As much as Anindita Bose enjoyed her post-Bachelor’s degree time in the workforce, she felt she needed a Master’s to truly excel at her career. Bose, who earned a BSc in biological anthropology with a minor in environmental science, was working at Cancer Care Ontario as a project coordinator in the Disease Pathway Management Secretariat when she began researching grad school options.
It was her second so-called real job, following a one-year contract as Research Operations Coordinator at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. While her parents had encouraged her to go to grad school right after finishing her BSc, Bose felt she didn’t know what she wanted to do. “Let’s just first see what jobs I can get,” she told herself.
After two-plus years on the job and checking out Master’s options at the Faculty of Information and UofT’s Dalla Lana School of Public health, Bose eventually opted to study part-time at the Faculty of Information. “I had already done science with my Bachelor’s,” she says. “I thought why not try something different?”
It turned out to be the right choice. She went from not knowing what knowledge management was to understanding the difficulties of archives and record keeping and how and why people approach information in the different ways they do. “The MI Introduced me to topics I wouldn’t have even known about had I not been in this professional program,” said Bose at her November 2019 convocation ceremony. Along with having more options within the public health sphere, she also feels that if she eventually wants to move into other sectors, including management consulting and start-ups, she will have a large alumni network to consult.
“I feel hopeful and that I’m less closed off than before. I’m not alone,” says Bose, who chose the Knowledge and Information Management concentration and especially enjoyed her reading courses with Assistant Professor Colin Furness (Teaching Stream).
When she began her Master’s, Bose arranged with Cancer Care Ontario to work part-time as she studied part-time. But after her first semester, she decided to “kick it into overdrive” because she didn’t want to spend five or six years finishing her degree. She also took the risk of leaving her job at Cancer Care for a new contract position as a senior project analyst at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). That job was full-time, says Bose as she laughingly thanks “the Gods of time management.”
As she was finishing off her degree, which ended up taking a total of two and a half years, Bose landed permanent work as a senior analyst with the newly inaugurated cyber security department of the University Health Network (UHN). There, she helps establish standards and practices while working with stakeholders who include physicians and directors of the five hospitals that comprise the UHN. The cyber security team is working to figure out how to best protect patient information in a digitally savvy world, says Bose.
Surprisingly, no health care experience or coding was required for the role, which Bose describes as primarily project management with her taking the lead on two specific portfolios. At UHN, she acts as a kind of interpreter between the technical team and the rest of UHN, a position that emphasizes the importance of negotiation skills. She might, for example, check in with developers to ensure they’ve considered privacy requirements before they start coding or present a business case to senior managers and executive directors about how to safely secure patient information.
In her five months on the new job, Bose has seen a lesson she learned at the Faculty of Information regularly reinforced. “Information goes beyond zeros and ones,” she says. “I feel like I’ve come full circle.”