McGill Bicentennial - Desautels Faculty of Management

McGill Bicentennial

Celebrating 200 years of impact


Desautels Faculty of Management History

1906 Management education begins at McGill

Management education begins at McGill University. The Department of Commerce is established within the Faculty of Arts, offering “commercial courses to train people as accountants, clerks, and the like.” A Diploma of Commerce is awarded to students completing the two-year program.

1912 School of Commerce

The Commerce program is named the School of Commerce.

1918 Graduate Diploma in Public Accountancy

The Licentiate in Accountancy program is first offered, which later evolves into the Graduate Diploma in Public Accountancy.

1920 Bachelor of Commerce

McGill’s School of Commerce is founded, independent of the Faculty of Arts. The first Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degrees are awarded by McGill in 1920.

1949 Executive-level management courses

Executive-level management courses, including a popular non-credit certificate program later known as the "Mini-MBA," are introduced in the School of Commerce.

1963 Graduate School of Business Administration

McGill opens its Graduate School of Business Administration.

Professor Don Armstrong, PhD’54 (1925-2011) welcomes the first class of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Professor Armstrong insisted that our MBA be interdisciplinary from day one and that its teachers include both talented academics and seasoned business professionals.

1965 First MBA Class

McGill graduates its first MBA class. Businessman and future McGill benefactor Seymour Schulich is one of the graduates.

1968 Faculty of Management

The Faculty of Management of McGill University is established, incorporating the School of Commerce and the Graduate School of Business Administration.

1972 Samuel Bronfman Building

The Samuel Bronfman Building is inaugurated, providing the Faculty of Management with a modern new home on Sherbrooke Street. A generous donation from the Bronfman family makes the building possible.

1976 PhD Program

The Faculty of Management initiates a joint PhD program with Concordia University, École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC) of the Université de Montréal, and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

1978 MBA/Law Program

The joint MBA/Law program receives approval. Applications begin in 1979.

1980s Management Science Research Centre

The Faculty establishes the Management Science Research Centre with a capital endowment from the Royal Bank of Canada.

1988 Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Faculty establishes the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies, thanks to a generous donation from the John Dobson Foundation.

1989 Centre for Strategy Studies in Organizations

The Faculty establishes the Centre for Strategy Studies in Organizations (CSSO) with contributions from Royal Trustco, Imperial Oil, Steinberg Inc., Arnold Steinberg, and the McGill Management Institute. The CSSO is also created with an endowment from Power Corporation of Canada.

1991 Desautels International Advisory and Advancement Board

Chaired by Paul Desmarais Jr. (BCom’77), an Desautels International Advisory and Advancement Board is established to seek management education advice from leading Canadian and foreign business leaders.

1992 McGill Institute of Marketing

The McGill Institute of Marketing (MIM) is launched, providing an active forum to exchange and cross-pollinate ideas and expertise in marketing.

1996 3 New Programs

The Faculty launches three new programs, all of which are Canadian “firsts”: the International Masters Program in Practicing Management (IMPM), the Joint MD/MBA program, and, in conjunction with the McGill Faculty of Engineering, the Master of Management in Manufacturing (MMM).

1998 MBA Japan Program

The Faculty launches the MBA Japan program, the first Canadian degree program offered in Japan.

1999 McGill Executive Institute

McGill opens the Power Corporation International Executive Centre on the sixth floor of the Bronfman Building to offer students of the McGill Executive Institute improved education facilities.

2003 MCCHE

The McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economic (MCCHE) is established, forging an unprecedented worldwide alliance of scientists, food-industry executives, health care leaders and policy markers.  

2005 Desmarais Global Finance Research Centre / Herschel Hall

The Desmarais Global Finance Research Centre, made possible by a donation from the Desmarais family, is established.

Herschel Victor (BCom'44), Chairman and CEO of Jack Victor Ltd., a men’s clothing manufacturer, makes a generous donation to renovate the lobby of the Bronfman Building. The lobby is named in his honour.

2005 $22 Million from Marcel Desautels

Marcel Desautels

On November 17, the Canadian Credit Management Foundation and Dr. Marcel Desautels CM, O.Ont., LLD’07, donate $22 million to the Faculty. It is the largest single donation ever made to a business or management faculty in Canada. The Faculty is named the Desautels Faculty of Management of McGill University.

2006 International Masters in Health Leadership

2007 Graduate Diploma in Public Accountancy / Desautels Global Experts Panels

The Faculty evaluates and redesigns the Graduate Diploma in Public Accountancy.

The Desautels Global Experts panels are formed with top level executives from around the world in the areas of Investment & Risk Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship, Technology & Innovation Management, and Global Strategy & Leadership.

2008 $10 Million donation from Marcel Desautels & MDIIM Creation / MBA Redesign

Another $10 million donation from Dr. Marcel Desautels creates the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management (MDIIM) and contributes to the formation of the innovative Integrated MBA curriculum, a new, cohesive direction to the Faculty under the integrated management approach.

2008 Joint EMBA Program / Honours in Investment Management

The Faculty launches the bilingual joint Executive MBA (EMBA) program with HEC Montréal.

The Faculty evaluates and redesigns the Honours in Investment Management option in the BCom program.

2009 Desautels Capital Management

Launch of Desautels Capital Management (DCM), Canada’s first university-owned, student-run investment management firm.

2010 MBA / PMBA / MBA Japan / ISP

The MBA program becomes self-funded, allowing us innovate and invest in the right areas and solidify our position among the world’s top MBA programs. In 2011 the Québec Ministry of Education approved our MBA as a distinct international program within Quebec

The Faculty evaluates and redesigns the Professional Part-Time MBA and MBA Japan program under the integrated management umbrella.

The International Summer Program (ISP) was initiated in 2010 and ran every summer until 2019. It was designed to provide international undergraduate students the opportunity to gain critical North American perspectives on issues of global importance. 

2013 EQUIS

The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) grants the Desautels Faculty of Management the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) accreditation for a five-year period.

2014 MBA Next 50 Campaign

New gift from Dr. Marcel Desautels lays the groundwork for the MBA Next 50 campaign.

2016 Masters of Management in Finance

The Desautels Faculty of Management launched the Master of Management in Finance (MMF) in February, and welcomed its first cohort in the summer of 2016.

2017 $25 Million from the Bensadoun Family Foundation /

Aldo BensadounThanks to a donation of $25 million from the Bensadoun Family Foundation, McGill began work on developing the Bensadoun School of Retail Management: an inter-disciplinary, state-of-the-art school dedicated to all facets of the retail industry. 

Launch of the  McGill International Portfolio Challenge (MIPC), a pioneer of case competitions that target pensions, innovative portfolio design, and institutional asset management.



2018 Masters of Management in Analytics / Donald E. Armstrong building opens / EQUIS

The Desautels Faculty of Management launched the Master of Management in Analytics (MMA) program in January, welcoming its first cohort in the summer of 2018.

The MBA & Specialized Masters programs move into the new Armstrong Building named for Professor Donald E. Armstrong, PhD’54 (1925-2011). The 48,666 sq. ft. expansion brings new dedicated teaching and learning spaces that benefit all in the Faculty. Donors and alumni gathered to celebrate the success of the MBA Next 50 campaign.

The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) grants the Desautels Faculty of Management the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) accreditation for a five-year period.



2019 Delve / McGill Personal Finance Essentials

Founded in 2019, Delve is the official thought leadership publication of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, featuring the latest in management thinking that stretches perspectives, sparks new ideas, and brings clarity to decision-makers at all levels and across sectors.

In collaboration with RBC Future Launch and The Globe and Mail, the McGill Personal Finance Essentials program - a free, bilingual, online course taught by Desautels professors. 

2020 Retail Management / MMR Program

Launch of the BCom Concentration in Retail Management and a PhD in Retail Management

The Bensadoun School of Retail Management opened admissions for a unique Master of Management in Retailing (MMR) designed to equip students with the tools they need to thrive in the rapidly evolving retail industry. 

2021 Retail Innovation Lab / GCHM / Experiential Learning

McGill University and Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. announce their partnership in the launch of a retail innovation lab at McGill University's Bensadoun School of Retail Management—a live testing ground for innovative and frictionless technologies that address the retail sector’s challenges of the future. The inauguration by the Quebec Minister of the Economy took place in November 2021. 

The new Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management (GCHM), a collaborative initiative between McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, launches to train physicians and other healthcare professionals in the skills needed to make effective decisions and succeed in leadership roles.

Introduction of the Lewtas Experiential Learning Office, thanks to the generosity of Don Lewtas (BCom’75), helping students connect with companies and campus departments that can provide on-the-job experience in their respective fields of study. 

2022 Laidley Centre for Business Ethics / Sustainable Growth Initiative (SGI)

Thanks to alumnus David Laidley (BCom’67), the Desautels Faculty of Management launched the Laidley Centre for Business Ethics. The Centre will serve as a hub for McGill researchers across disciplines, from law and religion to economics and engineering, to work toward solutions for the most pressing ethical issues of our time.

McGill University is announced the launch of the Sustainable Growth Initiative (SGI), the new hub will provide businesses with actionable solutions for building a more sustainable economy. Through research-to-action projects, engagement workshops, global student competitions, thought leadership and education, this innovative cross-faculty venture will address some of the key challenges businesses face every day. 

Explore a timeline of McGill University's history >


These historical notes were last updated in December 2022.

Back to top