Paving your own path in the MBA

3 minute read

Many people think of an MBA as a very specific type of business education: learning the difference between a balance sheet and a cash flow statement, or how to calculate the enterprise value of a business. While you do walk away with that knowledge, I think the truth is that an MBA is what you make of it. Amid hundreds of different job opportunities, extracurriculars, internships, clubs, and conferences, you have to find a way to take away experiences and learnings that are important to you.

Last year, Oxford gave me the chance to do just that: to take the plethora of opportunities the MBA threw my way and channel it into a topic I am deeply passionate about - healthcare.

These experiences helped increase my understanding of the healthcare world and what it means to build and run a business related to health, and they all resulted from choices that I made before and during my year in the MBA. Here are a few examples - and whether you are interested in healthcare or not, hopefully this will help you think of the path that you can forge for yourself at Oxford!

Creative Destruction Lab

This co-curricular program within the Oxford MBA allows you to work side-by-side with an early-stage science and tech startup. In early Michaelmas term, I applied to join CDL’s Health Stream specifically, and ultimately had the chance to consult for a startup using AI to increase treatment prediction accuracy for colorectal cancer patients. How should they bring it to market? Who is their target customer? How could they explain the science in a compelling way that investors understand? These were some of the questions we addressed together as well as with the many experienced mentors in the health field that CDL gives startups access to.

Global Opportunities and Threats (GOTO)

This MBA course pushed us to use systems thinking to address a global challenge. Our team focused our time on considering how antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which has massive public health implications, can be addressed by macro-stewards in the business world. Having never fully understood the global risks associated with AMR, this project allowed me to improve my understanding of broader health trends and how they fit within the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Entrepreneurship Project

One of my personal highlights of the MBA, the Entrepreneurship Project allows students to pitch new business ideas to early stage investors. I was able to collaborate with some of my closest friends on developing a digital tool to support early childhood health and development: understanding the market opportunity and size, defining the business and revenue model, and building early revenue and cash flow projections. We also chose to convert this into a Strategic Consulting Project over the summer, where we really pushed ourselves to better understand how technology and health work hand-in-hand by getting to know our target audience (by conducting 30+ user interviews!).

Events and speakers

I also had the chance to attend events like the Digital Health World Congress, which takes place in London every year, and hear speakers from various health-related start-ups by joining the school’s Healthcare Club.

There was no shortage of opportunities during the MBA, the key was finding the ones that inspired me, challenged me, and supported my long-term goals. Most importantly, these experiences helped solidify an integral aspect of my personal journey in business: having a mission that I care about drives me more than anything else. So whether it’s healthcare or something else, find the mission that drives you and jump on the opportunities that will help get you closer to accomplishing that mission (and don’t be afraid to turn down the ones that don’t)!

Oxford MBA