Sprott MBA grad pursues medical degree in tandem with business studies

By Susan Hickman

Sprott School of Business graduate Jennifer Crichton is the first at Carleton to complete a Sprott MBA while concurrently studying medicine.

The 29-year-old began her MBA three years ago after completing her undergraduate degree in biochemistry at Carleton in 2010, and then a master’s in biochemistry at the University of Ottawa in 2013.

“My studies were focused in the sciences up to then and I saw a deficiency in myself,” explains Crichton, “I saw the MBA as a great next step to increase my knowledge base and become more well-rounded.”

She had one semester remaining when she was accepted into Queen’s School of Medicine in the fall of 2014. At first, she took a leave of absence from her MBA program, but resumed her business courses the following summer. She commuted between Kingston and Ottawa for a full month during the overlap of her medical and MBA studies, and then continued her MBA part-time when she returned to medical school in the fall of 2015.

“We went out of our way to accommodate her plan because she is a very determined, very bright student,” says Lorraine Dyke, associate dean of professional graduate programs. “An MBA is a very demanding, intensive degree, and so is medical school. We are very proud of (Crichton’s) accomplishment and pleased that we were able to help her make it work.”

Sprott MBA: An intensive degree program

Crichton, who has just begun her final two-year clerkship in medicine, says she learned to adapt to her busy life.

“I found pleasure in simple things, sports and fitness breaks or even doing the dishes just to get away from the computer. CrossFit and the supportive community that goes along with it was a major contributor to both my focus and sanity. Sometimes I reflect that I changed my set point on what is a normal amount of busy. But I am trying to develop the skill of changing speeds and I will always try to find that balance between achieving something and finding time to slow down.”

Crichton hopes to enter the field of hospital administration or policy making, where she can examine how health care is delivered in this country.

“We need a growing number of physicians with a broader skill set beyond medicine to link what goes on on the front lines to the politicians who make the decisions. In a dream world, I see myself having some influence in this area. Understanding the business side of health care will hopefully be my differentiator.”