Main Content

The Rotman Onboard Fellowship Program

Make a Real-World Difference

Rotman Onboard matches talented upper-year MBA candidates with non-profit boards and charities for eight-month fellowships. OnBoard fellows work closely with a board mentor to complete a strategic governance project based on the organization’s needs.


Rotman Onboard leverages Canada’s top MBA talent to make a meaningful contribution within the non-profit sector. MBA candidates provide valuable business skills in accounting, consulting, finance, marketing, HR and other functional areas to organizations that may have constrained resources. Examples of recent projects include:

  • The development of a skills matrix for Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto to strengthen board effectiveness and build a recruitment strategy. 
  • Consultations with the National Ballet of Canada to identify where to focus resources in developing a successful transition program for its retiring dancers.
  • The completion of a governance review (on meeting frequency and effectiveness, board diversity, evaluation practices, etc.) for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

“Innovative programs like this are the future of business school.”

—Richard Nesbitt, former COO of CIBC and Rotman Adjunct Professor


The program pairs students with seasoned professionals, including staff at the Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics and Board Effectiveness, Rotman faculty advisors, industry experts, and a board mentor from the host organization. In the process of contributing time and talent to non-profit organizations, OnBoard fellows gain real-world exposure to governance practices and leadership in action.

While a lot of valuable learning happens in the classroom, the most transformational experiences happen in the field, which is why our MBA candidates work directly with host organizations to tackle real challenges with real impact.

Partner organizations

Over the past five years, Rotman fellows have completed over 65 projects for more than 35 non-profit organizations. Program partners include both large and small organizations, with diverse mandates supporting arts and culture, healthcare, education, sustainability, and marginalized communities.  

Click an image below to learn about some of our current partners:

SickKids Foundation
Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention
Logo of the EMPWR foundation
A-Way Express
Fort York Food Bank
Logo of Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

In the media

Read more in the Globe and Mail: Rotman students take a seat at the boardroom table

In their words

“The work that our Rotman fellow did for CAMH will have a long lasting impact on our board.” 
Kristin Taylor, CAMH board mentor

Our fellow’s recommendations will be adopted in whole or part by the governance committee and will be adopted. This was an area that we needed addressed as part of our accreditation process.”
- Dan Dedic, Youthdale Treatment Centres board mentor

“Our fellow was eager and willing to contribute to the development of our Board KPI dashboard, and having her do external research and bring an objective outside view will be helpful.  I think we gave her a difficult project since measuring the effectiveness of our community impact mission work and identifying KPIs is much more challenging than evaluating performance in more traditional business operation areas. Recognizing these challenges, her honest critique will be valuable to push us to improve on the KPIs we have.”
-Denise Luck, United Way Greater Toronto board mentor

“This has been highlight of my second year, bar none. What other opportunity would I have to get access to people like this?” 
Tariq Nanji, MBA and board fellow

“I never imagined I would have access to a board this early in my career. I have benefited greatly from this program, I gained the confidence and skills required to interact with senior leaders of an organization.” 
Deepak Parsa, MBA and board fellow

Here to help Find out more about the program

Experiential Education
Office of Student Engagement
Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Major in
Learn more»

Rethink. Redesign. Reimagine.

Research you can put into action.
Rotman Insights Hub