Completing an MBA to develop empathy

3 minute read

In the wake of a global pandemic that left us socially isolated and yearning for connection, mental health has plummeted to unprecedented depths. For those of us striving to rebuild our support systems or seeking new horizons, the decision to embark on an MBA journey became a beacon of growth, exploration, and personal reinvention. Little did I know that this pursuit of higher education would lead me down an unexpected path towards cultivating empathy, both for myself and for others.

As I joined the MBA cohort at Oxford, the question of running for a Student Council position echoed through our ranks, challenging us to step beyond our comfort zones. While I was still adjusting to life in this new country, the notion of being part of a group responsible for shaping culture and addressing the concerns of my 312 MBA peers seemed daunting. Hesitation swirled within me as the nomination deadline loomed. Here I was, thousands of miles away from familiarity, being called to care not only for myself but also for those navigating this uncharted territory alongside me.

In the midst of this internal struggle, I reflected on the wisdom bestowed upon me in my early years: 'In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life.' With significant investments of time and finances poured into this MBA program, I was resolute in wanting the utmost value from this experience. While intellectual and career growth were anticipated outcomes, my personal mission encompassed the cultivation of empathy - trait that would enable me to forge stronger connections with loved ones, friends, and colleagues.


Pushing beyond the boundaries of comfort is an inherent part of the MBA journey, and it was within this spirit that I applied for the role as one of the cohort's Welfare & Well-being Officers (Co-President Lorenzo Pautasso, Welfare Officer Rashmi Singh and Welfare Officer Anderson Petergeorge in picture, left to right). Just moments before the application deadline, I cast my lot into the race, knowing that championing well-being initiatives and fostering a safe space amongst high-achieving peers would challenge and transform me.

As I reflect on the whirlwind of the past nine months, it's abundantly clear that embracing this role has profoundly altered my trajectory. The opportunity to delve into the lives of my fellow MBA peers has allowed me to connect on a level previously unimaginable. Empathy, once an abstract concept, has become a tangible skill that I can confidently carry forward into both my personal and professional endeavors.

The lessons learned are invaluable. Investing in the well-being of my MBA peers has, in turn, been an investment in myself—an investment that has reaped dividends of self-discovery, personal growth, and enriched connections. The impact of this journey has left an indelible mark, shaping not only who I am today but also who I aspire to be tomorrow.

For those contemplating leadership roles within their MBA programs or corporate environments, I offer a resounding endorsement. My journey this year stands as a testament to the profound truth that effort invested translates into rewards earned. The challenges faced, the connections formed, and the empathy nurtured are testaments to the incredible power of pushing oneself beyond perceived limitations.

In a world that often emphasizes individual achievement, my MBA experience has illuminated the remarkable synergy between personal growth and communal well-being. As we continue to navigate uncharted waters, let us remember that our capacity to empathise and uplift one another holds immeasurable potential, both personally and professionally.

Oxford MBA