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Creative Destruction Lab

Build Something Massive

Rotman students from the Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences play a vital role at the Creative Destruction Lab, designing innovative solutions for healthcare while enhancing overall patient value.

Students in Rotman's Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences have the unique opportunity to apply for admission to a course with Rotman's Creative Destruction Lab (CDL). 

What is the Creative Destruction Lab?

Launched at the Rotman School in August 2012, the Creative Destruction Lab is one of the world’s premier venture scaling programs. The CDL mentors seed-stage companies based in scientific or technical innovation with the support of successful entrepreneurs, leading technologists, and high-performing business students. Over the course of a year, the program sets objectives for the ventures in the program that help them focus on developing their ventures from an innovation into a massively scalable business. To date, CDL companies have created over $1.5B CAD in equity value.

"At business school they try to teach the science of entrepreneurship, but do the art and the science come together? They do at the Creative Destruction Lab."

- Tiff Macklem, Dean, Rotman School of Management

What kind of companies get involved?

Each year early-stage ventures from all over the world apply to work with the CDL, with many coming out of the research programs of leading global universities. While these companies often have diverse profiles, they all seek out the CDL to gain access to elite business judgement. The CDL at Rotman divides its companies across the following streams to provide the best alignment with mentors. There are life science companies in each of these streams.

  • Prime: Ventures building on research-driven deep science and innovative technologies.
  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning: Ventures built around applying artificial intelligence or machine learning technology to address societal, business, technical, or health challenges. 
  • Quantum Machine Learning: Ventures building applications to run on quantum computers as they become more powerful and accessible. The CDL hosts the world’s first quantum computing specific program.

What happens in the CDL course?

Students participating in the CDL course will experience the CDL over the course of nine months as it selects and mentors a cohort of ventures. Every student in the CDL course is involved in evaluating and interviewing the applicant companies. Once companies are in the program, students observe all of the mentoring provided by the fellows, associates, economists, and scientists of the CDL. Students provide direct business development support to one (or more) of the ventures in the CDL in order to help the ventures meet the objects set for them by the mentors. The course also includes instruction on entrepreneurial strategy, allowing students to apply these learnings with a real venture in real time.

For the venture support component of the course, students are matched with a venture based on their professional skill-set, experience, interests, and those of the venture’s founders. In addition to business development support, students often support their CDL ventures with organizational growth, finance, operations, communications, market strategy and fundraising. Assignments in this course are selected from menu of options on a company-specific basis to ensure that the assignments create value both for students and their ventures.

By working on real challenges for an early-stage venture, students have the opportunity to prove their abilities in a real-world environment while still being supported by top Rotman professors and the CDL’s staff. Sometimes, students excelling in this course have gone on join their ventures on a full-time basis. 

What you need to know

Competition for a seat in the CDL course is competitive, and spaces cannot be guaranteed. Selection for the CDL course is based on demonstrated motivation, personal objectives, attitude, and previous experience. Potential students should be aware that participation may require them to be present in Toronto on a handful of occasions in addition to those scheduled for Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences (GEMBA-HLS) coursework. Students in GEMBA-HLS will have the ability to apply in the spring of their first year for a spot in the course in their second year. 


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