Preparing to join the Oxford MBA

4 minute read

Please tell us a bit about yourself

In my early years I was lucky to be able to grow up in Cape Town, South Africa, where I spent my days absorbed in any form of outdoor activity and spending weekends at our farm in the Cederberg. It was during this time where I developed a deep love for nature and our connection to the natural world. Back then my plan was to become a professional adventurer and fly fisherman, although this clearly didn’t pan out too well! During my time at university, I graduated with a Master’s in Economics from Stellenbosch University while exploring the theory underlying my interests in environmental and developmental economics.

Post-university I moved up to Johannesburg to join Monocle Solutions, one of the fastest growing and innovative financial services company in the country. My time at Monocle provided me with a unique exposure to the banking industry, the technical skills required to navigate the wide array of projects, as well as developing key relationships with colleagues and clients alike. I couldn’t have asked for a more dynamic working environment to develop and grow as a young professional and taking that step to move, on my own, to a new city will be a decision I will always look back on fondly.

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

Deciding to pursue an MBA was a difficult decision, especially in the post-Covid climate. After a process of self-reflection, I realized I needed to take a more deliberate step towards my goals and an MBA was the obvious choice. Choosing a school was a lot easier. Not only does Oxford offer an amazing course but has an ethos and identity that I could really resonate with. The Said Business School’s focus on impact and social responsibility was a big factor when making a final decision, while the student lifestyle and opportunities offered by the school and Oxford community provides one with so much more than just an education. Ultimately, Oxford is a place you go to make lifelong connections and memories, to be a part of a legacy that spans centuries. To be a part of this is an opportunity I could not ignore.

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

These last six months have been an adventure. From multiple calls each week with future members of the cohort, researching and applying to the different committees and OBN’s, and even studying for the Finance Lab, it has been such a great experience so far. I’ve heard many times that it is important to have a clear vision of what you want to do once there so a lot of the preparation has involved focusing on the aspects of the MBA that I want to go deeper into, and having the restraint to say no to everything else, no matter how enticing they may be.

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

My main goal for the MBA is to re-align my passions with my career, ideally entering the impact industry. I’ve long desired to pursue a career that is intertwined with the natural world, with a focus on combating the world’s most critical problems such as climate change and sustainability. A part of this journey would be to connect this vision with my current knowledge base and subject matter from the MBA. However, I am aware that the Oxford MBA opens your eyes to so many new opportunities so there is a part of me that is keeping an open mind should an exciting opportunity arise. Most importantly, I am excited to immerse myself in the conversations and teachings from my fellow cohort, a group of individuals I’ve have already learnt so much from over the past six months. To be able to spend every day with a group so diverse, not just culturally but in thought as well, is an aspect of the program that probably excites me the most.

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

Mainly to immerse myself in the school and university, to make the most out of the year ahead and to absorb as much information and experience as possible. As much as I am excited about my own journey, I am even more excited for what the future holds for the members of our cohort. To be able to be on this journey with them is such a privilege and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them!

Any advice or practical tips for those who are looking to apply to join the programme next year?

For anyone looking to apply, my best advice would simply be to trust your own story. It is so easy to get sucked into a process where you are constantly comparing your application to others that you forget how much value you can bring to the program. At the end of the day everyone is unique, we are all on our own journey of self-discovery and self-improvement so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because what you have to offer could be more valuable than you think.