Main Content

A healthcare professional gets answers to her toughest work challenges in class

May 25, 2017

Photo of Rotman student Michelle CleghornWhen Michelle Cleghorn (Morning MBA ’18) was asked to think strategically about developing the robotic surgical program at Toronto General Hospital, where she works as a manager of strategic projects and planning, she did her homework. In fact, Cleghorn submitted a draft proposal as her actual homework for one of her classes at the Rotman School of Management.

For Cleghorn, enrolling in the 32-month part-time Morning MBA program at Rotman was an easy decision. The program, which offers the core MBA classes in the early morning hours twice a week, allows Cleghorn to arrive at the office before 9:30 am on class days. And to make the best use of their time, she and her classmates are often encouraged, with approval from their supervisors, to discuss work proposals in class assignments.

“Rather than work on generic business cases, I have an opportunity to collect expert feedback and strengthen projects I’m truly interested in.”

—Michelle Cleghorn (Morning MBA ’18), Manager of Strategic Projects and Planning, Toronto General Hospital

“I’m getting the most out of my classes and that makes all the difference,” she adds.

New interests and possibilities

Prior to enrolling in the MBA program, Cleghorn, who was working as a research associate in Toronto Western Hospital’s division of general surgery, was already thinking about how to make the best use of time, energy and resources.

Cleghorn’s research explored how surgical programs could use their resources more efficiently, deliver safer care and reduce patient wait times. One of the most rewarding aspects of her job involved working with clinicians, to see if her published research might be useful for their programs.

These experiences also opened her eyes to new interests and possibilities.

“As I met with clinical leaders and learned more about some of the innovative programs underway at the hospital, I realized that I wanted to be involved in the decisions being made around healthcare delivery,” she recalls.

With encouragement from her mentor and former boss — Rotman alumnus Dr. Fayez Quereshy (MBA ’08) — Cleghorn applied to and was accepted into the Morning MBA program at Rotman.

“I knew that if I was going to do an MBA I was going to do it at Rotman,” recalls Cleghorn, who was drawn to the School’s reputation, strong focus on health sector management, and proximity to the downtown core and major Toronto hospitals.

“I didn’t know exactly how my career was going to unfold but I was looking to get a grasp of foundational components of finance, project management and strategy that would help me think at a higher level.”

In the right program, at the right time

When Cleghorn reflects on her Rotman experience so far, she knows that she’s in the right program, at the right time in her career.

During her third semester, Cleghorn started her current position, a role that requires a strong background in business and management.

Recognizing that she’s new to this role, she often looks for opportunities to gather advice on her work projects by submitting draft proposals as class assignments. Many professors, including Will Mitchell, have offered advice on her ideas and proposed strategies. She also credits her classmates and school clubs, including the Healthcare Management Association with providing useful perspectives on trends and topics in healthcare.

“With the projects I’m taking on at work, I’m thinking more creatively and strategically,” she adds.

Written by Rebecca Cheung

Michelle Cleghorn

Class year

Morning MBA ’18


Mississauga, ON



Current job title

Manager of Strategic Projects & Planning
Toronto General Hospital

Previous employment

Research Associate
Toronto Western Hospital

Previous education

Bachelor of Medical Sciences
Western University
London, ON

Master of Science
University of Toronto

Learn more »

Executive MBA
in Healthcare
and the
Life Sciences
Learn more»