Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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What is the value of an MBA to those in healthcare and the life sciences?

The idea of an MBA for someone in the healthcare and life sciences industry might seem surprising. What might a specialized MBA offer to someone in the healthcare and life sciences industries? What is the value of an MBA to someone interested in maximizing patient value?

An MBA at its core is about building leaders. Andy Williams, Vice President, Immunology, Janssen Canada reflects on this:

The leadership skills needed going forward in the healthcare market… is about the ability to understand and envision a better future, and being willing to take risk and have the courage to bring those ideas to life.

Heather Chalmers, President and CEO, GE Canada and Rotman MBA ’04 alumna expands further:

The leadership skills that are going to be key for the future are threefold. It is about being a reflective leader, an innovative leader and being a brave leader. It takes a brave leader to challenge the inertia of the status quo to drive innovation in the healthcare system.

In today’s global and ever-changing world, no country has created a perfect healthcare and life sciences system. “One of the greatest opportunities in [a specialized MBA] is the opportunity to get information, intelligence and ways of thinking that are beyond our borders,” says Stacey Daub, President and CEO, Headwaters Health Care Centre.

An MBA helps you to get a broader perspective. Healthcare is siloed between hospitals, health ministries and industry. These areas don’t necessarily speak the same language and don’t have the same skill sets. “If you’re going to maximize value and improve patient outcomes, you have to work together and eliminate waste and focus on what’s valuable to patients,” says Neil Fraser, President, Medtronic Canada.

In the Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences program at Rotman, students learn from each other as much as from faculty. Candidates gain cross-disciplinary exposure and international perspectives from across the sector from their peers whose roles include clinicians, administrators, industry, government, and those with a science background.

The qualifications of the cohort is diverse. We have physicians, pharmacists, healthcare professionals on the industry and provider side, and decision makers in government agencies. The ability to build connections, friendships and to diversity your network is invaluable.

- Gopi Nageshwaran, GEMBA-HLS ’20 student and Chief Scientific Officer (Ad-Interim), Asia Cluster Franchise Medical Lead, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Singapore

Built into the curriculum, study tours provide exclusive insights from businesses, healthcare organizations, distinguished speakers and health sector pioneers. “Study tours provide a rich learning experience,” says Atif Zia, GEMBA-HLS ’20 student and President, Novocol Pharma. Site visits have included tours to start ups, healthcare institutions and medical device companies – providing students the opportunity to gain a different perspective into the business and process models outside of their expertise.

GEMBA-HLS site visit

An MBA especially designed for healthcare and the life sciences will challenge you, and set you up for the opportunities that abound globally to make a difference in people’s lives. The Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences program at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto integrates learning between leaders in industry and academics. Working together with peers across healthcare and the life sciences, you will learn to understand the broader system, so that you can make an impact in your organization.

“The learnings that I’ve had from the MBA from the professors, from the modules, the classmates, from the classroom discussions itself has changed the way I looked at digital health, and the platforms, and the value chain. I realized that there are areas like finance, accounting, strategy, artificial intelligence - and how important these are to healthcare, other than the clinical practice itself. And all of this integrated together will make success in healthcare,” says Jancy Ali, GEMBA-HLS ’20 student and Senior Specialist Obstetrician, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE.

An MBA, especially an executive MBA that is targeted to senior professionals in the healthcare and life sciences, has huge potential to help you innovate and impact patient care. Beyond policy, or clinical care, or research alone, you will gain a holistic view of systems and organizations. This program will prepare you for leadership roles and career growth that will put you in a position to affect patient value.

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