Average: 91
  • 2 Co-op Terms, 97% placement, Globe and Mail Ranking: B
  • Teaching Quality B+
  • Parent's Rating 2
  • International study options
  • Student Satisfaction survey A


Rotman

  • Acceptance Average: 87
  • No Internship/co-op
  • Teaching Quality B
  • Parent's Rating 3
  • International study options
  • Student Satisfaction survey B


Schulich

  • Acceptance Average: 92
  • No internship/co-op, but does offer credit for internship/co-op
  • Teaching Quality B-
  • Parent's Rating 4
  • No international options
  • Student Satisfaction survey C+


Brock

  • Acceptance Average: 88
  • 5 Co-op Terms, 80% placement, Globe and Mail Ranking: B
  • Teaching Quality B
  • Parent's Rating 5
  • No international options
  • Student Satisfaction survey B+