Management education began at McGill University in 1906. The department of Commerce was first established within the Faculty of Arts, offering commercial courses to train people as accountants, clerks, and the like. In 1912, the Commerce Program was named the School of Commerce, and the first B.Com. degrees were awarded by McGill in 1915. Five years later, McGill’s School of Commerce was founded, independent of the Faculty of Arts. In 1972, the Samuel Bronfman Building, now home to the Desautels Faculty of Management, was opened at 1001 Sherbrooke Street West in the heart of downtown Montreal. A generous donation from the Bronfman family, of Seagram Corporation fame, made the construction of the building possible.
More than a century later, foundations for a world-class business school expanded to offer a B.Com. program; an M.B.A. program; specialized master's programs; M.B.A. Japan, the first Canadian degree program offered in Japan; a joint bilingual E.M.B.A. with HEC Montréal, a program first of its kind in North America; a Ph.D. program; and numerous executive programs. On November 17, 2005, a landmark gift of $22 million from the Canadian Management Foundation through Dr. Marcel Desautels was donated to the Faculty, ushering in a new era in business education at McGill. The gift fostered changes to its facilities, revamping of the B.Com. and M.B.A. curriculums, and hiring of new professors. In honour of his gift, the Faculty was named the Desautels Faculty of Management.