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Full-Time MBA students make their mark at hospitals, banks, retailers with flexible internships

December 18, 2018

Photo of Joelle LavoieFor her MBA internship this past summer, Joëlle Lavoie (MBA ’19) stepped out of the classroom and jumped into a big project at Sinai Health System in Toronto.

Lavoie put her talents in strategic thinking and planning to use by developing a new toolkit for improving patient and family engagement at the hospital. She conducted a literature review, interviewed more than 20 stakeholders — including directors, managers, patients and families — and compiled a comprehensive report.

It was certainly a busy four months for Lavoie, who also completed three other projects at the hospital, including work analyzing their return-to-work HR policy and patient flow data.

Her fellow classmates were productive, too — applying their business knowledge at organizations and serving communities around the world through the flexible internship program. Inevitably, this internship is often a life and career defining experience for Full-Time MBA students at Rotman.

Lavoie, who earned a PhD in neuroscience before coming Rotman, had previously considered pursuing a range of roles and industries. This summer opened her eyes to opportunities in healthcare.


“I wanted to spend my summer doing something I’d never done before.”

— Joëlle Lavoie, MBA ’19


“I wanted to spend my summer doing something I’d never done before,” explains Lavoie, who is continuing her working with Sinai Health System on a part-time basis, during her second year of the MBA.

After graduation, she’ll be starting a full-time role in the organization’s business innovation and development team.

“This experience showed me just how much my interests and background aligned with the business development and strategy side of healthcare. Something clicked.”

Taking on a new industry or role, with a little guidance

Photo of Paul ReimannFor most Full-Time MBA students, the flexible internship program is an opportunity to explore their career options. For one semester, they are able to test out new roles, organizations and industries. During the internship, students also regularly check in with a mentor from Rotman, who can provide advice or guidance.

Paula Reimann (MBA ’19) tried out a new job function she’d been long-interested in. Having worked primarily in corporate finance before coming to Rotman, she spent this past summer in a banking role.

As an MBA intern with CIBC’s global trade division, she spent her work term completing legal research and in-depth accounting analysis for specific products.


“It was helpful to get a leader’s perspective on the industry.”

— Paula Reimann, MBA ’19


Throughout the summer, she frequently checked in with her mentor, Sharon Mathers, a Rotman alumna who had previously served CIBC in a senior leadership role. She credits Mathers for helping her stay focused.

“So often, it’s easy to get lost in daily routines and tasks, but Sharon wouldn’t let me forget about my goals or what I was trying to achieve,” says, Reimann, who has already secured a full-time position at CIBC when she graduates from the MBA. “It was helpful to get a leader’s perspective on the industry and to be reminded of the options open to me.”

The flexibility to go after the right opportunity

Photo of Tony TruongA number of MBA students opt to pursue internships in the fall or winter semester of their second year. For Tony Truong (MBA ’19), patience paid off.

Though Truong had scoured the job postings and attended on-campus recruiting events during his first year of the MBA program, he had yet to uncover the right opportunity.

While taking elective courses during the summer semester, Truong found what he was looking for: a fall internship in strategic planning that would also allow him to draw on his interests and pre-MBA background in market research and development.

Today, Truong is an MBA intern with Loblaw Companies Limited, where he evaluates the performance of the company’s loyalty program partnerships, in terms of KPIs and customer engagement rates, while applying a strategic lens to identify potential loyalty partners.

It’s been a significant learning experience for him.


“It’s been such a fascinating experience to see how enterprises plan and move forward.”

— Tony Truong, MBA ’19


“The feedback and suggestions from my manager have been particularly valuable. I’ve really understood the importance of taking the lead and speaking up,” says Truong, who plans to pursue roles in strategy and data analytics when he graduates in a few months.

“It’s been such a fascinating experience to see how enterprises plan and move forward.”


Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »


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Flexible Internship Program for Full-Time MBA Students

The Flexible Internship Program increases the number of available work placement opportunities for Full-Time MBA students and enhances their learning experience by integrating the work placement into a formal course which includes coaching and mentorship by faculty and C-Suite executives.

For more information on the Flexible Internship, please contact MBACareers@rotman.utoronto.ca

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