Knowledge is Power: Ambitious Alumnus Earns EMBA to Affect Change in Healthcare
Ruben Rodriguez came to Canada from Cuba in 2002 after graduating from nursing school. Over the next two years, he learned English and obtained his nursing license, but realized he wanted help more than one patient at a time. He decided a leadership role would be the path forward to serving more people.
Ruben transitioned into a supervisor role as a patient flow specialist, but recognized learning gaps and knew he needed to develop new skills to understand the Canadian healthcare system from a leadership perspective.
He went back to school and earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which led to a Clinical Manager Role at Humber River Hospital. While that helped him understand the healthcare system, it still wasn’t sufficient enough to develop his leadership skills.
“I want to be a force of change that improves the healthcare system, and without those leadership skills, I recognized I wouldn’t be able to move forward,” he said.
Ruben sought advice from colleagues who suggested he enroll in a Master of Nursing. But his mentor, recognizing his passion for healthcare and his aspirations, had another idea. They suggested he explore MBA programs and connected him with another manager who attended UFred.
“I met him to learn about his experience, and that same day I applied to the program. The way he spoke about the program and the online structure was all it took for me to decide, and I don’t regret my decision.”
Ruben enrolled in the Business Analytics Leadership stream of the Executive MBA program and said he was able to integrate the knowledge acquired throughout the program almost immediately. He was able to use the tools and skills learned throughout the MBA program’s Integration Project (IP) simultaneously to a project at work, where he was assigned the responsibility to operationalize a COVID-19 Assessment Center.
“I used the IP framework to organize and develop this project, which enabled me to quickly and effectively open the doors for testing the community we serve,” he said.
Ruben believes the most important lesson of the MBA program is understanding organizational design and integration.
“I’ve come to realize that the success of a business, project, or even leadership development depends on our ability to interconnect all areas so that they support the vision and mission of the organization. Without the integration of all parts of the organization, the ability to succeed can be compromised.”
Aiding in Ruben’s experience is what he believes is an excellent pool of instructors who are experts in their fields.
“The interactions with the professors always felt like someone guiding me on my knowledge development rather than someone just marking my work,” he said, adding that the structure of the program also enabled very positive interactions with classmates.
“Having people from multiple sectors working together brings a different perspective in leadership, and you can translate some of their experience into your own development,” Ruben said, while also recognizing that not all interactions with his peers were significant as some people did not share his passion.
Ruben is pleased with the outcome as he believes earning his MBA has improved his leadership skills.
“Some say that knowledge is power, and I feel UFred has provided me with that. I feel I am in a better position now to drive change in healthcare.”
It also helped Ruben advance from Clinical Manager to Site Operations manager and, now that he has finished the program, he is confident he will be able to advance further.
“Professionally, I hope to move to a director role within the next 12 months. Applying for jobs during a health crisis is not the best time and it is important to stay where I am to support my teams.”
Ruben is ambitious and hopes to earn a Doctorate of Health Administration to expand his knowledge and level of education even further.
“Without knowledge, we can’t make change happen,” he said.
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