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GEMBA-HLS ’20 students on meaningful travel, new classmates and taking on big challenges

November 30, 2018

Photo of GEMBA-HLS studentNot long ago, Dr. Kathryn Tinckam (GEMBA-HLS ’20) completed the Advanced Health Leadership executive program at Rotman, realizing that she had “been thinking about leadership in the wrong way for the last 20 years.”

“It struck me that if I really wanted to lead my team or organization through a change, I couldn’t approach every problem using the same paradigms and mindset,” she explained.

Tinckam — who, in addition to her work as a nephrologist, director of the HLA laboratory and director of quality improvement and innovation at the University Health Network’s transplant program, is also an associate professor at the University of Toronto — was intent on taking her leadership skills to the next level.

“What I and so many others are starting to realize is that leadership isn’t only something you are just inherently born knowing. It has to be learned.”

Last month, she headed back to Rotman to pursue the Global Executive MBA in Healthcare and Life Sciences (GEMBA-HLS). Over the course of this 18-month program, Tinckam and her classmates will be trained on management and business fundamentals. What’s more, they’ll be traveling across the globe — to Singapore, the San Francisco Bay Area and Toronto — to see healthcare and life science innovations in action.


“We won’t just be reading about innovation in the classroom.”

-Dr. Kathryn Tinckam, GEMBA-HLS ’20


Regardless of where members of this class currently work or which aspects of industry they are most interested in, this new Rotman program will help them advance in their careers and effect future change in the healthcare and life sciences space.

The chance to examine a range of novel technologies, practices and systems up close is what initially drew Tinckam to the program.

“The real value of this program will come from speaking to local professionals and seeing, first-hand, the changes they’ve implemented in their systems,” says Tinckam. “We won’t just be reading about innovation in the classroom.”

Appreciating the big picture in healthcare

Photo of GEMBA-HLS studentFor other students, like Young Lee (GEMBA-HLS ’20), having the full range of healthcare and life sciences professionals represented in the class is what’s most exciting.

This inaugural GEMBA-HLS class is comprised of healthcare providers, industry leaders, scientists and researchers. About two-thirds of the class have earned a PhD, or medical or master’s degree. Collectively, students in this class have an average of nine years of management experience. A number of students will be coming from Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, India, the UK, the US, among other countries, to complete the program’s six residential learning modules.

“The students are a defining part of this program,” explains Lee, who is a medical physicist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.


“The students are a defining part of this program.”

-Young Lee, GEMBA-HLS ’20


She is interested in meeting professionals from sectors she might not normally interact with directly.

“I’m really after that big-picture perspective on how different parts of the industry secure funding, operate efficiently and mobilize people to accomplish goals,” Lee says.

“We’re all coming into the program with such different and specific experiences. I’m hoping we’ll all walk away with a comprehensive view of how the entire industry operates.”

Taking on the next big challenges

Photo of GEMBA-HLS studentA few students, including Dr. Gopinath Nageshwaran (GEMBA-HLS ‘20), saw the value of the GEMBA-HLS program in helping them take on the next big challenges in healthcare.

“So many of us are interested in making medicine more accessible to patients around the world,” explains Nageshwaran, who was trained as a medical doctor and is now a senior medical advisor with Novartis Singapore. “I’d like to think through how pharma companies can stay profitable and fund the research pipeline, while making drugs affordable to patients.”


“If I want to advance in this industry, I need to keep up with the latest technologies and business trends.”

-Dr. Gopinath Nageshwaran, GEMBA-HLS ’20


He’s expecting the Rotman program to give him the grounding in marketing, strategy and finance to take on the big problems in healthcare and prepare for the future.

“The world is changing so rapidly thanks to advances in AI and machine learning,” he says. “If I want to advance in this industry, I need to keep up with the latest technologies and business trends.”


Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »

Introducing Rotman's Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences

Toronto - Singapore - San Francisco; Introducing the 18-month Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences


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Executive MBA
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Life Sciences
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