Amidst the dreaming spires: musings on Hilary

4 minute read

Reflecting on Michaelmas

Michaelmas was a steep learning curve. From rushing to get to morning classes, reading tons of case studies, getting used to the cold weather, meeting an average of 20 new people every day, to simply establishing a daily routine.

The core modules set a foundation on key aspects of a business education through the lens of the distinct parts of an organisation. The module Organisational Behaviour equipped me with tools, techniques and new ways of thinking to handle employee dynamics along the lines of race, gender, generational differences. With augmented knowledge of financial and management accounting I am in the position to ask probing questions that lead to better decision making.

The Tech and Ops module was good exposure for future entrepreneurs, CEOs or COOs through relevant case materials in technology and operations management. The Global Rules of the Game module was my favourite; it drew my attention to the underlying non-markets currents that move businesses positively and negatively.

I cannot complete the reflection on Michaelmas without mentioning the camaraderie developed with classmates during group projects and case discussions.

I did not escape flu season as I came down with a flu which I dubbed ‘cold pro max’ because I thought it would claim my life. Thankfully, I did recover obviously as I am alive to write this on a train and not from the pearly gates.


Navigating the fast pace of academia

Managing deadlines, balancing coursework, participating in extracurricular activities and social events felt like a juggling act at times. The Oxford Saïd MBA programme being a one-year programme is an intense sprint filled with not only classroom learning experiences but conferences, speaker events and fireside chats amongst others.

Whether it be modules such as Strategy, Firms and Markets or Global Opportunities and Threats, I have engaged with an extensive breath of material that has changed my original perspectives on how the world works. Some perspectives have been reinforced, and many more challenged which for me means growth.

One thing I have learnt to do is to say ‘no’. As simple as it sounds, it has liberated me to prioritise my physical and mental well-being in moments when fear of missing out (FOMO) attempted to suck me into a whirlwind of activity. Occasional one-to-two-day hiatuses where I disconnect has helped stay organised and maintain sanity amidst the academic frenzy.

Embracing extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities have enriched my social life, expanded my network, and provided much-needed breaks from academic pursuits. As Saïd Business School is steeped in social impact initiatives, it comes as no surprise that its MBAs are active participants of the Turner MIINT impact investment competition organised by Wharton Social Impact Initiative. This year was no different as teams battled for the spot to represent the school at the finale. My MIINT team was privileged to have interacted with over 30 founders with impactful and innovative pre-seed ventures in emerging markets across the healthcare, financial inclusion, climate, sustainable agriculture and education sectors.

The broader Oxford community offers opportunities to interact with students during formal college dinners, forums and informal club/society gatherings. I had my first painting experience which was incredibly therapeutic. I do not fancy myself a Picasso or a van Gogh, however I anticipate that I will be picking a supply of canvases and brushes soon.

Africa night dubbed ‘An African Wedding’ brought together the sights and sounds typical of weddings from around the continent. The dedication of the Africa Business Alliance and the planning team was a thing of beauty as we all brought our full selves to showcase the vibrant African culture.

Networking with Laidlaw Scholars from London Business School, London School of Economics, Trinity College Dublin and University of Leeds at the LinkedIn workshop was invaluable. I met amazing women who have overcome challenges to become trailblazers.

The Africa Business Forum brought to the Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre 30 renowned leaders across diverse sectors including government, finance, film and music to discuss the drivers shaping the future of Africa. It was a business forum like no other, with discourses rich with personal stories of impact and a call to action to invest our talents in the opportunities the world has to offer. I walked away with a renewed sense of pride in being African.

Bonding over UK weather woes

The quintessential British topic - the weather; from blissful sunny days in the college courtyards to battling torrential rainstorms. Shared weather-related woes became unexpected bonding moments with fellow classmates as the weather was a sustained topic of conversation forging deeper connections beyond academic pursuits.

Looking ahead to trinity

I look towards upcoming Easter holidays to enjoy a well-deserved break from the rigors of academic life. Europe is calling and I answer in earnest!

I look to Trinity with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. I am eager for what lies ahead, delving into elective courses and pursuing internship opportunities. However, it is a reminder that the MBA journey is coming to an end.

To prospective students, I encourage you to embrace the journey ahead with open minds and adventurous spirits knowing that you have a supportive community to lean on every step of the way.

Oxford MBA