Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) is one of three outstanding post-secondary institutions located in Waterloo. Recognized for their exceptional business degree program and a wide range of experiential learning opportunities, Laurier plays a key role in filling Waterloo’s talent pipeline with a highly trained professional workforce.
With over 19,000 students in nine faculties across four locations, Laurier inspires young talent to take risks and become leaders in their community.
Here are four eye-opening facts that will pique your interest in the Laurier advantage:
1. Laurier’s business degree co-op program is the largest in Canada
With co-operative education (co-op) programs spanning arts, science and some graduate programs, Laurier has ample experience helping students learn on the job. But, the foundation of Laurier’s co-op reputation rests on its business work experience program, which is the largest of its kind in Canada.
Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics combines an innovative, high-caliber in-class education with real-world experiences that prepares students for their careers outside of the classroom. This training makes Laurier students exceptionally employable – in fact, up to 60% of co-op students will land full-time employment from a co-op employer.
Laurier business students – whether specializing in accounting, finance, marketing, sales or operations – graduate with a vast network of contacts and a level of professional maturity that sets them apart, thanks largely to the university’s commitment to experiential learning.
2. Companies enrolled in the Lazaridis ScaleUp Program have raised $386 million in capital and created over 1,200 jobs in three years.
The ScaleUp Program at Laurier’s Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises set out three years ago to assist growth-oriented companies from across Canada in building their network and scaling globally. The first of its kind in Canada, the program is designed to support scale-up companies’ ability to navigate the challenges and obstacles faced by rapidly growing firms.
Situated within the university’s Lazaridis School, the Institute invests $100,000 per company through mentorship and programming that is tailored to the need of each individual company. These advantages have supported several successful companies including Terramera, Vendasta, Symned, Dozr and Maple Corporation, to name a few. The program has also made a concerted effort to support women in business, with one whole cohort focusing on women-led businesses (44% of program graduates have a female founder or co-founder).
After three years, 100% of alumni companies are still in operation, raising $386 million in new investment and creating 1,200 new jobs.
3. Laurier’s incubator LaunchPad supports 30 high-potential ventures
The Laurier LaunchPad Incubator is bursting at the seams with 30 student- or alumni-led ventures. The companies have raised over $2 million in external investment, on top of more than $400,000 awarded in grants, and one venture, product-demo platform Correly (formerly Striive),was recently acquired by GenM. Female founders lead 44% of these companies and 40% have a social impact component to their business, demonstrating the diversity of the program. These companies, and the entrepreneurial minds LaunchPad helps develop, are an integral part of Waterloo’s world-renowned start-up culture.
Supported by the on-campus Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation, LaunchPad provides students with a wide range of programming and mentorship, enabling them to establish a working business model for their ideas and work towards bringing them to market. Some of the university’s programs include:
- The opportunity to specialize in an Entrepreneurship Concentration, a Social Entrepreneurship Option or a Community Engagement Option.
- A Science Maker Lab and a Library Makerspace, with space and equipment such as a 3D printer, photography gear, as well as research and design tools, available to help students build and test prototypes at no extra cost.
- Socially innovative and community-engaged learning opportunities offered by the Faculty of Arts through their C3 Innovation Labs (C3IL).
4. Students graduate with a Laurier Experience Record in addition to their degree.
The first of its kind in Canada, Laurier’s Experience Record (LER) is exactly what it sounds like – a documented collective of the hands-on experiences a student participated in throughout their university career. Beyond listing their experiences, the LER shows the career competencies they’ve gained along the way, such as communication, leadership, critical thinking and professional attributes like time management, work ethic and integrity. Thanks to the Laurier Experience Catalogue, students can choose between more than 500 different experiential learning opportunities. These may include volunteer work, student clubs or associations, as well as research or teaching assistant positions. The first year that the LER program launched, it revealed that 28 percent of the student body is engaged in over 10,300 co-curricular activities.
Specifically, 2,600 students were engaged in co-op programs, 1,600 enrolled in courses that involve a community service component, 800 students pursued a workplace partnership through respective courses, and more than 800 students participated in field partnerships. For employers, this record provides an unprecedented, official look at the experiences that potential recruits will draw from once they join your team.
With all of the value that Laurier provides students and their future employers, it is no wonder the school has been ranked No. 1 in student satisfaction for four years in a row by Maclean’s Magazine!