The Oxford Blues men’s team took home the Varsity trophy after a decisive victory against Cambridge.
The match took place at Twickenham stadium on 6 December in front of a crowd of over 21,000 fans.
Alasdair King (2018 EMBA), Niel Naude (2018 MBA) and former professional rugby stars George Robson (2018 EMBA) and Ben Ransom (2018 MBA) faced the Cambridge Light Blues in the men’s team and Desiree Vodounon and Maria Bernier (2018 MBA) competed in the women’s match on its 30th anniversary.
Ben Ransom was named as man of the match in a fast paced and dramatic game that saw the Blues return to form after losses in previous years. The action played out on a rain soaked and flood lit pitch, and the stadium reverberated with the cheers of Oxford Blues’ fans as the team pushed on to secure the 60th win for Oxford, closing the lead on Cambridge’s 63 total wins.
Ben’s professional rugby career began at Saracens RFC when he was just 17: ‘I left school on the Friday and started training for Saracens on the Monday,’ he says.
Eight seasons in England’s top rugby league followed, including three premiership wins and the European Cup. ‘I see my team mates as my extended family. That’s what I love most about rugby. The camaraderie and banter that goes with it is important to me,’ he says.
Despite his love for the sport, Ben always knew rugby was a ‘finite career.’ He nurtured his passion for finance alongside the sport, and passed his Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Hertfordshire University with first class honours.
The Oxford MBA will complete Ben’s evolution from rugby star to finance professional. ‘The diversity of the cohort is something that really appealed to me about Oxford Saïd,’ he says. ‘The fact it’s a one-year programme is also very beneficial, as I want to transition quickly into the world of business.’
After almost 15 years as a professional rugby player and a coach, George Robson – a onetime teammate of Ben at London Irish rugby club – transferred into business with a role at MusclePharm corporation in 2017.
‘You can do a lot more with your time when you stop playing professional rugby, because you’re not permanently exhausted,’ laughs George. ‘But now I’ve come here to Oxford, and I’m playing rugby again. It’s tough - our module in analytics reminded me of being a young player and coming face to face with a seasoned professional on the pitch for the first time. Now I realise that getting accepted here was the easy part. But you don’t come to Oxford for a pat on the back. I’m here to be challenged.’