It feels like yesterday I was asking myself whether I should apply for an MBA program or not. Fast forward almost 2 years, past the ups and downs of studying for the GMAT, past the anticipation of submitted applications and the celebrations of accepted ones, and here I am sitting in Oxford reflecting back on this process.
Before I get into that, a bit about myself: I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, and have spent most of my life living there (what can I say, I love poutine!). After studying business in university, I accepted a role as a consultant and spent 2 years absorbing as much as I could about different industries and functions. During that time, I stumbled upon a digital health company called Dialogue and fell in love with their mission to increase access to healthcare through technology, and I have spent the past 3 years trying to help them accomplish that goal. I like to spend my free time with my family and friends, trying new restaurants, taking walks or watching the latest shows on Netflix.
Why did you decide to apply for an MBA? What made you choose Oxford?
Truth be told, this wasn’t an easy decision for me! I wasn’t looking for a pivot in career, industry or geographic location, so the MBA was not necessarily a clear next step. However, as I started to look at people around me who had followed career paths that I felt would excite and challenge me as well, I began to see that having an MBA would be a strong asset. As I got further in my research, I realized that this would also be an amazing opportunity to build an international network, try new things, and grow.
I ultimately landed on Oxford because it matched my priorities for an MBA program – it offered an accelerated 12-month program, a diverse and international cohort, the chance to learn more about entrepreneurship, and the opportunity to explore a beautiful city. If I could offer applicants and new admits any advice on this decision process, it would be this: be honest with yourself. Know your priorities and don’t be afraid if they are different from what you see others looking for in an MBA program. A 12-month program worked best for my partner and I, and I would be lying if I said Oxford’s connection to Harry Potter didn’t factor into my decision at all… we all have different priorities and goals, and that’s okay!
What do you hope to gain from the Oxford MBA?
One of the things that attracted me to Oxford’s MBA program is its emphasis on social impact. This year, I’m hoping to continue to develop my general management skill set and take time to think about my own entrepreneurial aspirations, but with a new perspective on how I can think about the social impact of the businesses I engage with or operate.
What are you most looking forward to from the year ahead?
While I have certain activities and programs I’m particularly excited for – Oxford’s Creative Destruction Lab, the MBA Tournament (MBAT), and the Oxford Union, to name a few – I think I’m most excited about all the new people I get to meet and relationships I get to form in the year ahead. Saïd Business School has an incredibly diverse cohort of students and I love that it will allow me to meet people from so many different backgrounds and with totally different experiences and interests from my own.
Any advice or practical tips for those who are looking to apply to join the programme next year?
On a practical level, I suggest doing as much research as you can. Speak to past and current students to learn about their experiences, attend the Open Day, read the SBS blog posts (like this one!), or watch YouTube videos. Do whatever you can to familiarize yourself with the program and make sure that it feels like the right fit for you. Also, don’t hesitate to take the GMAT multiple times to get the score you want. While this can feel a little bit painful, this allowed me to go into the application process feeling a lot more confident in my submission. Finally – and I can’t stress this enough – take all the help you can get! I’m not sure what I would have done without my partner, family, and mentors who supported and guided me throughout this process.
What an exciting time you’re in! Applications can be tough, but they are also an amazing way to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and what you hope to achieve in the future. Enjoy the ride!