July 1, 2023


Study Abroad 101

Top Business Programs at U.S. and Canadian High Schools

If you’re interested in getting a head start in high school business programs as an international student, here are the top choices for you in the U.S. and Canada.

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Business has always been a popular major for international students studying abroad in the U.S. and Canada. Business has topped the IIE's report for the past decade, with engineering a close second. The number of universities and higher education institutions offering business programs and degrees for international students has skyrocketed through the years.

There are several reasons why international students flock to North America to study business. First, a business degree from a reputable U.S. or Canadian institution can guarantee students with strong employment opportunities abroad, as well as in their home countries. Secondly, English has become the de facto language of international trade and business. As a result, an English-language business education is seen as good preparation for the increasingly competitive global economy of the future. A student who is fluent in American English stands apart when it comes to employment as well as promotion opportunities, as they’re more likely to be able to conduct business internationally. Finally, international students can find a lot of world-class business programs at American and Canadian universities, with a degree that is recognized globally.

It’s getting more and more competitive for international students to enroll at top business schools, such as the Harvard Business School, the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, or the Stern School of Business at New York University. It’s so competitive in fact that many high schools in America and Canada have started to offer students highly engaging business programs to get them ready for a university-level business degree.

If you’re interested in getting a head start in high school business programs as an international student, here are the top choices for you in the U.S. and Canada.

Carmel Catholic High School, Chicago, Illinois, USA

  • Carmel Catholic High School in Chicago, Illinois, has a robust business curriculum, ranging from introductory courses for beginner students to AP and Honors courses for advanced students. The school also has a multi-functional business classroom on campus with small group centers and a speaking area.
  • Some of the courses offered at Carmel include Introduction to Accounting, Business Law, Business Technology, Finance and Investment, Introduction to Marketing, and International Business.
  • In addition, Carmel also offers a Business INCubator program in which students set up their own companies, where they work to solve problems in the real world through creative solutions and inventions. This program helps students build applicable skills, such as marketing, financing, pitching ideas, managing production, and prototyping, when they’re still in high school.  
  • Carmel holds an annual business competition, called Pitch Night, where students pitch their company idea to local investors. If they are successful, students receive capital funds and work with the school faculty on securing patents and putting their idea into the market. Students with successful pitches are paired with Chicago-area entrepreneurs and business experts who serve as mentors

Villanova College, Toronto, Canada

top business program for international students

  • Villanova College has an integrated course curriculum with many courses focusing on business studies, including Information and Communication Technology in Business, Financial Accounting, International Business Fundamentals, and Business Leadership.  
  • Villanova College has their own chapter of DECA, Dedicating Excellence Celebrating Achievement,  a not-for-profit organization that helps high school students build a foundation in business.  It is one of the most popular extracurricular activities for high school students in Ontario with over 12,000 members and 250 chapters.  
  • Villanova College has their own chapter, VC DECA, with nearly 40 members between grades 9 -12.  It is a year-round co-curricular club that offers students experience in competitions and conferences, along with leadership opportunities.  VC DECA helps students develop critical thinking, time management and presentation skills which will help students succeed at the secondary and post-secondary levels.  
  • DECA’s competitive events are aligned with the National Curriculum Standards in the 4 main business career clusters: marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, and management.  DECA’s evaluation process involves students in both a written examination/report and a role play scenario.  The role play scenarios allow students to showcase business acumen and communicate their ideas through a mock case study in front of a judge.  
  • VC DECA student members have access to all the college and career preparations opportunities the organization provides.  These include access to DECA Direct Online, participation in DECA’s Competitive Events Program to demonstrate their knowledge, and opportunities to attend conferences designed to prepare them for college and careers, with access to $200,000 in academic scholarships!

Cretin-Derham Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

  • Cretin-Derham Hall provides business courses such as Introduction to Business, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Business Law, International Business, Accounting, Personal Finance.
  • To help students get more practical experience, CDH offers two highly engaging mentoring programs. In the Accounting 1:1 Online Mentoring Program, students receive mentorship from some of the world’s most well-known accounting firms, including KPMG, PWC, Ernst and Young and DTT. Students can go to their mentor weekly for questions, insights and feedback. In Mentor Sharing Sessions, students meet with HR experts from well-known companies to learn about applying for jobs and internships in the business industry.  
  • Students have the opportunities to participate in the Investment Club, DECA, and other business competitions at school. Strong students in CDH successfully entered into the state final and qualified for international competition. Click here to learn more about the competition story.
  • CDH also holds Alumni Leaders in the Classroom session for students to meet with successful CDH graduates in the business industry and learn insights. Click here to learn more about the alumni bio.

Mater Dei Catholic High School, San Diego, California, USA

top business program for international students

  • Mater Dei Catholic High School has both introductory courses for beginners and AP level courses for advanced students.  
  • The school also has a very special entrepreneurship class that will include six three-week blocks that focus on various elements of what it takes to launch a business. Students in this class also get experience working with veterans from Pixar to learn how a professional studio publishes.  
  • The founder of cookcasa.com (Anayo Nworjih) collaborated with students in the Mater Dei entrepreneurship class to help build-out his in-home chef startup. Students participated in a "mock" or "soft-opening" of his business platform and helped in numerous branding aspects, including logo creation, website development, and creating a pitch deck. The students also had an opportunity to engage with the startup incubator program, CONNECT ALL at the Jacobs Center. The program provides business resources to low to moderate-income and diverse founders. Read The San Diego Union-Tribune article here.

Interested in enrolling in the most competitive business programs for international students at top U.S. & Canada high schools? Send us an email at hello@amerigoeducation.com for more information.