MBA student profile: The doctor

When Deepika Lobo moved here with her husband five years ago, she knew nothing about Canada and couldn’t get work in her field.

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(Photo: Jennifer Roberts)

Deepika Lobo, DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University

When Deepika Lobo moved to Mississauga with her husband five years ago, she knew nothing about Canada and—as is the case with many skilled and educated immigrants—couldn’t get work in her field. In her home country of India, Lobo had trained as a physician, and worked briefly as both a family doctor and in public health. After moving to Canada from Mangalore, on the west coast of India, following a stint in San Francisco, her credentials meant she could apply for only a residency program. In her case, that meant the five-year program at McMaster University. Knowing it would be tough to get in (there are only a few spots for international medical graduates), she went in search of a “solid backup plan.” “I couldn’t fully rely on getting licensed here,” says the 31-year-old. So Lobo looked for other prospects. To her surprise, the DeGroote School of Business offered an MBA specializing in health services management, which suited her perfectly. “I have always been into public speaking, and I love administration,” she says. Lobo took full advantage of the year-long co-op program (three placements of four-month Duration:s). “You can tailor it to what you want. I knew I loved public health, so I did all my placements in that field,” she says. “In India, programs are very structured, whereas here, it’s up to you, you can make the MBA work for you.” With a toddler in daycare and family far away in India, the 28-month program stretched Lobo to her limit, but she thrived, even making the dean’s list. Though pursuing an MBA was never part of her plan, Lobo says it’s been more than a worthwhile investment, “not just career-wise,” she says, but because it also bestows important intangibles. “It gives you a lot of confidence and overall growth. When you come to a new country, studying here helps you get to know the culture, how people talk, how to carry yourself. Would I have been able to do [a certain] job without this MBA? Probably, but not with the same confidence and elegance. That’s what the MBA program is all about.”