My journey of discovery on the Executive MBA

4 minute read
Beibei Sun

Sometimes, in life, I find that opportunities come along at just the right moment. And the Oxford Executive MBA has been a good example of that for me.

I’ve always seen myself as a bit of an explorer – not just because of my love of travel but also because of my educational and professional journey. I was born and raised in mainland China during the 90s, at a time when people generally completed their education in our home country. However, things were starting to change just as I was applying for university. As a result, I was able to complete my undergraduate degree at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and then an MSc in Financial Economics at the University of Oxford.

A lightbulb moment

Initially, I had planned to become an actuary and work in financial services. But then, during my studies in Oxford, at a career bootcamp, the speaker described consulting as a ‘way of helping people solve complex problems in our society.’ That was a lightbulb moment for me. I realised that I wanted to solve big problems.

Having completed my MSc, I secured my first job in consulting and ultimately found my calling in the electric vehicle (EV) space. In my current role as a Managing Consultant at Vendigital, I’m responsible for supporting growth and value creation, primarily helping startups take their EV prototypes through to commercialisation and innovate business models.

Then in June 2022, I went on a safari to Kenya that changed the course of my life. I got chatting with a friend who had completed an Executive MBA. She spoke very positively about the experience. That got me thinking. I wondered whether this might be a good next step for me. I’d thoroughly enjoyed my earlier MSc at Oxford and the chance to complete more in-depth study there appealed to me.

Then, on the same safari, I took a photo of the sun setting in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya – with an elephant standing under a nearby tree. For me, this photo crystallised how I felt at that moment – as an explorer on a journey. It was a sign to me that it was time to start a new adventure and apply for the Oxford Executive MBA.

Having returned to London, everything happened very fast from there. I completed all the application forms within two weeks – receiving an offer of a place in October 2022 and later a scholarship.

Beibei Sun

Many highlights so far

Fast forward nearly two years and I’m now over a year into the Executive MBA.

The programme has enabled me to apply my professional experience but also grow professionally in so many ways. It’s a very bespoke programme that you can tailor to your goals. The academics are world-leading, of course, but my fellow students are an inspiration too. Much of the learning comes from discussions with your classmates. 

At the start, I’d not envisaged what the cohort would mean to me. Everyone is so supportive, friendly and generous with their time and knowledge. We all come from such different backgrounds and career trajectories but our paths have crossed at the same time. I now have friends in every corner of the world – with an even longer list of places I want to visit!

The courage to take chances

The Executive MBA is already influencing my life and work. Even though I already had a good knowledge of strategy, the strategy frameworks have proved very helpful in my client work. I’ve also made many new contacts in the electric vehicle industry.

On a broader level, the programme has changed my outlook. I now have more courage to take chances and be bold. As an example, I’ve started a new business venture with one of my classmates, facilitating buy-outs in the electric vehicle space. I’d never seen myself as an entrepreneur but I’ve gained the skills and confidence to start a business.

A life-changing opportunity

Would I recommend the Executive MBA to others? Yes, most definitely. You do need to think carefully about what you want to achieve from the programme before you apply – especially as you shape the learning to meet your goals. The programme is quite an investment – both in terms of time and financially. But it is a life-changing opportunity. So, embrace the adventure wholeheartedly and you’ll reap the rewards.

Oxford Executive MBA

Everyone is so supportive, friendly and generous with their time and knowledge...I now have friends in every corner of the world – with an even longer list of places I want to visit!