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Alumni Profile: Shanti Gidwani


Class of 2006

National Senior Director, Healthcare Cisco Canada

I was raised in a household of two specialist physician parents so healthcare was my whole life. I remember at 9 years old, my parents told me I’d make a great hospital administrator. I had no idea what that meant and looking back, I appreciate they wanted me to keep my options open.

I began my career as a nurse, working across a number of clinical areas. While I loved being at the bedside, I also wanted to make use of my business skills. My mind also saw the bigger broader scale of population health and that leadership and policy initiatives were my passion.

I discovered UBC’s MHA while already enrolled in the Master of Science in Nursing. I made the switch and immediately felt I found the right program that gave me formal training in healthcare and business. It gave me the winning combination of learning both in the classroom and on the ground. During the week, I was working for a non-profit healthcare organization as the director of clinical services. I was running over 50 clinics across BC, doing things like rewriting the governance policy and clinical operations manuals.

During my two years in the MHA, I literally applied what I learned the weekend before to my current job. It was a true translation of knowledge between my education and my day-to-day.

At Cisco, my background gives me a unique understanding to have conversations with individuals like chief medical officers and hospital administrators on how technology can advance the goals of their organization. I believe that many of the issues we are facing in healthcare today can be improved by technology: telehealth, intelligent information systems, comprehensive and accessible electronic health records, collaboration tools and more. Again, being able to speak the language of healthcare to apply strategies and tools from the business sector allows me to make a positive contribution to the healthcare space.

Having worked in public and private sector, as well as internationally for the WHO, I often get asked about the MHA vs the MBA. I often tell people that the MHA is the right marriage for someone who wants to be in healthcare and is interested in leadership roles and the business of healthcare. If it’s healthcare that you love, the MHA is the right path to take.

Read more stories about our alumni and where the MHA can take you