Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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How it started / How it’s going: Jill Shakespeare, Morning MBA ‘22


This blog post is part of a series showcasing Morning/Evening MBA students and the career transitions which the program helped them accomplish. All the posts can be viewed on the Working Professional Blog page. Jill details her experience at Rotman and provides advice for future students.

Quick Info

  • Name: Jill Shakespeare
  • Graduate Year: 2022
  • Morning or Evening MBA: Morning MBA
  • Current position and employer: Senior Director, Provincial System Support Program (PSSP), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
  • Previous position and employer: GTA Regional Manager, CAMH

Challenge Accepted 

With no prior education in business, Jill Shakespeare was concerned that the MBA would be a daunting leap. It was a story of challenge, courage, and persistence that inspired Jill, MBA ’22, to enter the Morning/Evening MBA program at the Rotman School. Through her journey at Rotman, Jill made the leap from GTA Regional Manager to Senior Director at CAMH.

Since I had to write my GMAT twice, I felt so much impostor syndrome and so much fear that I was going to be the only person in the whole class who didn't know how to read a balance sheet.

As a Regional Manager in the healthcare sector, she sought the opportunity to advance her career and expand her options. While not having financial knowledge or experience in a business setting, Jill held all the attributes to succeed. Having entered from a healthcare background, she was incredibly motivated to up her game and seize leadership opportunities within her field.

Her leap into the unknown turned out to be a rewarding one. For this mother of two, the fact that the program is not full-time and has been designed for working professionals allowed her to continue in her job and aligned with both her personal and professional schedules.

Leapfrog into a senior director

For Jill, pursuing an MBA is a challenge that she embraces; early on, she participated in the Sick Kids Case Competition, which offered incredible learning and broadened her perspective.

With the ambition for growth, Jill took the opportunity to meet with seasoned leaders across the healthcare system through Vernissage, a mentorship program for students interested in healthcare leadership, and through the Rotman LEADS mentorship program. Through these programs, Jill developed meaningful mentorship relationships with seasoned executive leaders, which not only gave her confidence but also the insights and perspective to go after the Senior Director role.

For me, what put Rotman at the top, was how carefully they curated the class; the diversity of my peers in age, gender, background and sectors has been a huge asset, and I have learned so much from people who work in industries and sectors that I knew little about.

Making the Transition

Knowing that there are significant opportunities for growth, innovation, and improvement in healthcare, as well as significant challenges in the areas of funding, data and digital health, and privatization, Jill feels better equipped and prepared to meet these challenges head-on, thanks to her learning and growth in her MBA.

“In my second year, I found my courses to be so applicable to my work and highly relevant to the path I am trying to forge for myself. I appreciate how the coursework has helped me think through big-picture decisions for work. Focusing on the specializations of Leadership & Change Management and Healthcare has been a great decision for me. Rotman has many specializations that will guide you towards your career goals."

It was the skills and perspectives that Jill gained that gave her the confidence to put herself out there and apply for this position at CAMH.

In her new role, Jill is tasked with creating a new strategy and structure for a big department where she is leveraging her learning from courses like healthcare strategy, organizational design, advanced negotiations, and leading social innovation.  Jill has used her assignments to advance her key performance indicators in her new role. During the first year, the program builds the foundational toolkit around finance, accounting, and operations, which better equipped Jill to lead a large program with a significant budget, infrastructure, and human resources.

The professors at Rotman have been incredible and it’s been especially inspiring to hear their real-world experiences on how they’ve set up a business or helped major corporations pivot. I get to learn from people who have made major contributions and innovations in their field.

Advice for others considering an MBA with an eye to career transition

Jill affirms the value of the Rotman experience in equipping individuals to better their career trajectory and growth. The Morning/Evening MBA provides students with the flexibility to choose from a wide range of courses and build a relationship with peers and professors, while still working.

"Be intentional about building relationships and thinking through the kinds of courses you want to take. Don’t feel like you need to know where you want to go from the beginning and try to expand your horizons and take a variety of courses. Inspiration and opportunity await."

To learn more about the Morning & Evening MBA and to ask questions, contact us and send us your resume for pre-assessment. 

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