Impact stories

Tulsi Parida: Gender parity

Picture of Tulsi Parida

Tulsi Parida (Pershing Square Scholar 2018-19)

What brought you to Oxford Saïd?

Born in India and raised in America I have always had a global outlook. My early career focused on using technology to reduce the global literacy gap at two start-ups in New York City and Mumbai. The work was engaging and challenging but I was conscious that to make the impact I strive for I would need to further my education in the field. Thanks to the Pershing Square Scholarship I was able to embark on an MBA at Saïd Business School.

Oxford Saïd has a unique focus on sustainable business models which filters through everything we do here. I have developed a complete understanding of how organisations work and how to implement sustainable solutions at scale. I have been exposed to giants in the field, massively influential change-makers who have shaped my view of what’s possible.

And perhaps most importantly, I have made connections that will last a lifetime. A global network of incredibly driven and smart peers whom I am lucky enough to now call friends.

After I graduate, my resolve to work on issues affecting marginalised communities and issues related to inequality is stronger than ever.

What impact do I want to have on the world?

I would like to ensure that new technologies are used, not as a source of division, but to create and enhance a flourishing and equal society.

Mofe Binitie: Widening access

Picture of Mofe Binitie

Mofe Binitie (Oxford-Grace Lake Scholar 2016-17)

Growing up as the only child in a blended, interfaith household in Benin City, Nigeria shaped me in the most intrinsic ways. Benin City is a small town and like many small-town kids, I wanted to experience the world. Having worked as a Senior Consultant at EY, I knew I wanted to expand my knowledge of the business sector. Saïd Business School offered me the first Oxford-Grace Lake scholarship, awarded annually to exceptional African students.

An MBA at Saïd Business School provided me with the opportunity to access millennia of knowledge and engage with a diverse range of cultural experiences. My first taste of ginger beer, college dinners at fairy-tale halls, laying on the grass at Kellogg in summer and dancing at Diwali in winter. It has been transformative for me personally, professionally and academically and most importantly provided me with a lifelong cohort of cheerleaders, supporters, mentors and friends.

Today I am working with the Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit to develop a bespoke private sector financing mechanism for conservation. We plan to unlock new capital sources and to engage front-line communities to build a world where nature is a resource for growth and the rate of extinction is shortened. I have also founded Nigeria’s first online volunteering platform and have become a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. None of this would have been possible without Oxford Saïd and the Oxford-Grace Lake scholarship.

What impact do I want to have on the world?

At Oxford Saïd I learnt that business could not only provide livelihoods but also improve lives. I want to make life easier and better for others.

Dima Al Tabbaa: Greatest need

Dima Al Tabbaa

Dima Al Tabbaa (Saïd Business School Foundation Scholar 2016-17)

I was born and raised in Damascus, Syria. As our country became ravaged by war I began to consider how I, as a Middle Eastern woman, could flourish. My parents had always pushed me to succeed academically and they encouraged me to look beyond Syria’s borders. With their support, I dared to dream that I could undertake an MBA at an elite University. A full scholarship from Saïd Business School made this dream a reality.

That step was a big one, but I could never have imagined the countless ways Oxford Saïd would have transformed my life. Every moment was a learning experience. At Oxford you don’t just get a business degree, you get an education, a culture and a network that extends across all areas of learning. Having shared a classroom with people from over 58 countries and dined with neuroscientists, marine biologists and entrepreneurs, I was able to learn from and connect with some of the most talented people in the world.

Today I am working as a Senior Vendor Manager at Amazon, a company that continues to innovate and create waves of change in the business world and every consumer’s life.

What impact do I want to have on the world?

A generation of Syrian children have grown up experiencing nothing but war, I plan to return to my country to guide and mentor them through the challenges of higher education. Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford aspires to have a true impact on the world. As an alumnus, I share that commitment.

Anshu Taneja: Sustainable world

Anshu Taneja

Anshu Taneja MBA, Country Director, VisionSpring

Growing up in India and closely observing the benefits that free enterprise and economic growth brought our country made me determined to study business in-depth through an MBA. I was convinced that business could be a medium to generate employment and create an equal and just society. I chose to study at Oxford Saïd because of its unrivalled position as the global hub for social entrepreneurship.

At the Saïd Business School I received a world-class education through highly-accomplished faculty members, in cutting-edge facilities and surrounded by a unique multi-national and multi-cultural student body. This exceptional combination honed my knowledge of the innovative business solutions and technologies that people around the world were using to fight the problems plaguing our society. I knew I wanted to make a social impact and after graduating I took up a position as Country Director for India at VisionSpring.

VisionSpring is an internationally-acclaimed social enterprise whose mission is to provide access to affordable eyewear, everywhere. When I joined in 2013, the organisation was touching less than 150,000 people annually in India. Five years on we are creating instant, measurable, and life-changing impact for over 700,000 people and adding $151 million to the country's GDP per year.

What impact do I want to have on the world?

I believe that businesses and financially sustainable social impact models have a key role to play in achieving long-term social change. I plan to use my skills, knowledge, and experience to create a world where equality, justice, liberty and development co-exist with each other and in-harmony with nature.

Dr Vuyane Mhlomi: Widening participation

Dr Vuyane Mhlomi

Dr Vuyane Mhlomi (Pershing Square Scholar 2018-19)

I grew up in Khayelitsha, a sprawling township on the outskirts of Cape Town where prospects were limited. Blessed with a visionary mother who nurtured my ambitions, I committed to changing the world around me through education and hard work. Having graduated from Medical School at the University of Cape Town with first class honours, I was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to complete a DPhil at the University of Oxford.

My life was at a crossroads. Return to South Africa to a conventional clinical path or aspire to more. I felt moved to reach higher, to gain the skills I needed to contribute to the development of my country and to create opportunities for those bright young people who are currently left behind. Thanks to the Pershing Square Scholarship I was able to embark on an MBA at Saïd Business School.

Oxford Saïd transformed my entrepreneurial skills. It gave me a forum to test and run business concepts and an enormously influential circle of friends, colleagues and mentors.

Today I am the Co-Founder and CEO of Quro Medical, a start-up using cutting edge technologies to deliver high-quality healthcare in emerging markets. I also founded and run the MH Foundation, an educational non-profit organisation whose mission is to empower communities by cultivating academically excellent and socially responsible leaders. Every year we support a cohort of bright young students in South Africa with a comprehensive scholarship program designed to lift them out of poverty.

What impact do I want to have on the world?

To transform the delivery of healthcare in developing countries, enhance the well being of others, and to improve the state of the world.

DE2LAB: Sustainable world

DE2LAB

Digitally Empowered Enterprise Lab

Through its world-class portfolio of academic programmes, industry initiatives and strong track record of research and innovation, Saïd Business School is uniquely placed to help business leaders gain a greater insight into the technologies that are impacting their businesses today and are set to affect them tomorrow.  

Oxford Saïd’s Digitally Empowered Enterprise Lab, known as DE2Lab, was established to create a coherent platform to bring our research together and engage with outside stakeholders, across academia and industry.

Saïd Business School’s professors regularly undertake pioneering research into potential technological applications and one such as led by Professor Matthias Holweg on 3D printing and its implications for the circular economy.

The idea was very simple: could you collect plastic in the form of PET drink bottles, and use this locally in the recycling centre to make something new? That’s where 3D printing comes in. With PET bottles you can clean them, crush them and turn them into feed stock for 3D printing operations.

We know that we can clean and recycle plastic to such a quality that it could be easily used for manufacturing, and that it is also possible to create 3D printing feedstock from waste plastic and to print from that. The problem is that the product you can make from this would not sell at a high enough price compared to what you could make from virgin plastic. At the moment, the 3D-printed product isn’t so differentiated that you would pay more for it. But that could change in the future and we have shown that this is entirely feasible.

What impact will this have on the world?

80% of the plastic ever made has either gone into landfill or the oceans, with around 11% incinerated and 8% recycled. Oxford Saïd’s pioneering research on 3D printing and its implications for the circular economy is the first step on the road to stopping this.

Inspired scholars at Oxford Saïd

'I am devoted to alleviating poverty in Nigeria and contributing to accelerating the nation’s economic development over the coming decades. With a background in Finance and Government, I believe a combination of transformative, visionary and strong governance in partnership with experienced, world-class and dedicated private sector will unlock Nigeria’s economic potential. I aspire, in the long-term, to contribute to both and have no doubt that the MBA program at Oxford Saïd will equip me with the tools I will need to do so.

I am grateful to the Saïd Foundation for affording me the opportunity to attend Oxford through its generous scholarship. The Scholarship will not only alleviate my financial burden but will also connect me with a network of diverse Oxford Saïd scholars from around the world with similar passions and goals. By financially supporting our time at Oxford, the Saïd Foundation empowers us to pursue our career goals - making an investment that will go beyond our education and will positively impact the many communities we represent from around the world.'
Victoria Udom, Saïd Business School Foundation scholar 2019-20
 

‘Working in the arts is not necessarily synonymous with financial wealth, meaning that a course like the MBA at Saïd Business School is out of reach for many in the industry. Thanks to the Linbury Scholarship, three people a year have the chance to take part in this world-class education and I'm really excited to see the impact this has in the future.’
Lauren Sadler, Linbury Scholar 2019-20
 

‘As someone deeply committed to the social sector and equally drawn by the promise of business and finance for social good, the generous Social Entrepreneurship scholarship from the Jacobs Foundation has enabled me to pursue my passions with greater focus and clarity while at Oxford. A significant pressure has been lifted and I now have the opportunity to be completely present on the MBA. The chance to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities that come with an MBA at Saïd, ‘worry free,’ is a true gift and the strongest foundation for future success in any career path I choose after my time at Oxford. Together, I know that the Jacobs Foundation and Saïd Business School will offer a transformative experience that will open many doors for the future.’
Sehr Tejpar, Jacobs Scholar 2019-20

 

I feel empowered to start my MBA journey with the resources and support that will fuel my success. My scholarship will enable me to join an inspiring community of successful women and foster my growth to become the business leader I aspire to be.

Amandine Roche

Forté Fellow 2019-20

'My goal is to build a world class social enterprise that improves the health and wellbeing of mothers, children and their families in Africa. However I realise I am lacking in critical skills that could further my work. This scholarship affords me a once in a lifetime opportunity to build my leadership skills and gain the right knowledge and foundation needed to grow and scale a social business.'
Anike Edun, Oxford-Adara Foundation Scholar 2019-20
 

'The Oxford Pershing Square Scholarship has been a game changer for me, as it has given me the remarkable opportunity to combine my interests in public policy with the development of SMEs for increasing sustainable economic development across Latin America. I am honored and completely thrilled to become part of the Saïd Business School and Pershing Square Scholarship community which brings together inspiring students from across the globe. This scholarship is key in allowing me to become a leader for reducing the inequality gap that exists in Latin America, and especially in my home country of Paraguay.'
Natalia Espinola Lopez, Oxford-Pershing Square Scholar 2019-20  
 

'Pursuing an MBA feels like a calculated but precarious jump into the unknown. Propelling yourself into the future and out of your comfort zone, in pursuit of making the world a better place, is both exhilarating and terrifying. Receiving a Saïd Business School Foundation Scholarship felt like a multitude of steadying hands, catching me as I landed when I made that jump. Knowing that many generous Oxford Saïd alumni and friends were investing in and supporting me has been psychologically and financially invaluable. It has made my dreams into reality and my leap pay off.  I look forward to soon being able to turn around and catch future alumni as they make their jump, inspired by the generosity of the Oxford Saïd alumni.' 
Lily Elsner, Saïd Business School Foundation Scholar 2019-20
 

‘As an aspiring social impact leader with experience in education and nonprofits, I knew I would need to choose my MBA program carefully to advance my career in the way I envision. The combination of learning, networking, and professional opportunities I will have as a Jacobs Scholar in the Saïd Business School is quite literally ideal for me – and unparalleled by any other opportunity in the world. I can't imagine two programs that could better complement one another to prepare me to develop, implement, and one day lead broad-scale initiatives to improve outcomes for impoverished youth.’ 
Elizabeth Anthony, Jacobs Scholar 2019-20

I am honoured to be a Grace-Lake scholar and greatly appreciate the financial relief that the scholarship provides. I look forward to paying it forward in the future.

Damilola Bolaji

Oxford-Grace Lake Scholar 2019-20