Looking forward to the year ahead

4 minute read

My grandmother had no formal education at all. My mother was the first person in her family to complete high school and go to university. And now, I am off to one of the most prestigious universities in the world – Oxford. Having spent the past six years as fixed income sales trader at an investment bank in South Africa, I have had the privilege to meet and build relationships with a variety of people in the financial services sector and what stood out the most to me was the lack of women in positions of leadership. In South Africa, only 5% of chief executives are women and the gender pay gap is most pronounced in the top Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed companies. This under-representation of women in the South African financial services space is something I would like to help tackle and address.


Why did you decide to apply for an MBA in general, and what made you choose Oxford?

Over the past decade, Oxford University’s Saïd Business School has increased the percentage of women in its MBA class from 26% to 47% and is now one of the most gender balanced business schools in the world so it felt like a natural fit for me given my passion around the further of inclusion of women in spaces that are not yet transformed. As a program that has so rapidly and successfully changed demographics and promoted the true inclusion of women, I feel like I can learn quite a bit about this and then replicate it in the organisations I will work for and/or be affiliated with in further.

How have you been preparing to start the programme in September?

I have connected with numerous classmates over video chat. We’ve traded ambitions about the future as well as tips on how to adapt to the weather (a big fear for me given I come from sunny South Africa). I have also been fortunate enough to touch base with a couple past Oxford Saïd MBA graduates who have shared some pearls of wisdom – from how to tackle the course load to where to find the cheapest drinks in Oxford.

What do you hope to gain from the Oxford MBA and what are your post-MBA goals?

I am looking forward to joining the Climate Group and deepening my understanding of the climate change disaster looming and how it can be mitigated, particularly through sustainable financing options. I am looking forward to joining the Africa Alliance and deepening my understanding of the continent of Africa as a whole. Post my MBA, I’d like to be involved in the green financing space with a focus on the Sub-Saharan African capital markets. Having been a fixed income sales trader covering Sub-Saharan African debt instruments, I hope to marry my prior experience and passion of the market along with new knowledge and skills picked up from my MBA in order to help grow and develop the green financing space in Africa.


What are you most looking forward to from the year ahead?

I am most looking forward to connecting with different people and challenging the views and beliefs I have. With classmates from 65 countries, I am looking forward to learning about different cultures and customs and post that, having multiple couches to crash on around the globe. I am also a big debating nerd, so I am looking forward to watching some thought-provoking debates at the Oxford Union and perhaps getting involved in a couple myself. I am also looking forward to ditching my car and picking up a bicycle, even though I haven’t ridden one in over seven years!

What advice do you have for those who are looking to apply to join the programme next year?

Prep hard and well from your GMAT. Speak to people who have done the program and find out what their experience was. Also, be sure to reach out to the Oxford Saïd staff during the process if you get stuck or need guidance – they are incredibly friendly and so helpful.