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Shirin Ahmed, MBA ‘20, Senior Manager, Health and Wellness at Shoppers Drug Mart, on upscaling her business skills to ensure effective and sustainable solutions

Shirin Ahmed, MBA ’20, knew she wanted to continue working in the healthcare space, but after years working with nonprofits and academic agencies, she also wanted to make sure she had the business acumen to ensure the solutions she proposed would be sustainable in the long term. 

“I really enjoyed my work, but one of the things that I always felt was kind of missing was an understanding of the business aspects of my solutions, so I wanted to upskill myself both from a business acumen and leadership perspective,” says Ahmed, now Senior Manager, Health and Wellness at Shoppers Drug Mart. 

She sees incredible opportunities for innovation in the Canadian healthcare system, especially in the wake of the ingenuity forced upon all countries by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Changes like the move to virtual healthcare, she says, have created a lot of momentum around finding ways to improve the system overall.

“The work I’m doing with Shoppers now has such a great element of the impact on an end user’s experience – [at the same time, we have to think about] how are people going to pay for this service, or how are we going to get reimbursed from the government,” says Ahmed, who previously worked as a Program Manager for the Yale Institute for Global Health as well as at The International Rescue Committee in New York.

“Designing with that in mind helps you make sure that the product that reaches its end user is sustainable and will stick in the market.”

During her time at Ivey, Ahmed, who is American, took several healthcare courses to better understand how the system worked in Canada compared with the U.S.

Her decision to do the MBA at Ivey over any other school, she says, came down to the focus on leadership skills, as well as a broader scope that included hands-on learning, and skills like stakeholder management.

“The Case Methodology also stood out for me, because I learn best when I’m given examples, and it was a great way to learn about all the various things that have happened in the Canadian business landscape,” she says. 

When it comes to leadership, Ahmed says she now feels confident leading interdisciplinary teams, and taking ownership of projects she works on.

“Being  confident, being able to present in front of senior leadership, and have those conversations, think on the spot – those are all tangible things that I think have positioned me well to be a leader in my current role and position me to be a leader in future,” she says.

“My Ivey MBA has landed me the job that I wanted, and provided a great network, which being new to Canada, I found very valuable.”

MBA '20

Ivey Business School

Shirin Ahmed

Shirin Ahmed

Senior Manager, Health and Wellness, Shoppers Drug Mart

Toronto, Canada

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