DeGroote School of Business

An Experiential BCom

It isn’t just tactical business knowledge that drives a successful business. Success comes from integrating knowledge, skills and experience from other fields.
Paul McLeanMcMaster alumnus and DeGroote supporter


We are undertaking the most ambitious plans for the DeGroote School of Business since its naming 28 years ago. These are exciting times for the School and our students. We are united in recognizing a transformation must occur and are ready to shake things up and disrupt the status quo.

To do this, we need to make drastic changes in the way we deliver business education. We need to equip our students with the skills necessary to thrive in a continually changing market. By embracing change and teaching future-ready skills, we are developing leaders who can think ahead and effectively manage the constant change around us. We are designing for a better tomorrow and, in doing so, creating a brighter world.

Disruption DeGroote School of Business-Style

Students working together.At the core of our transformation is student-centredness, which is unprecedented in business schools across the country. The return on investment will be an enriched and redefined educational experience. Students will not only excel in their chosen disciplines; they will lead exemplary lives. They will be resilient leaders who will have an impact on their communities and the world.

Critical thinking. Innovation. Design thinking. Problem-solving. Effective communication. Data visualization and analytics. Initiative. Thriving in uncertainty. Engaging in a community with a common purpose. All are imperative for the 21st-century business student. All of these are at the core of the transformative, student-centred education offered at the DeGroote School of Business.

We are a university that pioneered problem-based learning, an integral part of what makes us Canada’s most research-intensive university. Our efforts today are built on an impressive foundation of past success and a deeply ingrained culture of collaboration and innovation:

  • First named business school in Canada
  • First to offer a co-op MBA program
  • First to create an Integrated Business and Humanities degree

As we move forward with transforming how we teach business, we are working together with our students. Likewise, we are consulting with employers, business leaders, and our DeGroote community as we collaborate on plans for this exciting new chapter in the history of the DeGroote School of Business.

Discovery in Doing

Traditional occupations like an accountant, auditor, financial advisor, lab technician, and chemist will profoundly change in the next five to 10 years. DeGroote students need to understand artificial intelligence and blockchain as well as aspects of science, engineering, and other disciplines to excel. Alternatively, biomedical engineers, historians, and health geographers will need to know fundamental business skills such as finance, accounting, teamwork, negotiation and mediation, human resources, and sales and marketing.

Students from all faculties will learn in an open-ended space while using interactive tools to help support one another in solving real-world issues. Collaboration and integration are paramount. These changes are needed to fulfill the demands of this next generation of learners. Whatever the future holds, we are designing education to be as future-ready as possible. Preparation rather than prediction is key to success.

A Blueprint for Future-Ready Student Success

We are eager to incorporate best practices from a pedagogical viewpoint and the real world of business and industry. With innovation embedded in every learning experience, access to an interdisciplinary education is a core mandate of a reimagined commerce degree at the DeGroote School of Business.

The proposed timeline for this reimagined educational experience is as follows:


  • Introduction of business case “hack-a-thons” and the “DeGroote 24-Hour Case” Faculty created partnership opportunities on a real-world current case to be presented to students.
  • Pilot of Innovation Minor offered jointly with Faculty of Engineering and McMaster’s incubator, The Forge. The inaugural course sold out in two days with 75 students registered for semester 1 and up to 125 for semester 2.
  • A new fintech course was offered as a Dean’s permission course and additional courses are being considered.
  • A 360-degree review of current curriculum, programming, and space in consultation with students, faculty, career partners, and the business community. Initial focus groups were held for external feedback, and a Faculty brainstorming session was held in the fall.


  • Starting September 2020 is the 1GR0 Student Experience and Development course, an opportunity for students to grow in their learning and development from day 1.
  • We have shifted courses from upper years to earlier in the learning journey to frontload management skills and bring these skills to students earlier in their academic careers, including courses in data analytics and marketing.
  • Updated Bachelor of Commerce Learning Goals: Our graduates will possess a cross-functional core of business knowledge, be innovative problem-solvers, persuasive communicators, and self-managed learners.

2021 and Beyond

  • Further implementation of discovery learning opportunities, including those elevated by the use of the McLean Centre for Collaborative Discovery.

In each year of DeGroote’s bachelor of commerce program (beginning in September 2020), students will take one new GR0 course designed to provide experiential activities to develop (or enhance) and apply foundational knowledge of highly sought skills in the workplace, such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and self-management. The first GR0 course offers career development tools and learning experiences that facilitate students’ transition to university and success in the Business Program. This course also provides students with knowledge of McMaster University’s academic regulations, strategies for academic success, and the various services available to them within the university. The GR0 courses will consist of in-person and online learning experiences such as presentations, videos, resources, self-assessments, workshops, competitions, conferences, etc.

Launched in 2019, DeGroote’s 24-Hour Case Challenge is a case-based learning opportunity that occurs over one weekend and draws more than 900 student participants annually. Students work together to solve a financial literacy problem and pitch their solutions to a panel of judges at the end of this event. This immersive experience fosters an environment of belonging and collaborative problem-solving, integrating core business skills with essential communication, critical thinking, and entrepreneurship skills.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to get involved, please send a message to