What is MARS Apprentice?

MARS Apprentice is a revolutionary approach to business education centered around six case challenges in the fields of Marketing, Advertising, Retail and Sales. This once-in-a-lifetime experiential learning program, unique to the DeGroote School of Business and the only one of its kind in Canada, has been connecting industry resources with student ingenuity for thirteen years. MARS Apprentice takes place between January and March every year.

Program Partners

Since being founded in 2005, the program has produced 141 market-ready alumni and enabled over 73 job placements.

Our Purpose

Thirteen years ago, experiential learning opportunities were few and far between, and the gap between the skills that students were graduating with and what employers wanted was growing.

The MARS Apprentice program was created in order to bridge the skills gap by introducing real life business situations and challenges into a learning environment. At the conclusion of the program, the top-performing Apprentices are rewarded with cash prizes and internships.

Our Team This Year

Mandeep Malik
Michael Szmudrowski
Riley Booth
Chief Operating Officer
Scott Hanson

Past Apprentice Testimonials


Mike Alaimo

Marketing Manager, PepsiCo

MARS is an incredibly unique opportunity that gives you a platform where you can break through perceived personal limits or boundaries and truly close the gap between where you are today as a student and your true potential as an aspiring business professional.


Ben Desclouds

Associate, Material Failure at Giffin Koerth

MARS is more than just a business case competition. It is an experience of a lifetime that strips you down to the core of who you are and spits out a new, changed, confident, strategic person on the other side. You cannot really describe MARS completely in a paragraph, you really have to experience it to understand its life changing impact


Brad Wurthman

Athletics Director, University of Illinois

Students at McMaster are missing an opportunity if they do not participate in MARS. I formed great friendships, learned about teamwork, found mentors, earned experience, and realized that I really could compete for these opportunities. I also had the chance to befriend Professor Malik who is still a mentor to me today and a wonderful friend. He once told me that time is a choice – you either make time for something or you don’t. Make time for MARS.


Michael Forsyth

Associate Marketing Manager, PepsiCo

If you’re like me, and might be fearful of rejection, all I can say is no one will be disappointed in you trying. No one can criticize you for trying. As a nervous third-year student, who hadn’t quite made my ‘mark’ yet in University, I am so grateful that I took the risk and applied. All I did was try my absolute best, and somehow discovered this whole new world of marketing that I am now so passionate about. I honestly don’t know where I’d be now as a new grad if I hadn’t taken that plunge myself.